Are you the Ant or the Grasshopper?



As a sailor thinking about what’s going into our cruising endeavor, I’ve thought a lot about storing water, provisioning enough food and supplies and how to get water and power while underway without the magic of municipal utilities. While searching for the best ways to store my eggs, which foods keep without refrigeration, cooking with propane and how much stuff you need to sail with between the mid-Alantic and the islands, I’ve been reminded of the wealth of information about safety and provisioning from a community that usually tries to stay hidden- preppers.

Preppers may be waiting for s**t to hit the fan and sailors may waiting for fair winds or a docktail party, but both groups are always thinking about safety, being prepared in the event of an emergency, storing food and water, and where to get power when you can’t plug in.

What sailor hasn’t thought about MOB procedures or their EPIRB? Preppers share the same ideas about personal emergency preparedness and helping those around you in the event of a disaster, be it small, medium or catastrophic.

Many sailor has a ditch bag, akin to the prepper’s bug out bag. As for the prepper’s bug out location and bug out vehicle, let’s just say the sailor’s equivalent is where many of us live, spend the weekend, cruise and enjoy the sunset. Most sailors with cruising plans already knows how long they can go out before they need to re-provision and most preppers have a good idea of how long they can feed their family before the supplies run out.

Sailors and preppers are provisioning their homes for days, weeks and even months without resupplying. Need water? Need food? Both groups store it and have clever ways to make it. Solar panels and generators that run on wind or gas? Yes to both. Both groups also spend time figuring out how to store six month’s worth of cans, dry goods and emergency supplies in an area were most people could only fit a small duffle bag.

I don’t know exactly what we’ll be eating underway on ocean crossings but I have a good idea about which foods store well and how to keep eggs outside the fridge, and I’ve got a pretty good idea that I’ll be the one making a check list of emergency supplies before we cut the lines for good.

For now, I’m combing The Boat Galley for my nautical ideas and the women’s family preparedness Facebook group for good ideas on emergency items and long term food storage. Facebook’s Women Who Sail has both.

I’m looking to be more sailor than prepper but on land or sea, I’m ahead of the game when it comes to safety, stocking up and being prepared.

Let’s hear from our readers. Are you the ant or the grasshopper? If you’re not sure yet, keep reading and please leave a comment at the end. I fancy myself to be the ant on this catamaran; I supplied all new fire extinguishers and upgraded the first aid kit before we’d even sailed. On the other hand, my better half was the one who recently upgraded our expired flares.


The Ant and the Grasshopper


In a field one summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest. “Why not come and chat with me,” said the Grasshopper, “instead of toiling and moiling in that way?”
“I am helping to lay up food for the winter,” said the Ant, “and recommend you to do the same.”
“Why bother about winter?” said the Grasshopper; “we have got plenty of food at present.” But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil.
When the winter came the Grasshopper found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing, every day, corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer.Then the Grasshopper knew, it is best to prepare for the days of necessity.






30 thoughts on “Are you the Ant or the Grasshopper?

  1. Had to google ‘preppers’ as its not a word we use in New Zealand, but yes I think I am a prepper! Ive just been sorting out our grab bag. Fun times prepping. Makes me feel like I am ticking off all the little boxes and moving towards our goal, even though I have to go back to work tomorrow… 😦

    Liked by 2 people

    1. In the US if you mention preppers to non-sailing people who don’t commonly think of how much water and food you need to store for a crossing, they often think of the people waiting for doomsday in an underground bunker. Not so for sailors. I can tell you the capacity of our water tanks in my sleep!

      I am also ticking off boxes as we get closer to our goal… but what am I going to do with all my cans and bottled water when we finally cut the lines? Hahaha!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I think I’m more of an ant than a grasshopper. While I don’t work out what I need to survive for months on end (being in a very landlock part of Britain, and only seeing the sea a handful of times a year…), I am always preparing for the smaller ‘what ifs?’.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. When we were preparing to move onto our boat and embrace a more frugal lifestyle, I got lots of tips and tricks from prepper, homesteader etc. type blogs. I definitely like the idea of having several months of food storage on board, not just for cruising, but because you never know what could happen.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d never thought of that comparison but it’s so true!! And so necessary on a boat. I often joked with my friends that in the event of a zombie apocalypse our escape plan would be to get to the boat at fast as possible. Sadly we no longer have the boat so a new apocalypse plan is needed….

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha I won’t mention that one to my friends when I’m telling them that sailing is definitely the way to escape!!! Although if you’ve read World War Z we’ll have to be careful not to go in too shallow waters for those underwater zombies…..!!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I am definitely an Ant! We are preparing to make our way south (currently in PNW) this July. I am also reading and surfing the WWS Facebook pages. Good luck to you and your family as you continue on your path.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love WWS! So much information. Anything I need to know from women’s health at sea to how to bake bread in the galley is all right there.
      Pretty much anything I want to know and WWS is the first place I turn.
      Charles wants to do the PNW but the Panama Canal seems like more hassle than adventure. So many rumors like the expense, the wait, the conditions of the area.
      If you cross thru to this side of the water, please send an update.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Being from Michigan I have always prepared. It becomes who you are even if people make fun of you. I especially prepared when GG was with me. I am more aggressive when I’m responsible for someone else. Now Tim does most of the preparing. He thinks I’m too lackadaisical. Good to have him so I don’t have to always be “on my game ” love you both. Mom

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pretty prepared as well. Bring on this snow- Charles and I will be warm and eating hot meals for a month. I’m already thinking of the emergency things he will need during his month away in March. We know the flares, fire extinguishers and first aid kit are top notch. He is looking into a satellite phone that has weather and if he gets one I will remind him to call you from out at sea.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. My dad invites people out on his boat and tells them there’s no food on board and to BYO. He does have plenty of water onboard. My Dad is pretty lean and fit. He doesn’t travel and is yet to sleep on board. He’s only had this boat a few months and is still getting it sorted.
    In terms of our house, we’re all ants and buried by the mound of stuff.
    xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

      1. He is planning to but needing to check the stove works and he is concerned about gas. Obviously, he is more of an ant than a grasshopper. Me, I’d be sleeping onboard and surviving on ferrero rocher chocolates. Well, at least for one night. They’ve been on sale lately. I think chocolate sales must drop over Christmas in the heat and you really do need to eat them a day or two after purchase.
        Thanks for stopping by too. It’s funny when you compare our two bits of ocean at the moment and how different the weatherscape is xx Rowena

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There’s something about waking up on board that you cannot beat with the gentle rocking and the sound of the water against the hull.

        Is the stove on the boat propane? I’m never worried about leaks, just running out at a bad time.
        I bet there is a C02 detector somewhere in there. That’s often in the back of a sailor’s mind.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That’s what he’s looking into. They used to have a house with a boat house right on the water and I loved that. It had a few beds in there and it was so relaxing.
        The boat had been in an accident before he bought it so he had to have it repaired and he had it painted I think. He’s been doing quite a lot to it, which I also understand is owning a boat.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Boats require so much maintenance and expense much like owning a home. The difference is that your home can sink if not attended to!
        Is your dad doing a lot of the repairs himself? Charles has become quite handy working on Chiron and doing things himself. Right now we have the shower pump and bathroom sink repairs in progress.
        So much to do on boats, all you need is lots of money and lots of free time.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. My husband put me onto a phrase: “a boat is hole in the water you throw money into.”
        Dad’s getting it all done I think. The interior looks very good and has barely been used. I think he’s now just needing to kit it out.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Love that. I would have to nominate our daughter for that award but I’m just as much to blame. I buy her a fair amount of stuff and she does dancing etc which adds up over the year. That said, she does three dance classes for the cost of one of my violin lessons. She also has my Mum wrapped around her little finger and her clothes are so much cheaper than my Mum’s that they seem like bargains.


  8. Thanks for liking my post! Scrolled through your blog and this title piqued my interest. 🙂

    I wish I was more ant and less grasshopper! I know if I were, then I would be MUCH more ready to set sail than I am now! My friend whose boat I live on was Mormon for a while so he is definitely all about preparation.

    I just recently joined the WWS FB group. So much information! Be on the look out for SV Emuna when we finally set sail next spring! ^_^


      1. Our home port is Astoria, Oregon. We want to do some river sailing on the Columbia this summer if we can make the time to do the minor repairs/maintenance. We want to do some practice runs out to the sea buoy and back too if we can.
        Next spring we’ll haul out to take care of the bottom and any final little things. Then we head north to San Juan Island and then Vancouver. We may break those trips up with some stops along the Washington coast. I have a notepad with all the possible stops and even before we get to South America it is a pretty long wish list! ^_^

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We are also due for a haul out and bottom painting! We’re looking at a refit but our wish list might have a few too many things on it to do everything at once.
        How far is your sea buoy?
        River sailing is great, but if the river isn’t very wide you’re tacking every five minutes. We loved sailing in the Chesapeake Bay because of the long runs without tacking.

        Please keep us updated when you get down to S America. It’s on our list, but first we will tackle the east coast and Caribbean.
        Fair winds to you!

        Liked by 1 person

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