We Get Hustled & What Living on A Sailboat Is Really Like

Living on a sailboat is a mixed bag of adventures and we never really know what each day might bring.  These few days were no different.

We arrive at what is sure to be the future set of a blockbuster film.  A picture-perfect island with sandy beaches, dramatic rock coves and clear turquoise waters.  All is right in the world and everyone is in paradise…but wait, as nightfall approaches a mysterious gang of men appear alongside our boat.

Then, it’s our last sail with Justin, Dale and Dan on board…so naturally we want to find out what it’s really been like for them living aboard our sailboat Curiosity.

And finally, we arrive at our next destination, Portobelo.  But, we can’t let you go thinking sailing life is all dolphins and seahorses…even though some days are.

After these few days of cruising I feel like there is so much to touch on, so I am just going to dive right into it.

The Scoop On Escudo de Veraguas

There’s not much info to be found on this little island.  It’s by far the most beautiful island we’ve seen in Panama and I can’t believe there isn’t a steady stream of tourist boats coming and going.

most beautiful island in panama

Up until 1995 the island wasn’t inhabited.  Which might explain why it’s so pristine (us humans can sometimes leave a nasty footprint).  Slowly, the nearby natives moved in and now its said to have about 120 residents, mostly made up of fishermen and their families.

It was the sailors who raved about this island in Bocas that convinced us to make the stop, and we’re sooo glad they did.  Even with our crazy encounter, this is still our favorite island so far.

snorkeling in panama

Escudo de Veraguas

We Got Hustled

Traveling to another country always presents unfamiliar challenges.  From our experience, most formalities in Panama are disorganized.  There is a general lack of structure that makes any dealings with officials feel like a game of chance.  Paperwork required, fees and rules are all subject to change depending on who we’re talking to.  Then there’s cultural differences and bureaucracy between the general Panamanians and the natives.  No matter what, we are a guest in their country and do our best to play by their rules.

travel to foreign country

From the moment we arrived, we had local boats coming by to sell us fish or lobster.  Which is totally fine, we didn’t need any seafood but bought some anyway.  It’s a way for us to interact, be friendly and help support the local economy.  We even had one guy ask for money to protect the turtles, but we politely declined and told him we made a donation to the turtle sanctuary in Bocas Town.

But, coming back to Curiosity, with two boats lurking around as the sun was setting, didn’t give us the warm and fuzzies.  We were all silent and there wasn’t a conversation about what we could clearly see ahead.   Everyone was on high alert and our lighthearted smiles turned into blank, emotionless expressions.

Luckily all they wanted was some money for what they claimed was a commission for the protection of the natural area?  We’re still in the learning phase with our Spanish but their requests didn’t make any sense to us.  It’s not anything official with the government, Escudo is not a recognized marine park, and that much we knew as they were asking for donations.

These guys had plenty of chances throughout our stay to approach us during the day.  But, they choose to come in the evening, and as a group.  It set the scene and they knew it.

safety and security on sailboat

They could be considered locals who feel they deserved a fee, modern day pirates, unofficial officials or whatever.  We’ve gone around in circles about what exactly that whole experience was, and if we could have handled it any differently.  We tried to kindly but firmly say no…but they weren’t going away.  In the end, we decided it was best to pay them a negotiated fee and not mistakenly escalate the situation, or give them reason to come back.

The Big Takeaway – Maybe we were hustled for a little cash.  That happens every day in cities around the world. Exploration comes with unsavory encounters.  One moment can be filled with glorious discoveries and the next can be a harsh reality.  It’s all part of seeing and experiencing the world the way it is, not through rose colored glasses.  We will witness hustling, bribing of officials, pirates and injustices.  There will also be random acts of kindness, friendships forged, beauty seen, and knowledge gained.  It’s all part of the adventure we call life.


What Would You Do

Okay, I know I may be opening a can of worms here, but this is a good topic for discussion. We would love to know your thoughts and experiences.  Cruisers being hustled for money by the locals seems to be a somewhat common occurrence here, and I am sure in many other parts of the world. How would you have chosen to handle the situation?  Have you ever been in a similar confrontation?  What did you do?  Leave us a comment down below.

What It’s Really Like Living On A Sailboat

I always love hearing everyone’s perspective on this subject.  New and old salts alike, everyone has challenges when it comes to living on a boat.  Dale, Justin and Dan all hit on some of the most common points.

  • Heads/Toilets are different and take some time to get used to.  Traditional marine heads break or get clogged often and become the bain of some sailor’s lives.  For us, we have a unique, far less frustrating setup with our composting toilets in each guest cabin.  Justin was referencing how quickly the urine tank fills up and needs to be emptied.  His struggle was real.  The urine tank with two thirsty Canadians needs to be emptied about every 3 days.  It’s a simple and easy task but alas, one more thing to do and one that isn’t required in a typical home.
  • Cooking in a small confined space is something that doesn’t faze me anymore. But space isn’t the only challenge.  Getting groceries in remote places isn’t like big supermarket shopping.  You can’t plan a meal and then go to the store.  It works the other way around.  You go to the market, see what they have and get creative.  Then, on top of that, will the produce last in the tropical heat?  It was eye opening and reminded me of how frustrating it can be for tiny kitchen newbies.  It gave me a renewed dedication to sharing more cooking tips and ideas (perhaps a “Things on Thursday” video?).
  • Schedules are impossible.  Our lives, while incredibly free, are completely at the mercy of nature and the state of the boat.  It’s something that you simply can’t fully appreciate unless you’ve spent extended time traveling on a sailboat.  The wind could change, the weather can turn and something on the boat will break.  Plan for delays, and then plan for more delays.
  • Everything takes longer on a boat.  A task you think should only take an hour will take two…or quite possibly a whole freaking week.  The simplest thing, like going to the grocery store, can be an all-day adventure.  As for boat work, we all joke it’s not done right until you have re-done it at least twice.

Sharing Our Sailboat

First, there is a huge difference between having traditional paid crew on a super yacht, paying guests on charter, and what we’ve offered up.  We’re inviting people to live with us for a short period of time.  In the cruising world, “crew” is the common term for people on a boat.  Plus, we’ve always referred to our friends as our “crew”.  So, it just fits.

For us, this whole idea of sharing our space is about sharing in the adventure. You can see the full scoop on the crew call here:

We’ve been living a nomadic lifestyle for almost eight years now (shesh time flies).  So, we’re fairly broken in when it comes to many aspects of the traveling lifestyle.  But we’re not used to having people live with us.  Much less in such a unique space that requires a lot of love and care.  Naturally, we’ve learned a lot about being hosts and we still have a lot to learn, but overall it was an excellent first experience.

I’ll eventually put all my thoughts together on the subject, but for now I wanted to share my biggest lesson learned.  Which is all about Check Lists and Schedules. I figured everyone is a responsible adult and I didn’t want to seem like a dictator, so I was being way to casual about everything in the beginning. That wasn’t helpful because then nobody knew what to do or when.  This is a dramatically different way of living and everyone likes to have clear expectations of what needs to happen in a day. The more information we include, the easier it is for everyone.

Now, I have an email I send before someone arrives, a suggested packing list, a boat orientation checklist I go through when they arrive and a calendar with cooking and cleaning duties divided on a calendar.  On that same calendar we also write out the tentative schedule for travel, provision runs, possible adventures, our personal computer work days/times and boat tasks that need to be done before the next destination.  That way everyone knows what’s going on and can plan beach time or individual adventures while we are working.  Plus, everyone has personal needs and family back home.  If they need to plan something or to be online at a specific time, its easy to make note of that on the calendar too.


Sailing Report

To see our full map with interactive pins, click here:

Panama sailing map

  • Dates: 9/25 – 9/27
  • Nautical Miles Sailed: 102.5 from Escudo to Portobelo
  • Anchorage:  Escudo has lots of good sandy bottom to choose from.  We had calm weather so I can’t say what it would be like in a blow.
  • Cell & WiFi:  There is no cell phone reception and no services.  We used our Iridium Go / PredictWind Offshore App for weather updates and communication:


Sailing Specific Gear

Snorkel Gear

Underwater Cameras





Cameras Used to Capture This Video

Full Review Of All Our Camera Gear:


Thank You!

Thank you for being a part of our journey!  We’re able to share these adventures because of viewers like you. If you like what you see, check out our Say Thanks page to learn about different ways you can help keep the videos and posts flowing. You’ll notice most ways don’t cost you a penny but make a big difference to us.  Thank You!


Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (74)

  • Donald Thomas

    I too enjoy your great vids, above and below the waves! You handled it well in my opinion too.
    I wonder if some “SERIOUS” spotlighting which you only use when you feel threatened, could be a big help. Perhaps bigger, even fake cameras could add to the effect, and perhaps some pre-recorded audio in a booming “authoritative” voice demanding NO APPROACH in various languages. Just a thought, but even without the extras, a step up in visibility would make their approach more daunting and could help authorities to curb this activity.

  • David

    Watch out in Portobello I had my inflatable dingy and its 15hp 4 stroke motor stolen at night even though it was fastened by a wire to my boat. There were a lot of dingys stolen for there motors.

  • Matt

    I have recently been watching your channel and only realized the other day that you are the same couple who drove you rv through the backwoods of Alaska. At least that’s the episode I caught. One question, since you have now both rv’ed and been sailing… which do you like better. Cost vs. things you have enjoyed? I also have three kids so that plays a factor. I want to wanderlust but convincing my family is a little complicated

    • Curious Minion

      They get asked this a lot and their answer is: “we like them both!” They are happy sailing at the moment but have said that they’ll be RVing again some day. Nikki has also said that sailing is definitely harder but is also more rewarding in some ways. Hope that helps!
      Curious Minion

  • I don’t usually comment, but I come from a different country where private gun ownership is extremely rare unless you live on a farm, and would like to offer an alternative point of view to some of the comments made earlier.
    International sailing with weapons onboard can get you into a lot of trouble in some ports.
    Using them can lead to being held, either in custody or in port, for months while the local legal system sorts everything out to their satisfaction.
    In this case, the ‘visitors’ were already at their boat when they came back, so a firearm on the boat would not have helped them sitting in their dinghy.
    I think they handled the situation as best as could be expected. They got back onboard, they managed to negotiate and they got the incident on video. Nobody was hurt, the boat wasn’t damaged, and they got a receipt!

    My only suggestion would be that whenever you leave your boat at anchor, it doesn’t hurt to “wave goodbye to the boat” as you leave in the dinghy. I’m sure Singa and Cleo would appreciate it, and if by remote chance anyone is watching, they’ll think you left someone aboard rather than left the boat unattended.
    Thank you for your willingness to spend the time sharing your adventures with us. Much appreciated.

  • Bill B.

    When will you update us on the Relion Lithium battery issue discussed beginning at 22:57 in this video?

  • Michael

    We are all just citizens of the world, under God’s watchful eye. I know that prayerful and friendly always saves the day.

    Explaining the cost of living in different societies will help people understand how much things cost for some people. How much hard work got one to where one is can also be eye-opening to others.

    At the end of the day, we can only be friendly and open to others, and if they make demands of us, it is time to move on (and warn others). They have to answer for their actions one day. I’d rather know that I was not the bully.

  • Deborah Kerr

    Many great pictures on this dive! About your “stranger danger” encounter, you all did the right thing. You let them know you weren’t pushovers by questioning & getting a receipt (lol – I just love that) but kept the peace by paying. Alot of times, there’s no hard & true solution, you just have to go with your gut instincts at that moment! Keep up the great work & great attitudes ??☀️?

  • Lee W

    Ever watch Captain Ron? There are different types of pirates. Also drug dealers. Hope you are safe. No video in a long time.
    Many expats in Panama. Maybe you can meet them and they can help you navigate the local rules and laws.
    How is the new laptop? Stay safe and best wishes always.

  • Edward Rentka

    I’d buy movie money and keep some one you and on the boat, this is perfectly legal to possess as long as you don’t try spending it legally. But if confronted by anyone wanting your cash just give them this and they should leave believing they got what they wanted. Here is a link to the twenty dollar bills .

  • Gary

    I believe you played it as best as you could as you are still all alive (I’m sure you are familiar with the movie in which Tom Hanks played Captain Phillips in which he portraited a real life encounter with pirates.) Not to over dramatize, but greed is greed and evil is evil. I think you did good! I would personally try recording suspect encounters (candidly of course, with close-ups identifying shots and global positioning info) and at some point in time (after I was clear of the area) make sure that every possible agency receive cc’d copies of the files. Also, there must be some type of marine channel capable of receiving possible SOS situations. It is absolutely wonderful that your travels have been so rewarding and it is unfortunate that you need be so very leary when it comes to uncomfortable situations where you are completely isolated in unfamiliar territory with unfamiliar persons. Although traveling in groups I’m sure is not as ideal as being alone, strength in numbers was my first thought after viewing your video. Thanks for sharing and BE SAFE!

  • David H

    Well, I’m no open seas sailor but an off the wall thought… I wonder if a drone that had a spotlight a/o even a small flashing light might possibly be offputting/technically intimidating to the types you ran into…If they weren’t drone-savvy it could put the thought into their head that they’re somehow being monitored. Or, maybe something like that could be a difference-maker in their deciding not to return to up the ante. They sure looked like an embodiment of the saying ‘more is never enough’…

    Also, when I lived in the SF Bay area Latitude38 was the most savvy group of sailing folk I was aware of, might be a good resource for you. Cheers and be well!

  • I’m in touch with a well-connected organization of expats there in Panama regarding your experience with the corrupt locals in Escudo. You got some excellent video of their boat and their faces. It won’t be long before they are identified and visited by the Panamanian authorities. Too late to help you (and you did the right thing by avoiding serious confrontation), but you can be happy to know they will not get away with it.

  • Roger B

    WOW! I tensed up with the scammers wanting money to leave peacefully. You obviously used your mind to ease your situation. Good job. I always love the drone videos. I can hardly wait for the Canal passage to show up.

  • Amy Chris

    Love your adventures and glad you are safe. I’ve often wondered about the gun situation. Having one in any kind of remote location is precarious. What if they have more than you?? A risk. But might be something to keep thinking about. Just a note as I’m a teacher by training. I’m seeing this across the globe, even in television ads etc. and it is hitting my editing/ocd nerve on grammar. At the end of sentences with punctuation and quotes, no matter what, the period, exclamation, question mark, coma goes inside the end quote.
    Example of wrong way : “Phrases phrases words”.
    Example of right way: “Phrases phrases words.” Anyways, hope that helps to clarify. Enjoy your adventures. I know we all are vicariously. Cheers.

  • Gene Robinson

    Carry a big gun along with a high capacity assault rifle. And the next time, tell them you can do all the protection this boat requires.

  • James Dillon

    Guys and Gals, Once again your drone footage was awesome! Your ongoing professional journey for story telling is top drawer. BTW, you were NOT hustled! Don’t be so friggin naïve. You were targeted ! Pay the price of admission and carry on with your journey. These dudes were not playing tag. You made the right decision and just carry on with the journey. Remember this lesson for future confrontation’s. Farewell to my Canadian friends, wishing you much success and safe travels. Jason, keep up your superlative attitude for adventure. It is truly infectious. BTW Nikki, there was an commercial for an amazingly gorgeous woman exiting an elevator for an energy bar in a commercial in Canada!! Could that be you?? Keep up the great work folks and travel safe and well. You are loved!! Jamie

  • Skip Smith

    Hi guys, glad you made it through the encounter with the local hustlers. I am wondering why if the 2 of you are travelling around the world and this time of total uncertainty and just pure meanness, why don’t you have at least 1 or 2 shotguns on board. That is incentive enough to drive off many types of hustlers.
    Please be safe I enjoy your escapades and freeness!

  • Rick Spear

    I always enjoy your experiences and thoughts on such a lifestyle. It was interesting seeing the interviews and perspectives. One comment about the “hustling”, obviously it is something that could get out of hand…but you are leading an exceptionally blessed life, the ability to help the locals that have so little chance of actual income is a small price to pay for the time in their area. It is such a small price to pay, regardless of the circumstances.

  • Bummer about the hustling but I feel like y’all handled it the best and probably only (truly safe) way. Glad it worked out even though I’m sure it was a tough-ish pill to swallow. We would’ve done the same!

    For what it’s worth, y’all mentioned enjoying the feeling of paying it forward and teaching someone else some of your skills…and we feel like you did that with us when you invited us on our first lil spearfishing experience! I might not have ever tried it (or it would’ve taken a really long time to convince me to) had it not been for y’all, so there, you pay it forward on the reg and I’m grateful to you for it.

    Happy to hear all the awesome experiences D&J have had with y’all! And that they’ll continue on with boat life in the future.

    Big hugs to all of you from all of us! <3

    PS: that lightning on your overnight sail made me want to vomit just watching the video. I have no idea how to get over this newfound fear…

  • Bummer about the hustling but I feel like y’all handled it the best and probably only (truly safe) way. Glad it worked out even though I’m sure it was a tough-ish pill to swallow. We would’ve done the same!

    For what it’s worth, y’all mentioned enjoying the feeling of paying it forward and teaching someone else some of your skills…and we feel like you did that with us when you invited us on our first lil spearfishing experience! I might not have ever tried it (or it would’ve taken a really long time to convince me to) had it not been for y’all, so there, you pay it forward on the reg and I’m grateful to you for it.

    Happy to hear all the awesome experiences D&J have had with y’all! And that they’ll continue on with boat life in the future.

    Big hugs to all of you from all of us! <3

    PS: that lightning on your overnight sail made me want to vomit. I have no idea how to get over this newfound fear…

  • Robert Hendry

    I am sure you are aware of but maybe some travellers are not. It’s a great site regarding security in many parts of the world, they also appreciate updates and information on any problem areas or incedents. Be careful out there.
    All the best’ enjoy your travels

  • Guys, loved the video, sharing everything. I confess I would enjoy night watch, lots of coffee or hot tea to go along, with the watch. I like the night effort, taking care of watch duties, while the rest of the crew rests. Very peaceful.

    Also, I have been emailing links to your website to overseas friends who aren’t necessarily fluent in English.

    Suggest you can greatly increase your audience with a “Google Translate” button at the top of each page.

    I use it on my own website, and seems to be very effective for the international audience to read about our services in their native language. Just a thought to help you! Be safe, I am working on my “Bail out of corporate America plan, 2018!”

  • Thank you so much for sharing your life with us flatlanders! Your adventures are beyond admirable. Believe it or not, there are many on this planet that wish you peace, happiness and safe travels!??

  • Ellen L Ringsrud-Matthewson

    I love following your travels. I am getting to see things and learn things that I wouldn’t otherwise. Happy sailing and all my best for the holiday season.

  • Great video, Thanks. Cool cast and cool cats. About 2/3rds of the way through the video the picture quality got fuzzy. Not by much but, just not used to that. Your videos are all so crisp and clear.
    2 questions: In this video there was lightning.You never seem worried about getting hit by lightning! Is there a way to avoid lightning on the water? Also, in this video you had those 4 people in the boat and I think there was a second boat as well asking for money. Are you ever concerned about pirates or the like? Thanks.

      • Alan Solomon

        Your right. There are risks around every corner. Lightning risks and other risks. It just comes with the territory. Your answer is great. It reminds me to not worry. Period. Thanks.
        I did not know that Dale and Jason were leaving at your next anchor or port. They have been with you a long time. Maybe a third of the way around the world!! Take care Jason and Dale. Good luck.

        • Alan Solomon

          Sorry. I meant Dale and Justin not Jason. And Dan is leaving too. That was to short a trip for you Dan.



  • Watching the “night visitors” sequence, we noticed that you missed when the leader said, “normally the charge is $10 person, but because there are five of you, it will be just $20.” Of we’ll 🙁 Otherwise, Jason’s Spanish and pronunciation is coming along nicely.

    We look forward to your videos and anxiously await word on when or if you’ll be making a crossing to the Marquesas? Be safe.

  • Walt Spieker

    I don’t have time to watch all of your videos, but I like your upbeat and positive smiles and you always look happy. I love that about you. I wish I could do the same. Alas, I have no partner to look good in a bikini. Nobody would want to see me, (including me). I hope to go to sea someday, but I know it is too late for me.

  • Phil Schneider

    I see I made a mistake in my comment. How do I edit my comment? I’d don’t want to look too stupid!

  • Phil Schneider

    After RVing for 45 years, we just hung up the keys. Just tired of maintenance and fixing stuff. Our last coach was a 40′ diesel (14 years). I had eight filters to change and 27 quarts of transmission fluid and also 27 quarts of oil. The maintenance and fixing never ended. I know what you are going through. My wife and I started your life style when we were only 24. Never regretted one minute! You’re young and it is all a big adventure. My wife and I started your life style when we were only 24. We never regretted one minute! Love your videos and look forward to Sundays. Keep having fun.

  • Deb.Y.

    I’d like to know about life on a sailing vessel, I am hoping to get my boat when I retire so am currently saving and learning to sail on my own ,any advice is gratefully appreciated! !!?

  • Jose Raul

    Well, I’ve done some Sailing in the Caribbean mostly. The only “sketchy ” place that presented “obstacles” was “La Republica Dominicana”….then again this was back in the Nineties. **You handled the situation in a great way. I would have made them feel welcome and would have taken Group Pictures. Then Alert the Local Authorities of the “on going Scam”, with the face of the “Perps” in the photos. Future Sailors would be greatful of that.!!

  • Rick

    I have been sailing forever I refuse to pay. Stay armed stand your ground you will be surprised at how they back away. It’s the Open Sea mate Only the Strong Survive.

  • Whats $10 per person. Yes it was a shady way to do business but you are in Paradise and why have a confrontation with these people!

  • Chris Anderson

    I lived in Panama for 4 years, 1996-1999. I loved the country and the people for the most part. I felt safe most of the time but learned quickly that I had to be on the watch in certain places and at certain times. I was pulled over several times in Panama for speeding when I was not spending and each time the officer asked for money. I refused each time until the last time which was the day I was departing the country. The officer would not back down so I paid him $50. Additionally, I was mugged with my wife and some friends hiking in a jungle park near Colon. I should have known better since we were the only hikers (beside the mugger) on the trail. But, more often than not, I remember my great adventures surfing, scuba diving, traveling to the Darien region, and much more. I traveled and lived extensively throughout South and Central America and had some other not so pleasant experiences but many more great experiences. I became fluent in Spanish and learned how to mitigate threats, mainly by avoiding threatening areas and situations. I love to follow your adventures and I think your outlook is great. I think as we all travel we want to believe all host people are friendly. But, we have to realize some are not. Some tourists traveling to the US experience our not so good people. But, the bottom line is we can’t give up on the adventure. We know most people are good but we have to be realistic and vigilant for the few bad people that could hurt us. Keep up your adventure and be safe (and cautious).

  • Mack Nine

    Whew! It could have been so much worse. We pray for your safety often and will continue. You handled the situation well and live to tell the tale. Peace be with you. We lived in the Caribbean and Central America for 22 years (on land). Loved the country folks much more than the hustlers and city life.

  • Mike

    Hey Wynn’s! Truly enjoy your adventures, thanks for sharing and doing what you do. Sorry to hear about your encounter. I watch the other popular sailing vids on YouTube and have often thought about what you sailors do about personal safety in different countries against pirates and thieves. Also, putting your life out there online can attract stalkers and crazies. Certainly you are protecting yourself with more than a speargun?

    It certainly begs to question, do you have a plan or a drill in place for self protection? I would not want to be caught off guard in the situation you described. Any threatening encounter where you “negotiate” what you are willing to give up could mean they might see you as an easy target and come back later that night for more. Then nobody sleeps well that night.

    Are you allowed to have a gun when sailing different countries? What are the laws?

  • Mike

    Let’s face it. If you travel a lot you’re gonna get hustled sometime. Whether it’s at at sea by some locals, or in the big city by a cab driver. I think you guys did the right thing. Nobody got hurt and you’re good to travel another day. I did have to laugh though when you said you got a receipt. A hustler with a conscience perhaps……lol.
    Keep up the great videos. The underwater footage is great. Perhaps you should do an ongoing narration explaining what you’re seeing like Jacque Cousteau ?
    I look forward to the next video.

    Have fun and stay safe

    • Dave Sprinkle

      Lived and cruised on sailboats for 26 years…raised our son on it…many times had to pay “mordita” to avoid confrontations while traveling…hard to avoid…learned to live with it and no serious incidents

  • jim

    Have followed you two from day one (RV buying days). Thru all your blogs on your sailing life style, I never thought it was so involved. The constant system repairs, upgrades and dealing with logistical issues would cause the average couple to think twice about a future as water vagabonds. But you two are different in being able to go with the flow and learn on the fly.

  • Glenn

    Choose your battles….You were outnumbered and there could have been more… their territory…..darkness setting in …….very helpful you were able to communicate and negotiate at some level, which lowered their dominance over your crew…..refusing to pay anything would have made their leader lose face….in a way they were disarmed……it could have gone bad really bad… money or loss of ego would be worth refusal….a good lesson learned is one you can walk away from with all crew safe……well done

  • Wendi Bloedorn

    I totally agree that you handled the “evening visitors” in the proper way. They were there as a group in the evening to make you feel exactly as you did, uncomfortable and uncertain, with the intent of getting money from you. At the end of the day safety and security is the most important factor in traveling abroad. We all try to downplay ourselves as tourists and keep it simple when in another country, but unfortunately your sailing vessel (as well others) is a shiny lure, attracting some who may take advantage as you experienced. We all pay the price of admission many times in our life and you couldn’t have chosen a more beautiful spot! ??

  • Capt. John Smith

    I am a 49 year old solo sailer that left San Diego last June 2017 and am now in the Northern Sea of Cortez. I have dreamed of sailing the world for 10 years and plan to go further in another 2 years as I wait for my son to graduate and go with me. My route plans have changed to avoid many places and my dreams are changing. Now I feel I am being hustled every time I have to interact with the local Mexicans and the coastal people of 3rd world countries have built a business of taking advantage of cruisers. Even the marinas are charging prices higher than the most expensive state in the most expensive country (California). With nightly slip charges of $135, diesel at almost $6 a gallon and a quote to hull out and do a bottom job of $9,000 has made me realize I can not afford to travel in Mexico. They need tourism to bring in money but they are chasing people away with their greed. People use to vacation in Mexico for the great prices but now it is too expensive and the daily cartel violence is driving their tourism away. There is also the fear of being robbed as I was put in a bad situation in Turtle Bay on the Pacific side of Baja California Mexico. They know they are the only place to get diesel and they now only have a 50 gallon drum they pump out of on a small boat. I only have a 40 gallon tank and was 1/4th full when I told them to fill it up. When they were done they said they filled 50 gallons into my boat (this was all in liters but I am converting). I was shocked and tried to explain it was impossible since I could only take another 30 gallons. Then they said I owed them $320 dollars. I felt sick to my stomach when I realized they were going to hustle me. I firmly told them that it was impossible to owe this much. This was all in broken Spanish as they said they spoke no English but when I said I have never paid over $100 in California to fill the tank his English came out quite clear and said, “You are in Mexico now and you have a problem.” They tied their boat to mine and called more boats to come and surround me. I felt I was completely robbed when I gave them the $320 dollars and had no other choice. I have been telling everyone what happened so others will not be robbed. My solution in the future is to carry 6 gallon Jerry Cans and only fill them to prove how much I received. Also you have to get in writing the total price before they fill the cans. It is such a shame that the world is this way and people can not be trusted. I am nervous to cruise the world and not stay on the “beaten path”. I will try to stay to a course that avoids less traveled areas.

  • Rich Q

    Another amazing video; incredible photography.
    The Hustle:
    Here’s my take. First, everyone hates to be a victim. But how do you know what’s legit or not? An official on that island may or may not have a uniform or even credentials. Are you prepared to resist by force? And if you do resist by force; and are successful; will local authorities back you or arrest you? How far could you get if you tried to run?
    I think you handled the situation extremely well, under the circumstances. I would be interested in hearing if you were threatened in any manner, other than the time of day and the number and size of “officials” present. And how much did they demand?

  • Ward

    Scary. Glad you guys made it through safely. I think by definition you responded correctly because you got through the experience to tell the tale. So whatever choices you made were the correct ones. Still, it must have put quite a damper on your time there.
    Totally separate question I’ve been wondering about through many videos now. What is the water pouring out a hole in the side of the boat?

    • Curious Minion

      The engine is water cooled. The bilge pump also pumps water out of the side.

  • Mike

    I have been following you folks for several years, you are always an inspiration. Our plan is just the RV boondocking, not the sailboat, just don’t have that urge. Have you found that having to rely on the provisions on board rather than being able to run down to the local grocery store has impacted food planning, menus, and portions? You both look a little bit thinner than in the RV days, (but you look great). Do you think stretching the supplies is the reason or just all the physical activities?

    Also, Jason you don’t get nearly enough compliments on the photography and editing. Awesome job. The framing, composition, color balance, and lighting are really top notch, especially on the still images. You have really got it.


    Great video. Looks like excellent area to snorkel.

    To comment on the ‘gifting’ situation I think you will smile when you look back on this in a few years. It is part of your ongoing curious/educational lifestyle and you did the right thing. I’m very glad that the locals showed up in ‘local watercraft’ and not a Metal Shark boat and that they had old oars not machine guns.

  • Rick Fee

    I think you made the wise decision. Resist a little then give in to get rid of them. Apparently, you were approached earlier and they sent the gang to later to make their point. They left happy and you left probably a little shaken but able to tell a good pirate story!! That’s a real adventure! Stay safe and wise. Keep rockin’, Rick and Yvonne

  • Bill

    Seems like problems with the sailboat are the same as problems with a motorhome–with the exception of getting “hustled”. Think I will stick to kayaking for the water adventures.
    I expect you guys to do a motorcycle adventure trip next—it is fun

    Be safe and enjoy the rest of your trip

  • Mike

    In the US Navy and the American Merchant Marine I have visited Japan three times and have never been hustled. I have been hustled in Mexico, the Philippines, Korea, Viet Nam, Hong Kong and the good old US of A many times. But not twice. The way I look at it, what it cost me in dollars, piasters, etc., was my tuition. It was up to me to learn from these encounters, hence my view that I was paying my tuition. I earned my graduate, post graduate and doctorate degrees in the analysis of the hustle during my ten year employment at San Quentin State Prison where I was a guard and a correctional sergeant. Final take. If you paid your money and you didn’t learn your lesson…..

  • Brian

    Another great video, thanks for sharing, looking forward to your trip through the Panama Canal. Why is everyone getting off? I would think they’d want to stay on for the trip through the canal? Love the shots from the drone. Happy and safe sailing.

  • First, I really liked the way you told your story – thoughtful, reflecting and non-judgmental. And I loooved the quotes you have chosen! I have just spent a few weeks in Guatemala and that made me experience a level of unsafty I wasn’t used to yet. About your question: Without knowing if it was the right thing to do, I would have reacted in the exact same way. If it’s possible I’d try to find out as much information as I can before travelling somewhere to have an idea what a good reaction can be and how serious the situation really is. Then again, I have witnessed an armed robbery in Guatemala with a woman being severely hurt – the first seems to be a sad standard, the second quite unlikely to happen. I would always choose my life over my belongings…

  • Tony Gotelli

    Given the circumstances you made the right decision. Unfortunately, for me I don’t do well with injustice and I don’t “cotton” well to liars and thieves. I had a similar situation in Mexico and ended up in a fracas with a local and three police but in the end I prevailed. Was it worth it in retrospect? My answer? Yes! To have given in would have damaged my inner spirit and that I don’t take kindly to Sometimes a show of force (and you can pick your poison here) will stand down people who want to bully. Sometimes it goes bad. That’s the chance you have to take and it is an individual decision.

  • Jeff D

    Do you not carry a gun? What kind of money are you talking about? I would say 20-40 dollars US would not be to bad before taking out protection, I watched Sailing Delos and they ran into Pirates also, even had someone stealing off there boat while they were sleeping at night, not very nice they did the right thing and took pictures then had help from the locals. I am not sure what I would do. It is very upsetting that they need to do this I would be upset like Nikki was… It would depend on the amount of money required to make them go away.
    I would think if it was just the 2 of you it could have been a lot worse.

  • Lucille

    Be careful out there. The world is a growing and very dangerous place we are finding out every day on the news.

    • Lucille

      I think they are criminal beggars.

  • Tom Long

    Okay ~ Now I am officially not as excited about this type of freewill travel. I would not know how to handle the confrontation, We currently own a trawler and are not retired yet, so it most likely is not in the cards for us anyway. I do have concerns for your safety, and I trust that you are being watched over.

    Thanks, as always for sharing.

  • George Hofmann

    As Mr Spock would say; Fascinating

  • Had similar experience with locals demanding money in 2015. The reason they approached us just before dark is so we had less chance of leaving with the dangers of trying to find another anchorage at night. After refusing to pay for hours, they returned with additional people, boarded, and demanded payment. Producing our documents and cruising permit was useless since they said the govt does not share any fees collected with the local indigenous people.
    Panama was the worst in this regard across the south Pacific. Though gifts and fees were requested everywhere.
    Out strategy morphed to gifting- readers, flip flops, toys like frisbees, small balls, etc, and once anchored approaching the village and chief with an offer to trade for fruits and vegetables before random boats approached us. Taking any fruit before asking brings big problems. Overall experiences were excellent this is just one of the cultural issues cruisers face.

  • Travy

    Amazing video once again! I love how you push yourself out of your comfort zones to make your dreams your reality. You guys have been an inspiration to me and have helped me to do the same!!

  • James

    I would be prepared to “donate” to the local people. In addition to $$ also gifts that would not offend. I would also report the event to the local authorities, not as a complaint, but just because of the way it made you feel.


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