lightning scares on a sailboat

Lightning Scares and Flying Squid! – Sailing to Ecuador

Out to sea we blow!  We’re sailing from Panama to Ecuador and have over 675 nautical miles ahead of us.  That’s at least a five-day passage and while we’ve done our best to prepare our vessel and download the latest weather files…there is nothing predictable about life at sea.

Grab your foulie gear and join us for our first four days of sailing in the Pacific Ocean.  Storms, lightning scares, flying squid and spoiler alert; a serious cliff hanger at the end.

I know what you’re thinking, how could we leave you hangin’ like that!?!  Well, it wouldn’t be a cliff hanger if we hashed it out now…you’ll just have to wait until next week.  But don’t worry, everything works out fine.

beautiful sunset at sea

What the Billfish?

Can you believe we almost caught a billfish!  I said sailfish in the video but, honestly it could have been another type of billfish.  It was too fast and too far away to tell.  If your one of our sport fishing friends you’re probably super bummed we lost it.  Jason had no desire to tango with that fish at that moment so he wasn’t too sad.  He was still wiping the crust from his sleeping eyes.  Maybe we’ll catch another on the way to French Polynesia?  Not that we’ll eat it, but it would be neat to catch and release one!

For those curious, we did swap our fishing line and that should stop us from losing another lure.  Not only do I hate the idea of more junk floating in the ocean, I don’t like throwing away money either.  Luckily, our Irish friends sent us a huge spool before we took off from Florida (thanks Roger and Ross).  Plus, I recently learned how to make recycled lures…but more on that later.

Life At Sea

Other than some close calls with the lightning (always nerve wracking) our first few days at sea were fantastic.  I know it’s not for everyone, but I love being out here!  We disconnect from the digital world, reconnect with ourselves and nature.  Waking up to new creatures on the deck. Making my favorite meals. And listening to audio books while the bioluminescence sparkle in the sea, mimicking the stars above.  I’ve never been more present and in-tune than I am while sailing.  And the kitties like it too!

creatures on a sailboat

flying squid on a sailboat

two cats sailing around the world with their humans.

sailing with cats

Three On Six Off – Watch Schedule for a Trio

As I mentioned in the video we’re all being lazy with these calm seas and drizzly days.  With Kate on board we decided to do rotating 3-hour watches. Because she’s an experienced salty sailor we completely trusted her.  What that meant for each of us is up to 6 lovely hours in between watches…as long as we didn’t hook a fish, have to make a sail change or get hit up by sea scoundrels!

Plus, having another sailor aboard is cool, but getting to sail with a friend is unforgettable!

scrubbing our hulls

Sea what a good friend I am, offering up bottom support!  Scrub Kate, scrub!

Cooking at Sea

It always blows my mind how choppy the seas can be and yet, pots and pans don’t take flight.  Ok, not yet anyway.  We’ll see what I have to say if we ever encounter 20+ foot seas.  Of course, I did my little non-slip trick to keep plates and glasses in place but not the pots and pans.  Between the stability of a catamaran, the galley up (not down in a hull) and the snug u-shape galley,I am rarely intimidated to whip up a feast.

I am an experimental improv chef.  I buy what’s affordable, local and on sale.  Which means my ingredients are always changing and so are my recipes.   With that in mind, here is my ever-changing but always a crowd pleaser veggie chili.  Sometimes I will add additional veggies like corn, bell peppers, carrots or even broccoli.  All depends on my mood. I believe you should always feel free to play with your food.

Sea Salted Veggie Chili


  • Salt – Salt brings out flavors and should always be used during cooking.  Same goes for butter but everything in moderation of course.  I don’t have a set amount because I salt my ingredients as I cook.  So, it’s always to my taste and not measured out.  I have been known to rub my hands along the lifeline and then dust them off in the pot. ?
  • 2 cups dried beans soaked, rinsed and ready to cook (black, pinto or a combo)
  • 2 dried chilies (ancho, chipotle…whatever I can get my hands on locally)
  • 3 teaspoons of fresh or dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons of dried cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • Secret Ingredient Alert!  These two things combined create cooking science magic and can be used in many vegetarian/vegan recipes!
  • 1 cup of dried shiitake mushrooms (I stock up on these when I can: )
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts (the recipe will work without them, it’s a world of difference with them)
  • 1 – 28 ounces of can diced tomatoes, drained with juice set aside
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste (I rarely have paste but salsa, BBQ sauce or ketchup work great as a substitute)
  • 6-8 garlic cloves chopped finely
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil (any medium to high heat veggie oil works)
  • 2 pounds onions chopped
  • 6 cups of water


My secret to good veggie chili is flavorful beans.  Which doesn’t require a pressure cooker, but it sure makes the whole process faster and easier.

Don’t have a pressure cooker?  Get one!  Until then…use all the same ingredients and either slow cook your beans first or use caned ones.  Simmer all the ingredients together for at least 20min.  It won’t be the same but still good.

  • In a skillet toast the dried chilies until they puff up.  Let them cool, then stem and seed the chilies.
  • Use a food processor if you have one,  (I have a ninja: ) to grind the toasted chilies, mushrooms and oregano.  It should resemble very course ground coffee that would be used for a French press.  Set aside.  Coarsely grind the walnuts (similar to the mushroom mixture). Set aside.
  • Ok, time for the wet stuff.  Process drained tomatoes, tomato paste, jalapeño, garlic and soy sauce in food processor until tomatoes are finely chopped.  Set aside.
  • Heat oil over medium-high heat, add onions and about a teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to brown. Lower heat to medium and stir in ground chili/mushroom mixture.  Next, add water, beans, dried cilantro, cumin, cinnamon and paprika.  Place on the pressure cooker lid and cook.  If you soaked the beans, cook for approximately 15 min.  If you did NOT soak the beans (I forget sometimes too) cook for 20-25 min.  We’re looking for the beans to tender.
  • Once beans are tender, stir in ground walnuts, tomato mixture, and reserved tomato juice. Cover pot and simmer 10 min.

My Fave Garnishes

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh spring onion
  • Diced jalapeno (or sometimes habanero or serrano)
  • Grated cheese
  • Plain greek yogurt like Fage (the full fat, not the “0” stuff) or sour cream

Sailing Report

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

sailing from panama to ecuador

  • Dates – January 16-19, 2018
  • Nautical Miles Sailed – 480  From Las Perlas to the latitude a few click north of Tumaco, Columbia.
  • Hours At Sea – 100.5

Gear Used In This Video

Thank You!

Sharing our lives and what we learn along the way is possible because of viewers like you. A big shout out to our Patreons! If you enjoyed this video and post or perhaps learned something new, check out our Say Thanks page. There are lots of ways you can help keep these videos and posts flowing. Best part is, most won’t cost you a penny but make a big difference to us. Thank You!

Curious About Kate

Kate is a salty sailor hailing from South Africa (we introduce her here).  She is joining us for some Ecuadorian adventures.  You can snoop around on Kate’s blog here:  and poke around on her Instagram account here:  and while you are there, give us a follow if you haven’t already:

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 (58)

  • Mary

    I just made the chili for lunch today. We are staying in an Airsteam in Iowa right now, and it’s snowing, so the chili hit the spot. Two thumbs up from us, and a good recipe for small kitchens.

  • This landlubber is making your chili right now for lunches this week, and I am not sure I see the jalapeno in the ingredients list even though it’s in the recipe. I’m just going to throw in a handful of these hot pickled jalapenos I have in my fridge – I’m sure it’s going to rock. Thanks for the awesome content (and vegan-friendly recipes!) I’m hanging off the edge of my seat for the next video.

  • mario

    We got little situation passing through nicaragua speed boat try catch us calling on the radio try to stop us but the captain of my ship he start turning so creating waves so that little speed boat have difficult try to get on board little scary ,but the captain of my ship thought they are pirates because he saw guns ,but start communicated in spanish but i talk to them the only thing the want is fuel and water the running out after the big drama sailors shooting water captain put the vessel full speed 20 knots cargo ship no to fast but big waves poor guys on the little boat good memories THANK YOU for the video i’M WAITNG FOR NEXT WEEK

  • Jerry

    More adventures of the “Pirates of the Colombia Coast’ are coming . . . Right?

  • Haha! I totally get the bumpy rides. Though I have never lived on a boat, I travel around the United States in an RV and man it does get bumpy on the road. That is cool that nothing moves around too much on the sail. Do you have to buckle anything down or do all things stay put? I really enjoy watching your videos! Can’t wait to see what is going to happen next!

  • Lynn

    When you said ‘fake’ tuna, what did you mean? Is the fish inedible?

    • Curious Minion

      They are edible but not very tasty!

  • Jason

    Wow! A legit cliffhanger. Can’t wait for the follow up episode. My 4 yr old daughterp absolutely loves watching your videos with me! “Dad, can we watch Nikki and Jason again?”

  • Regina Carmel

    Not funny: people worry! Bad enough to worry about lightning curling everyone’s hair but a boat coming right at you? In the middle of the ocean? Not funny!

  • Tammy Bjugson

    Love watching all your adventures from RVing to sailing. Thanks for sharing. Be safe and can’t wait for next weeks video.

  • SolarSail

    Here is one gadget that I think could revolutionize recreational diving. An electric snorkel. It won’t beat your diving equipment, but for tasks like cleaning the hull, making repairs underwater, or shallow dives, it seems it can do the job. What do you think Jason and Nikki? Can you evaluate this product? It seems to be in development stage?–3#/

  • SolarSail

    OMG — hope you are safe. It appears you are, or you would not post! SLV on their way to the Galapagos, half-way there, were approached by a small motor boat with four guys, at like 11 PM, asking for food. So R threw them some food while E hid herself somewhere in the boat. That must have been scary. I think you need to come up with some defense against pirates. I wonder if talking on the satellite phone would deter some pirates?

      • don

        I always wondered if you guys had weapons on board, and now I and everyone else knows that you don’t. Wrong part of the world to not be able to defend yourselves. You are your own law enforcement.

  • Roger B

    Great drone videos. Thump thump, thump thump. Can’t wait to see the drama unfold.

  • Mike

    Well you posted this video which means you still have your computer. That rules out pirates. I’m going to vote for a navy patrol boat from a larger vessel. My wife and I got a good laugh when we first saw the picture of the squid. It looked quite big sitting on the deck. Then we saw the picture of Nikki holding it…….lol.
    Keep making the great videos you two.
    Have fun and stay safe.

  • JB

    I hope that you are all okay. Didn’t like the ending of video, so unlike what you normally do.
    Hope you comment soon so that we know you are alright.

  • Doc olson

    Waiting for closure.

  • marc

    How long can you hold your breath under water now compared to a year ago!

  • Michael Beal

    I’ve wondered if you are concerned about pirates, looks like it is something you have thought about. I really like your videos AND I will be trying to make your veggie chili today. Thanks for sharing your adventure.

  • Jan

    Jason, get up there and save the day!

    Looking forward to trying your recipe – it looks great.

    You can eat Nutella if you want.

    Been following you for years and look forward to your post each week. Now I have to wait?! Yicks!

  • Tia

    no need to make a cliff hanger, I’ve been a follower for years, don’t need a cliff hanger to come back! I realized right away you must be ok as the video got posted! funny, as you were cooking I was thinking, “nikki needs to make a cookbook, I love all her meals” and then you say, “this recipe is included in the link” as if you’d read my mind! Have you ever thought of a cook book? instant best seller I’m sure!

  • Kevin

    That’s a great cliff hanger to leave us all with . You must be ok as you managed this blog I guess though . Just another cracking video as as most of us will say …alreasdy looking forward to the next one !

  • Bonjour à vous deux,
    merci pour la recette Chili végétarien. Nous sommes canadien français et nous préparons notre voyage en Alaska en traversant le canada d’est en ouest avec notre roulotte. Nous dévorons votre blog qui est une mine d’informations. ( )
    Thank you

  • Sally

    Love the new haircut, Jason. Looks great!

  • Paul

    For those worried about piracy, I haven’t found recent data but in the four years 2012 – 2015 there were around 350-400 cases per year worldwide. (source: Bergen Risk Solutions)
    That’s probably a lot less less than the average crime rate in most towns in the USA. (Take into account robbery, mugging, murder and other violent crimes)

    Please people, get a grip on reality.

  • Pam McClure

    Well *that* was abrupt! Can’t wait to see what happens. So glad to follow your journey. So many questions I have about logistics. You guys are fabulous.

  • The Browns

    That poor dude was lost and just needed directions! ( I hope)

  • Marsha

    Don’t you ever do that again! I kept seeing Captain Phillips in my head.

  • Alan Solomon

    After reading all the other emails, we are all concerned for you 3, the kitty’s and your livelihood.
    That is a tough ending for all of us watching. The one sentance at the top says everything works out fine but, that is not quite enough for such an abrupt ending!!

    Best Regards and Best Wishes,

  • Brian

    Oh NO, not another “Who shot J.R. ??
    Love following you guys.

  • Tracy H

    Hmmmm, sure looked like they were coming in fast. Scary. Nail biter on this one. Have to say, I just LOVE your kitties. Singa has a personality that is awesome. Cleo is such a sweet girl. It really looks like Kate and you two click and have a good working rhythm going. Take care, be safe, have fun and adventures.

  • Bill Martin

    My Mom would drop us all at the business paid for Saturday morning movies complete with the weekly episode of my favorite “Lash Larue”

  • Deborah Kerr

    Cool squid, beautiful sunset, lots of good food, fun times….keep smiling 🙂 I love your adventures!!

  • Jan

    Wait what???? Ahhhhh. Oh feel better after I read all is ok.
    Now get that darn part 2 vid out soon. Feed the cats the squid. I mean he offered himself up right?
    Stay safe.

  • I hope they are just pulling you over for speeding lol….that was scary – glad you are ok.
    Btw We just finished our Bluewater Sailing School course (101, 103, 104, 114) (we gave your names as it was your recommendation that brought us there :))
    We had a blast and are planning to take more in the fall. Thanks for being such a great resource xo Julie and Bill

  • Sam Walker

    Holy piracy on the high seas, Batman.

  • Steve and Jodi

    We love following you guys. Have been doing it since we watched you shopping for your first RV. We often think we would love to live your life and then we watched this episode… the whole time we are looking at each other saying “we couldn’t do this… we couldn’t do this..”. the cliff hanger was brutal. Next week is too long to find out if our online pretend friends are ok.

  • Richard Morholt Sr

    Half of the ingredients is sugar !
    That’s right, SUGAR!
    Check it out on YouTube. Lots of videos about it. Plus, read the label.

  • Jim Bolling

    OK, what a way to end this video. Reminds me of the cliff hanger short movies every Saturday morning during the 1950’s. Now we have to wait a week.

  • Chris

    That was one heck of a cliffhanger!!! Was it a pirate?!?!

  • John, Shawn, and Ava

    AHHH you guys can’t do that! We’ve been following you guys for years and the sudden “cut” with the heartbeat was just wrong! Can’t wait to see what really happened. First real cliffhanger in GWTW, uh, ever? I mean, lightning, flying squid, A SAIL FISH!!! (what would you guys have done if you’d landed it?) AND PIRATES?
    All I can say is it better end well or that video may end my chances of buying a bigger boat and making the same trip! You guys be safe, and great video!!!

  • Boyd Smith

    Looks like pirates!!

  • mary vancompernolle

    You can’t leave us hanging like this!!!

    I look forward to trying your bean recipe. I’m sure they turn out quite like yours!

    Love to you all. Be safe!


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