Back in the Saddle

Hey guys, it’s Toby. I know it’s been a while, but I’m going to try my hand at some bloggage again. In case you didn’t already know, we are now in a town called La Cruz. We actually just got here this morning after about two days of motoring/sailing down from our previous base of operations, Mazatlan. We knew that we were going to be heading out soon, we just didn’t know exactly when. The plan was to leave Mazatlan shortly after getting back from our trip to visit family and friends back in the states, but that didn’t quite work out. We got back to Mexico at the beginning of January, and we didn’t actually leave until two days ago, February 15th. After a very nice send off from some of our closer friends in Mazatlan, we motored out of the harbor, past the islands, and south towards our next destination. At that point we still weren’t sure exactly where that was going to be. There were a few options. Closest was the little town of San Blas. We knew a couple of people that had been there before and said that the “No see um’s” were really bad there. We decided that we would prefer to skip that if at all possible. Next after San Blas was a little spot called Metanchen Bay. After that was a town we had already stayed at when we drove back to Mazatlan from Puerto Vallarta called Chacala. Finally, the furthest option was La Cruz, which is basically the same as Puerto Vallarta. Both are in the same large Banderas Bay.

Saying farewell to some friends.

When we were looking at what would be the best time to leave, we purposely picked a couple of days that looked like they were going to have some good winds. Many of the other times we have gone on days where we knew that there wasn’t going to be very much wind, and ended up motoring the whole way because there wasn’t enough wind to sail in. This time we wanted to make sure that we would have enough wind. The morning that we left actually didn’t have much wind at all, but the morning hours are usually like that anyway. We motored until about three o’clock, then put up the main, mizzen, and jib as we felt the wind start to pick up a little. As the afternoon wore on, the wind increased gradually. Never so much that it got out of hand, just enough to get us sailing nicely. Also as the day progressed, the wind shifted from our starboard side to nearer the stern. For dinner we had some tasty stew that Mom had cooking for most of the afternoon in our wonderful thermal cooker. After dinner, we decided to shorten sail, as it was getting dark, and it’s always smart to have less sail up during the night. After downsizing to just our mainsail with two reefs in it, Dad and I headed to bed to get some rest before our watches started.

Heading out of the marina.

Dad was up by eight or nine-ish and steered until 12:00, which was when I took over. Both nights there was no moon at all, and the first night had no clouds at all either. Because of the absence of clouds and moon, the stars were way brighter and easier to see than they normally are. It’s amazing how many more stars you see when there aren’t other lights around to distract you. We sailed through the night, with the wind steadily getting lighter and lighter as the night wore on. By morning it was too light to continue sailing, so we fired up the engine and motored for a while. That morning we passed a little island by the name of Isla Isabella. We knew that we would have to decide where we were going to go about then, because if we were going to head to San Blas, we would have to start heading towards the land at that point. We decided on La Cruz at that point, because everything was going pretty well. We knew it would be another night before we would get to La Cruz, and it looked like we probably wouldn’t get to San Blas before dark either anyway, so it seemed like a relatively easy choice.

Sail change.

We motored for a good portion of that morning, waiting for enough wind to sail. Around noon, the wind had kicked up enough for us to put up some sails. A little bit later we came across a very large pod of dolphins headed further out to sea at a quick pace. They must have been on the trail (so to speak) of some fish.

Time at the wheel.

Dinner that night was the same stew from the day before, with Mom’s addition of some coke that she had smuggled aboard without any of us knowing. We also were able to watch an episode of Star Trek that evening. I’m pretty sure that it was the first time we have ever watched anything while under way. We had been sailing that whole afternoon, but after finishing the episode, we decided that the wind had gotten too light to keep sailing. It was a bit of a bummer, but we took down the sails and fired up the engine and got ready for a night of motoring. At that point we knew that we were probably going to be getting to La Cruz either sometime during the night, or early in the morning. We usually prefer to get to a new spot in the daylight for the first time, just because it makes things a little bit easier, so we throttled down the engine a little.

Part way through my watch we passed the rocks that stick out from the mouth of the bay, and started making a slow curve into the entrance. By 3:00, when Mom comes up to take over the steering from me, we had rounded the point and rocks, and were headed further into the bay towards the La Cruz area where we were planning on anchoring. I went back down below decks to go back to sleep at 6:00, but only slept for about an hour before we were at the anchorage and they needed my help with the anchoring process. We anchored in about twenty feet of water on a nice sand bottom. After cleaning a few things up, we went to sleep.

Karis steering as we made our way into La Cruz.

I think all of us are looking forward to spending some time here. It’s always fun exploring a new area and getting to know some new people. I think that’s all for now, but expect more posts soon about what’s going on here in La Cruz! See you guys next time!

Sunset on our first night at La Cruz.

Project update

Yes, we’re still here! Remember what I said about plans and the sand and God laughing? Our departure expectations continue to shift a bit. BUT, progress IS being made! Both of our solar panels are installed and fully charging our batteries every day – even with clouds!! Yay!!

As we looked over the to-do list, several tasks fell into the “do it before we go” category. Tasks like: changing the oil, refitting a leaky elbow in the engine’s oil cooling system, and replacing the impeller in the engine’s raw water cooling system. These are all done now, only changing the oil in the transmission is left in the engine-task department.

On the outside of the boat we’ve had pieces of wood trim laying around our decks for about 6 months now. The job of getting them all installed also moved into the “do it before we go so we won’t have it laying around in our way anymore!” category. John had installed most of it, but we were procrastinating the hardest pieces that were going to require some wood bending. No more procrastinating! We arranged our steaming set up – as you can see from the pictures, we had our kettle on the stove connected with a hose to some PVC that could hold our trim pieces. First we soaked them in water for a couple of days, then let them steam for 20-30 minutes, then quickly and carefully bent them into place! Voila!!

Last two long pieces bent into curved spot!

Whew! It was a bit tricky, but we are pretty pleased with the results! One more thing to cross off the list!

Sprinkled into the last couple of weeks  our kids continued intermittently helping neighbors with work. Here’s Toby up a mast straightening out a bent wind indicator. NOT a job for me!! 🙂




So, once again, I say we might be close to sailing southward. But now Carnaval has begun. I don’t know if we’ll make it to any of the festivities over the weekend. It’s quite the big deal here in Mazatlan. They have decorated the entire Malecon with large statues, have multiple parades, firework shows, concerts and partying. Here are a couple of the fun statues, this year’s theme is the circus:

Well, enough for now. Back to the project list, which is getting shorter now – at least in the “do it before we go” category.


One final note, John wrote up a new addition to our “lessons learned” page. Check it out when you have a minute!


Quick update

So, 3 weeks have passed. What have we done with that time? Well, first off, we were successfully launched and are very happy to be back in the water!

Next, our 2 major projects are very close to done. The solar panels are both mounted on our railing and almost both ready to soak up the sun and keep our batteries topped off each day. We had a small hiccup with one of the connectors so one panel is waiting for us to get a new one crimped on. But the other panel is up and running, giving us almost what we need each day! This bodes well for when we have both new panels going – we should be sitting pretty, power-wise, then!

Solar panel soaking up the sun and giving us power!

In addition to bringing back the new solar panels, we also brought back yards of Sunbrella to sew a new mainsail cover. I was able to borrow a sewing machine (thank you, Gillian – you’re machine was like the Rolls Royce of sewing machines!!) and get our new stack-pack sail cover made. It’s now up and running (or rather, up and covering).

All finished!

There are still many items on our to-do list, the first being to prioritize the list and decide which things need to be done before we go, and which can wait and be done as we go. That being said, there’s a chance we could be sailing southward by the end of the week. But don’t hold us to that. As sailors always say, all plans are written in the sand at low tide. Or as others say, we plan and God laughs. So we’ll let you know when we actually depart Mazatlan. 🙂

In the meantime, we’ve also spent good times with great people. We were delighted to see our friends from Alameda, Bob and Simone, within the first week we were back. Their boat is right across the water on the next dock over from ours. We shared a delicious chicken curry dinner with them, a fabulous hike to El Faro (Mazatlan’s famous lighthouse, supposedly the highest in the Americas), and a yummy cheesecake dessert before they had to fly back to CA.

Bob, Kristin, Toby, Karis & Simone. Yes, it was a steep climb!

We’ve also seen many of our YWAM and La Vina friends, shared meals as well as worship, conversation and laughter. On top of that, we continue to meet new friends and pray that we are able, in some way, to be Salt and Light to them.

Toby & Karis coming back from helping a neighbor boat fill up at the fuel dock.

Toby and Karis are keeping busy. Karis dove back into school with some new course work. We brought back some new books for her and she’s particularly enjoying Human Anatomy and Physiology as well as U.S. History (for both of these we have excellent Great Course lectures she’s watching as well as supplemental books). Toby has stepped up his work around the boat, too, assisting John with more projects, as well as tackling some on his own.

I hope to press another member of the Gilbert family into writing our next entry soon. We’ll keep you posted on our progress as we make it. Until then, back to work!

Happy 2018 and Merry Christmas!

Ok, so we’ve been a bit reticent in keeping these posts up to date. We’ll try not to make that a regular thing! We have only just returned to our boat in Mazatlan, fresh from our 6 weeks in California. Our time there was wonderful – full of warm visits with friends and family. And much fabulous food, too – I think we all gained about 10 lbs, or at least I did! We bounced around between Davis (home of my parents), Bangor (home of John’s mom) and the Bay Area, filling our days and nights with long talks, some walks, some hacky-sack playing, and catching up with as many of you as we could fit in. There are some of you with whom we failed to connect, please know that we love and miss you and are sorry we didn’t see you.

Here are some highlights from our past 6 weeks:

Toby took the ACT test (similar to SAT, for college entrance) and toured Cal Maritime Academy (applied there, deciding about attending next year if he gets in).

The 4 of us on the CMA Training ship Golden Bear
Karis in the Marin Headlands, Golden Gate in background

A cousin and her husband from Minnesota were visiting my parents, and we were able to take them on a whirlwind tour of San Francisco for a day.




Inside the Stanford Chapel, getting ready to sing!

My Christmas present was an outing to Sanford’s Sing-It-Yourself Messiah, an annual concert where everyone sings along. We’ve been several other times and it was such a treat to sing along with that magnificent music alongside about 2000 other enthusiastic singers!




Toby and Grandpa at work on the railing

Tackling a few helpful tasks for family: Karis chopped many bags of kindling for Grandma Nini, Toby worked with Grandpa on handrails that will go in their front steps, we spent a day baking Christmas cookies with Grandma (6 different kinds!), John replaced a solar motion sensor light for Grandma Nini, we deconstructed the tree house platform in the backyard in Davis, and Toby along with his cousin Joshua helped Grandpa crawl under the house and re-insulate some duct-work.


Karis’s bday dinner and our “last supper” in CA

Epicurian highlights: Honeybaked ham, Tasty Kitchen, Righteous Burger, prime rib dinner, Benihana’s, Red Hot Chili Pepper, fish tacos at Sancho’s, Denise’s salad, Mr.Pickle’s sandwiches, Peet’s coffee, Swingle’s kona marinated skirt steak, Granzella’s, beignet for breakfast on Christmas, and, of course, In-N-Out!




We capped off our time in California with our last full day being Karis’s 16th birthday. She celebrated by getting her ears pierced.





On Thursday the 4th, we flew back to Mexico, retracing our journey through Puerto Vallarta. This time we rented a car there and drove the 7ish hours back to Mazatlan, stopping for the night in the quaint, tiny seaside town of Chacala. We had brought back 2 solar panels with us, so having the car to transport our extra baggage was very helpful. We made it back to Mazatlan in time to unload our luggage onto the boat and make a run to the grocery store for some initial food items before we needed to return the car and resume our life of bus rides and being on foot.

First dinner in Mexico – quesedillas on homemade tortillas – YUMMY!

We are currently in our boat but up on land. The work is done on the boat (new prop shaft installed and fresh bottom paint) and we should be back in the water tomorrow morning. Then it will be on to installing the new solar panels we brought down with us (bummer we needed them, but our “old” ones – not really that old unfortunately – were delaminating, letting moisture in and causing corrosion, and they’ve not been supplying the power we need them to any more). We have a few other tasks to attend to, but then hope to depart this temporary home we’ve had here in Mazatlan and venture into waters southward along Mexico’s coast. Beyond that, we continue to seek the Lord’s guidance and direction, trusting He will faithfully lead.

We hope you all had a joy-filled and merry Christmas season and are looking forward, as we are, to the new year ahead of us. Thanks again to all we were able to see and be blessed by over the past month and a half! And to all, we love you and keep you in our hearts!

I’ll leave you with a few pics Karis, our amateur photographer, has taken on our trip.



And a few other fun pics from our trip!

YWAM #4 and More

It’s been a few weeks, but we had our 4th outing with YWAM on November 11. This latest group was a fun one, seven students/staff representing 6 countries – Mexico, Canada, Peru, Argentina and Columbia, and South Africa! We had another lovely day of anchoring, swimming, and sailing. Unfortunately the swimming was marred by some jellie stings that several students experienced, but overall, a good day was had by all.

A few days later we went out again with our good friends, the Ebio family, and a new friend, Greg. Another wonderful day out on the water!

The jellies were still floating in force so swimming was a risky proposition again. John had been hoping to get in and clean our hull but with these “friends” in the water decided against it. Another time.

We sailed off the anchor mid-afternoon and had enough wind to keep us moving under the jib, main and mizzen sails. It was a lovely afternoon and we decided to turn it into a  sunset cruise, too.

Let us know when you’re down and we can take you out, too. 🙂 Except you’ll have to wait until January. We Gilberts are currently in California and our boat is currently hauled out. The last few days in Mazatlan were busy with getting the boat ready to go “on the hard.” We decided to take advantage of our being gone to get a few things done on the boat – it was in need of a new shaft for the propeller and new bottom paint. On our end, we were needing to get our Mexico visitor’s visas renewed in December so we decided it was a good time to make it a longer visit with family and friends, spanning the holidays. So here we are until January 4! We hope to see as many of you in the area that we can. Let us know if you’re around and can fit us into your busy December schedules! 🙂

In the meantime, here’s a couple pics of us at the tail end of our almost 24 hour journey from Mazatlan to CA – car ride from Ebio’s to bus station, overnight bus ride from Mazatlan to Puerto Vallarta, city bus from PV bus station to airport, 8 hours at airport waiting for our flight, non-stop (thankfully!) flight to Oakland, and car ride with Grandma and Grandpa to Davis. Whew! So thankful for our In-N-Out treat on the way!!


A Few Fun Tidbits

Today marks the one year anniversary of our family casting off our docklines at MSI in Redwood City and beginning this extended adventure that we’re living! It’s hard to believe it’s been a year already! It has been a year filled with new places, new people, new experiences, new food, new joys, and new challenges. We are thankful for God’s provision and peace through it all and continue to look to Him for direction for days to come.

I wanted to share some fun pics we’ve taken over the past few weeks. First off, Toby mentioned in the last post a family that we’ve met down here, the Ebios. Quick summary: they are here on their ship Amazing Grace with YWAM. When we first pulled into our slip here at Marina Mazatlan, Amazing Grace was a couple of slips over from us. We quickly met the dad, Zeus, who invited us to the weekly worship time YWAM does Monday mornings. Later we met the rest of the family, mom (Charlotte), daughter (Chatelier, 21) and son (Noah, 14). We’ve spent some great times with them over the past few months including a trip to the Aquarium.

We have laughed often about the many parallels our families seem to have. Here’s some of “coincidences” we’ve found so far: Zeus and Charlotte met (as John and I did) as students at UCD (go Aggies!), Charlotte had the same major as I did (Human Development), both of us couples bought our boats in the same year (2000) and lived aboard/homeschooled our kids in the Bay Area, Charlotte’s parents live about 30 minutes away from where John’s mom lives (all of them were evacuated due to the recent round of CA wildfires, but were thankfully spared and are back home), and my sister-in-law’s mom has known the Ebio family for years and is a current supporter of them in their mission (she’d even told us about them years ago!). There’s probably more, but that gives you a taste of the fun connections we’ve made with them. Their boat is currently in dry dock getting refitted to serve as a medical mission boat either in the Sea of Cortez or assist with rebuilding efforts from the recent hurricane devastation in the Caribbean.

Both families and friend Greg. Love the Davis-style bicycle!

So that’s a bit on some new friends. Now a couple of new experiences. Mexico recently celebrated Dia De Muertos. Starting on Halloween and going through November 2, several days are taken to remember family and friends who have died. You see many skeleton decorations, including people face-painted as skeletons. Even at the movie theater ticket counter:

And another new experience, upon leaving the movie theater that day, we saw this driving by:

Yes, that’s a leopard peeking out of that car window!!

A couple of other fun sights we’ve seen:

Well, enough for today. Gotta get ourselves ready for YWAM round 4 on Saturday! We’ll take you out, too, just let us know when you get here. 🙂



YWAM, Take 3

We got to take another group of YWAM students out on our boat! Spending the summer here in Mazatlan has been fun because of all the people we have been able to meet. Up until a couple of days ago, we had taken out two groups of YWAM students. It’s been interesting getting to know each group as they come and hang out with us for the day.

The last two times we had people out, the timing of the day was directly tied to what the tides were going to be like. It’s best if we can go out and come back into the channel at or near high tide. That meant that we spent almost the whole day out on the water. It was fun, but it was also a pretty long day for us and the students. This latest trip was a little easier to plan because there was almost no tidal shift all day long. That made it possible for us to come and go basically whenever we wanted to. It was nice to have the extra freedom. This time the YWAM group was accompanied by ¾ of our already fast friends the Ebios. It was fun having them along, partly because they’re fun, but also to have some extra helping hands that happen to know exactly what they’re doing. It was a fun day: everyone showed up around 9:30 and I think we were heading out by 10. It was a dead calm when we were leaving, so we started out motoring.

Ian at the helm with Jathia and Carla sitting. Toby and Sophie in background.

This time we actually took a different path to the island than we normally have. We went inside of the other islands on the way, instead of skirting around the outside. The first couple of times we went to the island, we were worried that it was going to be too shallow going inside of the islands, but we learned that it was in fact deep enough from a few friends that knew the area much better. When we got to the island we dropped anchor and pulled out fins and masks. Everyone went swimming, and a few people even swam over to the island to do some exploring. I normally don’t swim to the island, mostly just because I would rather hang out in the water instead of out of the water. After about an hour in the water, people were starting to head back up onto the boat, and grabbing some lunch.

After lunch we decided to pull up anchor and try our hands at some sailing. There was still almost no wind, so we weren’t expecting much- just to hopefully keep the sails filled enough to move the boat a little. Fortunately there was just enough wind to set us going at about 1 1/2 knots (slightly faster than 1 1/2 mph). I think everyone wanted more wind, but we were all grateful that we at least had enough wind to move. We sailed for a while until the wind died a little too much. At that point we had to drop the sails and motor the rest of the way back. I think that everyone had a very enjoyable day out on the water. I think everyone enjoyed themselves at least as much as I did, and I think they probably even learned some useful information as well.

The whole gang l-r: Ian, Chatelier, Lena, Noah, Jathia, Sophie, Zeus, Carla,Toby John and Karis.

Cooking with the Sun!

So with the temperatures as toasty as they have been this summer, combined with high humidity, we have been very motivated to not add any heat into the small confines of our boat living space. The best way to warm up our cabin is to bake in our oven or cook on our stove – baking fresh bread along with boiling a nice pot of pasta do the trick nicely (which happened to be quite wonderful on the cold winter days we used to have in Redwood City!!). Not so wonderful now. In fact, aside from the few minutes it takes to boil some water in the kettle for my morning cup of coffee, we have gone the entire summer without using our oven and stove at all.

So how are we having any good home-cooked meals? Well, our BBQ grill does nicely for many a delicious grilled dinner (terriaki chicken, shrimp and veggies, hamburgers, sausages, I’ve even tried baking bread!). We’ve also figured out the right pot that fits on the grill so we can boil our pasta and/or steam veggies.

But our real cooking workhorse these day has been our new solar-cooker. While visiting home in CA earlier this spring, we were gifted (Thank you Grandma & Grandpa!!) with a fabulous solar-cooker which we happily found space for in the crammed car that we drove back to Mexico.

Our new solar cooker in action!

John quickly worked on a good place to stow it securely for when we would be under way, while I jumped into a whole new world of cooking!

Cooking with a solar-cooker is a bit like cooking with a crock-pot. Most things will cook/bake just fine but maybe take a bit longer than they would in a regular oven or stovetop. My first go with our cooker was to bake some chocolate chip cookies. I mixed up a small batch of dough, plopped them into the pans, slid them into the cooker, sat back and waited. The great thing with our cooker is that I put in a good place for getting sun that happens to be upwind from our cockpit. What makes this great is that once things start cooking, you start smelling what’s cooking. And nothing’s better than smelling some freshly baking chocolate chip cookies!

Ok, it’s pretty darn good smelling some baking lasagna when you haven’t had good Italian food for months! Or maybe a good batch of brownies. Or cheddar biscuits. Or apricot scones. Or sausages and roasted veggies. Or banana bread. Or cake. These are a handful of the things we’ve cooked so far with the sun and our solar-cooker. It’s so great to get a well-cooked meal or baked dessert, not to have heated up our cabin at all, and not to have used up any propane either!! We love it!!

The down side to cooking with the sun is that some days are rainy. We just came out of a stretch of days where the cloud cover was too thick to cook. I’m guessing solar-cooking probably isn’t going to catch on in Seattle. For the most part here, though, we’ve consistently had enough sun to cook a whole range of things. A few other successful eats we’ve enjoyed: pork chop and rice casserole, breakfast egg-dish casserole, apple crisp, spinach and pasta bake, zucchini bread, ham and egg frittata, polenta, and apricot bars. I might have to try a roast chicken sometime soon….

Frittata in the pans and biscuits on the side. Yum!

So there’s our plug for the environmentally friendly practice of cooking with the sun. We’re sold on the idea and maybe you can give it a try sometime, too! Bon appetite!  🙂

Sizzle While You Work

No we haven’t fallen off the map.  But melting is not completely out of the realm of possibility.   Do me a favor:  take whatever negative stereotypes of Mexicans you might have (if any) and toss them out your window.  Of course that will likely require compromising your climate controlled room/car.  Down here it is we who are climate controlled, not the other way around.  In a Mazatlan summer doing anything first involves a taking personal inventory of your remaining strength, your fitness for public presentation, and the current intensity of the heat.  Which begs the question, how does anyone get anything done??

Best case scenario: it has rained overnight (which means we actually slept last night, but also that it’s even more humid now). I already have the materials I need to do a task.  I fill up a huge thermos of ice water, set up some shade, and start to work (really “start to sweat” would be more accurate if you’re measuring what actually happens most).

More often than not, any work I do on the boat requires a sweaty walk just to take a bus in order to walk to a store which probably does not have what I need.  If I can find something to work with, completion of any task still must contend with the walk back to the bus, the bus ride itself, and then the full heat of mid-day.  Frustration aside, these are ample reasons for anyone to move and work slowly.

Could we have picked up an AC unit?  Yes, however, you never actually see the boaters who have AC units.  Discounting the fact that 95% of the boat owners flee north from the summer heat, the 5% who remain are virtually invisible.  They do what they can before sunup (i.e. walk – since nothing is open that early down here) then sit in their cool boats (literally and figuratively) until sundown.  Then it’s out for a cheap dinner and drinks – not necessarily in that order – and off to a cool night’s sleep.

We, on the other hand, wanted to experience locals and local life.  And the heat really does seem to influence most of it:  a two hour siesta mid-afternoon, breakfast and dinner on the 10s, dancing – but only after midnight.  Work and play all revolve around the heat.  Things do move painfully slowl, but they have to.  You’re going to pass out if you don’t.  But much the same as the temperatures, the people tend to be warmer, too.  I’m genuinely surprised when people don’t greet me as I walk by.  I wondering if arrogant attitudes just have trouble sticking to a sweat-soaked shirts.

Maybe we’re not as productive as we used to be, but we are learning about ourselves and other cultures – sometimes we’re even getting work done, too.   (I’ve included a list of our tasks, as evidence.*)   In the meantime what matters most to us is that you pray for our next step.  We don’t want to wait here as expensive winter rates kick in (November), but we don’t want to wander around blindly either.  We’ll keep you posted, and you do the same.

In the two years before we left:

Rebuilt, fiberglassed and painted our aft cabin top.

Added new mainsheet traveler

Installed new jib sheet winches and mizzen sheet winch

Re-mounted our mizzen and main boom crutches

Recaulked the teak cockpit

Added sail tracks for jib sheet lead cars

Re-installed our lifelines

Painting the boot-stripe

De-blistered, faired, and painted the bottom of our hull

Removed and glassed over # thru-hulls

Removed gross, old holding tanks, macerators, and marine heads

Added a new electrical panel, batteries, alternator, solar panels, VHF, and SSB radios, nav lights, foredeck/steaming light, engine blower…

Rebuilt Karis’s hatch

Sewed new sail covers.

New fridge! Deeper side is freezer, shallower is fridge.

Built a DC freezer/refrigerator box.  Wired & plumbed compressor and cold


Made and upholstered new interchangeable couch cushions

Installed a propane locker and oven.

Installed two electric bilge pumps and a counter/alarm

Installed a 1 gallon stroke manual bilge pump

Installed an electric freshwater pump

Installed a freshwater galley foot pump

Installed a manual saltwater galley pump

Re-plumbed the entire freshwater system

Lowering main mast onto our boat – thanks for the strong arms/backs that helped us!!

Routed and mounted a port of call sign for our stern

Pulled our masts with homemade crane, sanded them trucked them to and from anodizer in Emeryville.

Pulled out old chainplates.   Installed new chainplates on the exterior.

Off comes the old teak, then fill the holes and fiberglass!


Stripped off all our teak decking (replaced some rotten spots) and fiberglassed over everything.

Re-mounted deck hardware (cleats, stanchions, deck fills…)

Rebuilt main mast step and bathroom floor around it.

Removed, rebuilt, refinished 8’ bowsprit and pulpit.

Rebuilt our anchor locker.

Schlepped 200’ of 3/8” chain down into our chain locker.

Installed our windlass (which only worked before we installed it)

Added running and standing rigging to our masts, as well as wiring

Our masts ready to get re-stepped!

, nav/anchor lights, deck/steaming light, new sail tracks, wind indicator, cleats, winches, and rope clutches

Re-stepped our masts (with plenty of help)

Re-surfaced our decks.

Built a table/chart storage

Rebuilt our cockpit floor

Re-installed our companionway ladder

Varnished our trim (fake varnish, really, but still…)

Installed our steering pedestal

Replaced our engine belts

Replaced our engine’s starter and heat exchanger

Added a salon grab rail and grab rails forward outside.

Made a sunshade

Created lifejacket storage

Compiled and stowed exhaustive emergency ditch bag

Made a fish cleaning station

Mounted a fishing gaff

Added sliding drawer latch

Added another DC outlet in aft bedroom

Emptied entire boat and repacked what we actually needed, where we actually should have it!

Made jacklines and tethers

South of the border:

(Taken two YWAM groups out sailing)

Cleaned our diesel tanks.  Made new gaskets.

Cleaned our water tanks.  Added inspection port.

Flushed and repaired our engine freshwater circuit.

Replaced our fuel tank vent line

Fixed our steering cables, twice

Sewed screens/covers for three hatches

Created storage/organizer for big and little line

Mounted extra propane tank

Re-spliced our cap shroud (standing rigging)

Disassembled our stove and replaced a broken spring on oven door

Mounted our new solar cooker.

Mounted and wired a DC dive compressor

Painting and new wooden trim (never fully done)

Cleaned the hull

Made a sun shade for sailing

Reinforced aft hallway floor

Mounted a self-steering bracket to our rudder

Mounted self-steering post inside engine room

Wall mounted a cast iron skillet

Fixed our broken saltwater galley pump.

At least 3 projects in this pic: mast step, hatch cover/screen, and sun shade

Added a step to the mast.

Created boat diagram of essential/emergency equipment

Installed our butterfly hatch safety grills and re-gasketed opening

Mounted two cleats in our cockpit.

Made water filter to make dock water potable.


We’re still here!

Wow! I can’t believe it’s been over a month since our last post! It has been a busy month, so let me take a moment to catch you all up on us Gilberts.

First of all, we took the second YWAM group out for a day sail, enjoying another great day with fun people, this time Spanish-speakers. With the help of a translator, our minimal Spanish and their minimal English we managed beautifully!

Another highlight of early August was a fun dinner with some good friends we’ve met while here, Al and Gillian (fellow believers, have a boat across the dock from ours but live in an apartment in town). At the time Al & Gillian were also housing a couple from Venezuela, Aris & Luis, who gave us a cooking lesson making the traditional Venezuelan staple of arrepas – a corn flour based thick tortilla-like patty. You can fry them in oil or dry, then slice them open like a pita to fill with delicious meat and vegetable fillings. We had a delightful evening with all, eating and laughing until late in the night.

l to r: Kristin attempting the selfie, Gillian, Karis, Luis (hamming it up), Aris, John & Toby. Sorry we missed Al.

The biggest highlight of the month of August was our visit from Grandma Nini (John’s mom) for a week and a half!! We rented a home in the Centro District of Mazatlan so we could all enjoy some A/C and a little more elbow room. 🙂

The Villa was right on Plaza Zaragosa and at the time there was a market/exhibition highlighting a couple of the states of Mexico. We were treated to their music and dancing right out our windows one afternoon!

We had rented a car for the visit and one afternoon we took a drive towards Durango. Mazatlan is on the coast, obviously, while Durango is a ways up in the mountains to the east. As we assended into the mountains the temperature dropped quickly and we found ourselves in thick clouds and fog. It was a dramatic change from all we’d seen and experienced in Mazatlan!

Impressive mountain views on the road to Durango.

Grandma Nini’s visit was filled with fabulous food – both in and out. (Sigh, In n Out, wish we could have some!!) Anyway, if you ever make it to Mazatlan, you must eat at Hector’s – have the Argentinian steak dinner, or the Arm Drip sandwich, or the crusted salmon, or the raviolis. All delicious!!  🙂

After delivering Grandma Nini to the airport for her flight back home, we turned our attention to our water tanks. We’d never given them a thorough cleaning and it was well overdue. The slightly tinted water coming from the tap after sailing with the 2nd YWAM group gave us the heads up on that! We cut open access ports in the top of each tank, scrubbed off the growing algae, filled them up again with water and a good amount of bleach, let it all sit for a bit, then flushed it all out with fresh water. After receiving some fittings from Grandma & Grandpa (for some reason Amazon wouldn’t ship them to us here, but thanks to DHL and G & G we got them in 4 days!) we were back in business!

The port side water tank, clean and closed up.

I’ll wrap up now and leave you with a few more pics from the past few weeks. We’re still sweating away, but really glad to be here in Mazatlan for these months. We hear the real hurricane-threat month for this area is October, so we’re not out of the woods yet as far as storms go. And witnessing Irma these past few days is sobering. We continue to seek God’s leading and direction for us now and over the coming months.