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We left Gig Harbor, WA in 2009 and spent 3 winters in the Sea of Cortez then sailed to the Galapagos Islands, French Polynesia up to Hawaii, then to San Francisco Bay. We are once again enjoying the Sea of Cortez as we plan our next adventure.
Ready to go!
Terry scrubbing the decks

We've had a busy week putting the boat back together and getting her cleaned up and stocked up with provisions for the trip south, but we're ready to go and tomorrow (Saturday October 30th) looks like a good weather window to start our journey.

It's been a very pleasant week -- unbelievable what a drastic change in the weather since we left at the beginning of August! Now it's just like the lovely weather we enjoyed all fall, winter and spring this past year.

So we're anxious to get out to see all the wonderful anchorages we enjoyed on our way up here and plan to be back down to La Paz by the end of November.

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10/29/2010 | Scott and Monica
We can't wait to see you! Love seeing that Rosie was helping put things away for you!

Oh Terry, you missed a spot!
10/30/2010 | Dave C.
It was so good seeing you guys at my shows
and at WM for the book signing, thanks so much
for my signed copy! Now turn the Spot on and
let's cruise!
The plans they are a changin'
07/28/2010, jumping rays on the way to Santa Rosalia

As I've said before, cruising plans are written in sand and you never know what will come with the next tide change.....

Yesterday a tsunami hit the beach, figuratively ;-)

Our plans were to come into the marina tomorrow to get Rosie her 2nd set of shots and provision for the summer up in the Bay of LA in the northern Sea of Cortez. Then yesterday morning we got a call from a good friend who was also Terry's old boss, and he asked if Terry could come out of retirement for a couple months and fly up and go to work to help him out since they have a lot of work coming up all of a sudden.

So instead of testing ourselves at Surviving the Summer in the Sea we'll fly out next week and see how we can Survive the Summer in the Real World.

Always an adventure.....

We did have an enjoyable motor back to Santa Rosalia. It was a short 2 hour trip and we saw pods of dolphin, pilot whales and lots of jumping Manta Rays!

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07/28/2010 | Jeanne Walker
So are you going to be back in Gig harbor? or the Seattle area? drop us a note and perhaps we can get together for a glass of wine or....
Santa Rosalia

Remember what I was just saying about cruising plans being very fluid and always subject to change, well........

When we came into Santa Rosalia last Tuesday we intended to stay a week, but now we will stretch that week into two!

We decided we could use a little more time here getting things taken care of while we have internet service, and since we're enjoying this nice little town we thought we'd stay on a bit. Pricing at the marina is better by the week than by the day, so we thought it best to add a whole week instead of just a couple days, so here we are and here we'll stay.

I'll post a few pictures in our photo gallery of sights around town.

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Plans: written in the sand
04/28/2010, The Sea of Cortez

We've always said the cruising plans are written in Jello or sand, because they are really very fluid and subject to change at any time for any number of reasons.

You may start out with plans to go to a certain place, but along the way you hear of a new spot that suddenly becomes a must see. Like when we first started down the coast of the US last year, we thought we'd make a short stop of just a few months in Mexico and press on to the Galapagos in March 2010. Well, we became intrigued with the Sea of Cortez and changed our plans to spend a year in the sea and postpone our Galapagos trip to March of 2011 -- and we're thrilled with our choice.

In March when we left Marina Palmira to venture north in the Sea, we planned to return to La Paz in June. We have a wedding to attend in Portland OR on the 4th of July, plus we were going to drive a friends van from La Paz to Bellingham, WA for her as she sailed off to El Salvador.

Those plans changed when she decided not to send the van north and we realized that we didn't have to return to La Paz to fly out for the wedding -- we could fly out from Loreto and save all the traveling back and forth, since as soon as we returned to La Paz, we'd have to travel north again as we plan to spend the hurricane season far up in the Sea.

So that freed us up to travel further north than we would have if we'd have to get back down to La Paz in June and now we find ourselves in the lovely little town of Santa Rosalia. We came into the small marina yesterday and enjoyed a delicious steak dinner at a nice restaurant in town, to celebrate our 37th wedding anniversary. At the end of our week at the dock, we plan to sail a little further north exploring, then we'll return here in the middle of June and Terry will stay here with Cetus when I fly home to attend the wedding.

And now, it looks like the van trip is back on! We have friends that can bring it from La Paz to Loreto (Puerto Escondido) for us, and then we'll do a fun road trip north -- probably near the end of July, leaving Cetus in a slip here in Santa Rosalia.

At least that's the plan for now......... but you never know what the tide will bring.

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04/29/2010 | jack
Jello is a major necessity when cruising, as is sand in your shoes, and a shell in your pocket.
04/29/2010 | Dave C.
Congratulations on 37 years together, that's so great! Maybe our wakes will cross at some point this summer while you're up here. Also looking forward to reading Terry's new book whenever it's ready.
05/06/2010 | Carol & Livia Dupuis & Gilstrap
I love that saying. Do you know if there is an easy way to subscribe to a feed (RSS or ATOM) of your blog. I want to keep track of you but I only seem to have time to open my feed reader quickly lately. Um...we're a little busy :)

([email protected])
On your mark...
last sunset in Chula vista
11/01/2009, Shelter Island

We got up at the crack of dawn to travel the nearly 10 miles from Chula Vista at the bottom of San Diego Bay up to Shelter Island near the entrance to the harbor. This will position us for an easy departure when we head south to Mexico in a few short days.

We had reservations at the Silver Gate Yacht Club for 4 days beginning today, but at the last minute (yesterday) they found they were over booked! Yes, they can take a reservation, but they can't hold a reservation..... Luckily with the Baja Ha Ha fleet out of town, the municipal or public dock had some vacancies. It's a first come first serve situation, so we wanted to be here early enough to hopefully get a spot -- and we needed to stop for fuel on the way. The public dock is a great deal -- there's power and showers all for only $10.50 a day! You can stay a maximum of 10 days in any 40 day period.

So we'll be here for a couple days doing last minute preparations as we wait for a call from our friends Jim and Ellen on Galetea. They've spent the past month in Ventura and will leave from there for Ensenada. Once they leave we'll plan our departure to coincide with when they will be passing San Diego and we will harbor hop down the Baja coast with them. So we're here at the starting line just waiting for the gun!

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Phase 5
The countdown begins!
10/25/2009, waiting in San Diego

When we first started planning this trip, long long ago, we made up a "rough" itinerary. I call it rough, because any number of things could change our plans as time went on. As it turns out, so far we are right on schedule with that original time line which was:

1. San Juans/Gulf Islands June - July (well, we didn't go beyond the San Juans)

2. Neah Bay and down the coast in August

3. San Francisco and down the coast in September

4. San Diego all of October

5. Leave San Diego 1st week of November

So as October is coming to a rapid close we have made our final lists of things to accomplish each day to be ready for our departure sometime that 1st week of November!

This next step, Phase 5, is the biggest step of all because we'll be leaving all the familiarity that traveling in the US provides. Communications will change -- we won't have the nearly constant cell phone and internet coverage we've come to enjoy on our trip down the US coast. We won't have the luxuries we've enjoyed at the Yacht Clubs and marinas here in the states with swimming pools, showers and laundry. Sure, those can all be found in Mexico in the larger cities, but at a greater price than we would want to spend on a regular basis.

But as we leave the familiarity and the conveniences behind we gain the enjoyment of remote anchorages teeming with wildlife and the great sense of accomplishment that comes with being totally self sufficient. We'll grow from the challenge of making our way in a foreign country and learning the language.

So as departure day draws near, it is with the same bittersweet emotion that accompanies any passage -- sadness at leaving friends, family and familiarity behind mixed with the excitement of a new adventure.

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10/26/2009 | Dwain
We will all miss your frequent updates of your adventures leaving Gig Harbor behind and finding your way to San Diego. With great interest, I will check your webpage to see if you have found a few moments to update us on your current adventures.

Best of luck to you two. Look forward to meeting up once again when you make it back home.
Making plans
10/11/2009, toasting our arrival to San Diego

We toasted our arrival into San Diego with orange juice at 7 am on September 30th as it was another major milestone on this adventure. We had made it safely down the entire West Coast of the United States!

We had reservations to stay at the Chula Vista Marina for the month of October because we wanted that time to re-provision and make preparations for the next phase of our journey: Mexico.

We also needed to make decisions about how much time we would spend in Mexico -- and where we would spend that time. Since a major goal of this cruise is to see the Galapagos Islands, and the best time to leave Mexico to head there would be the month of March (due to hurricane seasons), we would either stay in Mexico 5 months (and go to the Galapagos in 2010) or a year and 5 months (to leave March 2011).

10 years ago on our last voyage to Mexico we spent most of our time on the Mainland coast and only had about a month in the Sea of Cortez before it was time to haul the boat out of the water in La Paz and go back home to work. What we saw we enjoyed and we knew we wanted to spend more time there. Our desire to explore the Sea of Cortez was further fueled looking through the beautiful guidebook we bought at the Seattle boat show: Sea of Cortez: A Cruiser's Guidebook by Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer (check it out on our links to the right).

Since the "best" months to visit the sea are spring and early summer we would miss those days if we left for the Galapagos next March, so we have decided to stay in Mexico until 2011. Now the next decision was whether we go straight up to the Sea, or spend time on the Mainland coast 1st? We've had mixed reviews from cruising friends that have spent the winter months in the Sea of Cortez. One couple enjoyed it and one thought they made a mistake in doing it. The winter months are relatively cold in the Sea (but like Shawn and Heather pointed out when I asked their opinion, cold in the Sea of Cortez is nothing like cold in Seattle), the water is cooler (enough that a wet suit would be needed to spend much time in the water) and the dreaded "Norther's" can blow. But with reassurance that there are many anchorages to snug into during the well forecast Norther's (I guess they can blow 20 to 30 knots for 2 to 5 days) and the lure of the beauty of remote anchorages with great hiking and bountiful sea life, we are heading for the Sea of Cortez!

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10/11/2009 | wayne from Morro Bay, CA
Check out S/V THIRD DAY who just completed a year in mexico and a SUMMER in the Sea of Cortez
San Francisco Bay
Cetus in the sunset
09/06/2009, Emeryville, CA

Wow! Where does time go?

I thought that once Terry retired and we started out on this cruising life that time would slow back down, but it certainly hasn't! But I must say the quality of life is much better, for even though the hours slip away just as fast, now the hours are filled with doing things we like to do instead of spending way too much time driving I-5 and generally rushing around.

So now we've been in San Francisco Bay -- at the Emery Cove Marina -- nearly 3 weeks! We've had great visits with friends and daughter Carly and we've walked miles upon miles through San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Richmond and Emeryville. We've enjoyed beautiful sunsets and have gotten some nice boat projects done -- and now we're starting to check the weather and plan our next stops. We will leave later this week with our first planned stop a mere 20 miles away: Half Moon Bay.

Then it will be down the coast to Santa Cruz/Capitola and Monterey, then possible stops at Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Oxnard, Marina del Ray and Newport before settling in at Chula Vista for the month of October.

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09/08/2009 | Dave C
Good to see an update! Sounds like you've settled right in to the cruising lifestyle. When you're in Chula Vista be SURE to stop in to The Galley and see Gary Seiler. He plays solo on Wednesdays and with his band on Sundays and is a good friend.
Party on!
1st Month of Cruising
06/30/2009, Roche Harbor

Today marks the end of our 1st full month of cruising! After leaving Gig Harbor on May 31st we've had a great time visiting old favorite places like Stuart Island, Jones Island, Sucia, Spencer Spit, and of course Blake Island.

We've gone into a few new places, too. We visited Blind Bay on Shaw Island and Fisherman's Bay on Lopez. We've enjoyed a couple visits to Turn Island, a place we've only grabbed a buoy before and never gone to shore, but found it to be a fun place. We still have some time here in the San Juans and plan to get to more spots that we have never gone to -- or that we haven't been to in years.

We've made some new friends and have run into old friends passing through. Last week our daughter, Carly, flew in on a float plane and spent a few days with us in Friday Harbor and for a day trip to Turn Island.

Right now we're anchored in Roche Harbor with our good friends, Jack & Joan Eddy aboard Interlude. We'll stay here through the 4th of July to see the fireworks -- plus, Dave Calhoun is going to be part of the musical entertainment at the resort!

Days seem to go just as fast as they did at home! We get to sleep in a bit later -- no more 4:30 wake ups for Terry to head to work. And our daily walks don't have to be crammed into the end of a busy day somewhere around dinner. Now we get to go for great hikes around these beautiful islands at our leisure and enjoy lunch and dinner in the cockpit watching all the activity and fantastic sunsets. It's better than TV!

We've also been busy getting to know all the new systems on the boat -- and just enjoy sailing. Always before when we'd be up here we were on a short time schedule, so we'd usually motor from place to place because we didn't feel we had time to sail in light winds -- we had places to be. This time we've been able to decide where to go after we saw which way the wind was going and because of that have had some great spinnaker runs.

We'll continue on like this until about the middle of July when we will cross the straits and spend some time in Sequim Bay so I can get down to Gig Harbor and take care of a few things and then head to Neah Bay to wait for a good weather window to start heading down the coast around the 1st of August.

Once again I'm doing this as a remote post thru our SSB radio, so no pictures until I get to internet service and can upload -- but there are already lots of pictures in the photo gallery to the right.

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The Cetus Crew
Who: Terry & Heidi Kotas and Street Cat Rosie
Port: Gig Harbor, WA
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