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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.
Off on vacation
01/08/2010, Ensenada Grande, Isla Partida

We left the marina this morning for a little vacation.

Today we traveled up to Ensenada Granda to meet up with our friends on Galatea. We plan to be out a week to 10 days and hope to make it as far north as Agua Verde before heading back to La Paz.

The weather is great!

Check out the January issue of 48 North to see Terry's latest article -- though they put my name on the byline by mistake -- I really didn't work in construction for the past 30 years!

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01/08/2010 | Lisa Ramer
We are headed from Cabo San Lucas around to La Paz and I was wondering if you could help us out with rates at the Marina Palmira? Thanks for the assistance. Enjoying your blog and the pictures which motivate us to keep sailing!
01/09/2010 | wayne Stuart
Great article but I do not recall if you mentioned the type of webbing. The Nylon commercial type 9 webbing generally used in racing harnesses stretches approximately 20-30% of its initial length at 2500 lb ) while Polyester only stretches 5% -15%. That would be important when using the webbing to take a shock load which is why you use a snubber on a chain anchor rode. Thanks again, I use to use webbing in my mountain climbing days. Keep up the posts, have really enjoyed following your adventure. My employees at work call me an internet stocker :-)
01/07/2010, Bahia San Gabriel, Espirtu Santo

We did a short overnight trip up to Bahia San Gabriel when friends Paul and Sarah stopped by on their vacation to Baja California Sur.
We had great weather for walking the white sand beach and some swimming -- just not enough wind for sailing.

Now we'll head out again tomorrow for a longer trip. We'll be gone a week to 10 days and head further north to explore some new territory.

Going to Espirtu Santo and Isla Pardita is about the equivalent of going to Blake Island from Gig Harbor -- this next trip will be more like going to the San Juans!

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Feliz Ano Nuevo!
01/01/2010, La Paz, Mexico

Happy New Year Everyone!

We wish you all health and happiness in 2010!

Terry & Heidi

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Photo Gallery Updates!

For the 1st time in MONTHS I've had a good enough internet connection and some free time so I could upload some pictures to our Photo Gallery!


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12/31/2009 | Dave C
Happy New Year you two! Love the pics!
12/31/2009 | Jack and Joan
Love your pictures and miss you guys. Have a great New Year.
See you in a few weeks...Plan dinner at our house one night.xoxoxoxo
Feliz Navidad
Terry & Heidi
12/24/2009, the Sea of Cortez

We send warm wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with health and happiness!

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We have arrived!
11/28/2009, Caleta Lobos

We've put 2,300 miles under Cetus's keel since leaving Gig Harbor at the end of May.

The first two months were a relaxing vacation in the beautiful San Juan islands and then we began the long trek south.

We had many enjoyable stops along the way, including two extended stops (3 weeks in San Francisco Bay and a month in San Diego), but for the most part we've been in traveling mode the whole time.

That all ended yesterday when we dropped the anchor in the lovely, cozy anchorage of Caleta Lobos, a few short miles north of La Paz. We could see the anchor as it sank into the sand beneath the boat and it wasn't long before we were swimming in the clear, warm water.

It was then that it hit us: we had finally arrived at our destination, we were actually in the Sea of Cortez! We are done traveling because we were where we wanted to be. No more long passages for a while, we would be gunk holing around the Sea of Cortez much like we did in the San Juans, only here there are cactus instead of Evergreens and Magnolias and water that we can swim in! There are many more anchorages just as enchanting as this one (though right now it's hard to imagine anything could rival the beauty of this place) and we have the whole next year to explore.

In a couple days we will head in to "the city" of La Paz where we'll spend some time at Marina Palmira while we have family and friends that will be visiting the area. We'll have WiFi while there and I'll once again be able to post pictures to add to these blog posts.

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11/29/2009 | Dave C
Way to go folks! The holidaze in the Sea of Cortez, how cool! Well, warm actually ;^) Have fun! (like THAT'S a challenge!)
12/18/2009 | lisa Ramer
So good to read about arriving at your destination! I'm glad you made it safe and sound and are enjoying the warmer waters. We are currently in San Diego, just days from weighing anchor and making the long passage south to the Sea of Cortez. I can't wait to feel that sensation of finally arriving.
R & R
Carly's Visit
10/20/2009, Disneyland!

Our daughter, Carly, got to come down and visit for another mini vacation! Her last visit was in September when we were in San Francisco.

She flew in Friday night and we had a nice dinner at the Galley Restaurant here at the marina, then the next day was a relaxing "beach day". We crossed the bay in our dinghy and spent the afternoon on the Silver Strand reading and watching a surfing class. The fog rolled in that day (it finally caught back up with us! We thought we'd lost it back at Point Conception!), but it was a "warm" fog, so it was still a nice day.

We got up early Sunday and made the 2 hour drive to Disneyland for a fun family day. We've never managed to be in California for any length of time without squeezing in a Disney trip -- and since Terry used to spend so much time working in California there weren't many years that we didn't make it to Disneyland -- it's a Kotas Family Favorite. After a full day going from park to park (We really enjoy California Adventure, too) and doing all the rides and eating all our favorite treats, we headed home for a good nights sleep.

Carly flew out Monday afternoon and we are back to preparations for Mexico. Things are wrapping up quite well. Terry completed the installation of the new motor for the autopilot, our Mexican insurance is in process and provisioning is basically done (just fresh foods to pick up at the last minute).

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Changing Gears
07/13/2009, Garrison Bay, San Juan Island

We've been up here in the San Juans thoroughly enjoying ourselves for the past 43 days, and now it's time to move on. It's been a great shakedown cruise trying out all the new systems (new radar, chart plotter, solar panels and watermaker) and getting refreshed on old ones that we haven't used for a long time (SSB and Ham radios to name a couple). It's been like a long fun vacation. Since the last couple days have been cooler with some rain mixed in, it made us realize that the lovely weather we've been enjoying will eventually turn to months of the same and we are excited to begin our journey south to follow the sun.

We will spend a couple days here in Garrison Bay, once again meeting up with our friends, Jack and Joan, on Interlude. Then we will say our goodbyes and cross the Straits of Juan de Fuca to Sequim Bay, where we will stay about a week giving me a chance to head down to Gig Harbor to take care of a few things before we head to Neah Bay and then down the coast.

As always, it's hard to say goodbye and to leave favorite places behind, but the excitement of the adventure ahead lures you on. So we will soon be changing gears from "San Juan vacationers" to "Blue Water cruisers" and we are very much looking forward to it!

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It Just Doesn't Get Much Better Than This
06/12/2009, Blind Bay, Shaw Island

Sun and wind -- something that you usually don't get at the same time too often here in the Pacific Northwest -- but we've been enjoying both for the 10 days we've been up enjoying the beautiful San Juan Islands.

I'm having to file this remotely, since I don't have internet connection here, so I won't be able to include any of the pictures of our spinnaker flying as we move on to our next anchorage. I will add those later when we get back in range again in a few days.

We were able to sail off our mooring at Spencer Spit today, then tacked out of Thatcher Pass and took a look at James Island for a possible stop, but the dock was full (with 2 boats) and it's not a great anchorage so we decided to press on.

It took us a bit to decide where to go, we thought of heading north to Matia or Sucia, but there was a strong current that would be against us and we wanted to sail, so we turned back into Thatcher pass and turned north and hoisted the spinnaker!

The winds were very light, but we were able to move along quite nicely and when the wind died completely we turned on the engine -- that's all it took for the wind to come up again, so out went the Genoa and we sailed the rest of the way to Blind Bay.

We grabbed a mooring buoy near Blind Island and are thoroughly enjoying our new "back yard". We have been using mooring buoys on most of our stops, as we have a Park Pass that we don't have to pay the $10 a night -- so the more we use it the more we save!

And even though this time in the San Juans is our time to test everything and work on skills, anchoring is one we are pretty confident with, since we've spent many years anchoring in the South Pacific. So we'll sit back and enjoy another beautiful sunset and look forward to another day in paradise.

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06/18/2009 | Charlie & Diane Long
Hello to Cetus and crew from Dreamtime! We are at the Gorge Harbour Marina on Cortes Island, the first time we've been tied up to a dock since leaving Powell River on June 8. Weather was great until a couple of days ago. Since then, we've had clouds and rain but hey, who cares when you're in one of the most beautiful area in the world? We'll be in Heriot Bay in a couple of days and update our blog again from there. Sounds like you are having a fun and relaxing cruise, too!

Charlie and Diane
Bye Bye Gig Harbor
05/31/2009, Blake Island

We left our slip earlier than we intended to this morning -- a lot of nervous energy and we just wanted to get going.

Arrived at the Tides dock and settled in relaxing in the cockpit waiting for them to open the doors at 9 o'clock.

Lots of special friends showed up to bid us fair winds and many stayed and enjoyed breakfast with us! It was a wonderful send off.

We docked at Blake Island about 1:00 and after lunch enjoyed our favorite 'round the island hike. I've entered a collection of photos from this morning in the gallery to the right.

Looking forward to a nice relaxing evening and leisurely morning.

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06/01/2009 | Charlie & Diane Long
Hi, guys, from Friday Harbor. We cruised past Cetus at the Tides Dock but didn't see you. We've had a nicely uneventful trip up here. Headed home tomorrow to attend Diane's Shipmates' installation then back to the boat on Thursday and off to Telegraph Harbour to meet my brother and his wife. Then it's on to the north! Stay in touch!
Time to go!
05/30/2009, Gig Harbor, WA

We're packed and provisioned and ready to go!

We plan to leave our slip between 7 & 8 tomorrow morning, then after a stop at the Tides Tavern for breakfast we'll be off! First stop: Blake Island.

Our daughter Carly will be going with us on this first leg -- Blake Island has always been one of our family favorites. Then the next day we'll go to Bell Harbor (right by the Pike Street Market) so she can go home and then we'll begin our trip to the San Juans the next morning.

I've spent the last couple weeks stashing and stowing and filling up every nook and cranny with food and supplies. I've put some of the provisioning pictures in our photo gallery.

Remember to send an email to FollowCetus at gmail dot com (or just click on the send email button to the right) if you'd like to be on our email list for updates along the way!

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06/01/2009 | liz bates
Wow, it seems like you just left...Nice photo's! Liz
06/11/2009 | Debbie
Hi Guys,
It sounds like life is good and so is the weather. Great start to your jouney! Sorry we couldn't get together before you left but will see you and hear all about the trip when you return. Have a great time.
Bon Voyage Party
Dave Calhoun & Gary Cousins provided the musical entertainment
05/09/2009, Gig Harbor Yacht Club

Check out the photo albums on the lower right for recently added pictures from our Bon Voyage party on May 9th!

We threw the party not to say good bye, but rather to have fun and as a way to thank all of the special people in our lives: family, friends, fellow boaters and those we've worked with through the years.

I've always said the hardest part of cruising is saying good bye to new found friends when it's time to set sail. It's very bittersweet with the excitement of the new adventures laying ahead mixed with the sadness of leaving.

Leaving from home is the hardest, because then it's not just new acquaintances, but family and very dear long time friends.

But this time I don't think of it as saying goodbye. We plan to be back home to visit at least once a year and we hope to enjoy the company of family and friends who will come and meet us on our journeys. Plus, with the much improved communications in the world today, we will be able to keep in touch so well, in ways it will be like we're still right here in Gig Harbor (but hopefully out of this nasty rain!)

So don't say goodbye, just wish us safe voyages and look forward to the times we'll be together again -- preferably somewhere tropical!

Heidi & Terry

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Set Sail!
Sketch of the Tides Tavern by Travis Johnston from Terry's book

We've changed our Countdown Calendar!

Today is Terry's last day of work, so the "Day's Till Freedom" link at the right has been changed to "Set Sail!" and is now counting down the time till we cut the dock lines and leave Gig Harbor.

After leaving the slip, our first stop will be the Tides Tavern for breakfast, then we'll head up to Blake Island for our first Port o'Call.

Our daughter, Carly, will join us on that first leg, then the next day it's across the Sound to Bell Harbor Marina in Seattle to drop her off and enjoy Pike Street before heading further north to explore the San Juan and Gulf Islands.

Whooo hooo!

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04/30/2009 | Dave C.
Congrats on your last day Terry you short-timer you! Now the fun begins!
04/30/2009 | jack
Retired!...that means the work week now has seven don't have to shave every day and you can sleep in as long as you want, or until the admiral says hit the deck./ Congratulations.... Jack
The Big Countdown!
The busy month of May

Terry just has a handful of workdays before his retirement on April 30th!

It will make the last of the preparations easier, since we won't have to try to fit everything in to the all too short weekends -- now every day will be a "weekend" day!

In May we will continue on changing the boat over to "cruising mode" -- taking off the things that we need here for life as usual -- work clothes, some decorations, and other odds and ends. And we will start the hard core provisioning to stock up on foods and supplies to keep us going for the next 4 - 5 months.

We do have a trip to the Indy 500 over Memorial Day Weekend again this year! This will be our third time attending this exciting event and our friends, Liz & Tom will join us for the 2nd time.

Terry will be talking at a "Meet the Author" event on May 19th! It's put on by our local bookstore, Mostly Books, and will be held at the Chapel on Echo Bay on Fox Island at 7 pm. He'll be talking about the events building our 1st cruising boat, Cassiopeia, and the adventures sailing it to Hawaii and across the South Pacific -- which is what "Adventures Aboard Rick's Place" based on. So join us there to get the "story behind the story"!

Finally, on May 31st we will sail out of Gig Harbor! After we leave our slip at Murphy's Landing, we will stop at the Tides Tavern for breakfast and then continue up to Blake Island. Our daughter, Carly, will be joining us for that trip -- Blake Island has always been a favorite of hers. The next day we will sail across to Bell Harbor to drop her off and then continue up to the San Juans and beyond.

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04/24/2009 | Monica
Perhaps you can stop over in Everett and we can get together and discuss our similar plans for heading down the coast in August.
04/25/2009 | Dave
We'll have to get a screen capture from our new Gig Harbor cam of you sailing out of the harbor! This is getting exciting!
Let's go cruising!
01/07/2009, rainy Gig Harbor

Terry & I are excited to be going on our first "cruise ship" cruise this month!

It was a great deal offered by our friend Yolanda Essig of Unique Travel (check out her link to the right -- she's the best!). She and her husband Steve did the same trip last year and just loved it, so this year she arranged for a group of us to go along with them. Should be lots of fun. I've always thought that a cruise would be "my dream vacation" so it's great to start out the new year finally experiencing it.

One of the best parts are the destinations -- because they are along the Mexican coast line that we will be sailing down next year.

We've been to two of the ports of call: Manzanillo and Zihuatanejo, but this will be our first time into Acapulco and we're happy to see it from the deck of the Carnival Spirit -- it will make sailing in aboard Cetus much easier since we'll already have a lay of the land.

I will be taking our SPOT messanger with us to record much of our route -- so you can check out the "Where in the World are we" link to follow along if you'd like. We'll also be able to keep the GPS waypoints we record and enter them into our GPS on Cetus to aid us in our coarse plotting when we sail on our own.

Terry's shoulder surgery has been postponed till we get back from the cruise. Originally we thought it would be a great relaxing way to recoup, but since it was all scheduled he had a knee problem crop up and yesterday we found out he can have both the knee and the shoulder done at the same time -- and they don't recommend flying so soon after knee surgery due to the danger of blood clots.

So in a week we're off on a cruise aboard a much bigger boat than we're used to!

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01/08/2009 | Joan and Jack
Wish we were going along....on the BIG BOAT
Have a great great time....take lots of pictures.
Happy New Year!!
01/02/2009, Gig Harbor, WA

Happy New Year!
The snow is pretty much gone and right now we're enjoying the first sunny day that's come this way in a very long time!
It's time to take down the Christmas lights and decorations and start plugging away at our list of things to do to get ready to cruise!
Terry's scheduled to have shoulder surgery January 8th, then he'll have knee surgery in March. Hopefully his recovery time will give him a chance to get some writing done on his next book that's in the works.
Wishing you all a healthy and happy 2009!

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01/05/2009 | Dave
Good luck on the surgery Terry and get well soon so you can get this show underway!
Making Plans
Cold October Morning
10/07/2008, Gig Harbor, WA

One thing that we're looking forward to on our upcoming cruise is the luxury of time.
The last two cruises we had a limited number of days before we'd have to return to the rat race. This one should be more open ended.
And because we'll have more time, we can get into cruising mode as soon as we leave our slip in Gig Harbor. Always before we needed to rush down the coast to maximize our time in the southern climes.
Now we plan to harbor hop down the coast, so instead of staying out to sea for a week at a time, we'll pull into and enjoy coastal towns along the way.
We've been lucky to have cruising friends nearby that have shared information with us on their experiences to help us form our plans.
Steve & Kay Van Slyke of Kavenga have harbor hopped down the coast twice and gave us tips on the best stops and "must dos" in each port.
Then we got together with Roy & Winona of Saucy Lady for an evening of reminiscing and they shared their experiences in the Galapagos -- one of our main goals.

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Visit our Photo Gallery!
08/26/2008, Gig Harbor, WA

In addition to the new format we're trying out, to the right you'll now find a link to our photo gallery.
We've only entered a few pictures so far, but many more will be coming, so stop on by and check it out!

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Where are you going?
03/13/2008, Gig Harbor, WA

I think the question we get asked the most about our upcoming trip is "Where will you go this time?"
And our answer is vague, because as we've learned in the past, cruising plans are fluid, "written in Jello", as is said. Cruisers must be flexible and ready to change their plans for any number of reasons. so we won't have a hard and fast scedule when we depart.
We do, however, have a couple of destinations that we really hope to see:
1. The Galapagos
2. Australia
What we do on the way, in between, or after those goals remains to be seen, so even though we have a couple definite destinations in mind we don't have a time schedule for visiting them -- that will be made up as we go.

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12/03/2008 | Juli
Ahoy Terry and Heidi...I really enjoyed your book, and must include a Congrats!! We homeschoolers (Lynch bunch) will be following you along your new adventure!! Best of luck with all your prep work... Juli
Sunrise in Gig Harbor
02/10/2008, Murphy's Landing Marina

Here's a beautiful sunrise off the stern of Cetus one crisp winter morning.

When we moved back aboard Cetus last June we were a bit apprehensive about what living aboard in the winter in the Northwest would be like, but sights like this make it all worthwhile.

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02/11/2008 | Jack and Joan
Here's to another great adventure for two super friends...we will miss you around the harbor and the San Juan cruises.

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