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CETUS TALES
After leaving Gig Harbor, WA in 2009, we 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're now heading down the coast on our way to La Paz.
Another One Leaves the Dock
01/24/2011

Scott Free left good old dock 3 yesterday to go explore mainland Mexico for a few months -- they will be missed but we all look forward to meeting up again with fresh stories to tell.

We first met this fun, high energy couple in Newport, OR as we were both traveling down the coast from the Pacific NW and then enjoyed their company here on Dock 3 in Marina Palmira last winter and again this year. We look forward to seeing them again this summer when they return to the Sea of Cortez.

Hasta Luego Scott and Monica!

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The scene of the crime
01/23/2011

We still had some old fuel to be run out of the outboard, so Terry and I took a spin out in the bay and I got a shot of the buoy that poor manta ray had been dragging around.......

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Company's Coming!!
01/22/2011, La Paz

We're busy preparing Cetus for a guest again!

Our good friend Liz took advantage of the sale Alaska Air had on flights to Mexico and will fly in Monday to spend a week with us!

She's staying at our favorite nearby hotel, The El Morro, where she stayed 10 years ago when she came for a visit when we were here preparing to sail to the South Pacific. We first discovered the El Morro when we had Cetus hauled out here years ago having the bottom re-done and found it to be a comfortable and charming place to stay.

We're hoping to have at least a couple days with no Norther's so we can take her out to Isla Espirtu Santo for some swimming & snorkeling & beach combing and hopefully some kayaking around La Paz, and a trip to the Magote to look for the Whale Sharks, but most of all, Liz and I will do what we do best: solve the problems of the world over a Scrabble board while relaxing around the pool at the El Morro!

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The Whale Shark
01/19/2011

This was the best shot I got of the Whale Shark yesterday -- doesn't show much. We did get a little closer one time, but even then it was just the fin and the dark shadow of it's large body just under the surface. I have yet to really "see" a Whale Shark the way everyone in the Northern Sea was able to experience them last summer -- even swimming along side them!

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01/20/2011 | jack
Some people are having way too much fun! Our only consolation is that Tomorrow we are going to the boat show...Cheers.
Dinghy Day
Summer's Back!
01/19/2011

The north winds stopped blowing giving way to a beautiful, warm "summer day" yesterday. Several boats took the opportunity to leave La Paz for a crossing to the mainland (Mazatlan or Puerto Vallarta) while others headed north to the nearby islands of Isla Espirtu Santo and Isla Partida.

But several of us stayed in the neighborhood and had a great dinghy adventure and headed over to the El Magote penninsula in search of the Whale Sharks that hang out near there. It was easy to spot the lone Whale Shark that was out there that day, because the tour boats from La Paz followed it around trying to get close enough for their paying customers to take pictures or to jump in the water to snorkel with it.

We went to shore for our picnic lunch and to explore the long, shell covered beach and enjoyed being out in the warm sun. It was a fun "vacation" day and when the tour boats left we went back out and got a bit closer look at the Whale Shark before returning home.

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01/19/2011 | jack
What fun...any pics of the whale shark, or is this just a terry fish story.
01/19/2011 | Jeanne Walker
sounds like the "Whale" boats that follow the Orcas up here in the San Juans.
01/19/2011 | Terry & Heidi Kotas
I didn't get close enough to see more than the fin out of water and the dark mass below it -- so all I have are pictures of the fin that could be anything ;-(
Marina Life
01/16/2011, Dock 3 Marina Palmira, La Paz BCS

We just got an email from some cruising friends that have gone over to the mainland of Mexico to explore that coast this winter and they mentioned we hadn't updated our blog lately. I have been remiss in adding posts, and I think its a result of being here at the marina. It's not that we don't do anything here -- in fact we're constantly busy -- but being at a dock makes it seem more like life back home (but with much nicer weather!) so I don't really think about updating everyone on what we're up to on a daily basis.

We really enjoy spending the winter months in La Paz and feel it's well worth while to splurge on dock space for that time. The islands are close by and we can get out for short excursions but can return to the comforts of "Marina Life" when the cold Northers blow.

Since our first day back in La Paz we settled into our old routine of starting the day with a 6:30 am hike up the mountain behind the marina to the fisherman's cross. We walked -- or hiked -- everyday back in Gig Harbor, too, but it is so much easier to do here when you don't have to worry about waking up to rain -- or snow!

Then the days are filled with boat projects, shopping, reading, visiting or playing games with friends, walking through town and all the other normal routines in life: cooking, cleaning, laundry and such.

As I've said before, dock life and life on the hook are two different worlds and I enjoy them both and feel very lucky to be able to have a balance between the two.





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2011
Ringing in the New Year
01/01/2011

We had a great dock party last night to celebrate the New Year. There was a good turnout (12 people) which is pretty amazing considering that most all of us go to bed around 9 o'clock!

We reflected on how lucky we are to be leading this crazy cruising lifestyle and talked about our plans for the coming year. The sand we wrote our plans in last year has been shifting and changing this past month and like all good cruising plans, ours have changed.

We have an opportunity to join our good friends in Greece this June, so we worked on all kinds of scenarios to figure a good place to leave Cetus at that time, taking in to consideration cyclone seasons, safe marinas and convenient airports. In the end we realized it would just make life much simpler to spend another year in the Sea of Cortez and save our Galapagos adventure for 2012.

So, as we sit enjoying this first day of the New Year we are excited to see what the year has in store for us.

We wish you and yours a very Happy New Year filled with health, love and adventure.

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01/01/2011 | jack and joan
Happy New Year......we did go to bed around 9pm.....clear skies and 24 degrees, it just doesn't get much better than that!; NOT!..wish we were there...
Cabo!
12/08/2010, Cabo San Lucas

We had a fun road trip taking the bus (the luxurious PLUS bus -- not a chicken bus!) to Cabo San Lucas to visit my brother Dave and his wife Pink. The 3 hour trip down went pretty quick and we took a cab to Cost Co (which though it's not on the water has a great view of bay and the famous arch at Lover's Beach) to pick up a few items before we joined them at their time share at Marina Fiesta (overlooking the small boat harbor) for a nice relaxing "pool day".

We enjoyed visiting with them and their friends with drinks poolside then went out for a fun lunch at Billygan's Island where we got to see the crazy side of Cabo life -- a world apart from our life in La Paz.

It was a nice break from our normal routine and great to see them again! We love it when we get visitor's because then we are on vacation too!

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12/10/2010 | Becky
Glad you get a break - sounds like you are enjoying you visitors. We are looking forward to having relatives visit soon.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.......
now that's one big Christmas present!
12/05/2010, La Paz

My mind is telling me it's July or August since the weather here in La Paz is like a pleasant summer day in the Northwest, but the town is decorating up and playing Christmas music every where we go, so I know Christmas is right around the corner.

Today I dug down in the "deep storage" under the V-berth and pulled out my bag of Christmas decor and we strung the lights around the life lines, hung our socks and placed Pirate Santa on the bow of the boat, so now Cetus is in the Christmas spirit, too.

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La La La La La LA PAZ!
Dock Party!
11/30/2010

We came into Marina Palmira in La Paz a few days ahead of schedule due to another strong norther coming in that we decided we'd rather sit out at the comfort of the dock -- so here we are!

Plans are to home base here for the next 2 months while we prepare for our trip to the Galapagos. It should be another enjoyable winter here with many of the same friends gathering here again through the holidays. It's good to be "home".

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Happy Thanksgiving!
11/25/2010, San Evaristo

We won't have a turkey this year but we certainly could have -- there's a huge Cruiser's Thanksgiving celebration in La Paz that many many cruisers migrate to and they will have turkey with all the fixin's. I could have purchased my own turkey in the little store by the marina in Puerto Escondido, too. But it was a bit too large for my refrigerator or my oven so I decided to once again celebrate by making up our favorite side dishes (aren't those the best part anyway?)

We're tucked into a protected anchorage in San Evaristo to wait out a norther and will enjoy the holiday with the few other cruisers with a small potluck.

We wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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11/25/2010 | Jeanne Walker
Jeanne and I wish you both a very happy Thanksgiving! it has finally warmed up a bit, but there will be a white Thanksgiving seattle this year. Yesterday morning it was 14 degrees when we got off the boat!!

have a great day!!
Back in the water again!
11/11/2010, On a buoy in Puerto Escondido

Ahhhhhhh..... The work is done and Cetus is a boat again!

Puerto Escondido is a unique place -- the large harbor is completely surrounded by land with just a small entry channel. In fact the name means Hidden Harbor. They've filled the harbor with mooring buoys, so instead of anchoring you grab a buoy. You can anchor, but they charge you the same to anchor or grab a buoy and the buoys are checked regularly and are supposed to be very secure, so we're happily tied to buoy #62.

We chose a buoy far out in the harbor because there is no cell phone service in at the marina -- the tower near Loreto is blocked by large hills. But, it you get out here near the low spots or "windows" you can pick up the cell service -- maybe a little spotty but it's the 1st cell service we've had since we got to Puerto Escondido last Sunday, so we're happy to be in contact again!

We'll stay here until Tuesday when Carly flies in then we hope to take her out to see a couple of our favorite anchorages then come back and play tourist in Loreto.

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It's a hard, hard life -- Life on the Hard
11/10/2010, Boatyard in Puerto Escondido

That's the title of one of the humorous cruising songs by Eileen Quinn -- Life on the Hard. That's what cruiser's call being hauled out of the water for boat work and it is certainly different than life on the water.

A boat out of water feels so strange -- it looses all it's life. Then there's the fact that you are "up in the air" as the boat sits on stands and you have to climb a ladder to get on and off -- which isn't one of my favorite things.

Back home in the States when we'd haul the boat out we would stay somewhere else, like a motel, while it was out of the water. But here (as was the case when we were on the hard in Tahiti and Fiji) there isn't a motel close enough for us to stay since we don't have a car to get to and from the boat easily. So it's Life on the Hard for the Cetus Crew.

It's a bit like camping since the water systems can't be used, so we have to leave the boat to use the restrooms, showers and wash out dishes. But one big benefit is I don't want to dirty a lot of dishes so we eat dinner at the nice restaurant here at the marina. That's not so hard.

All the work projects have gone well. Terry's got his projects done that involve the trough holes and is now just waxing the hull and painting the rub rail. I got the bottom paint all done and polished the brass prop. Hopefully we will go back in the water tomorrow and Cetus can come to life again. It's really not such a hard, hard life.

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11/11/2010 | Jeanne Walker
What a very funny song,,,,in fact the whole album is great. I especially like the song about what "I miss in my old job" Sounds like all your out of the water projects are going well....good for you!!
Countdown!
Time to head home!
09/26/2010

We've finally booked a flight so we can get back to Cetus in Santa Rosalia!
We're anxious to get back home to the simpler cruising life and we're excited to have a date set: October 24th

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09/26/2010 | Richard Boren
We just pulled into the Marina today and Cetus looks good. We should see you guys when we retrun from the States around the same timeframe, so we can let our cats get together!
09/27/2010 | Anna Wessel
congrats.... I'm glad your getting back to the warm....
09/27/2010 | Jeanne Walker
Ahhh you braggers!!! Just kidding!! We are just jealous...We hope that we can catch up with you down in Portland before you head back to Mexico.
10/05/2010 | vicki bugbee-reed
Hi kids. Fun reading your blog postings. We'll be in boat yard in San Carlos by 11/1, and will probably be there around a week or so. Plan to be in La Paz by Dec. 20, as friends arriving 12/22. Hope to run into you two.
10/05/2010 | southern cross
Oops. Put my name instead of boat name.
What a difference a day makes!
07/25/2010, Sweet Pea Cove, Isla San Marcos, Sea of Cortez

We're in day 35 of the test of the Cetus Crew to see if they can survive a summer in the Sea of Cortez.

While we were at the dock in Santa Rosalia (referred to by cruisers as the Hot Box) we had the luxury of shore side electricity so in addition to our many fans aboard Cetus, we purchased a large oscillating fan we named Windy and she was a life saver right along with the lap pool at the marina that we could soak in to reduce our core temperature. We knew things would be better out at anchor, because not only can you swim in the beautiful swimming pool surrounding your boat, but the nice breezes that can't make it over the breakwater at the marina blow by the boat keeping temperatures much more pleasant.

The first days out here at Sweet Pea Cove were everything we'd hoped it would be -- light breezes, refreshing swimming -- much better than the hot stuffy marina. Sure, it was too hot to hike or cook in the galley, but these were minor obstacles to overcome. We enjoyed some pretty good snorkeling during the days and toward evening we'd be entertained by jumping manta rays and other fish and we could see whales blowing in the distance. Beautiful sunsets and comfortable night time temps to sit in the cockpit to watch DVD's or just look at the moon and the stars.

Then on Saturday the breezes died -- and the bees came out in full force. Our little paradise was no more. We still got out swimming -- it was the only relief from the heat, but after we'd rinse off we'd have to retreat down below to the hot cabin (it got up to 98!) because the hoards of bees searching for fresh water were buzzing around the 3 boats here in the anchorage.

We were seriously questioning our plan to spend the Summer in the Sea -- could we take heat like that day after day? Then the very next day, brisk winds picked up! We had 10 - 15+ knots of wind all day, keeping us cool (relatively speaking) all day! I was even able to do some cooking downstairs with the fresh breeze blowing through. So our enthusiasm for the challenge of the Summer in the Sea of Cortez is renewed. What a difference a day makes.

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07/26/2010 | Monica Stoner
Hi guys, we got back in the water Saturday at 5pm! The hotest day yet we've been told. We had to try our first night sleeping without AC on a hot boat!

We have a couple more days here getting things right to leave such as sails. Today we got the new dingy together and in the water. We'll have to make a plan on meeting up for your Christmas in summer package! Oh, and to meet Rosie!
The Sun and the Bees
07/23/2010, Sweet Pea Cove, Isla San Marcos, Sea of Cortez

The bees in the Sea of Cortez know that the cruising boats are a good source of fresh water and scouts regularly come by checking things out. The trick is to keep screens on the ports and hatches so they can't get below where there is a plentiful supply and to keep fresh water off the deck.

That's where it gets tricky. With the hot sun you need to swim to cool off and when you swim in the salt water you need to rinse off in fresh water, so you need to time it so that everything dries off before a scout comes by because if you get caught he'll have a swarm of friends out to your boat in a matter of minutes. Leave a swimsuit hanging out to dry and it will soon be covered with bees.

Luckily these seem to be fairly harmless bees -- they look like honeybees and they don't seem intent on stinging and are easily swatted away, but it is very disconcerting to have them swarm around your boat. We've gotten pretty good with dealing with them and they haven't been a real problem -- except for having to be so cautious with the fresh water. We also have spray and an electronic bug swatter -- both of which discourage them from setting up camp aboard Cetus.

The best news is that they only come around during the day when the sun is out, so in the evening, night and early morning we have no worries. And with the dry air, we can hang things out at night and they will be dry in the morning and bee free.

Always an adventure!

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What do you do all day?
07/22/2010, Sweet Pea Cove, Isla San Marcos, Sea of Cortez

Now that it's the HOT season here in the Sea of Cortez and we are back out at anchor, our routine has changed a bit so I thought I'd do another blog to answer the ever popular question: What do you do all day?

Our daily walks and hikes are no more. Now instead of a morning walk we go snorkeling and then we go swimming two or three more times during the day, the last dip being just as the sun goes down. We keep looking at the hills on shore saying we can't wait to hike up to the top of a couple of them, but so far we've only made it to shore once in the 6 days we've been anchored off Isla San Marcos! And that was a brief foray to the rocky beach to burn some garbage. The sun's just to intense during the day to even think about hiking, but one of these days we'll venture in early before the sun comes out from behind the hills and climb once again.

So our days revolve around swimming, with little projects and lots of reading thrown in. The temperatures are in the 90's during the day and drop to around 85 at night and the dips into the water keep you cool (well, relatively cool) for two or three hours after you get out. We've been fortunate to have afternoon breezes to help keep things comfortable, too.

The only cooking I've done in the cabin lately is toast for breakfast. Yesterday I browned ground beef for a taco salad in a pan on the BBQ and today I successfully made a pizza on the BBQ! Tomorrow I plan to boil eggs and potatoes on the Barbie to make a potato salad.

After dinner when the dishes are done we enjoy sitting in the cockpit watching the beautiful sunsets, then we'll take the DVD player outside and watch a movie under the stars where it's refreshingly cool.

And, as always, the days go surprising fast.

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Ahhhh......... at anchor again
07/17/2010, Sweet Pea Cove, Isla San Marcos

After 44 days at the dock we were relieved to untie the lines and get back out into the Sea!

As I've said before, dock life has it's benefits, like laundry, electricity, fresh water and easy access to shopping, but a week or maybe two of that is all you really need. Due to our excursions back to the States we ended up being at the dock much longer than we really wanted to be and going the short distance over to Isla San Marcos has been a real treat. The weather's much more comfortable -- you just don't feel the breeze in the marina and swimming in the beautiful water around the boat is much more enjoyable than going up to cool off in the lap pool at the marina.

We plan to hang out in this area for 2 - 3 weeks, then go back in to Santa Rosalia for some last provisioning (and Rosie's shots) then head further north for the duration of the long hot summer in the Sea of Cortez.

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We're melting.....
The heat is on!
07/15/2010, at the dock in Santa Rosalia

Since my return to Cetus one week ago the temperature has been steadily rising and now it is officially HOT.

Daytime activity has been reduced to soaking in the lap pool or anything that can be done in front of a fan -- thank goodness for "Windy"!

We've been going out every evening gathering groceries and provisions so we can head out to the anchorages on Isla San Marcos at the end of the week. We'd originally planned to go straight up to the Bay of LA when I got back, but we need to come back in to Santa Rosalia to take Rosie to the vet for her second set of shots at the end of the month.

We're anxious to get out to the anchorages again! There we'll catch the breezes better than here at the marina, plus we can go swimming in the Sea to cool off during the day. The pool here at the marina is a real life saver, but just not as enjoyable as swimming and snorkeling.

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07/17/2010 | Jill and Bryant
We'll take a little of that heat up here in AK, as we woke up to 49 degrees and rain. Snorkeling, swimming, sun . . . sounds like fun and a world away. Well, only 4 months now. We enjoyed the book . . sequel coming soon?
Interview With A Cruiser Project
06/15/2010

Our interview is now on the IWCP blogsite -- to check it out:Click Here

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06/15/2010 | Jack and Joan
Just checked the interview...you nailed it!....enjoy what you have...(sounds like a good boat name).
06/15/2010 | Ray and Sandy Klatt
What a great interview! Wife and I grabbed every word. We're learning the bumps and bouncing around of cruising and have very few illusions...(well except for me because I believe life is a vacation from the alternative...anything else for me is untenable and probably unbearable... Ray (from Ray and Sandy on Pure Joy).

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