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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.
Full Moon Rising
04/18/2011

What a beautiful sight!

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As Time Flies By
04/17/2011, V-Cove, Isla Carmen

As the weather turned to southerly winds following the great Norther we headed off to new anchorages and were delighted with both Bahia Cobre and V-Cove on Isla Carmen. Cobre was just an overnight stop after leaving Bahia Salinas about 5pm as we saw the wind begin to turn. It provided a calm comfortable anchorage and the next morning we headed to the north of the island and tucked into small V-Cove and enjoyed a day of hiking up a huge sand dune to a hill where we could view the salt flats of Bahia Salinas and we followed that with a snorkel trip in the clear water. We finished the day viewing the Space Station pass overhead followed by the big full moon rising over the hills. Another good day in the Sea of Cortez.

The following morning it was time to head back into Puerto Escondido so Joni could catch her flight out Tuesday afternoon. We made a short stop at Honeymoon Cove on Isla Danzante where we had lunch then hiked around the island -- that way we completed our promised 3 Island Tour.

We spent Tuesday in Loreto for some shopping and lunch before her flight, then as Joni flew home we readied Cetus for our travels north.

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04/20/2011 | Debbie
Hi Heidi & Terry,
This places sounds like paradise. Warm and sunny and I so need Sun right now. So sick of this weather, we've had a couple a days of sun but the temp is only in the 40's. Miss ya
Snow in Baja
04/16/2011, Bahia Salinas, Isla Carmen

After the winds subsided from the 2 day blow, we left our protected anchorage at Punta Perico and moved about 4 miles into the larger Bahia Salinas.

We've seen Bahia Salinas before on our hikes across Isla Carmen from Puerto Ballandra, but this was our first time coming into this very interesting spot and I'm sure it won't be the last. We had a full day of activitly first beachcombing the long (1 1/2) mile) white sand beach, then exploring the buildings and equiptment left over from the big salt mining operation and then out to the salt ponds that were white with salt crystals and resembled an ice and snow covered lake.

Then it was back to the boat for some lunch and to collect our snorkeling gear to investigate the sunken tuna boat in the center of the bay. That was a first for all of us, snorkeling around a wreck and it was fascinating.

Since Bahia Salinas is exposed to south we knew we'd have to leave early in the morning due to south winds a coming, so when the light north winds abruptly died about 5 o'clock we took that as our cue to leave so we wouldn't have to worry about the wind changing on us in the night. It was a short hour long hop around the corner to Punta Cobre which is a good south wind anchorage and we had a nice comfortable night in the beautiful little cove.

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The BIG Blow
04/15/2011, Punta Perico South, Isla Carmen

The predicated Norther came in yesterday and has been blowing 20 - 30 since yesterday noon (with a couple gusts to 40!).

The good thing is we are tucked in to a well protected anchorage on the East side of Isla Carmen (a new spot for us) and though we feel (and hear) the wind, we don't have much fetch in front of us so no waves are building up. The bad thing was it continued ALL night -- usually the winds die down a bit at night, but not this one. It's predicted to blow like this again today dying down tonight. So Joni is getting the whole look at life in the Sea of Cortez: The good, the bad and the ugly -- and she's only been down here 3 days!

What adventures will today bring?

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04/15/2011 | Monica Stoner
Momma kitty here has 4 babies. We'll bring you up one!

Hope to see you soon in PE as we'll start the trip north the first of the week.
Dolphin Day!
04/14/2011, The Three Island Tour

We left Puerto Escondido at the crack of dawn on Wednesday to begin the 3 Island Tour we had planned for Joni on her week long visit aboard Cetus and we're delighted to be surrounded by hundreds of jumping dolphin on our way to our first stop: Isla Coronados.

We were lucky enough to be the only boat in the beautiful anchorage of Isla Coronados and enjoyed an afternoon of snorkeling and then watching a small pod of dolphin that circled the anchorage. After a beautiful sunset and a calm night we are now headed to Isla Carmen where we will stay tucked in for a couple days when a small Norther blows through. The big pod of dolphin just joined us for a few more great photo ops.

Another treat yesterday was getting to download Dave Calhoun's new CD, Momentary Mutiny, and enjoy listening to his great new tunes while sitting in our little piece of paradise. It's great! Way to go Dave!!

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04/15/2011 | Dave C.
THANKS Heidi! A compliment like yours means more than you can possibly know -- but, without people like yourself to continue to believe in what I try to do I'd have no platform and little reason for writing songs and performing. So, again, THANK YOU.
Big Blow a comin'
04/10/2011, Puerto Escondido

We'd planned to come back into Puerto Escondido on Monday to be in port to pick up our friend, Joni, that is flying into Loreto on Tuesday for a week long visit with us. But a big Norther was predicted to start up Sunday morning so we scooted back in on Saturday to sit the big blow out on one of the mooring buoys in here.

So far the big wind hasn't developed but we're ready for it when it does. Then we'll pick Joni up at the airport on Tuesday and head back out to do an island tour with her.

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04/11/2011 | jack
Oh hell....and I bet the temperatures are plummeting into the mid 70's be sure to take a sweater.....Glad you are having a fabulous time...

Ijust started scraping varnish..it must be spring...
Out in the wild again!
04/06/2011, Puerto Ballandra, Isla Carmen

Early Tuesday morning we left the land of docks and mooring buoys (and the related "luxuries" that go along with marinas like laundry, Wifi, restaurants and stores) and are now happy to be out "on the hook" again. We're in Puerto Ballandra -- a favorite from last year -- and have enjoyed afternoon swims and starry nights. Today, along with our friends on Prairie Oyster, we did the LONG hike across the island. We're not sure how far it is, but it took us 3.5 hours round trip -- and we're all pretty good hikers. We were rewarded with a beautiful view on the other side as it looks down over the salt flats, anchorage and village of Salinas.

The funny part of this anchorage is that it seems so removed from civilization, yet we're only 9 or so miles across the water from Loreto, so we can see the city lights at night -- and we have cell phone service!

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04/06/2011 | Monica
It sounds wonderful! We had sunshine, rain, hail, sleet and a brief snow shower today with a high temp of 46. Its 38 right now. Brrrr, wish I were there!
Hanging out in Puerto Escondido
Cetus at Sunrise
04/02/2011

After 3 weeks of enjoying the beautiful anchorages we came into Puerto Escondido to get a small hit of civilization, wash the boat, do laundry, a little internet (very little unfortunately as the WiFi hasn't been working very well here) and pick up some fresh supplies.

Yesterday we enjoyed a "pool day" with our friends on Prairie Oyster at a hotel down the street. For the price of a couple drinks and a light lunch we were allowed to enjoy the pool for a refreshing swim -- a nice break because that's one thing we miss here in Puerto Escondido is our afternoon swim.

Today we'll be renting a car for a little land excursion and a trip into Loreto then we'll be heading back out to the beautiful anchorages at the beginning of the week.

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04/02/2011 | Jeanne Walker
what a great picture!! SUN it's the SUN...not much of that up here right now. But we are heading your way very soon...17 days and counting!! Going down to Portland next weekend to see Dave play the opening day at Island Cafe!!
Whale Ho!
03/26/2011, Bahia Agua Verde

We're beginning our 4th day in lovely Agua Verde and have enjoyed every minute of it. Great hiking and swimming and beautiful sunrises and sunsets with calm and restful nights.

And yesterday we had an extra treat when some large whales came into the bay. Terry and I were out in the dinghy watching some small sailboats work themselves out of the bay when we were startled by the loud blow of a whale right behind us -- only about 50 feet away!! We followed along -- at a safe distance -- for awhile, but never got that close again so the pictures I got don't reflect the closeness of that first startling sighting! After we returned to the boat, we were able to enjoy watching the two huge creatures swimming in the bay just outside our cozy little anchorage. As Terry loves to say: "Better than TV!"

Another fun thing we've been watching while anchored here is the goats. There's a small herd of about a dozen goats that walk in a line behind the leader with a bell clanking and, like clockwork, every evening they plod down the small hill at the head of the bay, across the short expanse of beach and up the hill on the other side. Then, in the morning they come back down the hill, back across the beach and up the other side. It's a comical sight.

Our plans have us heading north a bit tomorrow, and next week sometime we'll go into Puerto Escondido where we will have internet again and I hope to post some pictures at that time.

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03/27/2011 | Jeanne Walker
What a treat!! we are getting very short up here and your great posts make us even more excited` to get on our way!!
03/31/2011 | Rod & Jane
Some guy saw my Rick's Place tee shirt here (in the Anacortes West Marine) & said "I've read that book". Terry your famous!!!!
We completed our Quest!
03/23/2011, Bahia Agua Verde

After spending a very rolly day at San Telmo, we took the opportunity when the wind and seas calmed to head north to a better protected anchorage since the forecast is for more north winds starting tomorrow. We slipped out of the anchorage, along with our friends on Prairie Oyster, at 4 am with great visibility due to the nearly full waning moon. We would have left even earlier, but we didn't want to get to the next anchorage before sunrise. It's one thing to travel in the open under moonlight, but another thing to pull into a small anchorage and try to find a good spot to set the hook.

We were making good time so we decided to bypass one of our good north wind anchorages at San Marte, and went just a bit further to the very popular Agua Verde. At 8:00 am we tucked into the small protected north cove with about 6 other boats -- and right next to the Safari Quest!

After we'd been anchored about half an hour, Steve and Yo spotted our boat and called over to us, then they were able to kayak over for a brief visit before they headed in to shore to do the burro ride into the hills. We were thrilled to get to see them and hear a little about their trip -- especially after thinking there would be no way for us to catch up to them here due to the weather.

We plan to stay here 2 or 3 days before heading north, and the Safari Quest will begin their journey south, back to La Paz with a few more great stops along the way.

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03/23/2011 | Jeanne Walker
I am pretty sure that the "Q" on your key board has never seen so much use as it has on the last two posts!! Sounds like you are having a blast!! we are down to a just a few days of work up here, and then head out about the 18th of April...Yee Haa
03/31/2011 | Rod & Jane
Lookin' pretty small next to the Quest.... We've been in Puget Sound about a week now & are itching to get back to the boat in San Carlos. It's to cold here... Hope to see you soon.
Quest for the Quest
Life on Mars (Los Gatos)
03/22/2011, Punta San Telmo

We left La Paz with the rough itinerary of where the Safari Quest would be traveling this week and we hoped to maybe catch up to them somewhere on their route just to say hi. We did spot the boat heading north one day while we were heading to San Evaristo to catch back up with our friends on Prairie Oyster and we did circle in the anchorage the Quest was anchored in at Isla San Francisco where we could see the silhouettes of the passengers hiking along the high ridge.

Our next stop after a pleasant night at San Evaristo was a new one to us: Punta San Telmo. It's a gorgeous spot and we saw lots of wildlife -- whales and dolphin -- on the six hour trip. An afternoon dinghy ride down to Los Gatos provided a wonderful day of exploring and beach combing surrounded by the red hills and rounded rocks -- it looks like you're on Mars.

We were planning on making the next short hop north tomorrow to Agua Verde, where the Quest is scheduled to go in for a mule ride on Wednesday. But, the weather has decided otherwise for us with a norther cropping up today and lasting maybe thru Thursday -- so our Quest for the Quest has been quenched.

On the bright side, Manuel, the local lobster guy came by yesterday to see if we'd like fresh lobster today and he just delivered it! We have six very large lobster in a bucket in the cockpit and Rosie is simply fascinated by the whole thing.

Right now the anchorage is a little rocky with some side swell coming in, but we're hoping when the winds build that this will calm down -- it was quite a feat getting the lobster off the panga without it crashing into the side of Cetus in these rocky conditions. This is the first rolly anchorage we've had since leaving La Paz on March 8th and we did have another quiet night -- we feel very fortunate.

So that's it for now from the Cetus Crew in the Sea of Cortez.

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Heading North
03/19/2011

We left Marina Palmira in La Paz at 7 am this morning and now we will be heading north for the next couple months exploring all the wonderful anchorages the Sea of Cortez has to offer, until we return to La Paz in mid May.

We had a fun visit with our friends, Steve and Yo and the rest of their crew, Allan and Chuck. They will be setting out on their filming cruise aboard the Safari Quest this afternoon, and we're hoping we can meet up with them again somewhere along the way on their adventure.

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Short trip to La Paz
03/18/2011

We took a short hop back down to La Paz to visit with friends from Gig Harbor that flew in on the 17th. They'll be going out on the small La Paz based cruise ship, the Safari Quest, to film a TV show.

So on our short stop, in addition to seeing our friends, we did laundry, provisioning (veggies etc) a couple minor repairs and caught up on some internet time. I've added a few new photo albums to our gallery and you can check those out to the right.

Now we'll head back North tomorrow with plans to spend time in the Loreto area until we return to La Paz again mid May. But, as you know, those plans are written in the sand and subject to change at any time.

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03/19/2011 | Dave C.
Plans written in sand...hmmm...sounds like that could be the title of a new song...hmmmm ;^)
The Ever Changing Sea
When the water grows colder does the grass grow thicker?
03/11/2011, Caleta Partida

Now that we've been in the Sea of Cortez for over a year, we've been astounded by the drastic changes it goes through during the different seasons. For example, where we come from, Puget Sound, the water temperatures vary only a couple of degrees through out the whole year, but down here it changes dramatically. Summer water temperatures can be up to 85 degrees but quickly drop to comfortable 70's in the fall and in the winter it is quite chilly when it gets down to 65.

And now that we've been here through two winters, we know that all winters are not the same. Last year we enjoyed swimming and snorkeling up in the islands all through December and January, but this year it was colder so yesterday was the first day we've gotten in the water since last November.

Another change we've noticed is an abundance of sea grass covering the white sand in our favorite anchorages, making it difficult to anchor. We first heard about this while we were back at the dock and several boats talked about dragging anchor in San Evaristo, which had previously been regarded as one of the safest anchorages up this way because it is protected from nearly every wind direction (except East, which is the rarest down here). They blamed it on the slick grass that seemed to be everywhere and would come up in thick balls on their anchors when they were raised. We thought then that it was something unique to San Evaristo, because we hadn't encountered anything like that last year.

We were surprised the other day when we had to try a couple times to set our anchor -- rarely does it not set on the first try in these great sandy anchorages -- and we saw that there was an abundance of that slick grass coming up with the anchor and chain. Yesterday we experienced the same thing when we came into Caleta Partida and heard later from friends that they made several attempts to anchor here then went on to another anchorage. We were both amazed at the HUGE 3 foot across ball of green grass that would come up with the anchor on each failed attempt. We, luckily, were able to find a clear piece of ground on our second attempt and dug our anchor in securely.

Our friends that have spent many more years in the Sea than we have, don't remember a problem with this grass before. We're wondering if it is a result of the cooler water temperatures -- maybe this type of sea grass grows more prolifically in cold water?

Just another wonder of nature that keeps life interesting.

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Out in the Islands again!
03/09/2011, Ensenada de la Raza, Puerto Ballena, Isla Espitrtu Santo

We're out enjoying the beautiful anchorages on Espiritu Santos again! It feels nice to be out at anchor and we had a wonderful calm star filled night last night in Bahia San Gabriel then this morning hopped a few miles north to Ensenada de la Raza where we have great protection from the Norther that is gong to be developing today.

Our plans for now are to enjoy the anchorages here and then head back into La Paz for a couple days on the 17th to meet up with friends that are flying in to La Paz to shoot a movie aboard the Safari Quest, a small cruise ship that sails up to the islands out of La Paz. We hope that we'll be able to catch up with them again up here in the islands when they're on their tour, too.

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Carnival 2011
another great Carnival in La Paz
03/08/2011

Our last few days in La Paz were very special as we were happy to enjoy the festivities of Carnival. This marked our 3rd Carnival in La Paz, the first one was when we were down here 10 years ago when our daughter, Carly, was actually on a float in the parade with a bunch of other cruising kids.

The parades are more spectacular than I remember from that first visit and the whole event is an experience I'd highly recommend to anyone passing this way. The foods, the bands, the exquisite costumes, the rides and games are a sight to behold. I'll post some pictures as soon as I can, but we are off in the islands now and I won't have internet connection for a while.


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Photo Updates!
02/14/2011

I've added a couple new albums to our photo gallery -- one from our land trip to the old mining town of El Triunfo and one from our recent trip to the island of Espiritu Santo.

I am constantly in awe at the beauty of the area -- the geology is amazing and the contrasting colors of the red/green/black and white cliffs to the blue and turquoise water -- simply gorgeous!

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Still on Vacation.....
02/11/2011, Ensenada de la Raza, Puerto Ballena, Isla Espitrtu Santo

We're still enjoying life on the hook up in the beautiful anchorages of Espiritu Santo. Yesterday we moved a little south from Caleta Partida to a picturesque lobe of Puerto Ballena -- a spot we've never been before. Still haven't managed to try out the water (other than wading) but enjoying the pleasant 70+ degree days and exploring the various beaches.

Our friends on Prairie Oyster headed back to the barn (Marina Palmira) today, but we decided to enjoy one more relaxing day at anchor before going back to the busy life at the dock in La Paz.

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02/11/2011 | jack
Be careful, remember after a vacation, the traffic can be a bitch.....road rage on the water, not a pretty sight.
02/11/2011 | Jeanne Walker
"we decided to enjoy one more relaxing day at anchor before going back to the busy life at the dock in La Paz." yeah yeah...I can just imagine that busy dock schedule you have!! LOL sounds like your having fun!! Jeanne has 6 more "Work Days" while I wil have to keep my nose to the grind stone for another month....then we will try to catch up to you two.....dont you take off to Greece or somewhere soon?


02/12/2011 | Phil anderson
Just read about the Manta ray incident...good for you.......good people !!!
We're Off to The Islands!
02/09/2011, Caleta Partida

We finally broke away from the dock yesterday for a short Island Get-Away and spent our first night at anchor in Caleta Partida -- one of the many beautiful anchorages on the islands of Espirtu Santo and Partida. In fact, it is a large bay that divides the two islands and is the crater of an ancient volcano.

We're real open ended on this short "vacation" and will be out 3 - 7 days just taking it day by day with a watch on the weather.

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The BIG Fish Story
always an adventure!
01/22/2011

Terry and the Manta Ray

It all started with having Sea Otter Jimmy (an outboard engine repair guy here in La Paz) come over to Cetus to do maintenance on our 10 year old Mercury outboard. He took it for a day and brought it back saying it was all tuned up and ready to go -- looked in good shape and should last us another 10 years. But the gas in it was old and he suggested we run it out.

Sooo, today Terry decided to take our neighbor Jim out with him to buzz around in the bay. When they were about a mile and a half away from the marina they spotted a small cylindrical green buoy (about 2 feet long and 8 inches diameter) and as they approached they saw a fin pop up near the buoy so they wanted to get even closer to investigate. They then saw another fin pop up about 8 feet away.

As they tried to approach the buoy it seemed to stay the same distance from them and they thought there must be a strong current keeping them from moving in on it. So it wasn't until they speeded up and got right on top of the buoy that they realized that the two fins belonged to one large manta ray!

The buoy was attached by a line to a bucket of cement that served as a weight to keep it in place -- somewhere -- but the poor manta ray had caught the line in it's mandible (the large c shaped appendage at their mouth) and had drug it from who knows where!

They knew they needed to free the ray from the buoy so the plan of action that they came up with was to lasso the buoy with hopes to drag it out of the mandibles. They succeeded in lassoing the buoy, they put the engine in reverse to pull the weighted buoy free, but even in full reverse, the 15 horse Mercury was no match for the Manta Ray that proceeded to pull them around the shallow bay.

They continued to try to free him in this fashion for several attempts, as they didn't want to go in forward since the ray was fairly close to the surface and they didn't want to hurt it with the propeller. It soon became clear this was a futile attempt.

So then they decided to out run the ray by pulling the buoy forward, out of the large mandibles. The problem was that every time they would go forward, the engine would spook him and he'd change course dragging them in a new direction.

They then sat silently for several minutes then gunned the engine swinging as wide as the 10 foot rope would allow until they were finally in front of the large ray, who dove and changed direction and was released from the restraint of the buoy.

The last glimpse of the ray was as both of his fins splashed the water as it was finally free to swim again.

In the midst of the whole adventure, Jim said to Terry, "I read about this in a book!", and Terry pointed out to him it was similar to the story he'd relayed in his latest book, Adventures Aboard S/V Casablanca.

Another amazingly true fish story!

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01/23/2011 | jack
Great story!...Good job Terry....and material for the sequel, just another day in paradise.
01/23/2011 | Jeanne Walker
how cool is that!! way to you guys!! there just has to be some good Kaharma from that good deed!!

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The Cetus Crew
Who: Terry & Heidi Kotas and Street Cat Rosie
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