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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.
Watching the weather go by....

Just like last year we are keeping a close eye on the weather down south and hoping no nasty hurricanes will venture up the Sea this year.

Last year was a very light season, but this year we already have our 7th named storm! They give them a name once the tropical depression reaches storm conditions, and they usually become a hurricane shortly there after.

So far all have stayed well below the Sea of Cortez, but it is just now getting hot enough down there to attract them up. Cold water cuts their strength so they follow the heat. Right now there are two named storms spinning around at the same time! But one is off the path of Baja and will head towards Hawaii (it appears).

The latest event "Greg" does get our attention as he's pretty close in and building fast. To keep an eye on the eyes just click on our link to the right that says Hurricane Update.

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writing in the sand......
planning and preparing

I haven't made many blog posts lately -- as I stated when we left Cetus to travel north for the summer, I wouldn't be posting unless it had to do with cruising or sailing. But now we're in the midst of applying for our permits to the Galapagos, buying charts and parts for the boat, dreaming about routes to take and generally making cruising plans -- so now I have something to write about!

As I've always said, cruising plans are written in the sand and can change at any time, but it's sure fun playing in that sand. Reading blogs, emails, guides and chart books gets us excited to get back out there and discover new places again.

We're also upgrading some equipment and I will add to my list of Things that work......or don't. Below I did one on the new SPOT connect and if you want information on that -- or to look at other posts of Things that work..... or don't -- click on the appropriate link in the Great Links column to the right.

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Leaving Mexico
San Jose del Cabo

We fly out today heading to the States for some "off boat" adventures -- sad to leave but looking forward to visiting with family and friends.

While waiting to leave for the airport, I posted our latest pictures in the Photo Gallery, so take a look and enjoy!

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Our New Treehouse
05/20/2011, Puerto Escondido

Cetus was hauled out and put in the dry storage yard with the other boats being stored here for the summer. It's always so un-natural to see your boat taken out of the water and put on stands making it more like a treehouse than a home.

We spent the last two days packing things away and doing all kinds of prep work to keep her as nice as possible while she sits out the hot summer here while we go on to other adventures.

Since Cetus is not only our boat, but our home, the traveling we'll be doing this summer is actually traveling and not "going home". Since this blog is our Sailblog, I won't be chronicling our off boat adventures here, but plan to update the blog periodically with pertinent information on all things cruising, such as updates to our "what works... or not" articles or what's happening on our proceedings to get our paperwork in order for the big Galapagos adventure we have planned for next year.

Tomorrow we say adios to Cetus and look forward to returning home to her again next fall.

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Putting the Boat Away
you don't just lock the door.....
05/18/2011, Puerto Escondido

We got into Puerto Escondido on Sunday May 15th with lists of things to do to get Cetus ready for her May 20th haul out date. We were lucky to get a slip at the small dock which has made our preparations go a lot faster so they've moved up our haul out and she should get put on the hard this afternoon.

When leaving a boat for an extended length of time there's lots of preparations to take to protect everything from the harsh environment (HOT sun and possible hurricane force winds) and of course keeping creepy crawly things out of the boat.

Almost everything on the outside of the boat has to be removed and stored below -- sails, life ring, cushions, dodger, BBQ, EPIRB, etc etc. And everything below needs to be cleaned, organized and foods need to be gone through, keeping mostly only canned goods or unopened condiments.

We've also had to be packing during all of this using lists so we don't forget anything we need to take with us, so as you can imagine it's been a very busy few days and quite a logistics problem at times keeping it all organized in such a small space.

Luckily we'll be able to stay at a nearby motel once she comes out of the water today, which will make the final transition much easier. Then after a couple more days, we will be able to lock the door and leave.

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05/18/2011 | Monica Stoner
We brought the good weather with us. Sunny now and they say it may reach 70!
05/18/2011 | Susan Rabe
Hey I did not realize you would be out on the hard for the summer. Good luck and happy land sailing. See you in the fall maybe. Take care.
V-cation is over
palm trees on the south point of Isla Carmen
05/14/2011, Punta Colorada, Isla Carmen

I take great pains to tell people we're not on a vacation -- because we aren't. Cruising is just another way of life. It's not like going on a two week trip where you're surrounded by luxury -- it's really just real life in fairly exotic places. But there are times when you do consider it V-cation (as our daughter Carly called our trips when she was very young).

V-cation happens when you have company come to visit, so you enjoy the time as you would if you were on vacation too -- to make it special for them. Then there are those times when you've been at the dock in La Paz during the Winter and finally get out for a short vacation to the islands. Or, if the anchorage you're in has a hotel that gives you special privileges to use the pool for a day -- that's a great little "vacation" too. Well, this little V-cation we've been enjoying has to do with the end of the cruising season in the Sea of Cortez.

Sure, there are many boats that will stay here all through the hot summer, but as I've said before, for the most part every one disperses and puts their boat in a safe spot (whether on the hard or at a marina) and flees north to the cooler climes. Many have houses, others travel via RV or camper or stay with relatives.

This year we will be putting Cetus on the hard in Puerto Escondido when we fly "home" to do some other traveling. So today is our last day of "V-cation" as there is a lot of work involved in putting a boat away -- and that work starts tomorrow when we go into Puerto Escondido to prepare for our haul-out on May 20th.

So lately we've been spending all our time as if we are on V-cation. Today we enjoyed snorkeling in this "new to us" anchorage of Punta Colorada on the east side of Isla Carmen. We enjoyed racing in the dinghy to the southern most point of this 20 mile long island and walking on the beach. That after taking a hike, yesterday, from our anchorage at Punta Salinas to the northern most point of the island on V-Cove. It was a grueling hike at times, though there was a rough road to follow, and we did the 12K+ walk in around 4 hours seeing amazing scenery along the way.

So it's been a great V-cation and it's bittersweet leaving this wonderful place for our new adventures.

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05/17/2011 | T.J. and Becca
over the past few weeks it seems like each morning is a record setter: 0.75, 1.0, 1.25... that's inches of rain in the previous 24 hours. and we didn't bother to mention the number of lightning strikes, or flash flood warnings, or hail storms, or high wind advisories. but somehow, all it takes is a quick glance at your photos and our smiles come back :)
Isla Corondos

Isla Coronados is one of our favorite places in the Sea of Cortez, because not only does it have white sand beaches and tourquois water (making it feel like a South Pacific Atoll), it has good anchorages that that can protect you in nearly all wind directions.

The western "lagoon" type anchorage is a lovely spot, but not protected from Northers, however, only a short hop away is a southern anchorage that in our minds the best place in the Loreto area to be in strong northern winds. We spent about 10 days on Isla Coronados last year enjoying all the great swimming, hiking and snorkeling just by hopping from one anchorage to the next as weather dictated.

I borrowed this great photo from the Yahoo Southbound Group, which is a site that should be checked out by anyone cruising, or planning to cruise, along the west coast of the Americas. Lots of great information being shared through that site.

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Photo Gallery Updates!

I finally had a good internet connection and have added some new photo albums to the Gallery. Enjoy!

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Happy Easter!
The Easter Rock
04/24/2011, Sweet Pea Cove, Isla San Marcos

Hiking on the island yesterday I found a rock in a perfect egg shape!

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04/25/2011 | Jeanne Walker
hope you dont try to boil that one!! LOL We spent Easter sailing down Colovos Passage on our way north. Have a great week
Are we back in the Northwest?
a foggy morning at Punta Chivato
04/23/2011, Sweet Pea Cove, Isla San Marcos

When we woke up this morning in Punta Chivato and looked out towards our friend's boat, Prairie Oyster, we thought we'd transported back to the Northwest when we saw the foggy weather.

It lifted to low clouds for our windless motor to Sweat Pea Cove where we will spend Easter then plan to go into Santa Rosalia on Monday to show Rosie her old home town.

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Shells, shells everywhere
04/22/2011, Punta Chivato

Punta Chivato is known as the best shelling beach around and this picture gives you an idea of how it got its reputation.

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Heading North
04/20/2011, Punta Pulpito

We left Puerto Escondido about 7 am this morning, enjoying the beautiful sunrise behind Isla Carmen and Isla Dazante.

With a light ENE breeze we motor sailed the 46 miles to Punta Pulpito where we dropped our anchor at 3 pm and had a nice swim and shower before dinner. This is a beautiful spot that we've admired as we've passed by before, but like many of the anchorages we've enjoyed in the past couple weeks, we didn't stop because last year we were always threatened with the more frequent Northers.

This is definitely a "must stop again" place as it looks like there is some great hiking to do ashore, but we're on a beeline north right now and don't even have the dinghy in the water to go explore. Tomorrow we'll get up early again and travel most of the day to see how close we can get to Santa Rosalia -- our northern goat for this trip. Once there we will slowly meander south to La Paz enjoying all these lovely stops along the way.

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Full Moon Rising

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 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

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!!

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