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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.
The holding pen
we want to swim!
02/02/2012

Here's the collection of little guys swimming, swimming, swimming awaiting their release to the sea. In addition to protecting them from predators, holding them till later gives them a chance to get stronger which will help them stay alive longer once they're in the ocean.

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Zihua Sailfest 2012
February 7th - 12th
01/25/2012

Sailfest in Zihuatanejo has always been a big draw to the city. Not only do cruisers come here to take part, but many tourists plan their vacations around the event to enjoy the fun. And all the fun is for a good cause as it supports Por Los Ninos which builds schools and classrooms, provides scholarships and school supplies and more for the children of Zihuatanejo.

Here's how it's described on the Por Los Ninos website:
"Zihua SailFest. SailFest is a six-day annual festival that combines fun and games, heart-felt volunteerism and an outpouring of international friendship. Although the tone of the event is light-hearted, the cruisers' goals are serious - to raise funds for the education of Zihuatanejo's poorest children. These caring members of the International sailing community have raised more than $3,000,000 pesos to help our deserving kids."

Some of the events we will have this year as in years past are a Chili Cook Off, Kids Day at the Beach, A Boat Parade and a Sailboat Race. There will be auctions and we'll sell t-shirts and visors. It promises to be a fun event and will once again raise lots of money for a very good cause.

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The Fleet in Zihautanejo
01/25/2012

So far its a small group of cruising boats in the bay -- there are about 12 of us. The smaller boats in the distance are the local fishing boats.

With only a couple weeks till the big Sailfest event its surprising there aren't more boats in here. They usually draw at least 25 - 30 boats, with the largest group of over 100 boats in 2006!

We've heard more boats are on their way, so we should have a good turnout in the end. At the first planning meeting for Sailfest yesterday there were more land based volunteers than boaters and they seem to have things well in hand. We have offered to help out as it is a very worthy charity event raising funds for the children of Zihautanejo.

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Zihautanejo walking tour
01/21/2012

We went into shore this morning for a short walk around town and a nice lunch and I've posted an album of the pictures we took as we walked around the waterfront area.
Enjoy!

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Zihautanejo!
A dream fullfilled
01/21/2012, Zihautanejo, Mexico

The first time we sailed to Mexico in 1999 we were looking forward to reaching Z-town -- we'd heard so much about it and it sounded like the ideal cruising destination. As things turned out on that cruise, we only made it as far south at Manzanillo, nearly 200 miles north of here, before it was time to turn north.

Since that time we've been to Zihautanejo several times -- but by airplane for vacations with family and friends and once on a cruise ship! We've stayed in hotels here, but more often traveled about an hour north of here to the beautiful beaches of Troncones.

So when we finally sailed into Zihautanejo on our own boat yesterday it was a dream fulfilled -- and since we have been here before it was a comfortable entry -- we already knew the lay of the land and what to expect as far as the anchorage.

We plan to be here about a month preparing for our journey to the Galapagos. I will fly back to Gig Harbor for 10 days in February and Carly and Ryan will be flying down here for a visit at the beginning of March and good friends will be in Troncones at the beginning of March and we hope to visit up there, too. So it will be a busy quick month!

I'm posting some pictures from our 5 day voyage from La Paz to Zihautanejo in the photo gallery to the right. Enjoy!

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Ships passing in the night.....
Ship Sandwich
01/19/2012, Off of Manzanillo

The picture above shows the display on our radar/chart plotter when we had ships coming at us from both directions -- we're the one in the middle with the circle around us (it's a two mile radius that easily shows us how far away things are)

Once we came south along the mainland coast we started seeing lots of cargo ships -- going both north and south. It's always a bit disconcerting to see the lights of a very big ship looking like its heading straight for you. A lot of that worry has been taken away now that in addition to radar which helps you spot the ships and gives you a good idea of where they're heading, we now have AIS that picks up a transmitted signal and gives us all the information we could possibly want : type of vessel and size, destination, heading, speed, time to closest contact and how close it will be. It also gives the vessels name and MMSI number so it is easier to make contact with the ship in question than in years past.

We have called on the VHF to two of the ships we've seen -- when they showed that they would pass relatively close to us -- just to check with them to make sure they were aware of us and what their intentions were (which side they'd pass us. So AIS is definitely on our list of "things that work" and we'd highly recommend it for any boat that will spend any time near shipping lanes (like the Straits of Juan de Fuca back home).

We're still seeing lots of ships today, but they're much less mysterious during daylight when you can actually see them.

We've had a mix of weather today -- the biggest surprise being the 20 knot winds on our nose along with a 3 - 4 foot swell to beat into. The forecast called for much lighter weather, but you get what you get. The biggest worry was that it would slow us down to much so we'd be out an extra day because we need to time things right so we reach Zihautanejo during daylight hours. Only time will tell, but right now we think it looks good to get in late tomorrow afternoon.

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We're a Rockin' and a Rollin'
01/18/2012, on the way to Zihautanejo

The wind and seas continued to build yesterday, as expected, so we haven't had to turn the engine back on in the past 24 hours! There is a 6 foot swell with some wind chop, winds gust between 18 and 28 and we're moving along under our storm main sail and a reefed Genoa.

We chose to use the storm sail over the reefed main in these conditions for two reasons: 1st, the wind is straight behind us and our storm sail isn't attached to the boom so there's no danger of accidental jibes and secondly it is less sail area than our reefed main so it doesn't block the wind from the Genoa. If the winds got nasty we would roll in the Genoa completely and put up our storm trysail -- that's a good combination on this boat if the winds are 35+.

We are doing a bit of rocking due to the sometimes confused swell, but all and all it isn't bad -- it's a good shake down cruise as we'd hoped.

I think Rosie is a little displeased with all the motion -- she chewed up the edges of a chart when we weren't looking -- I think she isn't getting enough play time right now.

If the forescast is correct we will have these same conditions this morning and then we should get far enough down the coast for things to settle down. Hang in there Rosie!

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Day 3 of our adventures at sea
01/17/2012, about 60 miles off of Bandaras Bay (Puerto Vallarta)

Last night was a nice smooth night, though winds were so light we used the engine to keep us on our way. That's a luxury we have on this passage because we know we can buy fuel in Zihautanejo. On a long ocean passage you must restrict your engine use so the fuel can stretch as far as possible.

This morning as the sun rose the winds began picking up and we've enjoyed a very nice sail all day with our trusty Monitor windvane doing all the steering. The winds and seas are predicted to pick up even more by tomorrow, but we've got a good sail configuration and expect it to be a good passage.

We've always said the first 3 days of any passage are the hardest as your mind and body have to adjust to all the constant movement, so if that holds true our last couple days should be quite nice.

Rosie is still doing great, but she seems a little more bothered by the movement today and has been sleeping even more than normal -- if that's possible!

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Hasta Luego Dock 3!
01/14/2012, Marina Palmira, La Paz, Mexico

I've always said the hardest part of cruising is saying goodbye to places you love and the friends you've made there. Dock 3 has been our home for the past 3 winters and we've enjoyed the company of a wonderful bunch of cruisers celebrating Christmas, New Years, watching football games, going out to eat, doing "walk abouts" in town, hiking the mountain, playing cards, having coffee and of course, our famous Dock 3 Dock parties.

They made our departure lots of fun with a great send off dock party with lots of gifts and then last night when we went out to dinner they filled our boat with lots of fun little surprises -- funny toys stuck into every nook and cranny -- bows and stars and a Canadian flag tied over our American flag!

So it was tempting to stay put and enjoy the comfortable life on Dock 3, but we managed to tear ourselves away and now we're spending a nice evening at a cozy little anchorage with plans to get up early and begin the 633 mile trek to Zihautanejo.

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01/15/2012 | Jeanne Walker
It was great to finally catch up to you two, here in sunny Mexico! sail safe, and be sure to post pictures!!
We're on our way!!
01/14/2012, Caleta Lobos

The Friday excursion to pick up the blood serum from the vet, package it, take it to customs to be stamped then to DHL to be shipped to Kansas went extremely well so we were finally free to leave La Paz!

Our first leg was a short one and we just traveled about 10 miles to an anchorage just north of La Paz to anchor for the day and get everything ship shape to set out on the long passage to Zihautanejo in the morning.


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Oh won't you stay .... just a little bit longer
01/10/2012, La Paz, BCS Mexico

Well the cat blood serum adventure continues!

When we checked with DHL last week about arranging to ship the serum to the States as quickly as possible, we thought we had everything in place..... but today we found out that they only ship out of the country once a week (Friday afternoon at 5)! That would have really made a mess out of things if the samples had to sit in the office till Friday and the ice packs would have been all melted even before it was on it's way.

Luckily our veterinarian, Dr. Tomas, knew they didn't ship everyday and recommended we go check with them before we take the blood sample there. And luckily there was a guy working that spoke good English and we got the information we needed -- plus another tidbit that they hadn't told us last week: we have to take the unsealed package to the customs office down the street to be sealed and stamped by them before shipping. It would have been another big fiasco if we'd just taken the package to DHL in time for the 5:00 shipping because customs closes at 4:00!

So it seems La Paz has its hold on us and now we're just hoping to get out of here this coming Saturday. But like I said before: La Paz isn't a bad place to be stuck :-)

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Feliz Ano Nuevo!
01/01/2012

Wow! 2012! Hard to believe.

We woke up to a beautiful sunny day to start the New Year and will enjoy a day free of boat projects, having completed the last major one yesterday. And it was a doozy -- replacing seals on our Lectra San.

It was one of those projects that wasn't on our pre departure check list, but got added to the list when a little water started leaking out of it a week ago. It wasn't a project we really wanted to tackle -- but much better that it showed up while we were here in La Paz and not out in the middle of the ocean where we wouldn't be able to take care of it.

The Lectra San is basically a miniature sewage treatment plant that uses high amperage to neutralize waste so it is safe to discharge overboard and eliminates any holding tank smells. So it is not a critical piece of equipment, the boat can function fine without it, but its something we are happy to have. It is right up there on my list of "things that work".

When Terry identified the parts needed from Raritan (the manufacturer) we were afraid it might delay our departure from La Paz, because getting things shipped into Mexico can often take a very long time. We were very surprised after ordering the repair kit on Tuesday that it was delivered to the Marina on Thursday afternoon!

So Friday morning Terry tackled the project and removed the Lectra San from it's confines under the bathroom sink and disassembled it (on the dock) and then put in the new seals. That makes it sound like a short easy job, but as anybody with a boat knows nothing is ever as quick and easy as it sounds -- even when it all goes well. So he spent the major part of the day getting it all put back together and now it works perfectly again.

So today we'll enjoy relaxing and watching football games, then tomorrow I will begin the last phase of our preparations: Provisioning.

Happy New Year everyone!

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01/05/2012 | Eric & Christine Stephan
Our best wishes for a great sail down to Z-Town, our favorite town and anchorage. Missed seeing you two at some many different places and wish we could be following in your wake. Kai worked as a charter captain in Greece this summer. I think he is also addicted to the oceans! Love to you both.
Let the preparations begin!
12/26/2011, "look -- up in the sky!"

Now that Christmas is over we're getting down to serious work on our off shore preparations list.

Today we're inspecting the rigging and adjusting the tension. Terry went up the mast to check things out from top to bottom to make sure all is well: inspected the rigging with a magnifying glass, lubed the sailtrack and checked the masthead lights and VHF antenna. All looks good to go.

And we also had our refrigeration checked for leaks and recharged to ensure that is in top running condition. For that we enlisted the services of a local company, Hector Refigeration. Now that system is good to go and can be checked off the list as well.

It's going to be a busy couple weeks as we're hoping on leaving La Paz by January 7th to give us a full month to get down to Zihautanejo (several stops along the way). We hope to leave Zihautanejo mid March for the passage to the Galapagos.

It's getting exciting!!

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12/26/2011 | mary and Ken
we will enjoy following your journey on Sailblog as we hope to make a similar trip in 2 years.
12/29/2011 | Jeanne Walker
Sorry we missed you at our boat yesterday!! I hope we can catch up before you take off to the galapagos!! we are very envious!
12/31/2011 | Livia
We are so excited as well!
01/07/2012 | Diana and Dale
It's the 7th , so you may be on your way. Be safe and we'll look forward to updates
Feliz Navidad from the Cetus Crew!
Pirate Santa on the bow
12/24/2011, La Paz, BCS Mexico

We're enjoying our 3rd Christmas on dock 3 in Marina Palmira in La Paz, Mexico!

It's been busy with preparations and festivities but not the hectic pace I remember from back home. We had a fun progressive boat dinner last week with a group of 12 of us that have been here the past 3 years and last night we had our 3rd annual white elephant gift exchange. Last nights was especially nice, because we happen to have 2 professional singers that led us in Christmas carols! We moved the party up to a room (a seldom used bar) at the hotel due to the high winds we've got going for a couple days. It was a great venue and the party was a huge success.

We're enjoying a quiet relaxing day today and tomorrow dock 3 will have another dock party -- complete with turkey and ham and all the other Christmas feast fixin's.

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas!
Enjoy!
Heidi, Terry and Street Cat Rosie

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12/25/2011 | Dave C.
Merry Christmas Heidi, Terry and Rosalita! Miss you guys!
New Album in the Gallery
12/22/2011

I finally uploaded some pics from our travels in the Sea of Cortez this fall -- from Santa Rosalia to La Paz and all the stops in between. To see the album go to Fall 2011 The Sea of Cortez in our Photo Gallery to the right.

It was a wonderful trip with sun, swimming, sailing and hiking and beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Now that we've been at the dock since Dec. 1st life is totally different. We still hike -- but it's the same hike every morning, no swimming or sailing -- those have been replaced with boat projects and trips to the stores in town for provisioning. But, we still get to enjoy the beautiful sunrises and sunsets, so life is good.

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Where in the world are Terry & Heidi
12/08/2011

When I got the new SPOT Connect I didn't change my settings to have it display on my share page. But now I have, so if you click on the link to the right called "Where in the world are Terry and Heidi" it will take you to our new share page on the SPOT website and if any SPOT messages have been sent out within 7 days they will show up there.

You can also click on the map to the right and it displays our location from the Sailblog posts. One way or the other we can always be found!

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Back Home Again.... in La Paz!
12/08/2011, La Paz, BCS Mexico

We're still getting settled into life at the dock -- we came in on Dec. 1st but by Dec. 3rd we were on the road north driving up Baja to take our car back and stow it away for awhile. I traveled as far as San Diego where I flew back down so I could stay with Rosie while Terry completed the trip, and now he will fly back home on Saturday.

We plan to be here in Marina Palmira until around Jan. 15th when we will cross to mainland Mexico to position ourselves in Zihautanejo -- our jumping off point for the Galapagos. We plan to begin that big passage mid March. But, you know all cruising plans are written in sand........

While here at the dock we'll be busy working on readying the boat for the big crossing -- but it won't be all work and no play because all the regulars -- and some new friends -- are all back on Dock 3 where there are great dock parties and lots of other social events.

So for the next month and a half my blog posts won't be about our travels, but rather about our preparations for a big off shore passage. I'll also include several of our "Things that work.....or don't" entries as we find our what works and what doesn't!

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12/22/2011 | Livia
Heard you had hailed us and were in town. Have tried hailing you a few times. We're at Marina Vista Coral (formerly the virtual marina) and would love to get together and talk about the Pacific excitement!

Livia & Carol, thegiddyupplan.blogspot.com
On Top of the World
11/19/2011

Heading south from Santa Rosalia we were able to climb to the top of two big hills (we like to call them mountains) that we hadn't conquered before.

The first one was right off of El Burro Cove in Bahia Concepcion. We could see the switchback trail from our anchorage, but two years ago when we tried to find the start of the trail with some other cruisers, we just couldn't tell where to go -- and at the base we couldn't see the switchback. This year, the trail head was marked, so we were able to hike to the top and were rewarded with a beautiful view of Bahia Concepcion.

On our next stop, at Punta Pulpito, we were surprised one evening to see some people pop up on top of that big prominence! We hadn't realized there was a trail leading up there -- but now that we knew it was doable we set out to shore with Prairie Oyster and climbed to the top! Another good hike and breathtaking view.

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What's that falling from the sky?
11/13/2011, Playa Coyote, Bahia Concepcion

Yesterday evening brought a rare event for this time of year on the Baja Peninsula: Rain!

Even though it was just a trace of rain, it was welcome by everyone giving the boats a fresh water rinse -- something they only get at a marina.

We've been enjoying the beautiful Bahia Concepcion for the last couple days and will continue our journey south when the winds swing back around to the north tomorrow morning, and hopefully enjoy another good sail.

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11/13/2011 | Dave C.
Your "spot" link just goes to the home page. Are you not doing that anymore besides the email updates? Sure is fun following along with you vicariously at least!
Heading South!
11/08/2011, Punta Chivato

We reached our northern goal of Santa Rosalia last Friday where we met up with friends and spent a couple days enjoying the little town. Then yesterday we began our trip south.

We consider the nice sail we had yesterday as the first leg of our trip to the Galapagos, even though we won't reach those wonderful islands until late March or early April of 2012, we are now headed in that direction!

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11/08/2011 | Monica Stoner
we'll see you in La Paz. We arrive Dec 1st and will be there till the 20th. Can't wait to see you!

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