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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.
Delayed Departure
cruisers must be flexible
03/15/2012

Planned departures are always very fluid -- you can never say we'll leave on such and such day and really hope to leave that day. It's usually just the first day you think you'll be ready to leave and the actual day can be a few days to a week later..... or even a year as was the case with our original plans to leave for the Galapagos.

Our departure day from Zihuatanejo was planned for sometime this week -- we thought Tuesday through Thursday. Well, it's Thursday and we're still here! We're provisioned and the boat's ready to go, but this time the Captain isn't quite ready. He's still recuperating from some kind of flu bug he picked up last weekend and we're waiting for him to be 100% before we set off. Much easier to get the rest and fluids he needs here at anchor than out at sea. He's on the mend and his temperature is dropping so now our "hope to leave by" date is sometime this weekend.

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03/16/2012 | monica and Scott
You guys are missed in La Paz. We hope Terry gets better soon so you can take off at 100% and have a great passage. We'll be following you from here.
Sailfest Results
we helped the kids!
02/22/2012

A lot of people have asked me "how did Sailfest turn out?" The following is an email from our faithful leader telling us exactly how much we raised for the children of Zihuatanejo:

Dear Volunteers,

The Sailfest 2012 results are attached. Hijole! You performed your usual miracles for the kids. I sincerely hope you had a lot of fun, along with all your hard work and dedication to this noble and compelling cause.

On behalf of Zihuatanejo's wonderful children, I'd like to express our heart-felt gratitude. You are turning dreams into reality.

Abrazos,

Lorenzo

(Note: The following release will appear, in some form, in several magazines and newspapers.)

In February, 38 sailboats cruised into beautiful Zihuatanejo bay to celebrate the Eleventh Annual Zihua Sailfest. They were enthusiastically welcomed by the local community, who have come to admire and respect the cruisers' heart-felt volunteerism. The Municipal Director of Education estimated that more than 2,000 disadvantaged children are attending school because of the cruisers' dedication to Zihua's bright-eyed young scholars.

Uncharacteristically overcast skies and occasional rain showers did not dampen the spirits of the cruisers and their 50+ local volunteer allies; all events were eagerly attended. More than 200 local businesses donated thousands of dollars in gifts and services for Sailfest auctions and raffles. 30 local and international musicians donated their talents to perform at three (two sold-out) benefit concerts. Several fine-dining restaurants competed in the Chili Cook-off. The cruisers welcomed 113 paying guests on board for the Sail parade. Saturday, the cruisers and local volunteers hosted 100+ school children at a beach party where fun, games and giggles ruled the day. All in all, quite a wonderful week to be in Zihuatanejo.

Zihua Sailfest 2012 raised $471,132 pesos in support of the cruisers' vision of providing an educational opportunity to each and every child in Zihuatanejo, regardless of income level or social status. The funds will be administered and distributed by Por Los Niños de Zihuatanejo, AC, Sailfest's Mexican charity. An advisory committee composed of bilingual Mexican educators, local international residents and cruisers is responsible for all funding decisions.

The funds from Zihua Sailfest 2011 ($477,039 pesos) provided the construction materials to build three, three-room, rural schools. The dedicated parents and the local community donated their labor to build these safe and welcoming learning environments for their deserving children. Sailfest 2011 awarded 16 English language scholarships, 5 high school scholarships and 6 university scholarships to high-achieving, low-income students. Sailfest, and our partners, donated approximately 850 reading books to the Municipal Library's "Rural Children's Reading program". The City of Zihuatanejo, Rotary International and Los Niños, Inc., inspired by the cruisers' success, also donated generously to Sailfest-supported projects.

Margaret Reid, our photographer, has posted her Sailfest 2012 photo albums with download permission at:

https://picasaweb.google.com/106797124101626138824

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Putting Cetus back together again
10/17/2011, Puerto Escondido, BCS Mexico

We arrived in Puerto Escondido Saturday afternoon and began the process of turning Cetus from an out of the water storage unit to the boat we call our home.

First we had to take all the outside stuff that we'd stored below back out where it belongs: Wind generator, wind vane, life lines, surf board, overboard pole, life ring etc etc.

Then I could clean up all the surfaces -- vacuuming up the boric acid powder that we laid to prevent unwanted guests. We were very pleasantly surprised that the interior looked so good -- no bugs, no mold -- not even any dust! So a quick wipe down and we were ready to begin loading on all the boxes and tubs of "stuff" that we brought down with us.

Up and down, up and down the ladder we went -- I would work on finding places for all the new things == food, clothing, spare parts, new parts, art supplies, new games, new linens etc etc.

The next couple days we will load on the remaining items and also put the rebuilt Max prop on. The yard is painting the bottom for us -- the first time in the 27 years we've owned her that we haven't had to do the bottom painting -- and I am thrilled!

I'm also very happy to be able to stay at a nearby hotel while we're doing all the work, so after a long hot day we can come back here and swim away the heat of the day.

So so far so good on making Cetus our home again!

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10/17/2011 | mary and Ken
Hopefully 2 weeks from now, we'll be doing the same with Kachina. How do you find the marina/yard? Any changes?
10/18/2011 | Jeanne Walker
WOW!! not living aboard while in the yard!! that has to be sweet! and a pool to boot!
Searching for Cassiopeia
Cassiopeia in Musket Cove, Fiji 1993
10/06/2010

We built our first cruising boat, Cassiopeia, from a bare hull in our backyard in Gig Harbor. Building a boat wasn't something we set out to do, but when the boatyard in Alameda, California went out of business before completing the boat we were to get in a semi-completed stage, we became boat-builders.

That Golden Gate 30 was a great cruising boat and after launching her we sailed her throughout Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands and Canadian Gulf Islands before finally taking the big step and sailing her to Hawaii and across the South Pacific.

She was the perfect boat for our small family, but when that adventure was coming to a close and our daughter was growing older, we knew we wanted a bit larger boat to continue our cruising lifestyle. So we sold Cassiopeia to an American couple in American Samoa, flew home and two months later bought Cetus.

We didn't ever expect to see Cassiopeia again, but by a strange turn of fate, the couple that bought her relocated to Washington State and sailed her to Olympia where we got to go see her again. After another year or so, they sold her and we lost track of her.

But, another strange turn of fate brought us face to face with her again. We were leaving on our 2nd bluewater cruise -- this time aboard Cetus -- and during a short stop in Port Townsend on our way out of Puget Sound while walking to the store, there she was on stands in the boat yard!

No owner was around so we left a note hoping to hear from someone, but we never did. That was in 1998.

I've been busy going through lots of old photo albums scanning the pictures so I have digital copies of those early years and its stirred up lots of good memories of our life and travels aboard Cassiopeia.

Just thought I'd see if anybody out there reading this blog has seen or knows anything of the fate of Cassiopeia, an off-white, 1981 Golden Gate 30. Memories.......




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10/07/2010 | Dave C.
If it's documented try a search at:
http://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/st1/CoastGuard/VesselByName.html
Getting Ready to Go!
02/24/2010, Bon Voyage Vicky!

With winter passing it's time to head out in to the Sea for some more exploring. We've had a taste of what's out there on our several trips out to the nearby islands, but we've always returned to the comforts (read: showers, laundry, grocery stores, cell service, internet and shore power) of life at the dock.

This next adventure will be of much longer duration and have us traveling much farther north. We will leave on the 2nd or 3rd of March and don't plan to return to La Paz until sometime in June, when we need to be back to travel up to the Northwest for a wedding in July.

So, we're busily planning and preparing, very excited to get out there again. We won't have the large grocery stores we've come accustomed to here in La Paz, so we're doing major provisioning to sustain us for a full three months -- even though we will be able to replenish some along the way.

In addition to all the preparations for the trip, we've been spending several hours each day working on editing and revising Terry's new book -- a sequel to Rick's Place.

Monday we said goodbye to Vicky aboard Inspiration at Sea -- she's on her way to Zihautanejo and then El Salvador. She left her van here for us to use since we'll be driving it back north for her this summer. It was a great help today when we went to City Club (much like Cost Co) to do provisioning today -- and we're really excited to get to do the drive up Baja this summer!



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Just a note
11/12/2009, The Pacific Ocean

For any family and friends that haven't had success sending emails to our winlink address, please drop a note to followcetus at gmail dot com from the address you'd like us to add to our address book. Winlink won't receive mail unless the address is entered in its address book in an attempt to block spam. So if you've tried and not succeeded drop us a line and I will enter, re enter or correct your address. Thanks! Heidi

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Get Set.....
Passage food
11/03/2009, Shelter Island, San Diego

Jim and Ellen have left Ventura and should be passing by San Diego about 4 am! They'll give us a call when they're about 2 hours away and we'll slip out of the harbor to meet up with them. Now it's getting exciting!

Tomorrow's trip will only be about 12 hours, but we need to get such an early start because the sun sets so early -- about 5 pm -- and we don't want to take a chance on getting there after dark.

Most of my time today has been spent with food. First we made one last trip to the grocery store for fresh fruits, vegetables, milk and bread. Then I started preparing what we call our "passage food".

It's always nice to have a warm meal when you're out traveling so long. But it's not so nice to have to try and fix that meal on a rocking boat. So I've taken to preparing meals and wrapping them in foil then all I have to do is warm the oven and toss them in when we're ready to eat.

For breakfast I do either breakfast sandwiches on English muffins or breakfast burritos. For a dinner I'll throw some meat and veggies in foil, sometimes with potato or rice. It's always a treat to have a good meal -- with no dirty dishes to clean up!

I also will have a thermos of hot water ready that we can make cocoa or tea or a cup of soup. And our must have food on any passage is popcorn! I also baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies for the occaisional treat as we head down the Baja coast.

So now we're all set to go!


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11/03/2009 | Dave C.
Almost Southbound again, right on! Be safe and sail fast!
Leave Eve
Heidi
07/23/2009, John Wayne Marina, Sequim Bay

Years ago we began calling the day before the beginning of a long passage Leave Eve.
Leave Eve is a very special day, filled with all the last minute preparations fueled by nervous energy.
Lists of things to do: Stow the dinghy, prepare easy to get to "traveling food", doing laundry (don't know when you'll get to a laundromat again!), getting out charts and setting waypoints on the chartplotter.
It's a busy, exciting day.
We plan to leave tomorrow morning for Neah Bay. We have several possible anchorages we can go into if we can't travel fast enough to make it all the way to Neah Bay, but for now the weather forecast and tide/currents seem to be favorable, so we'll just have to wait and see.
Once to Neah Bay we will wait for a good weather window to begin our trip down the coast. Right now, that looks like we'd be good to go the next day, after spending just one night there, so it's possible, if the forecast holds, we'll be starting down the Washington Coast on Saturday!
Hurray! It's Leave Eve!

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CHECK THESE OUT!
04/14/2009, links on lower right

way down on the lower right column are some new links to some fun info.
One is the latest posts on other Sailblogs -- fun to browse through.
The other is the link to the Cruising Sailor's Site Ring which gives access to many other blogs and web sites.
Lots of fun reading and good info to be found on both. Enjoy!

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Provisioning
04/10/2009

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I would start the bulk of my provisioning in May, but I actually have started buying already.

In May I'll take my lists and do some major shopping, but in the meantime I am watching adds for my local stores that often have some great deals -- like buy one get one free, or 10 for $10 -- that beat the price I'd pay at Costco. A couple weeks ago the Bartell's ad featured some canned goods so I stocked up on those. They also had a variety of different cup of soups, cups of noodles and mashed potatoes that you just add hot water to -- which are great foods to have handy on a long passage when it can be hard to fix a hot meat -- so I also loaded up on those.

People always ask us, "how do you know how much ___________ to take?" And that can be anything from toothpaste to chili. Well, here's what I try to do.

Make a master list of all the non perishable products you usually buy at the grocery store, drug store or a big box store. Then for a week or two or even a month make a note of about how much of it you use (how many times do you change a roll of toilet paper in a week?).

Next plan out how long you could have to go without being able to purchase these items. With our current plans we will be leaving Gig Harbor May 31st and our first big stop will be when we spend the month of October in San Diego. So I would like to be provisioned up to last 4 months, since I will re provision in San Diego. I will, however, stock more than 4 months of something that I find a great deal on instead of waiting to buy more at a regular price.

Then I just multiply the months or weeks I'll be gone by the approximate amount I use in that time period and you have a good guess at how much you should buy.

The exception to this method of figuring out what to buy by what you typically use at home is when it comes to canned food. Most of us don't use a lot of canned food when we have such wonderful selections of fresh meats, fruits and produce at hand. But on long passages and even while traveling through many areas, fresh foods can be hard to come by. A good rule of thumb is to plan to have on hand enough canned goods to provide at least 1 full serving of protein per person per day. That can be canned tuna, chicken, roast beef, soups, stews, chili -- what ever you like. And be sure to augment that with canned fruits and vegetables to round out your meal. Hopefully, you'll find great markets and catch lots of fish to keep eating fresh, but you must have the canned goods to fill in the gaps. Plus, they are usually nice "quick to fix " meals when you're cooking in a rocking boat!

Buying all the goods is just the first step, however. Once you get it all down to the boat, where will you put it all? More on that later.........

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04/14/2009 | Tom Brown
Hi there, this is Tom and Jeanne. We met you at Dave Calhouns house this winter. Just wanted to say hello, and thanks for all the info. The blog is very fun to follow, as we are wrapping up the last of our boat jobs so we can follow you next summer.
BTW, we love those "instant" potatoes as well!!

Hope to see you on the water!!
What do you do about mail?
04/08/2009

One of the challenges in preparing to be away from home for an extended period of time is how to handle mail and bills.

There are services set up to help with this -- some designed especially for cruisers. For a yearly fee they give you an address that you have everything go to and they hold and then repackage all your mail and send it to you when you let them know you're in a port long enough to receive it. I hear they work well.

I've always been lucky to have someone back home that was willing to do this for me. On our first cruise aboard Cassiopeia, my sister Monica took on the task so I had our mail forwarded to her and she took care of us well. She took on the task again when we set sail aboard Cetus in 1998.

This time our good friend, Liz, is going to step up to the plate! She also took care of things when we returned to Cetus in Tahiti in 2002, so she comes with experience, too. The big advantage to having her handle it is that she lives right here in Gig Harbor, so I can continue to have our mail go to our same PO Box instead of doing changes of address or forwarding mail. Thanks Liz!

The key to making it manageable for whoever is handling your affairs is to get everything as simplified as possible. Ideally you wouldn't have any bills or payments to be made while you're gone. But there are always some things that are there -- in our case it's property tax, homeowner's dues and insurance. For the most part, everything can be set up for auto deposits and auto pays so things pretty much take care of themselves, but you never know what can crop up. I'll leave several signed blank checks with her to take care of any unusual things that need attention. For some regular mail in payments that I haven't been able to set up on an auto pay (such as the property tax) and a monthly deposit to our "spending money" account I will have a file folder divided by month with envelopes addressed and stamped with the checks inside so all she'll have to do is at the beginning of the month take them out and drop them in the mail.

It's also easier now than it was when we set out on Cassiopeia 16 years ago because of the improvements in communication. Back then I could call back home to check in about once a month, at best, depending on what country we were in. Now, we are able to keep in email contact from the boat anywhere -- even in the middle of the Pacific -- through our Ham Radio. And there are internet cafes everywhere where I can take care of business just like I was back home.

I also keep two checking accounts. The main one is for all the business as usual, but the second one is the "spending money" account I mentioned earlier. In this one we'll have a preset budgeted amount deposited monthly for things like food and entertainment. It's not only a way to keep us within our budget, but it's also a security that if our cards to this account are lost or stolen only a small amount of funds will be in jeopardy.

When we get to a spot where we will be long enough to get some mail, I'll contact Liz and let her know where to send it. But I'm really looking forward to having her just deliver it in person when she and her husband Tom come to visit us along the way!


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Organizing 101
04/07/2009

One important thing I'm working on today is typing up inventory lists.
Every cupboard, drawer or minute storage space has a name and we have a diagram of the boat that shows each location with its name.

The name consists of a letter (or letters) which indicates what room its in followed by a number or possibly another letter to indicate where in that room it's located. For example a cupboard in the Vberth would be V1 or V2. The hanging locker, or closet, in the Aft Cabin is AC (aft closet) and the space in the chart table in the Nav Station is NCT.

This enables us to make a master list of all the items we've got stowed away for future use -- so that when we need it we don't have to dig through several places as we try to remember where we put it -- we simply look at the list and go to the right spot.

Right now we're doing it for all the spare parts and basic supplies, but soon we will be doing food provisioning and it really becomes important then so you always have a running total of how many cans, boxes or jars you have of this or that -- and where they are.

That way you don't spend hours searching for a can of corn that doesn't exist -- or you don't go to the store for peanut butter when you have six jars stowed in the bilge.

When we're living aboard here at the dock, we don't worry about keeping inventory lists -- things are pretty accessible and easy to see what's here. It's just when preparing to go off on a long adventure it becomes important when you start utilizing every available space so you can take everything with you.

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04/08/2009 | Penny
Good ideas...we're planning on living aboard our Catalina 42, & this is a tip that we'll use!!
Thanks!

 

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