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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.
Almost connected again!

The hard drive on our on board computer crashed March 17th the day before we left Zihuatanejo! Yikes!

So today I went to CostCo in Acapulco and I picked up a new computer but it is a spanish computer so I am struggling through, but hope to be back on line soon.

The most important part of the onboard computer is for use with our ham radio for email at sea and getting weather reports underway, so once we reach Huatulco we will get everything all set to go for our trip to the Galapagos!

We left Acapulco for the 2 day trip to Huatulco today at noon right after I got back from CostCo.

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03/21/2012 | Bill Hudson/Zephyr
Can't you change the language the computer uses over to english? I though that could be done in Windows.
03/24/2012 | Terry & Heidi Kotas
Yes, you can change the language in Windows but only if you have Windows Ultimate and this came with Windows 7 Basic Who knew So far Ive upgraded to the Ultimate and they are working on loading the English package now....
03/24/2012 | Terry & Heidi Kotas
Yes, you can change the language in Windows but only if you have Windows Ultimate and this came with Windows 7 Basic Who knew So far Ive upgraded to the Ultimate and they are working on loading the English package now....
New Albums in our Gallery
take a look at our latest pics!

Having some time on my hands and a good internet connection, I decided to upload the pictures we've been taking the past couple months (yes, we left La Paz over 2 months ago!).

I've added albums for Carly & Ryan's Visit, Assorted pics from Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa and one of my favorites: The Cocodrilario at Playa Linda (near Ixtapa). That crocodile sanctuary was like looking at a hidden picture page in a Highlights magazine! At first glance you would just see jungle and swamp, but then all of a sudden you'd see iguanas, birds, turtles, and of course, crocodiles!

To take a look just click the little photo gallery link under our picture to the right.

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Hotel California
"You can check-out any time you like, But you can never leave!

Terry woke up feeling great this morning -- well, at least way better than anytime in the past few days. Temperature was down to almost normal and no headache.

So we went in to the Port Captain's off office to check out -- on mainland Mexico you need to get a paper from the port captain that you're leaving because they want to see it when you arrive at the next port. We wanted to check out today (Friday) so we'd be all set to go this weekend.

Shortly after we got back to the boat he started feeling bad again and his temp shot up, so we decided to go in to the Dr. that we'd gotten a reference for in town. It was a short visit because it was an easy diagnosis -- he's got an intestinal bug that his body is fighting causing the fever and headache. We didn't suspect that because he didn't seem to be having any of the usual GI problems (like diarrhea ;( ) But the doctor -- who speaks excellent English -- felt his abdomen and didn't have any doubt that it was a result of some bad water or unclean vegetables.

We don't really know where or when he picked it up but the prescription should take care of it within a couple days -- we hope.

So we've checked out of Zihuatanejo, but don't know yet when we'll be able to leave.......

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Roll Call
Radio Nets to keep in touch

Once we start on our longer passages -- the first one being Hualtulco to the Galapagos -- we will also start checking in to SSB and Ham nets daily. It is a nice way to stay connected to our fellow travelers, get weather info and even let people back home know where you are.

We plan to participate in 2 formal nets on that passage. First will be the Pacific Seafarer's Net on 14300 LSB at 0330 UTC. That's one we've joined before while doing long passages and it's a great group of land based ham operators that run the net and even post your positions on the internet for anyone who wants to follow your progress.

The second one is the Pacific Puddle Jumper's Net on at 0200 UTC starting on SSB channel 8A but if there is a problem with propagation they will switch to 8B then 6A. This is a net set up for and run by participants in this years Pacific Puddle Jump Rally. We listened in last night and heard the few boats that have already started on their way to the Marquesas.

One safety feature of joining a net is that if you don't check in one day they get concerned and if you miss a second day they will initiate search and rescue procedures for you. That is great if you really are in dire straights, but it's also a bit worrisome if it's just a problem with your radio or electrical system -- which is much more likely to be the problem.

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03/15/2012 | Jack and Joan
We will be checking in to hear you guys along the way.
Adios Marina Ixtapa
Getting Ready to Go!

Our time at the marina is coming to an end -- tomorrow we'll go back into the anchorage in Zihuatanejo where we'll spend a few days with final preparations for our trip south.

We plan to make a stop in an anchorage just south of Acapulco (so we can hit the nearby CostCo!) before we head on to Huatulco, Mexico. There we will wait for our friend Vicky on her "Inspiration at Sea" (she's waiting for crew to fly in here on the 17th) and also look for a good weather window to set off for the Galapagos! We hope to begin that leg anytime between the 23rd and the 28th of March.

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03/10/2012 | Jeanne Walker
Hola!! we were in caleta lobos last week when Vicky stopped in for the night. SV Estrellita "Jumped" out of La Paz on Monday, and last i heard they were 300+ miles out from cabo. We are sure excited to see some of your posts once you get to Galapagos Islands!! sail safe, and have a blast!!
Cruising the World: Sea of Cortez
a look at the wonderful Sea of Cortez

Our good friends Steve and Yolanda Essig, along with Allen R. Smith and Chuck Jonkey, came down to La Paz last year and filmed this great video while cruising up the Sea of Cortez aboard the Safari Quest. I just got a copy of it yesterday and it brought back fond memories of the beautiful Sea of Cortez -- a wonderful film whether you've been in the Sea or just dreaming of heading there.

Check it out at Dreamquest Productions!

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well we're sitting on the bow of the boat (to catch the breeze) and talking about when we'll go into the marina in Ixtapa and how we have to keep an eye on Rosie when we're there because they have crocodiles there. And what should appear at the side of our boat?

Yes, a crocodile!! Casually swimming between the boats..... WOW!

By the time I got the camera he was a ways away, but the lumps in the water that you see are his snout. Yikes!

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02/02/2012, Playa La Ropa, Zihuatanejo

We went for a walk along Playa La Ropa yesterday to check to see if they still had crocodiles down by The Mangelar Restaurant. Well we didn't get a glimpse of any crocodiles this time, but on the way there we passed one of the fenced off areas where they take the turtle eggs and were treated to seeing some fresh hatchlings.

In an attempt to protect the different species of turtles that come on to these beaches to lay their eggs, hotels will sponsor these hatching pens so that when the little turtles hatch and struggle to the surface of the sand, someone can be there to help them get safely to the sea. Normally the little turtles come up and go directly to the ocean, but many do not survive the trek down the beach due to all kinds of hazards like birds and dogs. But when they hatch in the controlled environment, they are collected and kept in water until nightfall when they can be released to the sea with much better chance of survival.

Yesterday we were lucky enough to be passing one of these pens when 4 little turtles crawled their way out! What a sight to see!

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02/02/2012 | Jeanne Walker
That is very cool!! we have had a really big turtle circle the boat a few times here in Ensenada De La Raza, but he is real camera shy. Every time i get the camera out, he dives and is gone.
02/02/2012 | Dave
Surprised we have not seen any posts about Zfest on the Yahoo southbound group
02/03/2012 | Dave C.
Betcha' Rosie would LOVE to play with these little guys! They probably wouldn't like it so much...
The holding pen
we want to swim!

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

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

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

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.

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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!

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.

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