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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.
Sailing, sailing...
04/01/2012, Out on the deep blue sea

What do you do when the winds are light to dead and you need to conserve your fuel? You fly the Spinnaker! Hurray!

Just had a helicopter circle over our boats -- what the heck is he doing way out here? We're 400 miles from the closest land. We figure he must be off a tuna boat scouting for fish.

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4th day at sea -- 723 miles to go
03/31/2012, On our way to the Galapagos

We've been blessed with smooth seas so far on this voyage, but unfortunately a lack of wind. But today shortly after dawn the 3 - 5 knots of wind we'd been having picked up to 8 - 11 and we're sailing again! With the forecast we've been seeing this may be the only good wind we get for a few more days, but we're enjoying it while it lasts.

I began checking into the Pacific Seafarer's Net 2 nights ago, and I believe they still post positions for all the boats checking in on a website -- Google Yotreps or Pacific Seafarer's and you can find a link to the page to view the boats out sailing in the Pacific.

We've been averaging around 111 miles per day -- we could motor faster but we are keeping the rpms down to conserve fuel as much as possible since it looks like we'll be doing a lot of motoring. So all's well on Cetus and we're looking forward to another 100+ miles under our keel by tomorrow morning.

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Eating well on S/V Cetus
03/29/2012, Out on the deep blue sea

Before we set out on any long passage I try to get a few meals prepared ahead of time so that in those first few days as you adjust to the motion of the boat you can have a nice hot meal just by throwing it in the oven for 15 or 20 minutes. Even with calm seas there's a lot of movement going on and it makes it hard to do a lot of food preparation. Easy favorites are egg burritos for breakfast, beef burritos for dinner or just chicken with rice and vegetables. Whatever I put together I wrap in foil in individual servings so all I have to do is turn on the oven and take them out of the fridge.

On this trip we had a special treat thanks to Tyson and CostCo -- chicken Cordon Blue. I bought a bag of the already cooked, stuffed and breaded chicken breasts and just wrapped them individually in foil just like my home prepared meals and there you go -- gourmet meals out at sea!

The other decadent treat I prepared for us was mixing up a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough before we left port. I put it in a zip lock in the fridge and whenever I have the oven on to cook something, I bake a few cookies as well. Nothing like a homemade Toll House cookie on a night watch!

Now that we're in our 3rd day at sea our bodies have adjusted to the motion of the boat and its easier to move around and do normal tasks like cooking, so I'll be making different meals every day. I do still have some of the quick handy meals ready in the freezer, though, in case we hit some days with rougher weather than we've experienced so far.

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Turtles Turtles Everywhere
03/29/2012, Out on the deep blue sea

Lots of turtle sightings yesterday as we motored along the smooth seas -- they are always such a funny sight as they look like someone just through them in the water and they're flailing about trying to stay afloat -- very awkward looking swimmers that's for sure!

But the funniest sight we've seen was actually a week ago as we approached Huatulco in the early morning over glassy seas. We kept seeing birds that looked like they were standing on water! I thought it might be an optical illusion at first, but on closer inspection they were standing on the backs of turtles! What a sight -- wished I'd gotten a picture.

Our first night at sea went smoothly, though we did have to motor all night. We need to keep our speed up for the first few hundred miles till we pass through the area that can be affected by the Tehuantepec winds and seas should something crop up. There's nothing in the forecast, but its not something you want to take a chance with so we're motoring on over smooth seas and light breezes.

1 day down, 9 to go!

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We're off!

Left Marina Chahua in Huatulco at 1030 this morning for our long awaited trip to the Galapagps! We had our last visit from Mexican authorities at shortly after 6 am this morning to put the final stamp on our paperwork.

It's a little over 1000 miles so we're hoping for about a 10 day passage - and it's gotten off to a good start with light winds and smooth seas. Perfect conditions for getting acclimated to life at sea.

We've already had dolphin playing off the bow leading us on our way. Unfortunately I won't be able to post any pictures to the blog until we make landfall and find WiFi again, but I will be able to do these posts through the HAM radio.

So Cetus and Inspiration at Sea are going to the Galapagos!

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More Photos
Zihuatanejo to Acapulco and Huatulco

I've uploaded some of our recent pics to a new album in our gallery called Zihuatanejo to Acapulco and Huatulco. Enjoy!

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Marina Chahue

Here's the cute little marina we're at preparing for our crossing to the Galapagos.

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I seem to have an English speaking computer now, so I was able to install the drivers to connect the cables from the ham radio to the computer!

That means I'll be able to send for weather, email and do remote blog posts while at sea! Infact, this post is being remotely posted through the ham radio as my first test of the system. If this works we'll be good to go.

Our planned departure date is Wed. March 28th and so far the weather forecast looks good for us.

Galapagos here we come!

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Slowly making progress

This computer dilema has been a series of dead ends and catch 22s but we are making progress ever so slowly......

The first problem I tackeled was to get Windows speaking English because my Spanish is good for shopping, dining and that sort of thing, but not for computer lingo. I have picked up a few things in the last couple days, but not enough to really understand all the messages its giving me.

I learned that the language cannot be changed in Windows 7 Basic, which is what was installed on this computer. I would have to upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate to do that, but at first I was told they couldn't do that digitally and I would have to purchase the disks. Well, there isn't exactly a store to do that here and who knows how long getting something sent here would take so I decided I would try to muddle through with the Spanish and get the Winlink Airmail program up and running with the computer so we would have our onboard weather and email and I could worry about the upgrade later.

Well...... the next thing I learned is the Airmail program isn't written for Windows 7 ........ my old computer ran Windows XP. So with a little more research I learned that you can run programs that aren't set up for Windows 7 ....... if you have the Windows 7 Ultimate!

Back to square 1. I'm frustrated trying to contact Microsoft for help because they only have 800 numbers which I can't call from Mexico and all the online contacts I try to make tell me they can't help me because I have a Mexican IP address and they only help people in the States. I even tried the Mexican Microsoft website, but my Spanish wasn't good enough to navigate through it.

I finally contacted my brother in law, Doug, who saved the day! He called Microsoft and convinced them to call me! I was able to purchase the download and thought I was all set, until it wouldn't accept the Upgrade Key they sent me. Unable to call the tech support 800 number, I again called Doug who convinced them they could call me too..... they were very reluctant.... so they called and remotely hooked up to my computer found the glitch and got it downloaded. Hurray!

We're not done yet .... the language program change still has to download, but we're getting there.......

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03/24/2012 | Jack
Remember when you had to use Hf to get weather, and maybe make a phone patch...ahh the good old days...Keep plugging...
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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The Cetus Crew
Who: Terry & Heidi Kotas and Street Cat Rosie
Port: Gig Harbor, WA
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