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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.
bob bob bobbing along.....
10/17/2012, somewhere in the North Pacific

If slow and steady wins the race, we'll be the winners!

We're still averaging between 110 and 115 miles per day -- certainly not our best speeds, but better than the 100 miles per day we use for planning purposes. And as I keep saying, you couldn't ask for a more comfortable ride. This gentle bobbing is much preferable to the hard bashing of a couple of our recent passages. We're all happy campers right now.

Rosie is still disappointed not to be finding flying fish on deck every morning, but if she knew that the bigger seas are what bring more onboard, she would be happy that they are pretty scarce. I still have plenty of shrimp -- her other favorite treat.

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End of day 9 nearly 1/2 way!
10/16/2012, somewhere in the North Pacific

position N 00 50 W 149 57 miles to go 1300

In a couple hundred miles we'll reach the 1/2 way mark on the miles to go from Apitaki -- then it's a downhill ride from there!

Winds and seas continued the same as they have been for the last few days making for some easy sailing. They are a bit lighter so we now have our full sails up, where we have had the main reefed to this point.

To celebrate our equator crossing, we enjoyed a pizza for lunch today -- yum, something we've been craving. When I mixed up the dough I made a little extra so we have some hamburger buns for our dinner tomorrow. Pretty much out of fresh vegetables now -- cabbage and onions are all that is left :(

Onward and Upward!

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Our 5th Crossing!
10/16/2012, The Equator

Even though the big event occurred at 3:25 am we did our traditional celebration to mark the occasion

In lieu of the usual bottle of champagne, we did our toast to King Neptune with a shot of Mexican tequila that we bought at the duty free shop in Tahiti -- with a sip for us and then for the King. We then threw our message in a bottle into the sea followed by coins of the country we just left. We also included some American coins to represent both our home country and the Galapagos Islands (they use American currency) and some Mexican pesos so all the countries in this voyage would be represented..

We've enjoyed the past 6 months in the beautiful South Pacific visiting 3 islands in the Galapagos (San Cristobal, Santa Cruz and Isabella), followed by 3 island groups in French Polynesia ( The Gambiers, The Societies and The Tuamotus). In the Gambiers we only visited one island, Mangarava, but in the Societies we enjoyed visiting Moorea for the 1st time and Tahiti for the second time. Off to the Tuamotus we re visited charming Toau and then found a new favorite in Apataki. Despite a couple very rough passages it was a wonderful experience -- and the good passages out numbered the bad.

So we're back to the northern hemisphere and will be relieved to have the water swirl in the proper direction down the drains again hahaha

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End of day 8 smooth sailing
10/15/2012, very close to the equator!

Miles to go 1410 Miles to equator 50 miles

position S 00 50 W 149 31

Today was probably the best sailing day we've had -- seas are even smoother than last night and the winds are real steady 8-12 knots from the ESE and we've had a moving average of 5.3 knots -- often seeing 6 knots.

We know this won't last too much longer as winds will lighten and turn more to the south as we approach the equator and until we reach the ITCZ that is currently about 6-9 North. That is the convergence zone, often called the duldrums, where we can expect to encounter fluky winds and squally weather. Once we cross through that we will reach the NE trade winds of the northern Pacific for the final stretch to Hawaii.

So we're savoring this pleasant weather because who knows what's in store for us later!

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The fishing fleet
10/15/2012, somewhere south of the equator

We spotted several fishing boats again last night -- on the radar. They were too far away to even pick up their lights on the horizon until we came up to about a mile of one crossing our path at 3 this morning. He then turned on his AIS so we were able to see for sure his heading and speed and what our closest approach would be. We did try him on the VHF, but no response, as is usually the case with the Japanese fishing boats -- they probably know as much English as I do Japanese :)

It was the nicest night of all so far -- seas were smooth with just a gentle swell and the winds stayed in the 10-15 knot range but our boat speed picked up to an average of 5.5 knots from 4.5 due to the slight change in wind direction which put the wind a bit abaft our beam and a better point of sail for old Cetus.

Getting ready to celebrate our 5th crossing of the equator -- looks like it will be sometime in the early morning hours on Tuesday. Hurray!

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Out of touch
10/14/2012, somewhere south of the equator

One strange thing about a long passage is being out of touch with the happenings in the world, but thanks to good friends and family we are able to keep abreast of a lot with our winlink email.

Daughter Carly scans the news to keep us updated on any interesting or unusual happenings, Joni gives us great game day commentary on the Seahawks, my sister keeps us up to date on all the family news and good friends Jack and Joan keep us posted on the goings on in Gig Harbor, our hometown. It's such a treat to get their emails and we thank them all very much.

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end of day 7 end of week 1 Closing in on the equator
10/14/2012, somewhere south of the equator

Position S 02 59 W 148 58 Miles to go 1534 Miles to equator 183

The winds shifted slightly (as expected and hoped) toward the ESE which gives Cetus a better point of sail, so even with the same winds we are going a bit faster and covering a few more miles per day -- hurray! Seas got a bit bumpier last night but have smoothed out again today, so it's a good ride.

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a lumpy ride
10/14/2012, somewhere south of the equator

The winds picked up a little bit last night, so did the seas, so we had a bit of a bouncy night. Not bad, just bouncier than it has been. But sunrise has brought lower winds and the seas seem to be smoothing out again and we're hoping for another pleasant day.

No flying fish again. So far the only ones Rosie has gotten were the GIANT one a few days ago and then the day after that we found the smallest ones we'd ever seen -- only about an inch long. Made a nice appetizer, but left her wanting more.

This is the last day of our first week at sea and should be an eventful week as we will cross the equator in a few days and later in the week we will hopefully hit our 1/2 way mark.

Slowly counting down the miles.......

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End of day 6 A Baking Day
10/13/2012, somewhere south of the equator

miles to go 1650 miles to equator 300

position S 04 47 W 148 24

Continuing to slowly but surely plug along at about 4.5 - 5.5 knots. Winds are fairly steady and seas are getting better every day (or are we just adjusting?) Our weather guy says we can expect more of the same for the next few days -- hurray!

I took advantage of our calm conditions and got some baking done today. The bread I baked the day we left was gone two days ago, so it was time to replenish that. I made a double batch of dough and put half in the freezer to make another loaf in 4 or 5 days. Without preservatives my bread will go bad as quickly as the baguettes in Tahiti, so no use trying to stretch it out and we just enjoy it while we have it.

I also baked an apple pie. And I did that because the Granny Smith apples I bought before leaving Tahiti were on their last legs -- a lot of bruises going on between all the transportation they go through on their way to French Polynesia. They were still in pretty good shape, but needed to be used and they weren't real good just for eating anymore.

and on and on we go......

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The Waning Crescent
10/13/2012, somewhere south of the equator

We enjoyed another pleasant night at sea -- enough wind to keep us moving and smooth seas to let us sleep comfortably.

The moon is a waning crescent and will be gone by Monday. Already is rises so late (this morning it came up at 3:45 am) that we don't get to enjoy it for long, but it's still something I always look forward to.

There's nothing like a full moon at sea -- it lights the night up so brightly that you can see forever. And, when the moon is at or near the full stage, it rises at sunset and sets just before sunrise so you have good light 24 hours a day. This passage began on a waning 1/2 moon so after it leaves us on Monday it will begin waxing toward the full moon staying up longer every night. And the length of this passage should work out well for nearing, and arriving, in the Hawaiian Islands with a nice full moon to guide the way.

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10/15/2012 | Greg
It sounds like your timing has been perfect for the wind and sea! Have you had to do any motorsailing, least wise to charge the batteries? Reading different blogs, one always notes the travels to the S. Pacific but rarely the return to the Pac.NW. After Hawaii are you returning? Thanks Greg
end of day 5
10/12/2012, somewhere south of the equator

miles to good 1757

position S 06 29 W 147 52

Winds and seas continued on today just like yesterday, so luckily it is a fairly calm day and the boat can steer itself, because we had a minor plumbing problem come up and Terry has been enjoying replacing hoses on the head this afternoon. Every cruisers favorite job -- especially in the middle of a passage!

It seems what they were selling us in Tahiti as Muratic acid, which we use to keep the pipes clean, doesn't work like our US stuff and the crystals that form when salt water mixes with uric acid have plugged up the system just like cholesterol will our arteries. Yuck.

so just another fun day at sea....... and on we go.

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What should we do this weekend?
10/12/2012, somewhere south of the equator

Let's go sailing!

Actually at this point we don't have any choice :) Had another good night with good wind and not too lumpy of seas and still ticking off the miles -- 1799 to go!

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end of day 4 10/11/12
10/11/2012, somewhere south of the equator

24 hour stats Miles made good 111 Miles to go 1862 position S 08 12 W 147 28

Winds turned a little NE on us this afternoon throwing us a bit off our desired course so our miles made good will suffer a bit even though we've still got good boat speed. Seas are a bit sloppier, but still not too bad. Blue skies with white puffies.

Still pugging along...... looking forward to crossing the equator in about 5 days or so. No flying fish today :(

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still smooth sailing
10/11/2012, somewhere south of the equator

Yesterday the winds lightened up and our speed slowed down a bit and by early evening we were afraid our good fortune was coming to an end as our boat speed started dropping below 3 knots and the roll of the swell would make the sails flog.

But it was short lived and our pleasant 12-16 knot winds returned and we had another lovely sail through out the night, with gentle seas -- hurray!

We did see some lights on the horizon about 1 am and had two targets on the radar 8 to 12 miles away and we are assuming they were some sort of fishing boats. Didn't show up as AIS targets and they moved slowly away from us without having any good visual.

Just enjoyed our 4th sunrise at sea -- hopefully only about 18 more to go :) No flying fish for Rosie yet today.

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end of day 3
10/10/2012, somewhere in south of the equator

Here's our 24 hour stats Miles traveled 116 Miles made good 114 Miles to go 1975

Position S 09 58 W 146 59

Winds are still good, but lighter so our speed is down a bit, but the seas are also down so it is quite comfortable. Really good to see the mileage drop below 2000 today!

A treat today was some little Popsicles made with grape juice -- refreshing!

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Rosie is a happy cat
10/10/2012, somewhere in south of the equator

Shortly after I wrote that there were no flying fish for Rosie, a huge one landed on deck! It was the biggest flying fish I've ever seen -- it would have been a meal for a person and way too much for Rosie. So Terry went on deck to get it for her and took a knife to trim it down to a manageable size and Rosie got the treat she'd been waiting for.

Blog Posts: Street Cat Rosie
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3rd morning and still no flying fish on deck!
10/10/2012, somewhere in south of the equator

And boy is Rosie disappointed. Every morning she scans the decks and gets so excited when Terry walks the decks for his morning check -- because that's the time he'd always bring a fish back to her. It's the one reward she gets for being stuck on a rocking boat and now she doesn't even have that -- not fair! What she doesn't know is that it's because the seas are pretty mild that the fish aren't landing on deck so often -- so it's kind of a trade off -- less rocking less fish.

So we had a good night last night -- sailed along 5 plus knots with Rick, the trusty windvane doing all the steering, as he has the whole trip. We're getting good rest and our bodies are adapting to the constant movement and we're able to eat well with all the passage foods I was able to make ahead of time.

Rosie might not be getting her special passage treats (the flying fish) but we've been enjoying crispy beef burritos, spaghetti and Terry's favorite: Passage Burgers. Those are the hamburgers I make by wrapping a cooked pattie and a slice of cheese in some bread dough and baking it. I wrap them in foil so that when we want to eat, I just warm it in the oven and voila, a no mess, easy to eat hamburger. Served with a little dipping sauce it's a tasty meal. I also wrapped a couple of chicken breasts in dough this time, but we haven't tried those yet -- sounds like a good lunch for today.

Sail on sail on sailor.....

Blog Posts: Street Cat Rosie
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10/11/2012 | Diana and Dale
Heidi, I want you to do a cruising cookbook.
Still love following you. I'm off to South Africa next week w/ some girlfriends while Dale and Rusty hold down the fort here.
end of day 2
10/09/2012, somewhere in south of the equator

Though last night was a bit squally and kept us busy trying to deal with the changing winds, things have settled back to nice 15 knot easterlies and decent seas today -- blue skies with white puffy clouds -- a perfect South Pacific day.

And the best news is our weather guy says we're through the squally area (that he had predicted) and should look forward to several more days like this. Whoopie!

He also doesn't think we need to worry about getting as much easting as we were working on so we will switch to the rhumb line to Hawaii so our miles traveled and miles made good should be pretty close to the same starting tomorrow.

Our 24 hour stats: Miles traveled: 108 Miles made good: 102 Miles to go: 2085 position: S 11 52 W 146 35

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into each life a little rain must fall......
10/09/2012, somewhere in the South Pacific

Last night wasn't as perfect as the night before as we encountered a few squalls making the winds a bit fluky, but we didn't get rained on until this morning. And that was a surprise because the clouds all around us looked white and puffy, but apparently one right over head let loose with pounding rain and we both looked around and asked "where's that coming from?"

So on we go....

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Day 1 complete
10/08/2012, somewhere in the South Pacific

We started marking our time when we exited the pass at Apataki at 4:15 yesterday afternoon, so every day at 4:15 we will chart and record our progress.

So fart the sailing has been good and we are ticking away the miles, slowly but surely. Unfortunately for the first leg of the trip we aren't keeping to the rhumb line to Honolulu because we'd like to pick up a little easting first. That's because the prevailing winds in the north Pacific are from the NE, so the farther east we get while in the south Pacific, the easier the course will be later on. A little beating to weather right now should avoid more beating later.

Here's our 24 hour stats: Miles traveled: 122 Miles made good: 115 Miles to go: 2187 Position: S 12 34 W 146 32

So we're off to a good start!

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