CETUS TALES

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.

09 March 2017 | Marina Palmira, La Paz, BCS, Mexico
21 February 2017 | Marina Palmira, La Paz
18 February 2017 | Dock 3 Marina Palmira La Paz
15 December 2016 | Dock 3, Marina Palmira, La Paz, BCS, Mexico
24 November 2016 | Punta Salinas, Isla San Jose
20 November 2016 | somewhere inthe Sea of Cortez
11 November 2016 | South Anchorage Isla Coronado
11 November 2016 | South Anchorage Isla Coronado
19 October 2016 | Isla Coronados
05 October 2016 | Marina Puerto Escondido
24 September 2016 | Tigard Oregon
12 September 2016 | Puerto Escondido, BCS, Mexico
25 August 2016 | Puerto Escondido, BCS, Mexico
07 August 2016 | Puerto Escondido
31 July 2016 | Puerto Escondido, BCS, Mexico
28 July 2016 | Puerto Escondido, BCS, Mexico
15 July 2016 | In the Sea of Cortez
11 July 2016 | Marquar anchorage on Isla Carmen
28 June 2016 | Puerto Escondido

Countdown to Departure

07 January 2012 | Dock 3 Marina Palmira, La Paz BCS
A Great Send Off
Dock 3 lived up to its reputation for the best dock parties in La Paz and we enjoyed a great Bon Voyage for our planned departure early next week.

I've always said the hardest part of cruising is leaving a place that you've come to love and saying good bye to the friends you've made there. La Paz and the Sea of Cortez and the other cruiser's we've met here are going to be sorely missed, but the anticipation of our up coming adventures make it a bittersweet parting. We will say Hasta Luego and not Adios when we finally leave the dock, as we plan to return when our adventurous traveling days are over. As another boat was leaving La Paz this morning the net controller said there seems to be a bungee cord attached to each boat as they leave that eventually pulls them back -- and we plan to make sure that bungee cord is in place on Cetus before we cast off the dock lines.

So we gathered at sunset with a table laden with great food and a group of friends -- some we've actually known for about 20 years! and some we've just met in the last week -- and we were given gifts and well wishes. It's especially tough to leave the group of friends that have been here with us for the past 3 years and we will miss all the fun times we've had with them.

One of the gifts presented last night was this great Burgee they designed that has all the boat names that have shared dock 3 with us these last 3 winters. The rest of the photos will be posted in our photo gallery under the title: Hasta Luego Dock 3.

Mexican Mail

02 March 2011
It was Christmas in February!
I decided to test getting mail forwarded to the marina, so I had an envelope of mail sent from our mail forwarding service, St. Brenden's Isle. Knowing that it might not ever show up I picked some items I really hoped to receive, but it would be tragic if lost, and the envelope consisted mostly of Christmas cards.

The envelope was sent mid December and I knew it would take at least three weeks to a month, but by the beginning of February I was beginning to think I had made a mistake. Then one day someone announced on the local cruisers net (on the VHF radio) that they'd been to the post office looking for a package and they pulled out a whole tub of mail addressed to the different marinas, but hadn't been delivered.

So a few days later I went to the post office with a friend who was also waiting for a package from home, and sure enough, that's where they were! And we saw the big tub of mail for other cruisers, too.

So that test done, I probably won't be having mail sent down again -- stick to having it delivered when people come to visit or I make a trip home (like the one I'm just returning from).

It was fun to get all the great cards! And when I flew to Gig Harbor last week I had another envelope of mail waiting for me with a few more Christmas cards! So it was Christmas in February as I enjoyed the family photos and newsletters that I always look forward to each year. Thanks to all of you that sent them out! They were worth waiting for.

Gig Harbor South

03 February 2011 | La Paz
The Ship Came In
We had a real treat yesterday when a cruise ship came to town carrying a group of old friends and acquaintances from Gig Harbor! It felt just like being back home walking down the street and seeing all the familiar faces.

Cruise ships can't come right down into town -- the long channel isn't deep enough or wide enough for them and they park in the commercial port north of here and run busses to and from the ship to bring the tourists to town.

It was a short visit as they came in about 10 and last bus back to the ship was at 2, so we strolled the Malacon so a few of the girls could do some shopping and we ended up at the other end of town at one of our favorite restaurants, Rancho Viejo, where we enjoyed a nice lunch with a pitcher of Margaritas. That done, we strolled down the dock of Marina de La Paz then back to the bus station to say hasta luego to the Gig Harbor group.

SUN!!!

31 January 2011 | La Paz
Liz at the helm
On day 6 of Liz's visit we finally got SUN!
We took advantage of it and dinghied over to the Magote for a beach walk and picnic complete with a pitcher of Margaritas. It felt sooooo good to feel the sun on our skin again.

Then yesterday -- the 2nd day of sunshine -- we fired up the engines of Cetus and went out for the day, motoring up to San Gabrielle on Espirtu Santos and back, hoping to catch a fish, see some whales or dolphin, or even get a little sail in, but none of that was to be, but it was still a great day on the water.

Another One Leaves the Dock

24 January 2011
Scott Free left good old dock 3 yesterday to go explore mainland Mexico for a few months -- they will be missed but we all look forward to meeting up again with fresh stories to tell.

We first met this fun, high energy couple in Newport, OR as we were both traveling down the coast from the Pacific NW and then enjoyed their company here on Dock 3 in Marina Palmira last winter and again this year. We look forward to seeing them again this summer when they return to the Sea of Cortez.

Hasta Luego Scott and Monica!

The scene of the crime

23 January 2011
We still had some old fuel to be run out of the outboard, so Terry and I took a spin out in the bay and I got a shot of the buoy that poor manta ray had been dragging around.......

Company's Coming!!

22 January 2011 | La Paz
We're busy preparing Cetus for a guest again!

Our good friend Liz took advantage of the sale Alaska Air had on flights to Mexico and will fly in Monday to spend a week with us!

She's staying at our favorite nearby hotel, The El Morro, where she stayed 10 years ago when she came for a visit when we were here preparing to sail to the South Pacific. We first discovered the El Morro when we had Cetus hauled out here years ago having the bottom re-done and found it to be a comfortable and charming place to stay.

We're hoping to have at least a couple days with no Norther's so we can take her out to Isla Espirtu Santo for some swimming & snorkeling & beach combing and hopefully some kayaking around La Paz, and a trip to the Magote to look for the Whale Sharks, but most of all, Liz and I will do what we do best: solve the problems of the world over a Scrabble board while relaxing around the pool at the El Morro!

The Whale Shark

19 January 2011
This was the best shot I got of the Whale Shark yesterday -- doesn't show much. We did get a little closer one time, but even then it was just the fin and the dark shadow of it's large body just under the surface. I have yet to really "see" a Whale Shark the way everyone in the Northern Sea was able to experience them last summer -- even swimming along side them!

Dinghy Day

19 January 2011
Summer's Back!
The north winds stopped blowing giving way to a beautiful, warm "summer day" yesterday. Several boats took the opportunity to leave La Paz for a crossing to the mainland (Mazatlan or Puerto Vallarta) while others headed north to the nearby islands of Isla Espirtu Santo and Isla Partida.

But several of us stayed in the neighborhood and had a great dinghy adventure and headed over to the El Magote penninsula in search of the Whale Sharks that hang out near there. It was easy to spot the lone Whale Shark that was out there that day, because the tour boats from La Paz followed it around trying to get close enough for their paying customers to take pictures or to jump in the water to snorkel with it.

We went to shore for our picnic lunch and to explore the long, shell covered beach and enjoyed being out in the warm sun. It was a fun "vacation" day and when the tour boats left we went back out and got a bit closer look at the Whale Shark before returning home.

Marina Life

16 January 2011 | Dock 3 Marina Palmira, La Paz BCS
We just got an email from some cruising friends that have gone over to the mainland of Mexico to explore that coast this winter and they mentioned we hadn't updated our blog lately. I have been remiss in adding posts, and I think its a result of being here at the marina. It's not that we don't do anything here -- in fact we're constantly busy -- but being at a dock makes it seem more like life back home (but with much nicer weather!) so I don't really think about updating everyone on what we're up to on a daily basis.

We really enjoy spending the winter months in La Paz and feel it's well worth while to splurge on dock space for that time. The islands are close by and we can get out for short excursions but can return to the comforts of "Marina Life" when the cold Northers blow.

Since our first day back in La Paz we settled into our old routine of starting the day with a 6:30 am hike up the mountain behind the marina to the fisherman's cross. We walked -- or hiked -- everyday back in Gig Harbor, too, but it is so much easier to do here when you don't have to worry about waking up to rain -- or snow!

Then the days are filled with boat projects, shopping, reading, visiting or playing games with friends, walking through town and all the other normal routines in life: cooking, cleaning, laundry and such.

As I've said before, dock life and life on the hook are two different worlds and I enjoy them both and feel very lucky to be able to have a balance between the two.




2011

01 January 2011
Ringing in the New Year
We had a great dock party last night to celebrate the New Year. There was a good turnout (12 people) which is pretty amazing considering that most all of us go to bed around 9 o'clock!

We reflected on how lucky we are to be leading this crazy cruising lifestyle and talked about our plans for the coming year. The sand we wrote our plans in last year has been shifting and changing this past month and like all good cruising plans, ours have changed.

We have an opportunity to join our good friends in Greece this June, so we worked on all kinds of scenarios to figure a good place to leave Cetus at that time, taking in to consideration cyclone seasons, safe marinas and convenient airports. In the end we realized it would just make life much simpler to spend another year in the Sea of Cortez and save our Galapagos adventure for 2012.

So, as we sit enjoying this first day of the New Year we are excited to see what the year has in store for us.

We wish you and yours a very Happy New Year filled with health, love and adventure.

Cabo!

08 December 2010 | Cabo San Lucas
We had a fun road trip taking the bus (the luxurious PLUS bus -- not a chicken bus!) to Cabo San Lucas to visit my brother Dave and his wife Pink. The 3 hour trip down went pretty quick and we took a cab to Cost Co (which though it's not on the water has a great view of bay and the famous arch at Lover's Beach) to pick up a few items before we joined them at their time share at Marina Fiesta (overlooking the small boat harbor) for a nice relaxing "pool day".

We enjoyed visiting with them and their friends with drinks poolside then went out for a fun lunch at Billygan's Island where we got to see the crazy side of Cabo life -- a world apart from our life in La Paz.

It was a nice break from our normal routine and great to see them again! We love it when we get visitor's because then we are on vacation too!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.......

05 December 2010 | La Paz
now that's one big Christmas present!
My mind is telling me it's July or August since the weather here in La Paz is like a pleasant summer day in the Northwest, but the town is decorating up and playing Christmas music every where we go, so I know Christmas is right around the corner.

Today I dug down in the "deep storage" under the V-berth and pulled out my bag of Christmas decor and we strung the lights around the life lines, hung our socks and placed Pirate Santa on the bow of the boat, so now Cetus is in the Christmas spirit, too.

La La La La La LA PAZ!

30 November 2010
Dock Party!
We came into Marina Palmira in La Paz a few days ahead of schedule due to another strong norther coming in that we decided we'd rather sit out at the comfort of the dock -- so here we are!

Plans are to home base here for the next 2 months while we prepare for our trip to the Galapagos. It should be another enjoyable winter here with many of the same friends gathering here again through the holidays. It's good to be "home".

Happy Thanksgiving!

25 November 2010 | San Evaristo
We won't have a turkey this year but we certainly could have -- there's a huge Cruiser's Thanksgiving celebration in La Paz that many many cruisers migrate to and they will have turkey with all the fixin's. I could have purchased my own turkey in the little store by the marina in Puerto Escondido, too. But it was a bit too large for my refrigerator or my oven so I decided to once again celebrate by making up our favorite side dishes (aren't those the best part anyway?)

We're tucked into a protected anchorage in San Evaristo to wait out a norther and will enjoy the holiday with the few other cruisers with a small potluck.

We wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Back in the water again!

11 November 2010 | On a buoy in Puerto Escondido
Ahhhhhhh..... The work is done and Cetus is a boat again!

Puerto Escondido is a unique place -- the large harbor is completely surrounded by land with just a small entry channel. In fact the name means Hidden Harbor. They've filled the harbor with mooring buoys, so instead of anchoring you grab a buoy. You can anchor, but they charge you the same to anchor or grab a buoy and the buoys are checked regularly and are supposed to be very secure, so we're happily tied to buoy #62.

We chose a buoy far out in the harbor because there is no cell phone service in at the marina -- the tower near Loreto is blocked by large hills. But, it you get out here near the low spots or "windows" you can pick up the cell service -- maybe a little spotty but it's the 1st cell service we've had since we got to Puerto Escondido last Sunday, so we're happy to be in contact again!

We'll stay here until Tuesday when Carly flies in then we hope to take her out to see a couple of our favorite anchorages then come back and play tourist in Loreto.

It's a hard, hard life -- Life on the Hard

10 November 2010 | Boatyard in Puerto Escondido
That's the title of one of the humorous cruising songs by Eileen Quinn -- Life on the Hard. That's what cruiser's call being hauled out of the water for boat work and it is certainly different than life on the water.

A boat out of water feels so strange -- it looses all it's life. Then there's the fact that you are "up in the air" as the boat sits on stands and you have to climb a ladder to get on and off -- which isn't one of my favorite things.

Back home in the States when we'd haul the boat out we would stay somewhere else, like a motel, while it was out of the water. But here (as was the case when we were on the hard in Tahiti and Fiji) there isn't a motel close enough for us to stay since we don't have a car to get to and from the boat easily. So it's Life on the Hard for the Cetus Crew.

It's a bit like camping since the water systems can't be used, so we have to leave the boat to use the restrooms, showers and wash out dishes. But one big benefit is I don't want to dirty a lot of dishes so we eat dinner at the nice restaurant here at the marina. That's not so hard.

All the work projects have gone well. Terry's got his projects done that involve the trough holes and is now just waxing the hull and painting the rub rail. I got the bottom paint all done and polished the brass prop. Hopefully we will go back in the water tomorrow and Cetus can come to life again. It's really not such a hard, hard life.

Countdown!

26 September 2010
Time to head home!
We've finally booked a flight so we can get back to Cetus in Santa Rosalia!
We're anxious to get back home to the simpler cruising life and we're excited to have a date set: October 24th

What a difference a day makes!

25 July 2010 | Sweet Pea Cove, Isla San Marcos, Sea of Cortez
We're in day 35 of the test of the Cetus Crew to see if they can survive a summer in the Sea of Cortez.

While we were at the dock in Santa Rosalia (referred to by cruisers as the Hot Box) we had the luxury of shore side electricity so in addition to our many fans aboard Cetus, we purchased a large oscillating fan we named Windy and she was a life saver right along with the lap pool at the marina that we could soak in to reduce our core temperature. We knew things would be better out at anchor, because not only can you swim in the beautiful swimming pool surrounding your boat, but the nice breezes that can't make it over the breakwater at the marina blow by the boat keeping temperatures much more pleasant.

The first days out here at Sweet Pea Cove were everything we'd hoped it would be -- light breezes, refreshing swimming -- much better than the hot stuffy marina. Sure, it was too hot to hike or cook in the galley, but these were minor obstacles to overcome. We enjoyed some pretty good snorkeling during the days and toward evening we'd be entertained by jumping manta rays and other fish and we could see whales blowing in the distance. Beautiful sunsets and comfortable night time temps to sit in the cockpit to watch DVD's or just look at the moon and the stars.

Then on Saturday the breezes died -- and the bees came out in full force. Our little paradise was no more. We still got out swimming -- it was the only relief from the heat, but after we'd rinse off we'd have to retreat down below to the hot cabin (it got up to 98!) because the hoards of bees searching for fresh water were buzzing around the 3 boats here in the anchorage.

We were seriously questioning our plan to spend the Summer in the Sea -- could we take heat like that day after day? Then the very next day, brisk winds picked up! We had 10 - 15+ knots of wind all day, keeping us cool (relatively speaking) all day! I was even able to do some cooking downstairs with the fresh breeze blowing through. So our enthusiasm for the challenge of the Summer in the Sea of Cortez is renewed. What a difference a day makes.

The Sun and the Bees

23 July 2010 | Sweet Pea Cove, Isla San Marcos, Sea of Cortez
The bees in the Sea of Cortez know that the cruising boats are a good source of fresh water and scouts regularly come by checking things out. The trick is to keep screens on the ports and hatches so they can't get below where there is a plentiful supply and to keep fresh water off the deck.

That's where it gets tricky. With the hot sun you need to swim to cool off and when you swim in the salt water you need to rinse off in fresh water, so you need to time it so that everything dries off before a scout comes by because if you get caught he'll have a swarm of friends out to your boat in a matter of minutes. Leave a swimsuit hanging out to dry and it will soon be covered with bees.

Luckily these seem to be fairly harmless bees -- they look like honeybees and they don't seem intent on stinging and are easily swatted away, but it is very disconcerting to have them swarm around your boat. We've gotten pretty good with dealing with them and they haven't been a real problem -- except for having to be so cautious with the fresh water. We also have spray and an electronic bug swatter -- both of which discourage them from setting up camp aboard Cetus.

The best news is that they only come around during the day when the sun is out, so in the evening, night and early morning we have no worries. And with the dry air, we can hang things out at night and they will be dry in the morning and bee free.

Always an adventure!
Vessel Name: Cetus
Vessel Make/Model: Fantasia 35
Hailing Port: Gig Harbor, WA
Crew: Terry & Heidi Kotas and Street Cat Rosie
About:
TERRY & HEIDI got into sailing together 30+ years ago when they purchased their very first sailboat, a 7 foot long "Sunflower" that they played with and learned enough about sailing to get them hooked. [...]
Extra:
CETUS is the constellation of the whale. When we were purchasing this boat, we knew we wanted to change the name because the owners had had some trouble with customs in Fiji due to another boat by the same name (then Illusion) having done something illigal and the boat name was "flagged" in [...]
Cetus's Photos - Main
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Removing the teak deck, fiberglassing, sanding, painting then putting on the Kiwi Grip
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25 days at sea
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Troncones, Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo
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travels between Santa Rosalia and La Paz in October and November 2011
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Sailing around Santorini on a crewed catamaran
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Photos from our trip to the islands in February 2011
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Our trip to the old mining town was a real delight
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May 31, 2009
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Packing food and supplies for our 3rd Blue Water cruise
11 Photos
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Bon Voyage and Retirement Celebration at the Gig Harbor Yacht Club May 9, 2009
93 Photos
Created 13 May 2009
Photos showing the tearing out of the old refrigerator and building a new one.
36 Photos
Created 10 April 2009
A collection of pics from our time sailing through these beautiful atolls
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Our first trip to the San Juans in 10 years!
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A few shots of our first cruising boat Cassiopeia in the South Pacific 1992 - 1994
7 Photos
Created 26 August 2008
Cetus in the South Pacific
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