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.

01 July 2017 | Bahia Marquer, Isla Carmen, Sea of Cortez
27 June 2017
24 June 2017 | Marina Palmira, La Paz
05 June 2017 | Dock 3, Marina Palmira, La Paz, BCS, Mexico
17 May 2017 | Marina Palmira
14 May 2017 | Marina Palmira
10 May 2017 | Dock 3, Marina Palmira, La Paz, BCS, Mexico
24 April 2017 | Springtime in the Pacific Northwest this year.... yuck!
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

Slip for sale in beautiful Gig Harbor, Washington

08 May 2015 | Gig Harbor, Washington
Murphy's Landing Marina
This lovely marina was our home for many years as we both prepared for and returned from our blue water adventures aboard our first cruising boat Cassiopeia and then Cetus.

Though Gig Harbor will always be "home" in our hearts and I believe we will live there again one day, it won't be aboard a boat. Our sailing adventures have spoiled us and we want to do our boating in warmer climes.

So our slip is for sale! You couldn't ask for a more comfortable place as a live aboard in the NW -- or it is also a good investment as a rental property if you don't have a boat.

The marina is well managed and impeccably maintained, and the beautiful clubhouse overlooking the harbor is an added bonus. Owners have access to the clubhouse free of charge and it's a perfect spot for entertaining any time of the year with its full kitchen, gas fireplace, comfortable furniture, television and deck.

Downstairs in the clubhouse are nice, spacious restrooms, showers and a laundry facility -- and you don't need quarters to use them! Access to the clubhouse was what made living aboard at Murphy's such a delight.

If you, or someone you know, is looking for a great place to keep a boat or live aboard, or would like a nice low upkeep rental property, contact us for more information.

It is a 40 foot slip on A dock at Murphy's Landing Marina, 3901 Harborview Drive, Gig Harbor, WA 98332. The Harbormaster, Bruce Rogers is our listing agent and the list price is $96,000. There is a monthly homeowners fee of $127. The slip has been rented out continuously since our departure in 2009 for monthly rental of $360.

It's Leave Eve!

27 March 2012
all checked out and ready to go
We spent the morning going to the Port Captain's office and Immigration to properly check out of Mexico so we can be on our way tomorrow morning.

Doing the proper paperwork to get your official papers - or zarpe - is a nessecity because you can't clear into another country without clearance papers from your last port.

In Mexico they like their paperwork and we went back and forth between the two offices this morning getting a signature here and a stamp there until the process was done about 2 hours later. Most of the time was spent waiting, but it wasn't too bad. The Port Captain's was a small standing closet sized space with a window to the air conditioned room, but Immigration had a couch and air conditioning so we got to cool off when we got back there. They were all friendly and nice so it was a good experience - we've seen much worse!

After what we thought was the final stamp we were told that the Immigration officer would be coming to our boat at the marina at 5 pm for the final clearance. Two nice young guys showed up shortly after 5 and stamped our passports and gave us yet another official paper. Rumor has it Customs will also be visiting our boat in the morning for their final release -- possibly as early as 5 or 6 am!

Our plans are to have a nice breakfast about 8 am at a nearby hotel with Vicky and her crew on Inspiration at Sea then we'll all head out sometime before noon tomorrow.

Can't believe we're finally heading to the Galapagos!!

Delayed Departure

15 March 2012
cruisers must be flexible
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.

Sailfest Results

22 February 2012
we helped the kids!
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

Putting Cetus back together again

17 October 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!

Searching for Cassiopeia

06 October 2010
Cassiopeia in Musket Cove, Fiji 1993
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.......



Getting Ready to Go!

24 February 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!


Just a note

12 November 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

Get Set.....

03 November 2009 | Shelter Island, San Diego
Passage food
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!

Leave Eve

23 July 2009 | John Wayne Marina, Sequim Bay
Heidi
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!

CHECK THESE OUT!

14 April 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!

Provisioning

10 April 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.........

What do you do about mail?

08 April 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!

Organizing 101

07 April 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.
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
1 Photo | 8 Sub-Albums
Created 25 May 2016
17 Photos
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Removing the teak deck, fiberglassing, sanding, painting then putting on the Kiwi Grip
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Created 12 December 2014
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25 days at sea
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Troncones, Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo
43 Photos
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travels between Santa Rosalia and La Paz in October and November 2011
100 Photos
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Sailing around Santorini on a crewed catamaran
40 Photos
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Photos from our trip to the islands in February 2011
34 Photos
Created 14 February 2011
Our trip to the old mining town was a real delight
117 Photos
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2 Photos
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13 Photos
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15 Photos
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26 Photos
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31 Photos
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27 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
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60 Photos
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May 31, 2009
30 Photos
Created 31 May 2009
Packing food and supplies for our 3rd Blue Water cruise
11 Photos
Created 30 May 2009
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
18 Photos
Created 8 October 2008
Our first trip to the San Juans in 10 years!
12 Photos
Created 8 October 2008
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
12 Photos
Created 26 August 2008
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