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.

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
24 September 2016 | Tigard Oregon
12 September 2016 | Puerto Escondido, BCS, Mexico
25 August 2016 | Puerto Escondido, BCS, Mexico

The long wait is over!

24 June 2017 | Marina Palmira, La Paz
Pressure testing at Ernesto's shop
The tanks are done. Ernesto's estimate of 3 weeks turned into 5 1/2 weeks, but they look good. And we have enjoyed our time in La Paz but we are more than ready to get out of the marina and up to our favorite cruising grounds: the islands off Loreto.

We went out to his shop this morning to watch the pressure testing -- which went well -- and now he is delivering them as I write this. Hurray!

Today we will take care of some preparation projects that we couldn't do until we had the tanks in hand -- like tearing apart the floor again. Then tomorrow Terry will begin the installation -- getting them down thru the hatch and into the hole in the floor, then plumbing and securing them. Once they pass the final leak test when we fill them with diesel, he'll get to put the floor back together for hopefully the last time.

I expect it to go smoothly since Terry, unfortunately, has had lots of practice installing tanks this past year.

Let's hope the 3rd time's a charm!

Time is flying and Life is Good

05 June 2017 | Dock 3, Marina Palmira, La Paz, BCS, Mexico
We can't believe it's been a full month already since we got back home aboard Cetus! It's been a very enjoyable month, despite the disappointment of the leak in the newly installed diesel tanks. Still waiting for the new aluminum tanks to be completed, but we're making the best of our time here while we wait.

We've completed some good projects. Installed new Formica in both the bedroom and the bathroom giving them a fresh new look. And we've also cleaned, organized and de-cluttered all the cabinets and closets in the boat.

We enjoyed a mini vacation to Baja's East Cape spending two nights in Los Barilles and driving down to Cabo Pulmo area for some snorkeling.

Locally we've enjoyed some nice meals out at 'new to us' places with good friends Lola & Manny who also drove us out to show us where some great beaches are for future outings.

Yesterday we finally got into town for the Saturday organic market as well as meeting up with friends Valarie & Damian for coffee and apple pie. Great morning.

So all is well and we'll continue to enjoy La Paz and the surrounding area as we await the completion of the new tanks.

Ahhh... there's the leak!

17 May 2017 | Marina Palmira
Monday, After Terry took apart the floor and un-plumbed the tanks we wrestled them out the hatch (it's a tight fit -- like a puzzle to get the big ones turned just right) and on the dock into the light of day we couldn't see a thing wrong with either tank! They looked perfectly fine.

So to reassure ourselves before we made the down payment on the new aluminum tanks, we did a test. We took them up to the parking lot and with a hose filled them with water. Before the first one was even half way full Terry spotted the rapidly dripping leak.

We contacted the builder and he is as puzzled as we were. The plastic he uses is rated for diesel, but now he suspecting that maybe the rod he welds it with reacts to it. It's too bad because he did a beautiful job on these tanks.

So today Ernesto came by and picked up the tanks and will order the materials to begin the aluminum tanks for us. He estimates 3 weeks..... but who knows?

Right now the breezes are still great keeping temps very comfortable -- but there's some hot weather coming this weekend, so the Cetus crew will do a short road trip in search of a beach to beat the heat.

Who can leave this beautiful view?

14 May 2017 | Marina Palmira
Apparently not us!

Unfortunately it's not the lovely surroundings keeping us tied to the dock, but a problem with the new diesel tanks.

After Terry completed a great job of installing them he put some fuel in them and let it set for a day or so to check for leaks -- and all was well. Then he tested the engine and it all ran great! So he put the floor back together and started adding more fuel to fill the tanks..... and started seeing a slight trickle of fuel. Not good but probably just a fitting that needed tightening.

Checking all the fittings for the next day or so it was determined there were no leaks there...... but the light sheen of diesel continued to reappear! Yikes!

Soooo, it's back to the drawing board. He'll take them out next week so we can hopefully see where the leak is coming from. In the meantime we've contacted a local guy that makes steel tanks and he'll remake these for us.

Our planned departure (tomorrow) will be delayed by about a month for that to happen, which is disappointing as we were anxious to get out and enjoy the beautiful anchorages. But life here at the docks is good too, so we'll make the best of it. Plans are to get the dinghy in the water to enjoy some nearby snorkeling as well as use the car to travel to nearby beaches and towns.

When life gives you lemons you just make a great batch of lemonaid! 🍋


10 May 2017 | Dock 3, Marina Palmira, La Paz, BCS, Mexico
We've been back aboard Cetus a full week now and it is so great to be home. Tho we miss our family and friends when we're down here -- there is nothing like sleeping in your own bed, cooking in your own kitchen or just relaxing in your own space.

The days have just flown by, too. The first few days were spent getting the boat back together: sails back on, wind generator back up plus lots of other 'outdoor stuff' put back outside making room for us inside. We also had all the usual stuff to unload from the car: boat parts and food stuffs as well as all our traveling clothes and things.

Then, since Saturday, the big boat projects have filled our days. Terry's been diligently working on installing our new fuel tanks that were delivered here for us while we were up north. I have been helping with that as I could but more important I tackled the next project on his 'to do' list and stripped out the old Formica on our bedroom counter, made the pattern and cut the new Formica. Yesterday we glued it down and today Terry replaced the trim work on the counter and finished the tanks (which included rebuilding the floor!). Two biggies checked off the lists!

In addition to the boat work I've stayed diligent on my PT for my new knee. Every morning I pedal about 20 minutes on my portable pedal machine and then in the late afternoon I utilize the new pool here at the marina for some great water exercises. My knee is feeling a little more normal everyday.

We've set Monday the 15th as our departure date to leave the marina and slowly sail north in the Sea eventually reaching Puerto Escondido where we will once again home base for the summer while enjoying the lovely anchorages in that area.

Lots to do to get ready to go, but in the meantime we are thoroughly enjoying being here at the dock. We were afraid being in the marina would be too hot this time of year but we've been blessed with some lovely breezes and cool morning temps (sometimes cold!!) so it's been quite delightful.

Time to watch the sunset.......

Leave Eve!

24 April 2017 | Springtime in the Pacific Northwest this year.... yuck!
What we expected to be a 2 month long recovery and rehab from my total knee replacement surgery finished up much earlier than expected! At my 3 week Post Op I was released by the Dr. And PT because I'd met all the goals for mobility and range of motion -- so I was free to go!

We've spent the past week wrapping things up here -- picking up things to take back to Cetus and seeing family for one last time.

Now tomorrow we will hit the road for the 1700 mile drive back home to Cetus on dock 3 in Marina Palmira in La Paz! And to sunshine!

The gray rainy days were a big incentive to work hard at PT to get out of here as soon as possible. We've been up here more than a month and we've only had one full day of sunshine -- and that didn't happen till last Friday!

So we're happy to say we're heading back to the Sea and very excited we'll be there for May -- our very favorite month there -- that we thought we'd miss this year.

On the road again....

Another "out of boat" experience

26 March 2017
Since I don't usually post about non boating stuff since this is a SailBlog I probably won't be posting for the next couple months.

We are up in Washington and I'll be having a knee replacement tomorrow ( as my sister pointed out today is "knee eve"!). I'm expecting to spend at least 2 months here during rehab and recovery.

As soon as I get the go ahead we will get back down to Cetus in La Paz and then head out to enjoy the beautiful Sea of Cortez!

Until then.... Adios!

Adios La Paz!

09 March 2017 | Marina Palmira, La Paz, BCS, Mexico
It is once again "leave eve".

Today we are packing and stowing -- preparing Cetus to sit empty here on dock 3 for a few months while we drive north. I have surgery scheduled for March 27th to get a new left knee.

We plan to make it a leisurely drive -- at least here in Mexico -- to enjoy some of the lovely spots we often rush thru. 1st stop on Friday is only 3 1/2 hours away where we will stay in San Carlos on Magdelana Bay to go on a whale watching excursion!

While we do see whales often from our boat, these trips out on smaller panga boats get you right up close and personal -- even getting so close as to touch them as the young ones poke their faces up to greet you. Lots of friends from the marina have booked tours there and we're very excited to finally get to experience the fun.

We also plan to spend a couple days at our very favorite stop on our drives back and forth: hotel Misión Santa Maria on the Pacific Ocean just south of San Quintin. Its lovely, long, sandy shell studded beach is always the perfect treat after hours of driving.

It's been another fun "season" in La Paz but we are so looking forward to returning after my surgery and re-hab and finally getting back out to the anchorages in the islands. That's where you find the true beauty of the Sea of Cortez.

A change in plans -- staying put

21 February 2017 | Marina Palmira, La Paz
Our plan to start our sail north to Puerto Escondido tomorrow had to be changed -- but not due to weather this time. I suddenly came down with a chest cold last Friday which spread to my head and sinus thru the weekend. I saw the Dr Monday and I seem to have pneumonia 😩.

With the meds and antibiotics I'm already feeling much better -- but not well enough to provision the boat and set sail tomorrow.

So plan B is now in effect: leave Cetus here at the dock in Marina Palmira while we drive north for my knee surgery in March. Terry just has to take the bus to PE to fetch the car and we'll be good to go.

Wrapping it up in La Paz

18 February 2017 | Dock 3 Marina Palmira La Paz
It's been 2 1/2 months since we arrived in La Paz -- and two full months since my last post! No excuses -- time just goes too fast anymore 😎.

We have been busy -- holidays, birthdays and out of town guests added to the usual busy "dock days" filled with projects and socializing.

But we need to head out a bit early this year (we typically spend the months of December thru February here at the dock in Marina Palmira). I am scheduled for knee replacement surgery at the end of March and we need to get Cetus up to Puerto Escondido where we will tuck her away for safekeeping when we drive north for that.

So the plan (weather permitting of course) is to leave the dock next Thursday (so far there looks to be a bit of a weather break that day) and travel as far north as we can get before the next norther sets in on Friday. Traveling north at this time of year can be time consuming since the northers can be very frequent.

Our goal is to be ready to hit the road from Puerto Escondido (where our car is stored) no later than March 15th (as I have a pre op apt on March 21st).

So ends another fun Winter in La Paz!

All settled in to our "winter home"

15 December 2016 | Dock 3, Marina Palmira, La Paz, BCS, Mexico
Cetus has a new wild look!
We've been at the dock at Marina Palmira over two weeks already and feel very much at home. It's been busy busy with boat projects, birthday celebrations, movie outings, shopping and last night the 1st dock party.

One of the projects I tackled was some new slip covers for the main salon. I like to do that every few years to give a new look to the boat -- after all I can't rearrange furniture as it's all built in. It was an easy, inexpensive ($30) facelift for the cushions and I'm happy with the results.

Now we're all decorated for Christmas and looking forward to a visit from Carly & Ryan who will fly down tomorrow! We've got a fun week planned with them -- the highlight being taking a tour out to swim with the Whale Sharks.

We'll continue to enjoy dock life for the next couple months as the north winds blow and the Sea turns cold -- then by March we'll get back out to the anchorages.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

24 November 2016 | Punta Salinas, Isla San Jose
We are having a very untraditional Thanksgiving this year as I wasn't able to find any turkey before I left Loreto a couple weeks ago, so we will be celebrating the "American" Thanksgiving on board Cetus with our Canadian friends (who celebrate Thanksgiving in October) and eating BBQ ribs!

We wish we could be enjoying the holiday with our family in the Northwest, but it's also nice to be "home" for the holiday and for us "home is where the boat is".

We will enjoy the day and be thankful for all that we have and for the family and friends that we miss while we are away.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Heading South!

20 November 2016 | somewhere inthe Sea of Cortez
We met up with our sailing buddies on Prairie Oyster on Thursday in San Juanico and began our trip south with them yesterday.

The seas were still lumpy from the light norther so it was a rolly ride with little wind, but we only had to put up with it for 4 hours until we tucked into the south anchorage of Coronados. The lack of the predicted wind was a real dissapointment as we'd hoped to sail the distance but had to motor with the sails up the whole way. At least the lumpy seas were following seas.

We're making another hop south today -- this is a longer trip -- about 40 miles to Agua Verde. Doesn't look promising for any sailing again today, but at least the seas are smoother.

Sunrise swims are now a thing of the past as we will be moving most days -- and the water is now in the chilly range -- yesterday's "pool" temp was 78. But it made for a refreshing afternoon dip.

So south we go to La Paz, because winter is coming.........


11 November 2016 | South Anchorage Isla Coronado
We sort of lost a lot of communication channels the last couple weeks. It started when I developed problems with my iPhone (overheating, freezing up, screen fading.....) which has pretty much put it out of use except for brief moments of time. Then we went into Puerto Escondido so I could use their WiFi to complete a project I had going on Shutterfly -- and of course their WiFi wasn't working! Yikes!

Between the hotels WiFi, Carol's Mini Market's WiFi and our friend Noel at the Dive Shop, I managed to complete my project so we left Puerto Escondido and are now enjoying being out at anchor again.

But we still don't have the communications we once did out here with my phone basically dead. But luckily we are pretty self sufficient aboard Cetus and can still contact the outside world thru non cellular or Internet means. We have our HAM radio!

These blog posts are sent out through the HAM radio as well as emails through Winlink or Airmail. It's quite different than regular Internet, but we can communicate and that is a very good thing.

I also send out my SPOT satellite position reports every time we change anchorages so our family can always know where we are. So we are pretty much off the grid -- but not really.

And to all our friends that see these posts and SPOT positions on Facebook or our blog, don't feel slighted if we don't reply to a comment or email that you may send, because even though our posts show up there -- we need Internet to see what you have to say.

We don't expect to have much in the way of Internet until we reach La Paz around December 1st, but we'll look forward to catching up with all of you then!

Winter is coming......

11 November 2016 | South Anchorage Isla Coronado
It's been interesting to note the gradual changes from summer to fall here in the Sea of Cortez.

In just a couple weeks the average temperatures have dropped about 10 degrees and the water temps are creeping down too from a high of about 85 degrees and now its about 80 degrees and dropping -- my sunrise swims will soon be a thing of the past.

Already we don't bother with running fans downstairs -- though we do keep the hatches open to let the cool breezes in. And the wind patterns have already changed from the summer southerlies to north winds. So far the Norther's that have blown haven't been terribly strong, staying below 20 on the most gusty days, but it won't be long till true Norther comes along gusting to 30 and lasting 2 or 3 days.

And that's why we will soon be making our annual migration down to La Paz and the comforts of staying at a dock for those blustery and cold days of winter. There you have no worries of anchors dragging and getting in the dinghy to get to shore in choppy seas. All the creature comforts of power and water and warm shorwers are greatly appreciated at that time of year -- quite the opposite of the summer where the last place you want to be is in a marina with stifling heat and no where to swim.

So even though it seems Mexico is like summer all year round, it's actually changing through distinct seasons -- and just like up north where the changes are more dramatic -- we still look forward to each season for what they have to offer.

Cetus has left the dock!

19 October 2016 | Isla Coronados
The vast view off our stern
After 2 busy weeks of boatwork (installing new solar panels, putting snaps on the new sail cover, sanding and Cetoling the toe rail along with all the usual waxing and polishing and putting things back together) -- we are finally out at anchor! Our "happy place".

While being at the dock with unlimited power and water, WiFi and garbage cans (that may sound silly, but when you're out traveling about a lot of thought and energy goes into trash management!) is great there's nothing quite like living out in the middle of nature.

And here we are! We're enjoying a beautiful view of the Sea of Cortez as we relax in our cockpit after a nice long afternoon snorkel.

We chose the south anchorage of Isla Coronados because we're expecting the 1st Norther of the season tomorrow and for us this is the perfect place to be.

Let it blow!

Back Home!!

05 October 2016 | Marina Puerto Escondido
The drive back to Puerto Escondido was a lot of fun -- we did finally see spectacular Crater Lake and then a visit to one of our favorite coastal towns: Monterey.

After that we picked up our new solar panels near LA and had a great visit with good friends Joe & Sharon from Lucky Lady too.

Then it was time to meet Carly & Ryan in Disneyland where they were celebrating their 5th wedding anniversary.

The next day we headed south, crossing into Mexico at Tecate then driving to Hotel Mision Santa Maria near San Quintin on the Pacific. A nice walk on the beach is the perfect way to end a long day of driving!

An overnight stop at Santa Rosalia and then home to Cetus the next morning. We did treat ourselves to a night at nearby Hotel Tripui while we put Cetus back into live aboard mode. A swim in the pool was a nice way to relax at the end of the day.

Today the work continued as we put the sails and wind generator back on and then began unpacking all the miscellaneous food and supplies we'd packed into Old Blue.

Still lots of work to do, but we're back home and it feels great!

Heading South!

24 September 2016 | Tigard Oregon
Old Blue is packed to the hilt!
After a whirlwind 2 1/2 week visit to the Pacific Northwest visiting family and friends, celebrating birthdays, a nostalgic picnic at Twanoh State Park with my siblings and a couple cousins, a few dr apts and a service apt for our car (we've put 13,000 miles on it since we purchased it in May) we are finally on our way back to Cetus in Puerto Escondido!

This will be a little more leisurely than most of our trips south with plans to finally see Crater Lake National Park and then after picking up new solar panels in Onterio, CA we will meet up with Carly and Ryan in Disneyland!

We plan to cross the border on Monday the 3rd and then we will speed up our pace and cover as many miles each day as daylight hours and road conditions will allow.

On the road again.......

We Dodged Another Bullet!

12 September 2016 | Puerto Escondido, BCS, Mexico
Cetus in the little marina awaiting the hurricane!
It's been over a month since my last post, and what a month it's been!

After painting the Kiwi Grip in Cetus' cockpit, we started our drive north. We weren't in a big rush so we enjoyed the drive even spending two nights at our favorite Mexican hotel: Hotel Mision Santa Maria on the Pacific Coast just south of San Quintin.

We spent one night in San Diego after crossing the border where we checked out a trailerable trimaran for my brother, then up to Longbeach to have our life raft looked at for repacking. It hadn't been serviced or repacked in a very long time and even though it inflated just fine, all of the required up grades for that raft would make repacking it more expensive than a new one so that will be our next major purchase.

We had another nice break from daily driving when we stopped in Seaside, OR for a few days to visit friends -- and had a nice visit with Carly & Ryan who were also in Seaside for the Labor Day weekend.

But as we were traveling up from San Diego we were seeing another hurricane developing off the Mexican Coast -- and unlike the earlier ones this year it wasn't predicted to head straight to Hawaii as the others had but it was on a path to go right up the Sea of Cortez!

Everyday we hoped to see it fizzle out or turn away but it just kept heading for Baja and by the time we left Seaside it was pretty clear it would at least hit Cabo San Lucas. We contacted Javier at the Marina in Puerto Escondido where Cetus was secured at the dock and had him add a couple more lines to keep Cetus away from the dock should winds come thru there. And they did!

Hurricane Newton hit Cabo (but luckily not with the same force as Odile had two years before) then blew over La Paz and San Evaristo and on Tuesday (Sept. 6th) it began blowing and raining in Puerto Escondido and Loreto. The worst of it was over by 9:00 that night and we were happy to hear from Javier that there was no damage in the little marina and Cetus was safe. So Cetus weathered another hurricane unscathed!

Our friends boat, Due West, broke loose from the buoy they were on when the pennant failed and ended up in the mangroves, but luckily when they got it off the next day they found minor damage -- so thankful for that because it could have been much worse. They are now hauled out in the boat yard doing the repairs to the keel.

Newton continued north to Santa Rosalia where it made a mess of the roads and town, but the boats in the marina made it thru with minor damage thank goodness.

But the worst damage that Newton brought was when it crossed the Sea and battered San Carlos and Guaymas! Much boat damage there -- where boats usually are safe from storms like this. We heard at least 7 boats sank in Guaymas when one of the docks tore apart, and in San Carlos a row of boats on the hard fell over like dominoes. What a nightmare!

So we dodged another bullet and are hoping no more big storms crop up this season -- which technically runs till November 1st. We will be returning to Cetus in Puerto Escondido by October 7th.

For a great post on Hurricane Newton in Puerto Escondido check out our friends Heidi & Kirk's blog -- they were there and their boat, Due West, is the one I mentioned went into the mangroves.
SVDueWest Blog

The projects are done! Time to hit the road

25 August 2016 | Puerto Escondido, BCS, Mexico
The cockpit with its fresh new coat of KiwiGrip
Terry sanded and prepped the cockpit seats for the KiwiGrip, while I set up shop at the nearby hotel and sewed up a new sailcover for Cetus.

He'd already removed the old teak from the cockpit early in the month, so it only took him a couple days to get everything sanded and patch some bad spots. He then put a coat of white paint over it to ensure the KiwiGrip (also white) wouldn't have any dark spots showing through.

Meanwhile, back at the hotel, I cut out the panels and began sewing the 18 foot long sailcover. That's why it was important to me to have more space to work on this project than I have on the boat.

To simplify making the sailcover I had purchased a kit from Sailrite which worked out great. They sent the fabric pre-marked with the pattern as well as all the thread, zipper, snaps, bias tape along with some easy to follow instructions.

I was able to finish the sailcover the day Terry finished the cockpit prep, so on the 3rd day we combined our forces and put the KiwiGrip down in the cockpit -- then left the boat to give it a full day to dry.

We'd already moved our clothes and everything we would need on our drive north off the boat so on the forth day we went back to the boat just to check everything out and put the final touches on putting her away for a month and a half.

So Cetus is sitting safe and snug in a berth in the little Puerto Escondido Marina and we are now on our long drive north.
Vessel Name: Cetus
Vessel Make/Model: Fantasia 35
Hailing Port: Gig Harbor, WA
Crew: Terry & Heidi Kotas and Street Cat Rosie
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. [...]
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 - Turtle Bay
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