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.

28 June 2016 | Puerto Escondido
22 June 2016 | Puerto Escondido, BCS, Mexico
10 June 2016 | Snoqualmie, WA
09 June 2016 | Rainbow Beach Resort, Inchelium WA
08 June 2016 | The Frank Slide
07 June 2016 | Lethbridge, Alberta
06 June 2016 | Flin Flin, Manitoba
04 June 2016 | Invermay, Saskatchewan
02 June 2016 | Invermay, Saskatchewan
01 June 2016 | Neepawa, Manitoba
31 May 2016 | Nevis, Minnisota
30 May 2016 | Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
29 May 2016 | Indianapolis, Indiana
27 May 2016 | Lebanon, Indiana
26 May 2016 | Moline, Illinois
25 May 2016 | Sioux Falls, South Dakota
24 May 2016 | Spearfish Canyon Lodge, Lead, South Dakota
22 May 2016 | Butte, Montana
21 May 2016 | Snoqualmie, WA

Getting Settled

28 June 2016 | Puerto Escondido
Our 2000 mile journey back to Puerto Escondido went well and upon arrival we spent the 1st night at nearby Hotel Tripui so we could rest up before getting the car unpacked and Cetus back to liveaboard shape.

We did get out to Cetus that first day to get the dinghy up and running -- and we were pleasantly surprised to find everything in pretty good shape and surprisingly comfortably cool downstairs. And the nice afternoon breezes have been keeping it comfortable ever since.

It is that time of year down here where you don't really want to do much work outside after about 10 am so we're getting those projects done early -- washing the deck, putting on the sails and dodger and tomorrow will be putting the blades back on the wind generator. Afternoon projects are puttering down below putting things away and neatening up.

But the best part is the afternoon swim! Today we even got the snorkeling gear out and had a great time watching all the fish. Better than TV!

So we are alive and well in Puerto Escondido awaiting to see what changes will come with the new ownership that comes in on July 1st. So far the rumors have it that they won't do any pricing changes till after the end of the year as a courtesy to all the boats here that have prepaid for up to 6 months on their moorage and dry storage. The other big question is will they rehire any of the existing staff. We certainly hope they do -- especially the travel lift operator who we trust so much.

We don't have any WiFi at the moment, so I will be keeping in touch through my Winlink email on the ham radio unless we get into town and access it at a restaurant.

And Rosie also looks happy to be back home (well, as happy as a cat can look) -- she's enjoying all of her favorite perches outside and snoozing spots down below.

Home Sweet Home!

On the road again -- heading home

22 June 2016 | Puerto Escondido, BCS, Mexico
view of the mooring fields of Puerto Escondido
We packed the car with all our purchases (boat parts and stuff from Costco) -- leaving enough room for Rosie in the back seat and we hit the road for the long trip south to Puerto Escondido where Cetus awaits our return on a mooring buoy.

We actually cut our stay short by a few days, forgoing the chance to visit with friends when we received an email from the Fonatur Marina that it had finally sold and the transition to the new owners would be taking over on June 30th.

We felt since we were getting down there near that time anyway, we'd speed up the trip so we could be there a few days before the turnover to see what was going to change.

We expect that the new owners will raise prices because the Fonatur Marina is government run and is very reasonably priced. Most marina's in Mexico not so much.

The other concern is if they get rid of the current staff, the travel lift operator that we trust so much might not be there any longer. We are very happy Cetus isn't hauled out right now so we don't have to worry about that aspect at this time, but lots of friends boats are.

We aren't worried about Cetus, just want to be down there to know what's happening. Plus we miss being "home".

So we're on the road again looking to complete the drive in 5 or 6 days. Not quite the easy 5 hour drive days we enjoyed on our big road trip.

On we go!

The Circle is Complete!

10 June 2016 | Snoqualmie, WA
Road Trip 2016 has come to an end
Our long road trip is finally over!

Today we enjoyed another scenic drive as we left Twin Lakes heading west. The highlight was a stop at Dry Falls -- somewhere we also often stopped on our family drives to Twin Lakes. An amazing view -- and they were selling huckleberry ice cream cones! How great is that!

We didn't know how far we'd get today -- probably somewhere near Vantage or Ellensburg or Cle Elum. But it happens to be graduation weekend in Ellensburg this weekend and there wasn't a reasonably priced room to be found.

So we went a couple hours longer and reached Carly & Ryan's house -- where we started out nearly 3 weeks ago. We drove nearly 6000 miles on this journey and traveled through 11 states and 4 provinces.

Now we will have a week to spend some time with family and friends and rest up for our next trip: driving back home to Cetus in the Sea of Cortez.

Another Walk Down Memory Lane

09 June 2016 | Rainbow Beach Resort, Inchelium WA
Today was very special to me because we were able to spend the night in a log cabin at Rainbow Beach Resort in Eastern Washington near Inchelium. My dad was from that area and that was where we vacationed as a family as long as I can remember. I have been back a few times as an adult -- but the last time was over 30 years ago and I've been wanting to go back ever since.

We got in about 1:30 in the afternoon so we had plenty of time to hike the old trail and sit on the dock with our feet in the water. I'd planned to get up early the next morning to take a swim at sunrise -- but in the night the rain started up and it was still raining when we headed out.

And the drive from Kalispell to Twin Lakes was a beautiful drive mostly along Highway 2 -- light traffic and good roads winding through ever changing country side.

It was a very good day!

A Majestic Day

08 June 2016 | The Frank Slide
We left the flat plains and slowly rose into the Canadian Rockies crossing Crowsnest Pass and Terry recognized the rolling hills that where the backdrop to his grampa's farm.

Those rolling green hills were overshadowed by the vast wasteland left by the Frank Slide in 1903. I'd always heard of this infamous landslide that brought half a mountain flowing down on to the town of Frank at 4:00 in the morning. The devastation is still apparent today, not only by the gash in the hillside but the acres of rock and boulders -- nearly 90 million tons -- that still fill the valley making it look much like a moonscape.

It was a somber sight -- reminiscent of our visit to the Arizona memorial in Hawaii or our recent visit to the Little Big Horn site of Custer's Last Stand.

A short time later we were happily crossing back into the United States. We love Canada, but couldn't quite get used to the shock of prices -- even though we knew that converted to US it was not quite as bad as it looked.

We headed south towards Kalispell, Montana taking a little detour into Glacier National Park. We could only drive partway up the Road to the Sun as it wasn't open the whole way yet. But what we saw was beautiful. Luckily when we visited Devil's Tower earlier in the road trip they sold us a $10 lifetime park pass (for anyone 62 and older). So we didn't feel bad about only having a short drive in the park since it didn't cost us anything -- and the normal charge is $30!

The big excitement of the day came when we were settled into our motel room, watching a little TV and it was interupted for an emergency weather alert for the possibility of extreme thundershowers in our area! A danger of golf ball sized hailstones! Yikes!

It seems that we are out of the danger zone now -- just got some heavy rain and rolling thunder. Tomorrow's forecast is for clear skies -- so on we'll go!

I've posted some more pictures in the Gallery under the Road Trip 2016 album. Enjoy!

PS I almost forgot our "giant ball of string" moment of the day as we passed "the worlds Largest Truck" just before Fernie, BC. It was huge!

A Day of Travel

07 June 2016 | Lethbridge, Alberta
On the Road to Crowsnest Pass
Not much sight seeing today as we were trying to put a lot of miles under the tires to position ourselves for a short trip tomorrow to our next destination: Crowsnest Pass in Frank, Alberta where Terry's dad grew up on the family farm. Terry was able to visit the farm on a family vacation in the early 60's. Just like Flin Flon we know it will have changed and be hardly recognizable to what it was, but it is on our way and we're looking forward to it.

We did see a sight right up there with the giant ball of string when we passed thru Medicine Hat Alberta -- home of the tallest teepee in the world!

There was also lots of beautiful scenery as we first passed through the flat farm land south of Saskatoon then to the more rugged "Badlands of Canada".

The weather has changed considerably from the damp chilly weather of Flin Flon to the 96 degree weather here in our town for the night: Lethbridge, Alberta.

Tomorrow's plan is to travel to Crowsnest pass and visit the site of the famous Frank Slide, then south back into the States.

So on we go!

A Trip thru Flin Flon

06 June 2016 | Flin Flin, Manitoba
I always assumed the name Flin Flon was a name given to the town by the native Americans living in that area, but boy was I wrong as we found out when we saw the statue and read the story of Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin at the entrance to town. The statue was erected in 1962 and designed by Al Cap of Li'l Abner fame.

Even funnier is that Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin wasn't even a real person, but a character in a novel called "The Sunless City" by E. Preston Muddock! It seems some prospectors came across the book and enjoyed reading the adventure tale, so a year later when they struck gold they named their claim after good old Josiah. At least they shortened it to Flin Flon!

Our tour thru the town marked the northern terminus of our road trip as we were above latitude 54 (about the same as Ketchican, Alaska). It was also brief as it is a very small town but we spent a more time driving thru the Denare Beach area because that is really where the Hogan family lived in a cabin on the shores of Beaver Lake. We knew before heading up there that their cabin burned down several years ago. But we were able to see the lot it had been on (a new big house now sits there) and the beach down the road where Terry and his sister played when they were up there. Unfortunately the museum was closed (doesn't open until July). But the little red schoolhouse that Aunt Mo attended still stands next door to the museum.

After our little self guided tour we started our drive south along long empty roads -- beautiful scenery and a couple black bears crossing the road added interest to the drive -- but we were very disappointed we still haven't seen any moose.

Many miles later we stopped for the night in Saskatoon and tomorrow we'll continue south toward our next destination: Crowsnest Pass in Frank, Alberta where Terry's dad grew up.

I will put some pictures in the gallery from our different stops.

Life in and around InverMayberry

04 June 2016 | Invermay, Saskatchewan
On the road to Flin Flon
After years of hearing stories from Jim and Dianne about their life in a small town in the prairies of Saskatchewan it was great to finally see it all -- put faces with the names we'd hear and to see the collection of small towns they travel to regularly: Canora, Yorkton and Wadena. And we learned a few new ones during our stay as we traveled to Preezeville and Sheho for meals out and we passed through Rama and heard stories about Foam Lake.

It was all very Mayberryesk -- gravel roads in the small town where everything was a short walk away. Main street had a hand full of shops or businesses, but everything you'd need between trips to the big city of Yorkton. And everywhere you go whether on foot or in a car everybody waves -- and not just in Invermay, but all the other towns as well.

We stopped at a garage sale in Wadena (on the way to the bakery there for coffee) and when Jim started talking to the family running it found they not only had a lot of acquaintances in common -- but they were also distantly related! No 6 degrees of separation here!

It is farm county and we got to see Jim's sister and brother-in-laws beautiful farm and learned so much about farming and machinery as it's a common topic of conversation everywhere you go.

And we got a peek into the Ukranian culture of the area -- seeing their beautiful churches and hearing stories. Dianne and Jim put together a Ukrainian dinner for us getting some homemade pierogies from a neighbor, cabbage rolls from a friend (that runs the local restaurant), sausage and finally some beetniks (those were a new one to me!) -- all that was missing was the borshch. It was a fun and tasty meal and added to the adventure of experiencing such a different lifestyle.

This was definitely a big highlight of our trip and we're so happy we got an opportunity to observe the Currah's (Jim & Dianne) in their native habitat.

Next stop: Flin Flon!

The BIG Surprise

02 June 2016 | Invermay, Saskatchewan
On the road to Flin Flon
Today's adventure took us to Invermay, Saskatchewan!

This stop has been in the works for 4 or 5 years -- because our good friends Jim & Dianne of Prairie Oyster moved here to the prairies of Saskatchewan 6 years ago (they spend 6 months in the Sea of Cortez with us, and 6 months up here). But just like our desire to visit Aunt Mo and Uncle Jerry in Minnesota, we just didn't have the time.

But this year we were making the big road trip and their town was pretty much on the way to Flin Flon --so we would finally be able to visit them!

The best part of the visit is we were able to keep it a secret from Jim! I've been in contact with Dianne for months planning this and it worked out perfectly.

We planned on arriving on June 2nd and it just so happened he was taking the neighbor kids to the dentist at 3:00 that day. Terry and I positioned ourselves just outside of town (the very small town -- population 240). And when Jim left the house Dianne sent me a text "he's gone" and we drove the last 5 minutes to their house. We unloaded our stuff and Rosie too and the 3 of us sat down in the living room to await his arrival. I sat in Jim's chair where it would be the first thing he saw.

When he came thru the door and looked at me at first he looked confused -- then he stepped in the room looking for Terry. He was speechless! And for anyone that knows Jim that is something. He finally managed to say to Dianne, "and you knew about this?" She said yes and went on to tell him that the whole town knew! The joke was on him -- and everyone loved that because it was good payback for all the practical jokes he plays on everybody.

Now we will finally get to meet all the friends and relatives and other assorted characters that we hear about year after year in their amusing stories.

Good times in Invermay!



The Mighty Mississippi

01 June 2016 | Neepawa, Manitoba
the tiny Mississippi
Our driving through the Midwest this past week has had us cross the Mississippi several times as our route wound through Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota, but today was the best view yet as we crossed over the source where the Mighty Mississippi is just a creek coming out of Itasca Lake.

That and crossing into Canada were the highlights of the day. There were of course the interesting sights and oddities along the way as we traveled over some of flattest land and longest straightest roads we've ever seen.

We ended the day in a small motel in Neepawa, Manitoba -- and finally the gray rainy skies cleared and we are enjoying a beautiful evening.

We have another very special day planned for tomorrow!

A Nice Family Visit

31 May 2016 | Nevis, Minnisota
On the road to Flin Flon
Today we had a very special destination.

Terry's Aunt Maureen and Uncle Jerry (who live in Tacoma) have a cabin on a lake in Nevis, Minnesota where they have spent many summers during the past 20 years.

We've always wanted to visit them there, but haven't had the time for such a trip. Luckily this year they went to the lake at the beginning of May, so they were there when we were finished in Indianapolis! So we made the trek across Wisconsin and halfway across Minnesota and finally, after all these years, got to visit their cabin!

We were also able to pick Aunt Mo's brain about where to go once we reach Flin Flon. She gave us some good directions as well as contact info for a couple people that can give us even more background on their family history in Flin Flon. Terry's grampa was stationed there with the Forest Service.

It's a lovely spot and we enjoyed spending time with them -- it was a true highlight to our big road trip! We just wish we could have stayed a week!

Another Day of Driving

30 May 2016 | Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
On the road to Flin Flon
With Indy behind us it's time to head north to Canada for that phase of this road trip. Our first destination is Flin Flon, Manitoba where Terry's mom and his aunt Maureen (and the rest of the family of course) lived when they were kids. Terry got to visit Flin Flon once on a family vacation when he was a kid, and we've always wanted to go and see it again. Finally on our way!

We made it an easy day leaving the motel in Lebanon, IN at 9:00 and drove for a little over 5 hours traveling just under 400 miles ending up in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin which is just a bit north of Madison.

No special stops or sights today, so no pictures-- simply an update on our whereabouts.

The 100th Running of the Indy 500!

29 May 2016 | Indianapolis, Indiana
It was a long, busy, exciting day. And the race finished without the thundershowers raising their ugly heads -- though the clouds did gather and grow dark for a while, they passed away without dropping rain on the racetrack.

The race is always exciting and fun to watch, but the feeling of being there in the stands with thousands of other people is profound. Nothing makes you feel more American than being with a huge crowd cheering and saluting as service men and women from all branches of military are driven around the track. They also did a tribute to a group of Pearl Harbor survivors that were in the stands and everyone stood and sang not only the Star Spangled Banner but America the beautiful as well. Then they release hundreds of red, white and blue balloons to more cheers and a flyover by navy jets from Whidby Island.

And after that the race finally begins -- the high emotion in the crowd and the excitement in the announcers voice is just the build up to when the high pitched roar of 33 Indy cars come around that turn and zoom by. It's so different than watching it on TV.... hard to describe -- you have to experience it to understand.

So now the big event is over and we have to plan the next part of Road Trip 2016. Not sure yet where tomorrow will take us.

We Have Arrived!

27 May 2016 | Lebanon, Indiana
Road Trip Rosie resting up after the long drive
We're all checked in and settled in at our motel for a 3 day stay while we attend the Indy 500. It's a real treat to not have to pack up and leave tomorrow... or the next day...or the day after that.

We got in early enough today that we could get some groceries to stock the fridge and then take a nap! Now I'll catch up on some laundry and we'll have a fresh start on this traveling life.

Sunday of course is the Big Day with the race starting at noon -- but we'll need to get to the track long before that so we can find parking. It will be a long day but we're looking forward to it.

And we will go in to the track tomorrow for a few of the events going on then and to pick up our headsets (you can rent for the race).

Now we just have to hope the weather co-operates and the race can run as scheduled. So far all the thunderstorms have waited until night to make their appearance giving us beautiful mornings and afternoons and if that pattern holds true everyone will be very happy.

Wishing everyone a safe and fun holiday weekend!
Happy Memorial Day from the Cetus Crew

Bye Bye I-90

26 May 2016 | Moline, Illinois
on the road to Indianapolis
After 5 days and nearly 1,800 miles we took a right turn off of I-90 today to start working our way SE towards Indianapolis.

Tonight finds us in Moline, Illinois -- home of John Deer and the "Farm Implements Capitol of the World". That's right up there with the giant ball of string, I think.

We've passed through a total of 8 states now since we started this drive last Sunday! Today we left South Dakota and then skirted through the southern edge of Minnesota before making that right turn that took us through Iowa and finally across the Mississippi to Illinois.

We didn't see anything on the maps, guidebooks or road signs that caught our attention, so we traveled about 100 miles more than we set out to do today -- but that leaves us a short 400 miles left to go tomorrow. That takes us to Lebanon, Indiana where we will settle in for a 3 day stay (instead of picking up and moving everyday). That's where we'll home base for the Indy 500.

Almost there!

PS I've added some pictures from this adventure in the Gallery under the album "Road Trip 2016"

We beat the weather again!

25 May 2016 | Sioux Falls, South Dakota
on the road to Indianapolis
We started out early from the lodge this morning as forecasts again called for late afternoon/early evening thundershowers.

It paid off when we got to Mt. Rushmore by 8:00 because crowds were very light making it easy to get around the visitor center and the little hike around the grounds. Crowds were growing as we were leaving. It was a beautiful sunny morning and the view of the sculptures was fantastic.

Then we were off to put some miles east under the tires before the weather hit and we pulled into the motel in Sioux Falls, South Dakota about 4:30. Clouds are building but it is still a nice day out there.

Plans for tomorrow are to go to Cedar Rapids, Iowa -- simply because it's about 1/2 the distance between here and Indianapolis which will make each of the next two days about 5 1/2 hours driving. Right now we have no touristy things planned along the way but we will be keeping our eyes out for that giant ball of string! And we are open to suggestions so feel free to leave a comment.

A Race with the Weather

24 May 2016 | Spearfish Canyon Lodge, Lead, South Dakota
on the road to Indianapolis
We left Sheridan Wyoming about 9 this morning -- a much later start than we usually go for. But today we had reservations at a lodge in South Dakota's Spearfish Canyon and we only had a few hour drive to get here and not being sure if we could get an early check in we timed it so we get here in the afternoon.

And we also added a sight seeing detour to Devils Tower in NE Wyoming -- and we were very happy we did as it was impressive. It did make me hungry for mashed potatoes though......

Leaving the tower we enjoyed the beauty of the Spearfish Canyon arriving at our lodge about 2:00. We were still having lovely weather, but we knew Thunderstorms were on the way.

Had a nice walk around the property which is in a magnificent setting and a short hike to view Spearfish falls. About half an hour after we got back to the room the rain and thunder hit hard!

Tomorrow's weather forecast is much the same calling for partly cloudy morning followed by scattered thunder showers in the late afternoon. So we'll get up early and hit the road to Mt. Rushmore.


Still searching for that giant ball of string........

23 May 2016 | Sheridan, Wyoming
on the road to Indianapolis
My sister and her husband are great road trippers -- meandering and searching out interesting sights on the road less traveled. Terry and I have always been just about the opposite. We usually have a destination and cover as many miles in a day to get to that point.

So when we set out this time we decided we were going to try to keep the miles per day pretty short and see as many interesting things along the way as possible: do it a bit more like Monica and Doug do it.

We do have a bit of a time schedule, though, since our goal on this first part of the trip is to go to the 100th running of the Indy 500 on Sunday the 29th. We reserved our room for arrival on the 27th so we would be able to go to the track on Saturday for some pre race festivities. This will be our 5th time to watch the Indy 500.

We picked our departure date so that we could travel only about 5 hours a day giving us some time to see some sights. Yesterday we threw that out the window and drove about 8 1/2 hours without any special stops.

So today we made up for that and, in addition to the amazing scenery along the way, we checked out two historic sights.

First we stopped at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana. Fantastic display of dinosaur bones and reconstructions along with so much information about earths formation and progression and changes -- such as the inland sea that filled the middle of what is now North America. There were also nice displays and info of early American life particularly the native Americans of this area.

Then we stopped at Little Big Horn National Monument for another look into the past. It was a well done tribute to those that fought and died in the battle that came to be known as Custer's Last Stand. Terry wants to open a custard stand nearby and you can guess what he wants to call it.

So we caught a little bit of Americana on our travels today and have more planned for tomorrow.

On we go!

Off to a Good Start!

22 May 2016 | Butte, Montana
on the road to Indianapolis
We put in a long day of driving today -- 570 miles from Snoqualmie, WA to Butte, Montana. We originally planned to stop at Missoula, Montana, but being a Sunday traffic was light and the weather wasn't too bad (just some spots of light rain) so we thought better to take advantage of the good conditions and get some extra miles -- it will shorten the drives in the days to come.

And looking at the weather forecasts ahead of us we probably won't want to try to travel too many hours a day. Tomorrow shouldn't be too bad, just cold and cloudy, but after that there are lots of thundershowers along our path -- and at the Indy 500.

Today was a beautiful drive with passing through Eastern Washington, Idaho and halfway across Montana. No real sightseeing along the way other than what we saw out of the car windows.

But tomorrow we have our first touristy event planned when we stop by the Little Big Horn National Monument. And it's a mere 4 hours away!

Road Trip Rosie was her usual great traveling self -- happily sleeping the drive away.

It's Leave Eve!

21 May 2016 | Snoqualmie, WA
on the road to Indianapolis
But not aboard Cetus.

In the past I haven't posted to this sailblog if it wasn't boat related -- either passage, project, anchorages etc.
I'm making an exception this year because we're getting ready to embark on a long road trip and I want to have a log of that trip. A blog is the easiest way to do that.

We are currently in Snoqualmie, WA where we're spending the weekend babysitting our grand doggies and grand kitty, but tomorrow by this time we should be in Missoula Montana!

That will be the first leg of the journey that will take us to Indianapolis to see the 100th running of the Indy 500. We have planned stops at Little Big Horn, MT and Mt. Rushmore, SD but will check out anything that catches our interest along the way.

After Indy, we will drive north to Canada for a bit of a nostalgic tour. For years we've wanted to go to Flin Flon Manitoba (where Terry's mom grew up) and Crowsnest Pass, Alberta (where his dad grew up) -- both places Terry visited as a kid.

There's a couple other special highlights along the way and I'll write about them as we travel along. The round trip mileage is nearly 6,000 miles and we hope to complete the loop by June 14th.

And, since I have such great internet access now that we're in the States, I will catch up on loading pictures from the Sea of Cortez into the photo gallery.

Tomorrow the adventure begins!


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 - Blake Island, Bell Harbor & Crossing the Straits
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