Summer in the Sea of Cortez
25 June 2022
About a week after writing my last blog post on the wonderful springtime conditions we were enjoying someone flipped the switch to summer!
Don’t get me wrong — we are still enjoying it immensely. Temps are up a bit but we are still staying comfortable with the afternoon breezes augmented at night with our fans. The seas have warmed a bit but are still cool enough to keep Cetus’s hull at a good temp (which really helps keep everything down below cooler) and makes for a great sunset swim to take our core temps down a notch for a comfortable evening.
The big change going into summer are the storms. This is when the tropical storms start brewing down south by Central America so there’s a constant eye out on those because they have the potential to become hurricanes and when they do they can always make a track up to Baja.
We are already up to the 3rd named storm of the season and Celia is on track to become a hurricane like the two before her. But like the two before her isn’t expected to be a threat to Baja.
They do have an effect on our weather though as the clouds and convection that spin off from them add to the convection on the mainland side of the Sea helping in the creation of Chubascos (thunderstorms) that form over there and occasionally cross over the Sea to the anchorages on the Baja side. Just another thing to keep your eye on during summer in the Sea.
But our time here is running short. In one week we will take Cetus in to a slip in Marina Chica and tuck her away safely for the hurricane season. It’s time to drive north for visiting family and friends, some doctor appointments and a 50 year high school reunion!
In the meantime we will enjoy our beautiful backyard here in The Sea of Cortez.
12 June 2022
The sparkling sea!
Terry and I have always said that May and June are the best months to enjoy the Sea of Cortez and this June has been the best ever!
The water has been a little slow to warm and clear yet has been very comfortable for swimming and snorkeling. But the outdoor temps have been nearly perfect. Mid 80’s for highs and always cooling to the 70’s at night combined with the fresh Southerly breezes have kept the Cetus crew very happy.
We keep our mooring buoy in the Elipse of Marina Puerto Escondido so we always have a good spot to tie up when we need to return to civilization for supplies, visiting, laundry or taking in garbage.
We try to limit our time “in port” to just a couple days at a time so that the the majority of our time is out enjoying the serenity of the beautiful anchorages.
We made an exception to our two day rule last week when we left Cetus on the buoy while we did a little road trip to La Paz where we had great visits with dear friends and checked out our old stomping grounds. Boy have things changed! But Marina Palmira will always hold such special memories of great times with good people.
So now we are back out enjoying the wonderful Islands of Loreto in the Sea of Cortez 🤩
14 May 2022
Our beautiful backyard
Our boater friends might read the title of this blog and think we're hauling out to do some work on Cetus in the boatyard. But it actually is more like the type of work our landlubber friends do -- mowing the grass!
While we have a big back yard that changes whenever we move, our little plot of "grass" follows us everywhere. It's actually not grass in the traditional sense but more of a green film that grows along the hull of the boat along with a smattering of small barnacles. Instead of a lawn mower we use scrappers and scrub brushes and wear snorkeling gear.
In the colder months of the year we will hire the divers in the marina to keep the growth down, but in the warmer waters of spring we actually enjoy getting in the water and doing it ourselves -- it's rewarding exercise just like getting out and working in your yard on land.
I must say I prefer yardwork to mundane jobs like dusting anyway!
Good Old Boat!!
29 April 2022 | Issue 144 May/June
Find the May/June issue of Good Old Boat magazine online or in a store to read Terry's latest article on our project replacing the work room floor aboard Cetus
It's a good "how-to" article in their Simple Solutions category detailing yet another of our ongoing projects upgrading our good old boat.
Springtime in the Sea of Cortez
20 April 2022
Sunrise at Isla Coronados
Yikes! 2 months since my last post so I have some catching up to do!
Shortly after my last post about relocating the last 2 boatyard cats Terry, Rosie and I hit the road to travel north to Washington. It was time for our yearly Dr visits and we stayed at Carly’s house so we could do some critter sitting for her when she went in a short sun break vacation.
It was a quick trip with lots of driving getting all the appointments in but wonderful to see family and a few friends. Looking forward to a longer stay up north this summer for more visiting time.
We hurried back down to Puerto Escondido so we could beat the crowds that flock to the beaches in Mexico to celebrate Holy Week leading up to Easter. Hotels would be hard to find and roads would be crowded if we waited.
We were back aboard Cetus by April 7th and spent a week at the dock in Marina Chica to make it easier to unload our new purchases as well give Terry a chance to install the new solar panel we picked up.
Once the work was done and Cetus was cleaned up and provisioned we headed out into the Sea! We’ve been enjoying the scenery and wildlife and even getting some swimming in everyday. The water temps are getting a bit warmer everyday so soon we’ll be back to snorkeling, too!
There’s nothing better than Springtime in the Sea of Cortez.
Gone but not forgotten 😻😻
24 February 2022 | Marina Puerto Escondido
Five years ago we started a project with a small group of like minded friends to save the boatyard cats here in Puerto Escindido and this week marked the end of this project as we had to relocate the last two cats at the request of the marina.
Its a sad day because the Marina lost a lot of charm — many cruiser’s looked forward to seeing the boatyard cats and giving them special treats. Since our first visit to Puerto Escondido in 2010 it was always a highlight of this stop to pet the kittens and bring them treats. But the problem began in 2017 when there was a population explosion and suddenly instead of 3 or 4 cats there were 30 or more. Some were drop offs, some wandered in from nearby communities and everyone was having kittens!
So we began an intense Catch/Neuter/Release program in February of 2018 and eventually all the cats (and the 3 litters of kittens born during the process) were neutered and vaccinated. We found good homes for all the kittens but most of the other cats remained on the property as feral cats are hard to place. But the number of cats in the Marina quickly dwindled to about a dozen as many just naturally moved on. It was a manageable number as they had plenty of room to roam in the vacant fields and keep the rodent and cockroach populations in check. They were a true delight to us, but not to the Marina who told us in 2019 they had to go. So a catch and relocate program ensued and we were able to get all but 3 “uncatchable cats” off to ranches etc.
We’d hoped those 3 would be fine and even appreciated for the benefit they provided not only in pest control but in keeping other cats from coming in to their territory. A few months ago one of the 3 amigos, a beautiful calico we’d named Fluffy was found dead so we were down to our two amigos, Trey and Diablo.
But that was still two too many cats for the Marina and we were given an ultimatum to get the cats off the property. Luckily, they’d become very friendly in the last year or so so the catching wasn’t near as difficult or traumatic as in the past. And a good friend who has property out in the country near Loreto was happy to take them in. We constructed a large containment cage for them there and and are keeping them in it for about a week so they adjust to the sights, sounds and smells of their new home before releasing them. They have the same kind of vacant lots around as they had here in the marina and they will always have food and shelter so we hope that Trey and Diablo will be happy in their new home.
Marina Puerto Escondido will never be the same for all of us that have enjoyed the boatyard cats for all these years. 😻😻
Back in the barn!
18 February 2022
Marina Puerto Escondido
After 3 months and 515 miles traveling north in the Sea of Cortez we returned to our favorite buoy in the Elipse of Puerto Escondido. When we set out in November we didn’t know if we’d be back in a week or a month because it was all dependent on weather. We were so fortunate to get to travel so far and we had an amazing time visiting spots we hadn’t seen for 11 years!
As always Marina life is busy with getting together with old friends and trips to town for food and supplies. But this week is especially busy as we are planning and preparing for a big drive to Washington for our annual Dr apts and best of all to see family and hopefully some friends this time. Crossing our fingers that COVID will continue the current decline to make visiting safer than last year.
Looking forward to the trip but also looking forward to getting back down here to enjoy the Sea of Cortez in April as the Northers start slacking off and the sea temps climb so we can enjoy swimming and snorkeling again!
Back to our old stomping grounds!
13 February 2022 | South side of Isla Coronado
The Polar Bear Plunge!
After nearly 3 months exploring some of the northern Sea of Cortez anchorages we’ve been enjoying our old favorite Isla Coronado.
We’ve been treated to some great whale watching as well as pods of dolphin passing the boat several times a day and a turtle that pops his head up periodically — of course the birds are plentiful, too!
Yesterday the sea temperature rose to the highest we’ve seen on our travels — a whopping 64 degrees!! Hahaha But it was enough for me to hop in the water for the first time this year. It was my Birthday Polar Bear Plunge — I did one lap around the boat and it was cold but felt great to be back in the water again!
A couple more days of relaxation out here and then we will head back in to Puerto Escondido to connect back up with friends and prepare for our drive north to Washington in March.
Happy Super Bowl Sunday everyone!!
Leave Eve again!
09 February 2022 | Punta Pulpito
This is our 4th day enjoying Punta Pulpito but it looks like the weather will be well settled tomorrow for our next hop south -- to another old favorite Isla Coronado!
Just like Chivato this is a great place to sit out a Norther in comfort with very little wave action -- and the scenery is gorgeous. The sun's been out and the night skies are filled with stars. And like Chivato it is an open roadstead anchorage, which means you aren't in an enclosed bay so we have a view of the expanse of the Sea of Cortez right outside our cockpit. Makes for entertaining viewing of the birds and dolphin that go by putting on a show. Plus there's always the hope that a whale will make an appearance as well!
Tomorrow is a relatively short sail, about 26 miles so we won't need to leave before sunrise like we have for the longer jaunts. We're all set and excited to be on the move again, but really looking forward to getting back up here in the spring when the waters are warmer so we can get out and swim and snorkel this area again.
Off the grid again!
07 February 2022 | Punta Pulpito
We got the hoped for lull in the Norther yesterday and took the opportunity to sail south. The 45 miles to Punta Pulpito went surprisingly quickly and we were happily anchored in this beautiful spot by 2 in the afternoon.
The seas were a little rolly in the morning before the wind filled in at noon, then it was a comfortable ride the rest of the way with the following wind and seas.
The winds are predicted to pick up strong again this afternoon with the next good break Wednesday or Thursday. So we'll enjoy the quiet solitude of Punta Pulpito until then.
05 February 2022 | Punta Chivato
Fishing boat with its trail of birds
We’ve thoroughly enjoyed our stay here at Punta Chivato — great walks onshore and very comfortable place to sit out the northers which have been increasing in frequency.
So with a lull in the north winds predicted for tomorrow morning we have prepared for an early departure and hope to make the 45 mile hop south to Punta Púlpito. Another strong Norther is forecast for Monday — so if tomorrow isn’t a go we’ll be here a few more days.
28 January 2022 | The Sea of Cortez
We left Santa Rosalia on January 25th and enjoyed a pleasant motor/sail south to Punta Chivato.
We’ve been enjoying this scenic spot for the past three days but haven’t even put the dinghy in the water to go to shore. We’ll wait till the Norther subsides in a couple days to do our shore exploring.
Meanwhile we are content to catch up on little boat projects and I’m finally getting to some deep cleaning that I have a tendency to keep sliding to the bottom of my “to do” list.
So all’s well aboard Cetus and we will happily hang out here in Punta Chivato until we see a good weather window to continue our slow trek south to Puerto Escondido.
Return to Civilization
21 January 2022
Terry & Heidi Kotas
We set out from Punta Alacrán at 5:30 am January 18th and docked back in the slip at Santa Rosalia the next morning after waiting for the sunrise.
It was a good run with some motoring over smooth seas and even some good sailing thrown in.
We’ll be here a few more days as we continue to collect supplies etc then we’ll continue south at a more leisurely pace.
17 January 2022 | Alacran Anchorage
After enjoying Puerto Don Juan for 10 days we made our first jump south today to a beautiful little spot in Bahia Alacran.
We motored the 9 miles over smooth seas with little wind and sunny skies arriving shortly after 10 this morning.
We won't be going ashore to explore this time -- it was just a stop over to give us a good departure point for a longer passage beginning
early tomorrow morning. We did spend some time here in May of 2010 and swam and snorkeled and visited the Wilderness Camp
onshore. The cute collection of yurt's appear to be unoccupied at this time and the water is too cool for swimming.
Originally we'd planned to go from here to San Francisquito (about 42 miles or 8 to 12 hours) but with a bit of a questionable forecast for
that area later this week we might just take advantage of the good weather we've got along with a pretty full moon to make the longer
(120 miles and 24 -30 hour) jump down to Santa Rosalia, bypassing San Francisquito as we did on the way north. There are just no
anchorages between Santa Rosalia and San Francisquito so that trip is always an overnighter.
So we've spent a comfortable day relaxing and I've been busy preparing our passage foods so that meals will be just a matter of heating
things up without a lot of messy prep work and dirty dishes.
It's Leave Eve!
Watching for a weather window
15 January 2022 | Puerto Don Juan
The locals exploring the beach
We've been enjoying the heck out of this remote anchorage -- especially the last two days when the sun came out and the winds were
down so we could easily get to shore and explore the beaches. We could happily just sit here for weeks on end but we see a pretty
good weather window coming up next week to head south and give us an opportunity to visit San Francisquito before making our way
down to Santa Rosalia.
The clouds and some north wind returned today so we're once again getting some good boat projects done. Hopefully tomorrow will be a
bit less wind so we can get to shore for one more hike to the nearby Bahia de Quamado which we'd planned for today but the winds
came up earlier than expected.
So for now we're keeping an eye on the weather and making plans and preparing Cetus to head back out to sea.
Exploring the new neighborhood
12 January 2022 | Puerto Don Juan
Looking at a new boat hahaha
With the north winds beginning to lighten up we finally got to shore to do a nice beach walk along this beautiful bay.
Osprey, pelicans and Grebe's entertained us as we rowed in and we walked around to the old fishing boat wreck that has been a
landmark here for many, many years. We also spotted a coyote climbing the rocky hill behind the wreck. We then got even better
coyote sightings when we rowed along the rocky coast and a couple came right down to the waters edge to check us out! I got some
great pictures that I can post here once we get back to civilization and WiFi.
Loving the remoteness and the tranquility of this spot and getting some good boat projects done, too. It's remarkable how much more
time we seem to have when we don't have the distraction of the internet!
If you want to get a peek at where we are and what this bay looks like go to Google Earth and enter these coordinates
28 56.46 N 113 27.08 W
The Wild North
10 January 2022 | Puerto Don Juan
When we set out to travel north in The Sea this winter we didn't know how far we would get or if it was even practical this time of year
with the frequent cold Northers and the water temps too cool to swim. Everybody we've seen was heading south to the warmer climes of
mainland Mexico and that's where we'd first intended to go this winter. But with so many people finally being able to get back down to
their boats in Mexico after a couple year break due to COVID, we knew the anchorages and marinas would be crowded, so we took a
chance and chose the road less traveled.
We are thrilled with our choice! The wildlife is plentiful with flocks of birds (even our favorite "now you see them now you don't" little
Grebes), pods of dolphin and the coyotes on shore. The scenery is outstanding with beautiful sunrises and sunsets and we enjoy the
quiet solitude. The weather is cool -- in the mid 60's to 70's even with this Norther blowing. Somehow it's warmer up here than it had
been in Santa Rosalia. The water is only about 59 degrees right now so we don't plan on doing much swimming, but we are looking
forward to getting to shore and hiking and exploring the beaches.
We're laughing at ourselves for thinking winter in the northern Sea would be to cold, too harsh because it's actually just like the weather
we'd enjoy sailing in the San Juan's in September. And that was our favorite time of year to enjoy those islands because the summer
crowds were gone, yet the weather was pleasant. Just like here.
Out in the wild again!
09 January 2022 | Puerto Don Juan
After an enjoyable month at the dock in Santa Rosalia we set sail for an adventure in the Northern Sea!
We untied the lines at 3 in the afternoon on Friday, September 7th and we dropped the anchor in Puerto Don Juan (near Bahia de Los
Angeles) the next day at 1:30. The wind and seas were kind to us for our first overnight passage in years and we were even able to get
some sailing in with the light and variable winds. We did keep the engine on to keep the speed up so we would be able to reach our
destination during daylight hours. A norther was predicted to begin on Sunday so we needed to be in a good protected anchorage for
that -- and what better place than Don Juan which is a natural hurricane hole with protection from all wind directions.
We had a bit of a worry when, on Saturday morning, some north winds started up at about 15 knots -- was the norther already starting
up? We still had miles to go to Don Juan --- about 5 hours which would be pretty miserable pounding into wind and seas. And San
Francisquito was too far behind to turn back especially since it didn't offer the same protection as we'd have in Don Juan. Our good luck
held and the winds and seas abated within about an hour. Phweew!
With the passage behind us and feeling secure in such a safe anchorage we slept well enjoying the quiet solitude. Again we are letting
the weather dictate when we move on from here, but our plan is to make this our northernmost point on this trip and when we leave here
we will harbor hop back down to Puerto Escondido exploring many anchorages along the way. There are several old favorites we
bypassed on the way up, because this time of year with the prevailing north winds its easier to head south with wind and seas following --
so we like to take a good weather window to blast north as far as we can so we can more leisurely enjoy the ride south.
For now we are content to enjoy this wild, remote anchorage and are looking forward to lots of hiking as well as getting some cleaning
and organizing projects done on Cetus. Once again we are without cell and WiFi which will afford us time to catch up on reading and
other pastimes that always get put on the back burner in busy marina life.
Hasta Luego Santa Rosalia!
07 January 2022 | Santa Rosalia
We plan to leave the dock here in Santa Rosalia in a couple of hours to continue our journey north in The Sea. It’s pretty exciting for us since we haven’t done an overnight passage since 2013 when we returned from our adventure off the beaten path where we traveled to The Galapagos and the remote Gambiers of French Polynesia.
We hope to make it to Puerto Don Juan near Bahia de Los Angeles about 126 miles north of us and so far the weather looks favorable with southerly winds. We have another stop we could make, Bahia San Fransquito, that is 78 miles north of here if conditions don’t seem right to go on.
That’s the reason for late in the day departure. Any earlier and we would be approaching in the middle of the night and it’s never good to enter a port in the dark if you can avoid it, so we’ll time it for an approach near sunrise in case we decide to stop.
Passage foods are prepared and ready and Cetus is all set to go!
We will be out of cell/WiFi range probably for the next week or two when we start heading south again. So it’s back to the Ham radio and WinLink for all of our weather and communication needs. I will try to keep up remote posts to our Sailblog so anybody interested can see where we are.
It’s exciting to be cruising again!
Looking forward to a bright 2022
02 January 2022 | Santa Rosalia
We've finished up our deck painting project and taken down the Christmas lights so it's time to plot out our next port!
The north winds are blowing right now so we'll spend the next few days provisioning and preparing to set sail at the first good weather window -- Which right now looks like Thursday or Friday!
We've enjoyed our time here in the city but we're excited to get back out in the wild again!