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.

18 November 2018
23 October 2018 | Marina Puerto Escondido
07 October 2018 | Marina Puerto Escondido
30 September 2018 | Puerto Escondido
06 August 2018 | Puerto Escondido, BCS, Mexico
14 July 2018
07 July 2018 | Marina Puerto Escondido
14 June 2018 | Marina Puerto Escondido
14 June 2018 | Marina Puerto Escondido
21 April 2018 | Marina Puerto Escondido
07 April 2018 | Bahia Marquer, Isla Carmen
27 March 2018 | Puerto Escondido Marina
11 March 2018 | Marina Puerto Escondido
12 February 2018 | Marina Puerto Escondido
30 December 2017 | traveling in the Sea of Cortez
28 December 2017
29 November 2017 | Dock 3 Marina Palmira, La Paz BCS, Mexico
14 November 2017 | Punta Salinas, Isla San Jose
13 November 2017 | Heading South in the Sea of Cortez

Mama Mia! Here we go again!

18 November 2018
Mama Kittiy’s latest: little Gecko!
My last post was nearly a month ago and at that time we were just getting ready to begin what we hoped to be the final phase of the big kitty round-up here in Puerto Escondido.

But life got in the way and I flew to the States for a couple weeks to stay with a friend who went in for shoulder surgery only to find she had a huge non-malignant brain tumor! She had that removed a few days after the shoulder surgery and she is doing great! So I’m back in PE and we are hoping to get the unfinished business with the kitties wrapped up.

Back in July we thought we were done with the kitty business as all the kittens from the two mama’s that we couldn’t catch had good homes and the two mama’s were gone — Oscar had gotten herself electrocuted 😿 and the other got in the trunk of a car and relocated somewhere when the people opened their trunk and out jumped Mama Kitty!

Well, a couple months later at the beginning of September, lo and behold Mama Kitty was back! And true to form she had a kitten with her! Oh no not again! At least this time there was only one.

As we were making plans to catch the kitty and what to do with it, our hand was forced as one day we found out it had fallen in the water next to a bridge in the canal and had climbed out into a small crack at the base of the bridge just above the waterline! And of course it was during a raging norther making the water rough and harder to navigate, but Terry enlisted the help of a good friend with a panga and they nudged it into the corner of the bridge and Terry reached in to the small crack and eventually got hold of the sweet, wet and scared kitty! Success!

We have found a forever home for her in Loreto! But that won’t be ready until the 25th, so in the meantime our wonderful friends on DreamCatcher took on fostering her just as they had done with the other 7 kitties born on our watch. This time George & Barbara have a new dynamic added to the fostering as they now have their own kitty onboard: Senor Flaco! He was one of dear Oscar’s kitties and is an amazing boat cat and will be the perfect mentor for our little Gecko 😻.

Now we still have to somehow catch and spay Mama Kitty — which hasn’t been too successful in the past. And we also are concerned that a bobtail cat that showed up several months ago and we thought must be a male may, in fact, be female 🙀. So like Oscar who we thought was a male unti she had kittens we may be going the same route with “Bob”!

Here we go again!!

Life is good in Puerto Escondido!

23 October 2018 | Marina Puerto Escondido
Our morning welcoming committee
Sergio hit this area with stronger winds than we'd anticipated so we were happy we'd made the choice to tuck back into our slip in the well protected Marina Chica. We were also happy that the force of the storm hit during daylight hours -- don't those things usually hit in the middle of the night? And the rain held off till after the winds had calmed too so it was much easier to deal with adjusting dock lines and keeping an eye on everything without blinding blowing rain in the 50 and 60 knot gusts. Things were a little bit crazier in the main harbor where the fetch had the waves building to 4 feet and the wind blowing spewm off the top of the waves. 2 unattended boats broke free of their moorings -- luckily neither hit any other boats on their way to shore and the beautiful schooner was doubly blessed when it made its landing in soft sand.

Since then we've fallen into a nice comfortable pattern of morning walks with friends and often an afternoon snorkel/swim outside the harbor. And always puttering away at boat projects in between. The big project the last 2 days was finally getting the sails back on since it appears we may have seen the last of the hurricanes for this year. Cetus is a sailboat once again!

Now we plan to get out and enjoy the beautiful anchorages on the nearby islands for a couple days before once again tackling the "final" phase of the kitty round-up. More on that later 😺.

The boomerang named Sergio

07 October 2018 | Marina Puerto Escondido
We were all breathing a big sigh of relief as this hurricane season is winding down with nothing big threatening the Baja Peninsula — and the latest hurricane that formed was on its way west already far far away....

And then it took a u-turn and is headed back our way!

Sergio is predicted to cross the Baja Peninsula late this week — the biggest question is with what intensity. Hopefully it will do what it’s sister Rosa did a couple weeks ago and be nothing more than a lot of rain when it reaches land.

But hurricanes tend to make their own rules often at the last minute — so we will keep our eyes on Sergio and as always prepare for the worst but hope for the best 😁.

Home Again Home Again

30 September 2018 | Puerto Escondido
Nearly 2 months and 6,300 miles later we are finally back aboard Cetus in Puerto Escondido!

We had fun traveling and visiting family and friends but there truly is 'No place like home'.

We actually arrived in Puerto Escondido on Monday September 24th, but as usual we had a big project planned for the boat before we could officially move back on.

We installed a new auxiliary fuel tank to increase our diesel storage and the best place for it is under our bed -- thus the need to stay at Hotel Tripui for a few days until we actually had a bed again!

The project went smoothly since Terry had it well planned out and had already done the tedious work of running hoses and wires. We built a shelf for the tank, installed and secured it then did a test run on filling the new tank. Terry had devised a pump system that transfers fuel from the main tank to the auxiliary tank for storage then returns it to the main tank when needed -- it worked like a charm!

We moved back aboard on Friday the 28th and we're now hoping to get back out to the main harbor on a buoy tomorrow! Life will be cooler out there because one of the things that makes this little marina such an ideal place to keep a boat during hurricane season is the lack of wind due to its inland location...... needless to say it's a bit warm back here.

The Cetus Crew is back! 😎😁😺

Cetus and Pacific together again!

06 August 2018 | Puerto Escondido, BCS, Mexico
The temperatures are rising in the Sea of Cortez, so for the 3rd year we've tucked Cetus away in the safety of Marina Chica at Puerto Escondido so the Cetus Crew can take a road-trip to cooler climates during August and September.

They're Back!!

14 July 2018
Terry's two sailing travel-adventure novels have been out of print for a number of years now -- we've been waiting to reprint once he completes the third book of the trilogy and all three will come together as one book.

In the meantime we have made the original two available once again as eBooks for your reading pleasure. These humorous novels are based on our family's real life adventures sailing through Mexico, Hawaii and the South Pacific.

Simply search Terry J Kotas on Amazon.com and you'll find the eBooks as well as a few paperbacks that are still available from various sellers.

To learn more about his books please check out our web page:
Cetus Media Works

Phase 2 of the Kitty Round Up is officially done!!

07 July 2018 | Marina Puerto Escondido
Oscar's Kittens
On my last update on the Kitty Round Up, we had just gotten the last of Oscar's kittens out of the hole in the ground and they were being happily fostered aboard Dreamcatcher until they were old enough to go to forever homes. Well, that day has come! All 4 have found wonderful homes -- the first went to a lady in Loreto, and George and Barbara are keeping the adventurous black & white named Flaco, so that left the 2 small ones we called the Siamese twins. The other day Mike & Jean (our other partners in crime on the kitty round up) decided they would take those sweethearts in -- to add to the mix of 21 cats they already care for!!

Then we were facing the daunting task of trying to catch Mama and Oscar to have them spayed now that they were no longer nursing their kitties. This task was made more difficult because the old abandoned condo buildings where we had been feeding the cats were finally torn down, so our prime catching grounds were gone. So we continued to feed in a new area to get everyone used to that so we could attempt to trap them in that area.

Suddenly Mama wasn't showing up for feedings any more..... not knowing where she'd gone we started focusing on Oscar and tried luring her over to the area the kittens had last been and we spent some time there with the trap -- but no Oscar!! Were they on to us? Had they gone into hiding?

Then we heard a sad story from the harbor master. A cat had been found dead. It appeared it fell into the water and climbing out got into an electrical box. The description fit our dear Oscar and we were so sad to lose that strange and special cat that we had spent so much time with first trying to trap "him" and then searching for "her" kittens. RIP Oscar.

He related another story which may answer what became of Mama. One day someone left a trunk open on their car for a bit and then when they took off and closed the trunk they had inadvertently trapped a cat inside! Not knowing this they drove away and at some point in their travels opened up the trunk and out jumped a cat and ran away. So, we can't be sure it was Mama, but she's the only one we know that is missing........

So now we are in the final, but ongoing, phase of the cat business here: keeping them fed and watered and hopefully finding homes for some of them. Being feral they wouldn't make good house cats, but would be great outdoor cats on a ranch, in a barn, or even a big yard. They are all used to humans and some will even approach for a pet or two and all would be good at keeping the rodent and cockroach population down as they do here in the marina area.

And so it goes...........

Waiting for Bud

14 June 2018 | Marina Puerto Escondido
Angry clouds gathering
Hurricane season in the Eastern Pacific (where we are) officially begins May 15th. But, most hurricanes that develop don’t threaten the Baja peninsula until August or September.

Every now and then Mother Nature throws a curve ball — and she did again this year when Hurricane Bud headed north for Baja instead of west out to sea as the early ones usually do.

Luckily the Sea of Cortez stayed cool through May so the water isn’t too warm this June to be inviting.

Hurricanes follow warm water as we learned long ago when we encountered our first hurricane, Iniki, anchored off Mala Wharf near Lahaina on Maui.

At that time, being new to the game, we wouldn’t have imagined a hurricane could hit Hawaii! But a French lady on a nearby boat that had been through one there 10 years earlier warned us, “the vater it is too warm! It es hurricane weather!”

We heeded her advice and prepared best we could and to this day we stay aware of the water temps as an indicator of the danger of hurricanes.

And again we have prepared for the worst in case Hurricane Bud does come this way (he’s already just a tropical depression — basically just a storm) but we weren’t really too worried because the water wasn’t too warm. Thank you Francois for that piece of advice 25 years ago!

Return to the Big Kitty Round Up Phase 2

14 June 2018 | Marina Puerto Escondido
Oscar's Hole in the Ground
We enjoyed the month of May free of kitty duties down here in Puerto Escondido as we traveled north to Washington to take care of other critters!

We house-sat for our daughter & son-in-law as they traveled to Europe for a couple weeks in the middle of the month and that left us in charge of their 2 dogs, 1 cat, 3 chickens and 3 ducks!

It was a delightful time and we got a little visiting in with family and a few friends, but location and chores kept us pretty busy in North Bend so as always we didn't get to see everyone we would have liked to.

The drive up and back down Baja was also delightful and we were happy to get back home aboard Cetus a week ago, on June 7th. And its been busy busy since then!

Between putting the boat back together, resuming the Kitty Round Up, catching up with friends and preparing for Hurricane Bud (more on that on later!) the days have flown by.

First: The Kitty Round Up.
Barbara & George of Dream Catcher (our partners in crime on this big venture) were fostering the 1st batch of 3 kitties when we left and we found homes for all of them! One stayed with its new family in Loreto and the other 2 flew up to Washington with Barbara to their new home with her granddaughter!! A perfect match!

They also continued to feed all of the cats and continue the search for Oscar's 4 babies -- much more difficult than it had been to find Mama's (the first litter). This was because Oscar chose to keep them in an underground tunnel system! There would be occasional sightings but never more than one kitten at a time, so we thought for sure most had been lost. Finally George & Barbara spotted all 4 again! So attempts at getting close to them continued hoping to catch them before they got too old to be properly socialized.

It was an emotional roller coaster! We could see them through the cracks in the concrete, but the hole was too deep to reach them. And twice the marina filled in the holes with concrete!! The first time was while we were gone and we thought they were all lost, including Oscar. But then another hole was found (that's the picture at the head of this post -- to give some perspective to our challenge).

George & Barbara caught the 1st kitty the day before we got back and then the next night we all caught the 2nd kitty by laying a net at the bottom of the hole (that's why the black lines are running out of the hole in the picture).

We had more trouble catching the 3rd & 4th kitties -- they were on to us! As we were working on plans for the next try some friends came out to the boat to tell us the marina had cemented in the hole!! So Terry dashed in and removed the still soft cement and George poured some gravel into the hole to bring the floor up for what we hoped would be easier catching. And it worked! We soon had kitty #3 and the following morning Oscar was able to bring #4 out of the hole since it wasn't as deep. Then kitty#4 was able to join his brothers and sister in their foster home aboard Dream Catcher! Success!

Now the search for forever homes for these 4 darlings will begin. Not to mention the catching and neutering of the 2 mama's!

We certainly don’t want to go through this again!

Later I will do a separate post about Hurricane Bud's early start to the hurricane season down here and the amazing jumping Mobula Rays

The Big Kitty Round Up: Phase 2

21 April 2018 | Marina Puerto Escondido
Mama's little sweethearts!
The kitties born to "the cat that wouldn't be trapped" (now dubbed Mama Kitty) are 4 1/2 weeks old and we are working on socializing them to humans so they will be adoptable when they are old enough in a couple weeks or so.

It's been a real adventure trying to keep track of where she would hide them -- after 3 weeks she was moving them regularly so each day was a challenge for all of us working on this -- a game of hide and seek kitties! Finally she has settled in to a very accessible place where we can talk to them, handle them and even start to feed them a bit and Mama Kitty doesn't seem to mind at all. Hoping it will be easy to place all 3 in homes the beginning of May.

About a week and a half ago, during the "find the kitties" phase, a friend came to us and said somebody had spotted a kitty so we went to search it out thinking Mama had moved them to an unusual spot. We found the kitty -- and its siblings -- but they were younger than Mama's! Yikes! Another batch!
And we thought we had caught and spayed all of the other females, so where did these come from?

After some watching and sleuthing we discovered that the little male that we had tried so hard to catch to get him out of the garbage cans and parking lot was indeed the mother!

So now we have another set of 4 that we are playing find the kitties with every day as Oscar tries to find a safe place for "his" kitties.

So this Phase 2 involves socializing kitties and finding homes, then getting both the mother cats into the vet for spaying. And hoping against hope no more cats find their way down to the marina from the nearby hotel and community of Tripui (where we suspect most of these came from in the first place!).

Here's hoping there's no Phase 3!!

R&R at Bahia Marquer, Isla Carmen

07 April 2018 | Bahia Marquer, Isla Carmen
Since wrapping up the Kitty Round up at the end of March we have been extremely lucky to have some perfect weather for enjoying one of our favorite nearby anchorages: Marquer.

It's usually reserved for the summer months, or at least late May because its exposed to northerly winds which usually still prevail this time of year, but as with weather everywhere this year nothing is following the rules. For us it has been a nice treat.

So for the most part we've been enjoying swimming, snorkeling, watching dolphin, pelicans and even a whale go by. Beautiful sunrises, sunsets and even a full Blue Moon have rounded out our days.

We traveled up to Loreto one day and anchored off town one night to be in a safe spot during some predicted high westerly winds (that might not have been the best in Marquer) and while there we got to meet up with friends from Sol Seeker and Prairie Oyster who were in town doing provisioning while their boats were in Puerto Escondido.

Enjoyed time with Al & Sharon of Solona who were also anchored off Loreto that day, and then again when they found their way down to Marquer the next day.

We made another one night trip into Puerto Escondido so we could join friends at Pepegina's restaurant as other friends entertained us with great music! Tony & George put on a great show and a good time was had by all!

It's a wrap!

27 March 2018 | Puerto Escondido Marina
Last night we had a fun pizza party with the whole crew of the Big Kitty Round Up to celebrate a successful mission! Our lovely vet, Dassia, came out to see all the cats back in their home environment for their evening meal and then joined Terry & I along with Mike & Jean from Nopolo (our mentor and supplier of all the equipment) and George & Barbara of S/V Dreamcatcher (feeders and moral support).

We caught the last female cat in the boatyard pack last Saturday so our work here is done!

We do have one little male that hangs out in the parking lot away from the rest of the cats, and we will continue to try to catch him -- mostly for his safety because living under cars is a dangerous thing. There are 2 other large males that come around that we don't expect to be able to catch, but aren't a worry now that the females are all fixed. But surprise surprise we caught one of them this morning while trying to catch the little guy in the parking lot!!

There is also the matter of the one cat that we couldn't catch and she had a small litter of kittens (3) last week...... so we will need to deal with that in about 8 weeks -- getting her fixed and finding homes for the kittens. But for the most part we feel a great weight lifted off our shoulders and a chance to return to life as normal!

Mission accomplished!

Update on the Puerto Escondido Kitty Round Up!

11 March 2018 | Marina Puerto Escondido
It's been a month since my last blog post -- and a very busy month its been. That post was announcing the start of the big Kitty Round Up and I'd promised updates on that and planned to do them weekly, but it has kept us so busy I haven't had time to even write about it!

It has been going very well and we have taken 14 cats into Dassia (our vet) for spaying and neutering and rabies vaccines: 4 males and 10 females. One of the females was a young calico that was brought to us from another part of the marina area -- she wasn't part of the boat yard pack. She was friendly and loving -- perfect to be a house or boat pet and we were so happy when a fellow cruiser adopted her!

We have had a couple snags that have complicated matters.

One was a pregnant female that we'd hoped to get but suddenly isn't showing up at feeding time anymore so we are pretty sure she is off having kittens somewhere..... so that will mean we have to wait till the kitties are 8 weeks old and try to find homes for them and then have mama fixed.

The other complication was when Dassia got bit during one of the surgeries! It wasn't a bad bite and only happened because the cat started to vomit and she put her finger in its mouth to clear its throat. Dassia is fine and wasn't bothered by it, but they told her to have rabies shots and we have to keep the cat confined for 10 days! Luckily this is one of the friendly cats we have been seeing and feeding for years here so she seems very content in her big double cage and enjoying her private feedings and using the litter box. I think she'll actually be disappointed when its time to be released! If it had been one of the big males I don't know what we could have done.......

We now have just a few cats we'd like to get before we wrap up the project and hope to get them taken care of this week so we can get back out to the islands enjoying this beautiful area again.

The Big Kitty Round Up!

12 February 2018 | Marina Puerto Escondido
a few of the boatyard cats
After months of planning and preparation we finally found a time when all the volunteers in this project would be available, so we are ready to commence the catch/neuter/release project that has been sorely needed here at the marina in Puerto Escondido.

There are between 15 to 20 cats that need to be taken care of and we anticipate it will take us 2 to 3 weeks with the catching and surgeries being done Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I'll post updates to let everyone know how its going -- wish us luck!

Puerto Escondido -- our new home

04 February 2018
We normally spend the cold winter months of December through February at the dock in Marina Palmira in La Paz, but this year we needed to leave early to get back up to Puerto Escondido so our usual 3 month stay in La Paz was reduced to just over a month.

We've been here a little over a month now and we are really enjoying it. So far we've only been out to the nearby anchorages for a few days because we also managed to squeeze in a short haulout to paint the bottom and then I flew out for 2 weeks.

Our plan for the near future is to make Puerto Escondido our home base as we have done the last couple summers. We'll keep a buoy that we can return to anytime we want, but spend most of our time at the lovely nearby anchorages.

While I was up in North Bend, Washington house and doggy/kitty/chicken sitting -- Terry was busy down here with some good boat projects. He also discovered a great hiking trail, much like the one we enjoyed hiking most mornings by Marina Palmira! The view from the top of this one is even more magnificent than the one in La Paz.

With all the great improvements coming about in Puerto Escondido: the pizza restaurant, a well stocked little store and now a good hiking hill we're very happy to be here.

Heading North!

30 December 2017 | traveling in the Sea of Cortez
Day three of our travels north will be another long travel day. Like yesterday we are a motor boat, because what wind there is is right on our nose so trying to sail it would get us no where and we need to take advantage of the light winds to cover some distance. After today we will be up close enough to Puerto Escondido that we can do shorter hops or even stay in an anchorage a day or two without worries of getting caught in a long norther which would prevent us from moving.

Another overcast day -- looks a lot like the PNW, but the air and sea are warmer and we've enjoyed nice swims off the boat in both the anchorages we've stopped in. And the wildlife has been very entertaining, too! Rays jumping, dolphin leaping and even a whale popping up for a breath of air! We've also seen large groups of the funny little greebs that swim around in a big flock then suddenly all dive in unison -- now you see them now you don't.

So far so good on our journey -- it feels so good to be out in the Sea again!

Cetus has left the dock!

28 December 2017
Hasta luego Marina Palmira!
Our departure from dock 3 this morning was bittersweet as departures always are... saying goodbye is always very difficult, but it is mixed with the excitement of the adventures to come.

Our stay at the dock was shorter this year — we usually stay at least 3 months leaving early March. But this year I have a flight out of Loreto scheduled for mid January so we are on our way north to Puerto Escondido and all the lovely anchorages in the Loreto area.

We will be missing the ease of dock life and the busy social life, but we will be enjoying the beauty and serenity of life on the hook.

We’ve already been enjoying our 1st anchorage for several hours now — Bahia Falsa just an hour north of Palmira. A short hop for our first day out so everyone (especially Rosie) can get their sea legs before the longer hauls.

Cetus is heading north again!

All settled in!

29 November 2017 | Dock 3 Marina Palmira, La Paz BCS, Mexico
We got into the dock at Marina Palmira two weeks ago and have been enjoying dock life but missing the swimming and relaxation of the anchorages.

I've been meaning to update the blog ever since our arrival, but a combination of a busy schedule and poor internet has gotten in the way. I actually did a blog post the day after our arrival, but the internet connection timed out on me and all was lost......

Days are filled beginning with our early morning hikes -- alternating between going up the hill behind the marina or walking into town to the grocery store and fresh market. Then some boat projects thrown in and the morning is gone!

I've been plugging away at doing my Shutterfly books some afternoons, but the poor WiFi at the boat means I have to take my show up the the cruisers lounge here at the marina so I have a strong enough connection to upload pictures which adds more time to the project, but slowly I'm getting there.

So now it's almost December which is always a very busy month here, but I think we're ready for it now.

The Cetus Crew's Day Off

14 November 2017 | Punta Salinas, Isla San Jose
We traveled about 40 miles yesterday and after a nice afternoon sail down the San Jose Channel we anchored in one of our favorite spots behind the sand bar at Punta Salinas.

The winds stayed up in the 20's most of the evening but died down for a very calm and comfortable night's sleep. It remained calm this morning for a nice snorkel to shore and a long beach walk and the wind just started picking up again as we swam back out to the boat.

It promises to be a very nice day here and we'll be all rested up for another early morning departure on our trek south to La Paz.

Another beautiful travel day

13 November 2017 | Heading South in the Sea of Cortez
Enjoyed a wonderful swim and a relaxing afternoon at our first anchorage at San Marte yesterday and set out before the crack of dawn this morning to continue our travels south toward La Paz.

A deep easterly swell had us rocking and rolling for a bit until we got the mainsail up which stabilized things and we're now enjoying a comfortable motor sail. We decided to keep the motor on to augment our speed so we can get some miles in today and take a day off from traveling tomorrow.

So on we go!
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 - Hasta Luego Dock 3
Photos 1 to 20 of 20 | Main

The Cetus Crew

Who: Terry & Heidi Kotas and Street Cat Rosie
Port: Gig Harbor, WA

Where in the world are Terry & Heidi?

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