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.

20 November 2022 | Santa Rosalia
06 November 2022 | Isla Coronados
30 September 2022 | Puerto Escondido
23 September 2022 | Baja California Mexico
23 September 2022 | Baja California Mexico
12 June 2022
14 May 2022
29 April 2022 | Issue 144 May/June
24 February 2022 | Marina Puerto Escondido
18 February 2022
13 February 2022 | South side of Isla Coronado
09 February 2022 | Punta Pulpito
07 February 2022 | Punta Pulpito
05 February 2022 | Punta Chivato
28 January 2022 | The Sea of Cortez
21 January 2022

Santa Rosalia!

20 November 2022 | Santa Rosalia
Two weeks after leaving Puerto Escondido we pulled into the little marina at Santa Rosalia!

This town always has a place in our hearts since it is where we rescued Rosie from the streets 12 years ago.

The marina is a little funky but it's reasonably priced and a great stop to provision up and get projects done.

When we pulled in we thought we'd stay for a week but remembering how much we liked spending Christmas here last year we're thinking we just might repeat that.

Being at the dock we don't have to worry about weather, monitoring power, managing garbage plus we can go to the store anytime we want. That makes for a nice relaxing holiday season and it will be a nice break before our further adventures here in the Northern Sea of Cortez.

So Rosie is home for the holidays 😻

Heading North in The Sea of Cortez!

06 November 2022 | Isla Coronados
Once again we've chosen to sail north in The Sea which is the opposite of what most cruisers do. When the Norther's start up and the outside temps drop and the water cools making swimming less attractive most everyone heads south to mainland Mexico.

Last years trip was so enjoyable we decided to try it again. Like last year we will take it one port at a time without any set time schedule since the weather dictates what you can do.

We started our journey when we left Puerto Escondido on Thursday and tucked in for the 1st Norther of the season on the south side of Isla Coronados.

Last year we made it as far north as Puerto Don Juan near the Bay of LA so this year we hope to get further up the Sea to places we've never been. But it all depends on the weather this season -- how hard and how frequent the Norther's will be.

We will harbor hop north enjoying the great little anchorages along the way and if the going gets tough it's easy enough to turn around.

So we are off!

Incommunicado

30 September 2022 | Puerto Escondido
Cetus in Marina Chica
The Cetus Crew is alive and well in Puerto Escondido!

We had a safe trip down Baja arriving at Hotel Tripui last Sunday and have been very busy putting Cetus back together again. All is going well except my lack of WiFi keeping us pretty incommunicado.

Hopefully that will improve once we are back onboard and I can fill you in on all the goings on. Just wanted to post a quick blog so people wouldn’t think we fell off the edge of the earth 🤩

Heading home!

23 September 2022 | Baja California Mexico
The beautiful Rumorosa mountain pass on Hwy 2D
Well this time I really got behind on my updates! Yikes! I didn't even get to part 3 of our travels north about Rosie the traveling cat.

It's been so long we are already heading south after enjoying 2+ months staying at Carly's house. So roadtrip Rosie is traveling again!

The time flew by even though we got very little visiting in. My two surgeries (both very successful!) one to clear excessive floaters from my right eye (I can read easily again) and the other to remove two small basal cell carcinomas from my nose kept us pretty close to home to avoid contracting COVID. I couldn't take a chance on that because the surgeries would have been cancelled and who knows when we could reschedule.

Terry continued to keep busy with yardwork and trailblazing at Carly's and after my last follow up with the plastic surgeon who took care of the holes in my nose we started to plan our departure.

We first planned to leave September 8th, but then along came Hurricane Kay blasting up the Baja coast with 70 knot winds and a deluge of rain. The flood waters tore up the Mexican Highways washing out bridges and causing roads to colapse as they were undermined. And rock slides covered the mountain passes. The roads were impassable for several days.

So we delayed our departure and everyday the conditions improved with workers getting repairs done as quickly as they could (after all Hwy 1 is their life line for receiving supplies).

Finally the reports on Baja FB groups as well as friends that braved the drive down were positive enough we finally set out on the long drive on September 18th -- Terry's Birthday!

In Oregon we left I-5 for our favorite route Hwy 395 in the Eastern Sierra's. What a beautiful traffic free drive that is! And we didn't see any of the wildfires that had been plaguing California! We even enjoyed some cooling rain for a day or so.

And this morning we traveled into Mexico at the Tecate border crossing. We got the green light so we were quickly on our way. By noon we'd reached our destination and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon in San Felipe and prepared for leg two in Mexico: traveling to Guerro Negro.

So far so good and our plan is to reach Puerto Escondido on Sunday. We will spend a week at Hotel Tripui as we put Cetus back together again and unload all the supples we brought down with us.

I'll do another update once we get to Cetus and see how she made out during the storm. We've already seen pictures and had a report from our friend George who flew down last week to check their boat out, but we're interested to see inside and check out the batteries and such.

So we are close, but it will still be over a week until we finally get to move back aboard -- then we will finally be home 🤩.

Heading home!

23 September 2022 | Baja California Mexico
The beautiful Rumorosa mountain pass on Hwy 2D
Well this time I really got behind on my updates! Yikes! I didn’t even get to part 3 of our travels north about Rosie the traveling cat.

It’s been so long we are already heading south after enjoying 2+ months staying at Carly’s house. So roadtrip Rosie is traveling again!

The time flew by even though we got very little visiting in. My two surgeries (both very successful!) one to clear excessive floaters from my right eye (I can read easily again) and the other to remove two small basal cell carcinomas from my nose kept us pretty close to home to avoid contracting COVID. I couldn’t take a chance on that because the surgeries would have been cancelled and who knows when we could reschedule.

Terry continued to keep busy with yardwork and trailblazing at Carly’s and after my last follow up with the plastic surgeon who took care of the holes in my nose we started to plan our departure.

We first planned to leave September 8th, but then along came Hurricane Kay blasting up the Baja coast with 70 knot winds and a deluge of rain. The flood waters tore up the Mexican Highways washing out bridges and causing roads to colapse as they were undermined. And rock slides covered the mountain passes. The roads were impassable for several days.

So we delayed our departure and everyday the conditions improved with workers getting repairs done as quickly as they could (after all Hwy 1 is their life line for receiving supplies).

Finally the reports on FB groups on Baja as well as friends that braved the drive down were positive enough we finally set out on the long drive on September 18th — Terry’s Birthday!

In Oregon we left I-5 for our favorite route Hwy 395 in the Eastern Sierra’s. What a beautiful traffic free drive that is! And we didn’t see any of the wildfires that had been plaguing California! We even enjoyed some cooling rain for a day or so.

And this morning we traveled into Mexico at the Tecate border crossing. We got the green light so we were quickly on our way. By noon we’d reached our destination and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon in San Felipe and preparing for leg two in Mexico traveling to Guerro Negro.

So far so good and our plan is to reach Puerto Escondido on Sunday. We will spend a week at Hotel Tripui as we put Cetus back together again and unload all the supples we brought down with us.

I’ll do another update once we get to Cetus and see how she made out during the storm. We’ve already seen pictures and had a report from our friend George who flew down last week to check their boat out, but we’re interested to see inside and check out the batteries and such.

So we are close, but it will still be over a week until we finally get to move back aboard — then we will finally be home 🤩.

Catching up with the Cetus Crew (part 2)

05 August 2022
Terry and the retaining wall
After a very enjoyable drive north from Puerto Escondido (more on that trip later) we arrived at Carly's house on July 11th.

With a series of appointments scheduled to begin the following week (eye doc, dermatology and consult apts for my MOH's surgery) we chose to semi isolate that week to make sure we were healthy after our travels.

Terry, as usual, hit the ground running and within 24 hours of our arrival he had major maintenance yard work done cutting back growth and spreading bark making the place ship shape.

He was on a mission. He'd been planning for about a year to replace a retaining wall that ran along one side of Carly's house and he would finally have the time to do it!

The original was made of old rail ties and they had begun rotting and crumbling away. Unable to find new rail ties to rebuild it, Terry designed and built a whole new wall.

Starting work early every morning (except apt days when we had to drive to Tacoma or Gig Harbor and back) he'd take a break for brunch around noon then get right back to it and work till 5 or later every evening.

Digging and cutting and dragging out the old rotted wood and then finally pouring posts and constructing the new wall was accomplished in record time. He wanted to get it done as soon as possible but was spurred on to complete it before the big "heat wave" predicted to hit the PNW. It was tough work as it was but would be even more difficult in the 90 some degree weather that was coming.

And he did it! The last board was placed and the dirt was moved back in and bark was spread in the garden area between the house and the wall just a day before the hot weather hit.

Of course the warm weather didn't stop him from continuing on with other projects around the house and the yard, but at least he could pick and choose the project and the time of day to do it.

In addition to the appointments and yard work we've been enjoying critter sitting for Carly giving her a chance to get away for some well deserved long weekends.

The critter's include her 4 chickens and her 3 kittens-- the Siamese triplets! 😻😻😻 More on those sweethearts when I write about Rosie in part 3 of this update.

Catching up with the Cetus Crew (Part 1)

05 August 2022
Cetus tucked away in Marina Chica
Wow! Did I ever fall behind on my updates!

I last posted the end of June just before we tucked Cetus away in Marina Chica in Puerto Escondido while her crew drove north for a couple months.

As you can imagine the time has just flown by with the busy travel and then settling in to Carly’s and starting the series of Dr apts we had scheduled.

The scheduled apts were routine for the most part with the exception of the MOH’s surgery I have scheduled for August 17th to remove some basal cell carcinoma from my nose, which is why we planned this trip in the 1st place. Caught early and being the safest kind of skin cancer you can have (and very common, too) it should be a simple surgery. I just wish it was somewhere other than my nose hahaha!

But I also have some exciting news on the medical front! We changed ophthalmologists this trip and our new Dr was able to clear up my vision! I have been plagued with an excessive amount of floaters for many years now making my vision cloudy and difficult to see. My old Dr always commented on them but never told me something could be done about them — I thought that was just the way it had to be. But Dr Dale immediately set me up with a retina specialist and just 2 weeks after my 1st visit with her, I had the surgery in my right eye! It is truly miraculous the change in my vision — far exceeded my expectations. I can see again!

So that’s my update on what I’ve been up to and later today I will catch up on all the work Terry’s accomplished this past month when he wasn’t occupied just driving me around 😁

And of course I’ll update on Rosie and her exploits going from boat cat to Road Trip Rosie then Rosie the Explorer.

🤩😎😻


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.

June!

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 🤩

Yardwork

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.

Leave Eve?

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.

Heading South!

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.
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 - Haul Out in Keehi Marine Center
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