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.

02 July 2024 | Punta Chivato
15 June 2024 | Punta Chivato
21 March 2024 | Marina Puerto Escondido
21 February 2024 | Baja California Sur
31 January 2024 | The Islands of Loreto, BCS
04 November 2023
19 October 2023 | Marina Chica in Puerto Escondido
28 September 2023 | Punta Chivato
31 August 2023 | Shell Beach Punta Chivato
29 August 2023 | Punta Chivato
27 August 2023 | Punta Chivato
18 August 2023 | Punta Chivato BCS
05 August 2023 | Punta Chivato
04 August 2023 | Punta Chivato
21 July 2023 | Marina Chica in Puerto Escondido
12 July 2023 | Dave’s Cove
02 July 2023 | Puerto Escondido
29 May 2023 | Indianapolis Motor Speedway
13 March 2023 | Cetus on her buoy near one of the “windows” in PE
04 February 2023 | Punta Chivato

Is it July already???

02 July 2024 | Punta Chivato
Can you see the glowing aliens on the porch? 👽👽
As always time flies by so quickly it makes me dizzy 🤣

June has been a wonderful month here at the cute casa on Shell Beach in Punta Chivato. Very relaxing with plenty of time to read, play cards and simply enjoy the view in addition to beach walks and star gazing.

As we discovered last summer this is an ideal spot to watch rocket launches out of Vandenberg AFB — they appear to fly right over the top of us!

And Rosie is enjoying her summer vacation, too, since she loves the freedom of being able to walk around the enclosed back yard when we are out. Always plenty of birds and occasional lizards to get her attention as well as the local cat that we’ve dubbed Simon is coming around every few days to visit just like last year.

Life is good for the Cetus Crew.

Return to Shell Beach

15 June 2024 | Punta Chivato
The darling casa on the beach
After a very busy 2 months (April and May) in Washington doing all of our routine doctor appointments as well as a bunch of extras as Terry gears up for knee replacement surgery in August and I continued to fight an ear infection -- we were happy to escape the hectic pace and return to Baja for some R&R.

We've been enjoying the quiet relaxation of beach life here in our friends casa on Shell Beach in Punta Chivato for 5 days now and just loving it.

The view is amazing and the wildlife plentiful -- birds flocking, Rays jumping, rabbits hopping and road runners beeping 😍

We'll be here house sitting till the end of July when we'll pack up and head north to prepare for Terry's big surgery.

More posts to come now that I have a lot more free time 🤩

March!

21 March 2024 | Marina Puerto Escondido
The intrepid sailors return!
We enjoyed the first few days of March at one of our favorite anchorages: Bahia Marquer on Isla Carmen -- it was wonderful.

We headed back in to port to greet friends George & Barbara when they arrived after the long drive down from Washington. Terry had made plans with them to help George sail their boat DreamCatcher back to Puerto Escondido from where it was moored in Mazatlán.
A few days after George & Barbra got to PE we put the boys on a bus to La Paz where they would fly over to Mazatlán.
After a couple days in Mazatlán to get the boat ready and do some provisioning they set sail for what was anticipated to be a 3 day passage. They arrived in PE a week later. 🤩

It was a change in weather that made it prudent to duck into La Paz for a couple days to wait it out and allow the seas to settle back down to continue the journey. They were 2 happy guys to step on to the dock on March 20th.

Then the work began! The purpose of bringing DreamCatcher back to PE was so Terry and George could install new water tanks. With noses to the grindstone they removed the old tank (which involved cutting out part of the flooring and then cutting the old aluminum tank to get it out chunk by chunk). Luckily installing the new plastic tanks and repairing the floor was a bit easier.

With that behind us Terry & I got busy preparing for our drive north to Washington in April.

We stripped Cetus down removing sails, dodger, wind generator etc so she'd be safe no matter what weather should come her way.

The Whales of Winter

21 February 2024 | Baja California Sur
Gray Whales in Ojo de Liebre
It was a busy winter and it flew by quickly!

February became the month of whales beginning when Terry treated me to a great whale watching tour for my 70th birthday. Located near Guerrero Negro on the Baja Pacific coast Ojo de Liebre is a favorite mating and breeding bay for the Gray Whales that make the long trek down from their home waters far north near Alaska. It was a great, well run tour and we enjoyed two days of observing them spy hopping, breaching and even petting the ones that would come right up to the panga boat!

When we returned to Puerto Escondido whales had come to that area too! Every time we headed out to an anchorage we were treated to seeing Blue whales and Humpbacks spouting and fluking. How exciting!

Winter in the Sea of Cortez

31 January 2024 | The Islands of Loreto, BCS
Amazing Sunrise
I've been remiss in posting for a few months so it's time to catch up on the goings on of the Cetus Crew 🤩

We've been "home basing" on a mooring in the main harbor of Marina Puerto Escondido since our return to Cetus in October while getting out to the islands as much as we can. It's been a great winter filled with fantastic sunrises and sunsets, full moons, shooting stars and missile launches lighting up the night sky.

We even managed to get a nice swim in last time we got out to Bahia Marquer! The water is too chilly for some at around 67-69 degrees but we were comfortable enough to do several laps around the boat in the clear turquoise water.

We've been hiking and beach combing and just enjoying everything Mother Nature has to offer as well as doing plenty of boat projects.

Terry's installed new batteries and worked on the many systems aboard Cetus, as well as doing the routine polishing and cleaning of the stainless and brass. He's also gotten all the teak freshly treated so Cetus is sparkling once again.

My big project this year is replacing and repairing nearly every cover on the boat from hatch covers to the Bimini, indoor and outdoor cushions etc etc. It seems like the years of salt and sun has everything wearing out at the same time.

My first one to tackle is to patch up the dinghy chaps to get them through at least a few more months till we can find a good place to get some made. Making all new dinghy chaps is beyond me -- repairing is tough enough in the limited work space on the boat. You'd need a place to spread out for all that cutting and sewing. My other projects will be much easier.

So we will continue on with all of our boat projects while enjoying the great outdoors here in the Sea of Cortez.

And Rosie is doing real well for an old girl of 13 😻. She especially enjoys spending time in the cockpit laying in the sun and watching the birds fly by.

All's well aboard Cetus. 😍

Good Old Boat

04 November 2023
The latest issue of Good Old Boat magazine is out and available in newsstands and online.

Pick one up and check out Terry’s article “Counter Revival” detailing one of our recent projects replacing the galley countertop in Cetus — our good old boat 🤩

Home again Home again!

19 October 2023 | Marina Chica in Puerto Escondido
Cetus sitting pretty
Sunday October 15th we finally locked up the casa on Shell Beach, Punta Chivato, loaded up the car and drove south — back to Cetus.

Terry had driven down a few days earlier and did all the hard work of putting her together again after being in hurricane prep storage mode for a few months. He got the sails on and the dodger up among lots of other projects so she was all ready for us to move aboard when we got there.
We would normally need to stay in nearby Hotel Tripui for a day or two while we did the work because with all that outside stuff stored below there just wouldn’t be room for us. It was so nice to move right in! Way to go Terry!

We spent two nights at the dock in Marina Chica while we unloaded the car and put everything away as well as getting groceries. Then we were ready to go!

Wednesday morning we were off shortly after sunrise and dropped anchor at one of our old favorites — Isla Coronados.

It’s been heavenly swimming in the clear, warm water and watching the stars at night. There’s just no place like home.

And the countdown begins!

28 September 2023 | Punta Chivato
Sunrise on Shell Beach
We've been house sitting in this charming casa on Shell Beach in Punta Chivato for over 2 months now. Boy does time fly!

Now that it's Fall the temperatures are dropping and the days are getting shorter and the owners will be returning in a couple weeks. We are excited to be getting back to Cetus soon to get out and enjoy the anchorages around Loreto.

So we are now counting down the days till we get back home again. 🤩

Life on Land

31 August 2023 | Shell Beach Punta Chivato
An unwanted visitor
One of the biggest differences we’ve found living at the casa compared to the boat is all the critters, big and small, that pop up everyday.

First there are the little creepy crawly things like centipedes, scorpion and spiders. Then there are the fairly harmless field mice and the occasional hermit crab that waddles up from the beach providing entertainment for all — especially Rosie.

But the creepiest and scariest of all was the rattlesnake that came into the yard from the beach one evening! That got everybody’s attention too but not in a good way.

We’ve come to realize we are sort of shielded from all these critters when we’re on the boat since we have a water barricade all around us — unwanted guests just can’t get to us.

We also have noticed that that same water barrier makes for less work on cleaning day aboard the boat than in a casa on the beach where sand and everything is constantly being blown on to the patios and windows and finding its way into the house. Especially after a hurricane!

So there are pros and cons for life on land vs life on the sea and it’s quite the adventure discovering something new everyday.

PS very happy to report the rattler hasn’t made a return appearance for a couple weeks. Maybe Rosie’s presence has discouraged the field mice enough he found better hunting grounds. 🤞

Life on Shell Beach

29 August 2023 | Punta Chivato
The amazing and ever changing shell beach
In mid July when we prepared Cetus for hurricane season and tucked her safely away in Marina Chica, loaded up the car with everything we could imagine needing and drove north to Punta Chivato we weren't exactly sure what to expect or what life would be like spending the summer in the Sea of Cortez in a beach house instead of on board Cetus. We knew it would be an adventure!

We had only been in this cute little casa a couple times as guests but we have visited Punta Chivato many many times beginning in 2010. It has always been a favorite anchorage of ours when we traveled north in the Sea in the fall and winter months. Those months it is the perfect protection from the prevailing north winds but summer winds are different and blow predominantly from the south.

We knew all the houses here were "off grid" operating on solar power and generators. We are definitely used to "off grid" life so that wouldn't be too challenging but would there be any air conditioning for the hot summer nights?

There isn't ac so we keep cool just as we do on the boat with good fans and fresh sea breezes. So most of the time we can stay pretty comfortable sitting out on the big patio overlooking the water, but it can get pretty warm in the night when the breezes die down or some humidity sets in. That's the downside of life on Shell Beach in the summer but there are plenty of upsides to offset that. After all it's hot everywhere in the Sea this time of year.

One of the best things are early morning walks on the seemingly endless beach. Everyday we see something new and everyday the beach seems to be sculpted in a different pattern -- a result of the waves and tide.

One thing I miss most about not being on Cetus is the swimming. Sure, we can and do swim here but it's just not as easy as swimming off the boat. Here you have to go in and out very carefully shuffling along the way as to avoid a sting from the large skate population. Terry got hit one time despite our careful shuffling and that's a pain you don't want to experience. Luckily the treatment is soaking it in hot water for a couple hours -- you can actually see the venom drain out -- and then the pain is gone.

So we don't swim as often as we would on the boat but taking a shower is much easier here so we rinse off several times a day. Not as nice as a swim, but refreshing all the same.

Tomorrow I'll post about another big difference being on land instead of the water -- all the critters big and small!

Everyday brings a new adventure.

After the Storm…

27 August 2023 | Punta Chivato
The storm has passed and all is well
A week has passed since Hurricane Hilary blew through Baja and life is back to normal. In fact the weather has been better (cooler) than our 1st month here on Shell Beach in Punta Chivato.

The hard rains did some damage to the yard creating a big wash out under the stairway to the beach which has kept Terry busy stabilizing the wall and top step so the big hole can all be filled in again.

Luckily that was the only damage here at the house and we quickly got word from Javier at Puerto Escondido that Cetus was safe and sound in her slip in Marina Chica — he even sent pics so we could see for ourselves. Cetus has now survived 4 hurricanes in the Sea.

Waiting for Hilary

18 August 2023 | Punta Chivato BCS
“It’s hurricane weather!”
A couple days ago we started seeing that the latest tropical depression forming south of Mexico (in what we call the Tropical Kitchen) was going to develop into a hurricane — and even better head up the outside of Baja!

So it looks like Hilary is on her way. Hopefully she will stay on the outside of Baja and we won’t be hit with the full force of a hurricane here at Punta Chivato— but we do have a great view of the Sea and should be interesting to watch.

The waves in the bay in front of us are already starting to build and by this evening we should start getting thundershowers. The peak of the storm for this area will be Saturday night through Sunday morning and so far the high winds here will only be 45 or so.

So we are battening down the hatches so to speak, moving all the outdoor furniture and anything that could go flying.

We are regularly monitoring Hilary’s progress and as with any approaching weather “preparing for the worst and praying for the best.”

Cetus is tucked away in Marina Chika in Puerto Escondido which in our minds is about the safest place she could be in the Sea so that is one less worry.

Such a different feeling waiting for this hurricane compared to our 1st one 30 years ago when Iniki hit the Hawaiian islands shortly after our arrival to Maui.

That time some people didn’t even know a hurricane was headed for the islands! And we could only get info on our short wave radio — local radio channels wouldn’t mention it so not to upset the tourists.

Now, with improved forecasting and much improved communications we are aware of the potential when it is still a tropical depression.

But as we’ve seen in the past you can’t let your guard down because no matter what any weather prediction says in the end you get what you get.

“Round and round and round she goes, where she stops nobody knows!”

Summer in the Sea of Cortez Part 2

05 August 2023 | Punta Chivato
Our “cockpit” on land
It's a very unique community here at Punta Chivato -- that's what attracted us to take this offer to house sit and see just what it's like to live on land for a couple months. It's always been one of our favorite anchorages in the Sea and we would stop here often in the Fall and Winter.

One of the interesting things is there is no electricity running down here -- all the homes are off grid and run on solar and generators for power. Just like on a boat. So just like on a boat most of the homes don't have air conditioning. This isn't a problem most of the year but August and September are a different story. But, again, just like with boats, most of the residents leave the area for other pursuits in cooler weather.

We knew this could be a challenge but after years on the boat we've learned to adapt to occasional hot muggy weather with nothing but sea breezes and fans for relief from the heat. We'd encountered it in many places across the Pacific as well as passages when we'd have to keep hatches and portholes closed against waves and rain.

That's when you learn to always be by a fan when you're down below but you're best to spend your time in the cockpit for the comfort of breezes as well as the amazing view.

So in our first two weeks we've come to feel like living here is much like being on the boat during an ocean passage! But it's better than a boat in that it's a much larger space and it doesn't rock and roll. Plus we are able to get off this boat for morning swims and beach walks getting good exercise before the heat of the day.

After that morning break the routine is similar to being aboard Cetus out at Sea. We have our daily chores to take care of inside -- cooking and cleaning and monitoring systems but spend the bulk of our time out in the great covered patio out door living space that faces out on The Sea of Cortez.

Out there you get the full force of the sea breeze as well as a fantastic view. Just like on the ocean we never tire of looking out at the Sea -- you never know what might come along! So far it's been a big variety of birds to entertain us but we know that dolphins, whales and even the gentle whale sharks can come into this bay.

Just like out in the ocean the sunrises and sunsets are events we look forward to as well as the nighttime stargazing watching for satellites and shooting stars. It just never gets old.

So for us the inconvenience of the summer heat is far outweighed by the beauty of nature surrounding us and we are enjoying this new adventure despite the the challenges of the weather.

After all, that’s exactly like living on a boat — which we’re pretty used to after nearly 30 years aboard Cetus and several years aboard Cassiopeia.

The adventure continues! 🌞

Summer in the Sea of Cortez……

04 August 2023 | Punta Chivato
Summer Sun
August and September can be brutally hot and muggy in the Sea of Cortez so most people opt to go traveling in cooler climes and the true snowbirds return to their other homes.

A lot of boaters routinely stay in the Sea — usually up north near the Bay of LA but those numbers seem to be dwindling. More and more have turned to RV’s so they can leave the boat and continue their nomadic lifestyle exploring by land.

Terry & I haven’t ever spent the whole summer in the Sea (except during COVID and then Cetus was in the work yard and we were in a little apt at Hotel Tripui) as we would use those months to travel up to Washington to visit family and friends.

But this year our Spring trip to Washington turned into a longer than normal visit extended by some special anniversary trips as well as Dr apts to treat Terry’s back. So when we were ready and able to return to Cetus it was already July.

July is often one of the best months down here because the water has warmed to a comfortable temp and cleared for great snorkeling. Boats have left so anchorages aren’t crowded and daytime temps aren’t too extreme. So we were excited to get back and enjoy some relaxing time after the hectic pace of life in the States.

We did just that for a full two weeks until Mother Nature suddenly flipped a switch and our pleasant July turned unusually hot as was happening in many places around the world.

Luckily we already had plans to house sit for friends beginning in August so we simply moved those dates up a bit and prepared Cetus for Hurricane season tucked away in Marina Chica in Puerto Escondido, loaded up the car and headed to Punta Chivato!

So we are spending the Summer in the Sea of Cortez this year, but on land instead of boat.

It’s another adventure and I’ll continue this tale of life on land tomorrow……..

Trying to reason with hurricane season….

21 July 2023 | Marina Chica in Puerto Escondido
Terry & I have spent the last 5 days preparing Cetus for any weather that might come this way in the next couple months. That involves taking down sails, the dodger and anything else that could be a problem if big winds come through.

It’s been slow work because last weekend a heat wave hit the area so we’ve only been able to work early mornings and evenings because the heat of the day is brutal.

We have been staying in one of the apartment units at Hotel Tripui since Monday so we could all live in the comfort of an air conditioned space when we weren’t working on the boat. Rosie said “thank you very much”. While Terry and I had the option of a refreshing swim to cool us down she wears a fur coat day in and day out.

Wednesday we moved Cetus into the slip in Marina Chica where she will wait for us as we will be driving up to Punta Chivato Sunday (just south of Santa Rosalia) where we will house-sit for friends that have a cute casa on the beach. A new adventure for us!

They plan to return mid October and then we’ll come back down and enjoy The Sea aboard Cetus in much cooler weather.

We were so lucky to have such pleasant conditions for our 1st two weeks down here to enjoy swimming and snorkeling out at Marquer before someone flipped a switch and the heat came on.

Next stop: Punta Chivato.

Remembering Dave

12 July 2023 | Dave’s Cove
David Nieuwstad and his boat Free Spirit were a fixture here in The Sea of Cortez. We first met him on Dock 3 in Marina Palmira in 2009 along with many other great friends. That cruiser's comradery continued through the years as we all traveled our different paths around the Sea, always happy to meet up with each other again and again.

We enjoyed having dinner the other day with another Dock 3 alumni, Cricket and her husband Ron and of course Dave came up in the conversation as he was a dear friend of theirs.

Knowing we were headed out to the islands she asked if we'd mind taking a wooden spoon that had been on Dave's boat since winning a chili cook off at the Loreto Fest of 2014, and placing it on the beach near one of his favorite anchorages. We were thrilled to do it.

We embellished the plain wooden spoon with some words to commemorate Dave and his very special private anchorage he'd always take in the far northern lobe of Bahia Marquer on Isla Carmen near Loreto.

Cheer's to FreeSpirit Dave and Dave's Cove -- he will be in the hearts of his family and friends forever.




Back Home again…..

02 July 2023 | Puerto Escondido
The mooring field of Puerto Escondido
In Puerto Escondido!!!

Luckily the 2nd epidural Terry had for his excruciating back pain that began in January was very successful and he was finally able to function normally again.

So right after his final appointment with the pain doctor on June 22nd we decided to hit the road and get back to Cetus before the 4th of July holiday travel began in the States.

So we missed visiting a lot of friends we’d hoped to see this time as our days were filled with Dr and PT appointments the entire time. But we needed to get back to Cetus to get her prepped and prepared for the upcoming hurricane season. When we left her in April she was prepared for weather that could come along between then and July but August through mid October can get pretty dicey if a hurricane decides to venture up the Sea.

We arrived in PE on June 30th and have been staying at nearby Hotel Tripui while we get Cetus put back together again. A slow process in the heat.

We’ll move back aboard tomorrow, July 3rd, and plan to spend the rest of the month exploring and enjoying the anchorages in the Islands of Loreto.

Then, on August 1st we will begin a new adventure! House sitting for friends who have a casa right on the beach. Looking forward to this experience since Punta Chivato is one of our very favorite places in the Sea of Cortez.

Cetus will be safely tucked away in Marina Chica in Puerto Escondido — ready for any weather that should come that way. And we won’t be far if we need to get back to check on her at any time.

Can’t wait to get out swimming and snorkeling again because that is truly my happy place 🧜‍♀️.

🎶 Back Home Again in Indiana 🎶

29 May 2023 | Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Happy Memorial Day!
To celebrate our 50th anniversary Terry & I chose to do the Indy 500 again this year -- for the 6th time!

It's been planned for over a year but with Terry's on going back problems we weren't ever sure if it would get the green flag.

Originally we were planning on spending the month of May traveling around to visit friends and then driving to Indy like we did in 2016. But to accommodate Dr and PT apts we adjusted those plans to flying to Indianapolis and leaving Rosie in the good hands of her auntie Monica, just as we had done for our April Disney anniversary celebration Carly & Adam treated us to!

It all worked out well and we had a great Indy experience again! It truly is the greatest spectacle in motor racing and it's such a unique gathering of people and the atmosphere is both laid back and festive.

Now we'll enjoy a couple days of relaxation before we return to Rosie and the Pacific Northwest 🤩

Hanging out in the Hidden Harbor

13 March 2023 | Cetus on her buoy near one of the “windows” in PE
Puerto Escindido (Hidden Harbor) is such a beautiful and unique spot. The bay is surrounded by hills with just a small channel leading in from the south so you have the feeling of being in a lake.

We came in a month ago for several reasons: a short stint kitty sitting for our friends in Ñopolo, to pick up some packages and do a couple boat projects.

We expected to stay a couple weeks but Terry had a bout with a strained back on top of it all so our time in port was extended. But there couldn’t be a better place to be “stuck”.

Secure on a mooring buoy we didn’t have to worry about weather and yet the beautiful scenery gives the feeling of being in a lovely anchorage. The only thing missing is the swimming (not allowed for safety reasons plus the water isn’t as inviting as it is in the islands).

So we’ve worked on the projects (a chainplate that needed to be repaired) and a wiring project to convert our StarLink antenna to 12 volt (to save on the power draw running it through an inverter). Along with Dr apts to help get Terry’s back in working order.

And now we’re finally ready to go! The projects are done and the back is doing well and the weather has warmed and the cold winter Northers seemed to have subsided. Best of all the Sea Temps have gone up to about 65! That’s up from the chilly 60ish I last swam in at Isla Coronados 🧜‍♀️

We plan to head out on a Wednesday when the forecast looks perfect to go enjoy one of our favorite spots — Bahia Marquer on Isla Carmen 🤩

Life is good.

Good Night Punta Chivato!

04 February 2023 | Punta Chivato
The sun has set and the moon is rising on our last night at Punta Chivato.

It was a short stay this time as we sat out a Norther that wrapped up today and with another long Norther forecast to pipe up on Monday we're going to take the brief time between to get as far south (towards Puerto Escondido) as we can.

Our goal is the south side of Isla Coronados (another favorite Norther hide out). It's about 75 miles away but we have a couple good places to pull in if it isn't smooth sailing tomorrow.

It's a beautiful evening -- the moon is out and the wind and seas are calm. The perfect "Leave Eve" for an Oh Dark 30 departure 🤩

Hasta Luego Punta Chivato!
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 - Patos
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