We left Gig Harbor, WA in 2009 and spent 3 winters in the Sea of Cortez then sailed to the Galapagos Islands, French Polynesia up to Hawaii, then to San Francisco Bay. We are once again enjoying the Sea of Cortez as we plan our next adventure.

28 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
28 January 2023 | Bahía San Carlos
22 January 2023 | Marina San Carlos
25 December 2022 | Town square in Santa Rosalia
20 November 2022 | Santa Rosalia
06 November 2022 | Isla Coronados
30 September 2022 | Puerto Escondido
23 September 2022 | Baja California Mexico

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!

Adiós San Carlos

28 January 2023 | Bahía San Carlos
We entered this bay exactly a month ago and now there is a good weather window so it’s time to leave.

We’ve had a wonderful time here exploring a new place and getting together with old friends (from our Marina Palmira days) that drove down to visit as well as getting the bottom painted.

We left the marina this morning and after a short stop at the fuel dock to top off the tank we anchored out in the bay to make an easy exit when we leave before the crack of dawn tomorrow.

It will take us around 15 hours to travel the seventy some miles back to Baja with Punta Chivato as our goal. The early departure will help us get in to the anchorage before dark.

We had a great time and a great adventure but looking forward to getting back “home” to Baja.

The Haulout

22 January 2023 | Marina San Carlos
We left Santa Rosalia shortly after Christmas and headed to San Carlos where we were scheduled for a short haulout for bottom paint.

After all these years in the Sea this was our 1st time crossing over to San Carlos so it was a fun new adventure. Many friends made the trip regularly as they would store their boats here when heading north to the States or Canada for 4-6 months.

Turned out to be a great experience all around. The marina is well organized and the haulout went smoothly. We stayed aboard Cetus while we did the painting because without a car over here it would have been time consuming to stay in a hotel and taxi back and forth.

It was actually a pretty comfortable 4 days and we were proud of the fact we did all of the work ourselves — it had been many years since we had and it felt good to challenge ourselves and know we still had it in us.

Once back in the water we arranged for a slip at the dock so we’d be able to visit easily with our friends that we’re heading down later in the month.

Feliz Navidad!

25 December 2022 | Town square in Santa Rosalia
Feliz Navidad to all our family and friends! We hope you are enjoying your Christmas celebrations where ever you are.

You are all in our happy thoughts today as we remember past Christmases while enjoying the present and looking forward to the future.

Happy Holidays from the Cetus Crew in Santa Rosalia!

Terry, Heidi & Rosie 😎🤩😻

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!


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 🤩.
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 - Isla San Francisco
Photos 1 to 45 of 45 | Main
Site Meter