Cruising ~ The Cat’s Meow Style ~ April - early May, 2003


While writing this, I (Robin) am sitting on The Cat’s Meow, at anchor in the bay of Puerto Escondido, near Loreto, Baja California Sur. This has been our “home” since we first fell in love with it two years ago. It is a natural hurricane hole, which means it is a small bowl of water that is almost completely surrounded by mountains and hills.


                                                                                                                             Puerto Escondido morning


Puerto Escondido is about a mile in diameter, and mostly 40-45’ in depth. A lot of boats can rest in here very comfortably with room to spare. We off-load our Honda 125 motorcycle during the time we are here, and we use it to run into Loreto and back. There is a small community of boaters and “land-lubbers” who make up the year-round contingency of the Hidden Port Yacht Club, and who have become good friends of ours. We love to take TCM out to the nearby islands to do some fishing, diving, kayaking, snorkeling, and relaxing. This place is beautiful. It is good to be home!











We motored from the Pto. Vallarta area to Mazatlan for our scheduled haul-out on April 1st. Although we have heard some horror stories about haul-outs in Mexico (and beyond), we had a very good experience while at the SENI ship yard. The workers were skilled, the administration was very helpful, and everyone was quite friendly and considerate. TCM had new bottom paint applied and had part of the hull spray-painted. Unfortunately, we also found some potentially bad problems. The good news is the problems were found, and they were taken care of. One problem was the shaft: Martin noticed the cutlass bearing making noises on the way to Mazatlan, so the shaft was removed and found to be wearing and badly pitted. The yard had it welded and re-machined, and it is now in great shape. When we removed two stainless steel plates from the starboard bow, we found rotted wood planks behind one of them. The source of the problem, evidently one that had been there for a very long time, was found and the planks cleaned-up and repaired.  When TCM came out of the yard, she was in better shape than she has been in years, and now she purrs like a kitten!





                                                                                          The Cat’s Meow at the SENI yard





After resting and licking our wounds for a few days in the Mazatlan Harbor, we caught a good weather window and together with our friends Dave and Debra Oudin on Sundance, we struck out across the Sea of Cortez for the Baja Peninsula. We had a nice, uneventful 31-hour motor from Mazatlan to the island of Espiritu Santos, which is just outside of La Paz.  The girls kept each other awake during their night watch by talking on the VHF radio, then the guys got to do the same thing during their early-early morning watch. We spent one night anchored at Espiritu, then motored the short distance to Isla San Jose, where the guys took a dinghy up a riverlet to a lagoon and gathered steamer clams! Yummy!! After a night at the Evaristo anchorage, we drove up to Sta. Marte anchorage. John on Why Not joined us, and we spent 2 nights there, enjoying the diving and the area. We finally motored up to Puerto Escondido on Thursday, April 24th, one day ahead of the wedding-on-the-beach for Connie and Elvin.

And what a great wedding it was! Many friends of the bride and groom came to sit under palm trees right off the beach to watch Connie and Elvin get hitched!


                                             The Gang at The Wedding



We had a good time, with lots of laughter, casual attire, wedding cake and champagne – it was a very nice time.




                                                   Connie and Elvin, hitched


A week after the wedding, it was the four-day fun & frolic party of the year for cruisers: the Eighth Annual Loreto Fest. What a blast! There were somewhere around 250 people, mostly cruising folks, some who have been all over and back, and some who are just starting their cruising adventures. We played over-the-line baseball, horse shoes, board games, had seminars on boat stuff, did crafts, had a swap-meet, made Spam Art and Spam recipes, danced until way late into the night and listened to some great, and some funny, music every night. We had potlucks, chicken dinner, spaghetti dinner, pancake breakfast….lots of beer and hot dogs were sold and consumed, too.  


                                                                                                                View while dining

                                                                                                                at the Fest



The best part about the Loreto Fest is that it has two real purposes, besides getting lots of people together for lots of fun.  One morning is set aside for the bay clean up, and everyone grabs a garbage bag and does his part. Nearly 90% of the proceeds from the Fest are used to help Mexican people in the Loreto area. Children are sponsored so they may attend school, support is given to a local foundation to build a rural high school, the drug and alcohol abuse center has received assistance, etc. A lot of very good deeds come out of the fun and frolic of the Fest, which makes it even more fun to attend. OH, did I mention that Martin and Robin of The Cat’s Meow are the current Champions of the Loreto Fest Horse Shoe Games?! And, Robin is the “Second Pig” after coming close to winning the Pass the Pigs Tourney! What excitement!















 Pass the Pigs Competition




                                                                                                                                                                       Saying adios to good friends                                           

Only a few days after the Fest, very good cruising friends Kay and Joe on the trawler Joyfull left to take their boat to San Carlos on the mainland. They will be putting the boat “on the hard” (out of the water), and they will be moving to New Zealand! Kay and Joe will be very sorely missed, and all the fun they brought to our life on the water. Then, just a few days ago, Dave and Debra on Sundance also left, heading for La Paz where they will pick up crew and take the boat back up to Ensenada.

So, we have lost two buddy-boater friends that we have been cruising with for most of the past two years. They all will be missed, a lot. But, we hope their adventures continue to be fun and wonderful!


Just after the Loreto Fest, Martin’s brother, Ken and a friend Ed Balbas drove down from California to visit us. Once more, we had too much fun! The Cat’s Meow anchored at three places at two islands while they were here.                                   

                           Ed & the day’s catch


The guys fished- caught some great Sierra, and dove – came back with clams one scallops and lobsters another time. Not too bad, eh?

We showed Ken and Ed how busy our life can be with all of the dining we did on TCM and on Sundance and Why Not. A good time was had by all.  


On a more somber note, during the Loreto Fest we found out that a friend of ours and a fellow cruiser, Dawn Wilson, has been imprisoned in the penitentiary outside of Ensenada since April 12th . Evidently, she was arrested for possession of what is being called controlled medications: Dilantin (she has epilepsy) and a medication for her ex-husband. There is more – her ATM card was taken from her, and the bank account was relieved of thousands of dollars, after her incarceration. All of this is very upsetting to all of us, and we are trying to work at getting Dawn released. I hope that in the next update, there will be happier news about this situation.


Please check back here for the next installment of Cruising ~ The Cat’s Meow Style!