Although this section of our webpage is about our first cruising months and years, this is being written much later ~ it is now December 2004 ~ and some of the next few years will be condensed. We would like to include more detail and accompanying photos in this section; however, The Cat’s Meow was sunk in May of 2004 at a small cove along the Baja California shore. She was saved, thank the gods, and you may read all about the entire affair later on this website. We lost our photos from the beginning of our cruising life in 2000 until 2002, so unfortunately we are unable to let you see much of what we experienced during that time. When and if we are able to recoup earlier photos we will insert some within the following text.
Please read on, and enjoy these segments of Cruising ~ The Cat’s Meow Style!
In the Beginning…..
We, Martin and Robin Hardy, purchased our 52’ custom trawler late in the year 1998. She needed a lot of work; she was definitely a “project boat”, but we could both see in her lots of potential. After about 18 months, we decided to rename the vessel. Her name was Sharron when we found her. That name had no meaning to us, and Martin came up with the new name in honor of us living with our two cats, and because we always felt this boat was very special. Our boat, our home, is named The Cat’s Meow.
Martin worked at many things on TCM, but the largest and most daunting project was building an entire room over the aft deck. The room is like having a real living room onboard; it is very comfortable, with rattan furniture, a computer, carpeting, and lots and lots of windows. When we left Chula Vista for Mexico, the room was a long way from being complete. The upper deck was a floating lumber yard, our carpet for the entire boat interior was rolled up and hanging from the rafters; we looked like Ma and Pa Kettle comin’ to Mexico.
Our cruising life began on November 15, 2000, when The Cat’s Meow left Chula Vista and the San Diego Bay at approximately 10 p.m. with Robin, Martin, a crew member, Frank, and our cats, Toes and Squeak aboard. It was pretty hilarious when we FINALLY cleared the Point Loma area, turned left, and then said “…..OK, now what do we do?! Oh. We needed charts!” And, we really needed our auto pilot to stop turning us in 360 degree turns, too!! Frank said “If there are any Coast Guard guys watching us they will think we are a bunch of drunk Mexicans!” Finally, however, we did get ourselves organized and truly ready ~ I think ~ and we were off to Mexico.
Squeak and Toes
The first coupla years…..
Our first winter was spent in La Paz, in the southern state of the Baja peninsula. There we worked hard on the lanai room, which was still very much unfinished when we left San Diego. About April of that year, along with Chula Vista buddies Nina and Mike who had come to La Paz on Glad Tidings, we traveled up into the Sea of Cortez on The Cat’s Meow from island to island, anchorage to anchorage, and began to really enjoy the cruising life style. We followed Glad Tidings into Puerto Escondido – just for a night or two – and we ended up staying in that area the entire summer season. We thoroughly enjoyed the Pto. Escondido/Loreto area, with all of the islands, the tranquil village of Loreto, the people of Pto. Escondido. We continued to work on our lanai room project, but also enjoyed some snorkeling, diving, swimming, etc.
Our second winter found us heading south, to Puerto Vallarta via Mazatlan. We traveled with friends on Wet Bar, stopping at Isla Isabela for a night or two, hoping to explore the island, which is a bird sanctuary. However, the first night there, we were hit by a rogue storm, and at dawn we decided to cut our anchor and 120’ of chain free in order to escape to the safety of the mainland, some 60 miles away. Our chain had become snagged on some object or rock, had pulled on the bow from about 2 a.m. until 6 a.m., and had cut into the bow stem. Not good. We did get outa there, we were able to purchase another (and better!) anchor while in the village of San Blas, and we continued on to Puerto Vallarta where we were dockside for the rest of the winter season. While there, Martin completely overhauled the ground-tackle system, changing the track of the anchor chain, re-configuring the windlass, and lots more. That was also when we experienced one of the scariest experiences of our lives: while driving during the early morning hours toward Guadalajara, we were hit head-on by a small truck. Thank God we were in a heavy old Dodge van! We were carrying approximately 500 pounds of metal, in the back of the van, to Guadalajara for galvanizing…….but we never made it. Both of us miraculously survived the awful crash, and, although the rest of that experience was also pretty darn interesting, we came away with all of our belongings, after I spent 6 hours in a hospital for NO cost, and after both being well cared for by local people. We did, unfortunately, lose the van; it was totaled. While much time was spent that winter working on the anchoring system and other parts of the boat, we stayed at the absolutely gorgeous Paradise Resort & Marina, just outside of PV. Some days we did enjoy the beach, the pools, the gardens, the restaurants, and the nearby villages, taking a break from our work on TCM.
When the summer cruising season was looming again, we headed back to the Sea of Cortez, and to Pto. Escondido and Loreto once more. We attended our second Loreto Fest - - which is just a wonderful four-day event for cruisers who come together to play!! For part of the summer, we “buddy boated” with friends Dave & Debra on SundancE, and Kay & Joe on Joyfull. What a good time we had together, diving, cooking, fishing, cooking, swimming, cooking…. Well, you get the idea. That summer we did venture much farther up into the Sea, all the way to Bahia de Los Angeles. It was fun, interesting, and we would like to go back again.
The next winter season found us heading back to PV - - we liked it there so much the first time, we decided to go back to Paradise and the tropics for the winter. This time we worked on TCM, of course, but not nearly as much as the first time there. We did enjoy the area, the cruisers, the villages, and we had such a great time during the holiday season!!
This is about where we have text plus photos that were originally on another website, and we area getting those ready to include here within TheCatsMeowCruising website, plus lots we have added, of course……
Please read on, and we hope you enjoy our stories about Cruising ~ The Cat’s Meow Style!