Cruising  ~ The Cat's Meow Style ~ January thru April, 2013
What do you DO out there all day???

Often, when someone meets other people who choose to live on a boat, especially when that boat is in some strange place like Mexico, those folks ask the boat folks "What do you do out there all day?" It must be difficult to imagine what goes on during a day in the life of a "cruiser". Purrrrhaps we can clarify the answer to this question….but of course, every day is different aboard a boat just as when living in a house or apartment. Anywho, here are some examples of "what we do out there"……

Hmmm….. we must have just worked away the month of January. We don't have any photos of anything we did during that month (which Robin uses to prompt her memory while writing these updates), so we surmise that we had our noses to the grindstone most of that time.
The weather during January was just plain cold and windy. This was the worst winter we have experienced in Mexico here on the Baja peninsula. There was one "norther" after another, sometimes only two or three days apart, with cold wind in the 25-45 knot range for three or four or five days in a row. The water in the port was churned-up, it was not any fun to take the dinghy ride from our mooring to the shore and back. It was WET. And cold. It was also difficult to do any work outside, so we mostly stayed inside the boat and did some smaller projects, cleaning projects, etc.


                                                        The Cat's Meow in Cocktail Cove
An injector pump on the engine was giving us some trouble. Martin found a brand new, in the box, 45 year old pump and had it shipped down to us from the States!! We did a trip to La Paz, got the changes to the pump made that were necessary (there are always changes necessary), and had another visit with our friend Pat (it is always fun to visit with Pat!). 

While in La Paz at Pat's house, our mutual friend Jaye (of Winsome) gave us all an excuse to have a party for her birthday! A number of friends helped her celebrate and all had a good time, in Pat's nice home. Jaye's passion is cooking, so of course she cooked for her own birthday party and each of us enjoyed that, too.

                      Jaye doing what Jaye loves to do:  cook                                               It was not a surprise party, but Jaye was surprised here!

Between pumps and trips to La Paz, we did have some fun. Colin Garland, our good friend who was our guide in South Africa in 2011, was in the Pto. Escondido area, and invited us along on a whale watching trip at Lopez Mateos, which is a village on the west coast of the Baja, about a 2.5 hour drive from port. We have gone whale watching before and we have had a really good time. This trip, however, was fantastic! Lopez Mateos is one of the birthing locations for the humpback whale, and some of the females have become what is called a "friendly". These females bring their babies up to the pangas (the long, open boats) and introduce them to the two-legged creatures in the boats! Not all females are up to this, but some are. The panga driver, who is very aware of the need to be careful and respectful of the whales, idles the large motor and drifts, allowing the whales to approach the boat. The people in the panga go to one side, the panga leans low…with the rail down to the water….a bit scary…… Sometimes people splash the water and coo to the whales ( the whales understand English??), and encourage them to come to the side of the boat. When the baby is brought to the low side of the boat by the mom, the baby and sometimes the mother too get pets on the head from the excited people. Both of us were able to pet both the baby and the mom that came into the small area between two pangas!!! Another great experience. Robin thinks the whales were like velvety rubber to the touch. Very very cool!!

                               Martin petting the baby whale…awwwww….                                              Our friendly and informative panga driver, Jose

Martin has been threatening for three years to enclose the helm on the bridge. This winter he has a good start on that project. When the wind wasn't blowing 30 knots, he was able to transfer the large pieces of wood needed, by dinghy, from shore to TCM, set-up his tools on the top deck, and get to work.

The beginning stages of enclosing the flying bridge helm

Robin has been wanting to clean-up and redecorate the interior helm station to make it look like the rest of the boat. She finally has her chance!! Robin learned to cut and rout laminate, then she applied a little bit of wallpaper and replaced missing teak pieces. The entire area is looking so much better!

Beautifying the helm station

Sometimes there are just these strange surprises………
Early one morning, Martin went up to the main salon and when he looked out at the harbor, this is what he saw:

This big ugly thing had floated merrily along, out of a new small marina on the far west side of the harbor, going between a number of boats in the harbor, during the night. Hmmmm. There had been no wind all night, so this guy just followed the current and tides. Somehow, this behemoth did not hit any of the boats during the night!!
When Martin spied it, he could not see our friend's boat, Cloud Nine, on the other side! He immediately called on the VHF radio for some help to move this big ugly thing away from the boats and get it secured on a mooring buoy. Help did arrive, and a lot of the guys had a chance to play in their dinghies,  keeping the big ugly thing off of other boats. Eventually, the marina from whence it came sent some men in a panga to move the big ugly thing back to its rightful place. And that was not easy….this big ugly thing had a mind of its own when under tow!!

             Guys in dinghies wrestling the big ugly thing to a temporary mooring 

Friends Merry & Dave on Air Ops and Wendy & Mark on Wendaway came back into the nearby islands, after spending a few months "on the other side", which means on the mainland of Mexico.  We were excited to see them after so long…so we took The Cat's Meow out for a little stroll on the water. We met them at an anchorage called Punta Colorada. We had meals, drink, and fun together for a few days before they headed into port.



                     Beach combing ~ a favorite thing to do "out there"                                             Merry's big fish ~ another favorite past time

It was so nice for us to be out of port and enjoying TCM, we decided to stay out for a few days more. We anchored, all alone by ourselves, in a large anchorage called Marquer. This was soooo peaceful, serene, beautiful.

                        TCM waaay in the background, "new" dinghy foreground                           Martin enjoying some beach combing

Well, it ain't all fun & games. Even as we were enjoying the anchorages, Martin had a chance to do some more projects on the boat. We were expecting to have visitors aboard in a short while, and the forward head needed some work. We had been carrying around a brand-new-in-the-box toilet, so Martin had a fun project to keep him busy while at the Marquer anchorage.

                                                    Martin gets to install a new toilet in the forward head 

Our micro-convection oven conked out, so he had the opportunity to work on that, too. For once, Martin could not fix something, and we had to order a new control board; but, we had another much smaller micro-convection oven so all was not lost.

                                                                                                         Trying to bring the micro-convection oven back to life…..

In order to buy food and supplies, we need to get into the nearby village of Loreto, or down to La Paz, as there are only two little tiendas (stores) in the port area. Loreto is about 30 minutes away by car, and La Paz is 3.5 hours by car. Once in Loreto, we shop by going to at least three or four tiendas to find, hopefully, what we want. The produce in the stores here is very fresh and good, grown in the area around the village of Constitucion, the "bread basket" of the Baja. On Sundays, we usually go into Loreto for the tiangis, which translates more or less to "flea market", since there are all manner of things being sold, like produce, meats, appliances, clothes, bicycles, popcorn, you name it. Ya know all that stuff that gets discarded and sent to the thrift stores in the USofA? A lot of it comes to Mexico, including the Baja, and is sold at markets like this. We find work clothes, sometimes some very nice clothes, many of the household goods we need, besides most of the groceries for the week.

                                       Tiangis are temporary structures set-up on Sundays, where one can find almost anything 

We enjoy the "restaurants" at the tiangis, too. One of our favorites makes a really good pozole!

                                                                                                                                                  YUMMM! Pozole, and Jamaica (haa-my-kaa) to drink

We had the honor of celebrating the 10th Baja wedding anniversary of Elvin & Connie, our very good friends who live in the village of Juncalito ~ actually, Juncalito isn't even a village, it is an ejido, with no stores or services, just a nice mix of locals and norteamericanos.  Anywho, Merry & Dave joined us for this special dinner in Loreto.

                                                                                                                                                                                           Connie & Elvin

                                                Da girls ~ Robin, Merry, Connie                                                          Da boys ~ Elvin, Dave, Martin

We needed yet another excuse to stop working so hard on those projects, and two reasons came to mind: Susan was joining her husband Steve on their boat Pacific, and Jaye & Irwin of Winsome were arriving from La Paz, after they had spent the entire winter in the US! Any excuse(s) will do. We invited the folks from Cloud Nine, Mark on Wendaway (his hunny was not on Wendaway at the time….we needed to keep him company!), Air Ops, and of course Pacific and Winsome. We talked, laughed, told stories and lies, had appetizers followed by tostadas for a light dinner, and a good time was had by all.

                     Mark, Hans, Steve, and that is Susan in the background                                                 Winsome's Irwin & Jaye

Both of us are still working on our chosen projects. They are not yet complete but both are underway. These projects take lots of time, they make a mess in the work places, but things are lookin' fine on The Cat's Meow!!
Once the interior helm area is completely done, Robin plans to start making the forward head much nicer. Again, there will be sanding, painting, laminate work, tile……what fun!

So, what DO we do out there all day? We mix in some fun with chores on the boat.
We have not included here our exercise routines, listening to the local or Ham nets on the radios in the mornings, regular house chores….but yes, those things are what we do, too, along with attending some yacht club activities, having a dinner at the Porto Bello restaurant, snorkeling and kayaking, etc....

That purrrrty much is a good description of "what we do out there all day"…. still, one day is never like any other day....
Life is good on TCM! Ya'all come back for some more ……Cruising ~ The Cat's Meow Style!

                               And, well…this is what cruisin' kitty Squeak does all day.. 
                                                                         Also, the last photo taken of our precious Sqeuak……………