Cruising  ~ The Cat’s Meow Style ~ April & May, 2006

Great joy and great sadness



April in La Paz is still not really hot, but one realizes that the heat is coming, and summer is not far away. Cruising kittyToes, who has long thick black fur, does not do real well with lots of heat. So, we give him a haircut every so often during the warmer months. He purrs and licks and enjoys the attention as one of us clips away with scissors. We have tried the use of electric hair cutting devices, but the noise scares him, so scissors work just fine. See his smile?       

                                                                                     Haircut for Toes



Ya’ know how every once in a while some apparently meaningless thing turns into something with guts? Well, Martin was simply turning the knob of the faucet in the head when the porcelain knob broke and a very sharp point went into his thumb, deep enough to require stitches. Into the dinghy and to the car and through the city we went, to the Military Hospital. Any non-resident can go there for treatment, and it is a very good facility. No one was in the emergency entrance (imagine that happening in the States?), 2 doctors immediately went about taking care of Martin. Good quick care, 45 minutes later we paid the fee of less than $80US, went across the street to purchase the pain and antibiotic drugs for less than $20US, and we were ready to head back to the boat. Whatever you may have heard about medical care in Mexico, we have had only very positive experiences – few tho’ they have been.


Our good friend Pat, who lost her long-time companion in life last October, Roger, is truly a gifted artist. We have four of her watercolor paintings decorating our boat, and love each of them. She had a grand opening of her first (but not last) art exhibit in La Paz, and it was very well received. Lots of cruisers plus others came out to see her work, and were quite impressed with her skills. We hope Pat enjoys many more such happenings in her life.



     Pat’s watercolor art exhibit, Teatro Juarez                             Profesor Uribe announcing Pat                           Local TV interviewing Prof. Uribe about the exhibit


We had been anchored off of the city of La Paz for about a month, testing systems and doing more and more projects to get TCM ready for some real cruising again. Provisioning, filling the water tanks, getting the dinghy ready, saying good-by to friends we may not see for a long while, getting ready to take off for the Sea. Then, tragedy struck some very close friends. Mark and Sue, of the vessel Blue Suede Sue, had left on the large power vessel Charlotte B as crew, heading for the Seattle area and Canada. Mark and Sue had put Robin “back together again” more than once in the last 18 months – Mark as a masseur, Sue as his assistant and she also did great facials and skin treatments. Soon after the Charlotte B left La Paz and we knew they were around the corner from Cabo San Lucas, headed north, we heard that the boat had gone on the rocks and that one crewmember was in serious condition.  It was truly unbelievable to learn, a day later, that Mark had died while trying to rescue the rest of the crew. This has really hit both Martin and Robin quite hard. There are a lot of questions as to why the boat was ever off course, much much too close to the shore, and why the alarms on the instruments did not warn them. (Neither Mark or Sue were at the helm when the accident occurred.) Sue lived through a very real hell that night, and for the next few days. We were able to contact her, in the tiny village of San Carlos, thanks to the efforts of Mary and her office workers at Marina de La Paz. Sue returned to La Paz, with Mark’s body a few days later. Once again, the cruising community came forward, with gifts of love and money and offers of all types of assistance. Still…….. Sue and Mark were truly a “team”, every day of their 25 years together. Betsy and Cactus, the owners of the tall ship Talofa, generously held a memorial service aboard their beautiful boat. About 50+ of Mark’s friends, including his four sons and two of their wives, spent the day drifting and motoring in front of the city. Since Mark was always one to wear the flowered shirts and to have a good time whenever possible, we all wore bright colors and tried to think of fun times, without morbid moods or colors. Everyone helped to scatter the ashes and to give rememberance to such a nice guy who will be missed by many. Especially Sue.



       Tall ship Talofa in La Paz                                 Mark’s sons, saying goodbye                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        


                                                                                       Sue, giving her blessings to Mark                                         Remembering Mark in song



But, as they say, life must go on. The day following the memorial service on Talofa, The Cat’s Meow took off, leaving La Paz, 1 year and 11  months after her near-death experience on the rocks. Jubilation reigned on that day! Horns blasted, people made good-wish good-byes on the radio, and we were off!! Wow, what a wonderful feeling - - -  very sweet. We didn’t go far that first day, just to the nearby island of Espiritu Santo, and joined our good friends Irwin & Jaye of Winsome. Well, yes we celebrated! It was sooooo gooood to finally (!!!) be OUT THERE. And to get to enjoy that with such good friends made it even more special.



                                           Jaye came to greet TCM in the anchorage!                                                     Dining aboard TCM in celebration


We went a few miles north to Isla San Francisco the next day, where we enjoyed the anchorage with 30 other boats!!! And somehow, it was not crowded or irritating. We took the dinghy around to the north beach, which we remembered as a great “finders” beach. Martin got wet, and we both enjoyed the peace and quiet.      


 Mr. Crab in Isla San Francisco               Quietude


We continued to island-and-anchorage-hop for the next few days, including the gorgeous Agua Verde anchorage, where we met-up with Lance and Jo on Milagro – long time cruising friends.  Jo and Robin kayaked, along with Rocky the dog, while Lance and Martin went diving and hunting for water-based food, which they did find J  The weather was purrrrfect, the water still a bit chilly but clear.


                Jo & Rocky kayaking at Agua Verde 



Finally. Another milestone reached by The Cat’s Meow: while being escorted into the harbor by Que Tal with Carolyn & Dave and puppy Paz aboard, TCM came home to Puerto Escondido! What a rush for us!!! Our horn was a-blasting and got return blasts from other boats and lots of “welcome backs” from lots of folks. What a great home-coming! It was soooo goooood to see and hear many of our friends that we had not seen for quite a while.



                                                                TCM follows Que Tal into Pto. Escondido harbor                          Sunset, at  home


We attended the Loreto Fest, a great 4-day get-together for boaters, for the sixth time. We had a blast, Martin was the horseshoe honcho again, Robin assisted Roberta with the Silent Auction, and we both had lots of fun. Hot dogs, beer & sodas, French fries, and good dinners to eat, music under the stars each night, games and friends……  what a good time we had.


About a week after the Fest, Ben & Annie on Calliope invited three of the musicians from the Fest to their boat, and invited us, too. We had great pork burritos thanx to Annie and listened to the musicians jam, late into the night, under the moon and stars. Another great memory.


Now it was time to get back to the cruising we missed and loved. Off to an anchorage or two we had never visited before, more diving, snorkeling, and beachwalking to be done. Martin enjoyed being in the water with some of his buddies, gathering food from the sea. Robin enjoyed kayaking and the other activities. We had beachparties and dinners on each other’s boats, enjoying just being out there. Martin snagged a nice big grouper, and also a good-sized halibut for us.

                                                                                                A yummy halibut for us to chew on  


 While in the Candeleros anchorage, the squid were running, and beaching themselves at night. This is a sight to behold. Hundreds, thousands, of squid about 18-24 inches long, about 3-4 pounders, fill the waters at night and end up dead on the beaches. Mating? Well, for sure they stink up the beaches after they die!!! Whew!! On to another anchorage!!


 Dead squid make for a stinky beach


By the by, in case any one reading these stories, and thinking that the Baja is somehow tropical or lush, please note: this is DESERT country!! No hanging vines, no lush green vegetation, save for a few spots. We live among the desert mountains, sagebrush, cactus, and sand. It has its own beauty, tho’.



                                                  This is desert country, not tropical!                                                                 But we think it is beautiful!


Well, we made it. As you can see, we are back to living our cruising life. We still work on the boat projects, often. We keep chipping away at the list, making things more comfortable, finishing parts of the boat, but there is still a LOT to accomplish. But, we can work on the boat in the Sea, with our friends nearby. Poco a poco, as the locals say…..

Thanks for visiting us here at  Cruising ~ The Cat’s Meow Style!  and ya’all come back.