Cruising  ~ The Cat’s Meow Style ~ December 2005

Ho Ho Ho!


Ho Ho Ho….. we are still here…. Ho Ho Ho. Well, last year The Cat’s Meow was “on the hard” as we say: high and dry in the boat yard, once again, having serious repair work done on some of the aft ribs. It was purrrty ugly. So, all in all, I guess we are still moving forward, still making progress, doing OK. We sure thought the holidays would be spent some place more tropical than La Paz! But, here we are, and as you will see, we are still trying to make the best of it.


Friends Dick & Judy (Corazon) returned to La Paz in November and were somewhat surprised – or, maybe not! – to find us still here. One bright day, they took Robin and a few other girlfriends out to the beach on what is called the “magote” (mah-go-tay), which is a very low profile peninsula that juts into the Bay of La Paz. Nothing grows very tall on the magote, it is covered with mostly manzanita and other low-lying brush, and uninhabited save for the cows and a few wilder critters. The beach is very long and wide, especially at low tide. We thought we would be able to find some great treasures, like cool shells, and Robin was hoping to begin re-building her collection of “dried critters” such as little crabs and such, since there had been two or three good northers blowing things around in the Sea. But, alas, it must be too early for such things to appear in these parts. However, the time walking the beach and just listening to the surf, examining whatever we did see on the way, was quite refreshing.         



Rather than walk on the beach, Martin was working on the turbo part of our hefty International Harvester marine engine. With lots of help from a very knowledgeable diesel mechanic here by the name of Martin (Mar-teeeen), eventually it was repaired and replaced on the engine. Not that Martin (Mar-tin) ever uses the turbo when we are underway…… but at least it is all A-OK again.


 Martin & the turbo


What precipitated the turbo work was taking TCM out of the marina for a few test drives. During these first few tests, smoke filled the engine room, or, we had other mechanical problems. However, the test runs were just for the purpose of finding the things that needed to be fixed, so it was not all bad, and there was nothing dangerously wrong during those tests. Anyway, during some of the work following the test runs, the turbo was discovered to be in need of work, as well as the injector pump. Now, all of that is well.



Some of us have long believed that the true “new year” begins with the winter solstice, and the “return to the light” as the Earth turns back toward the sun in its circumnavigation. We had a fun Solstice Celebration the night of December 21st on one of the docks here at our marina. Many of us dressed in blue and white and sported shiny objects as well as candles, flashlights, etc. We toasted the setting of the sun as we celebrated the end of one sun year and the beginning of the next. It was a little chilly, but not too, and we were all warm with the prospect of more warmer weather and light coming our way.  (Photos of Robin & Sue and the sunset by Mark of Blue Suede Sue)



                                       Princess Lindsey, & Mike, too                               Robin & Sue celebrate the new year                      Sunset of the winter solstice


                                                                                                 Our mascot, the “psychedelic cow”


As was true for many folk during December, there were many friends around to socialize with, too much food, lots of fun, plus of course the boat projects.  Friends on Milagro, Jo and Lance, had a get-together Christmas Eve on their boat. Simply scrumptious shrimp bisque along with lots of other foods, yummy hot buttered rum, and delicious tres leches cake – a festive Mexican cake made with three types of milk - filled us all up! Afterward we did the white elephant gift exchange, and most of us went back to our boats with chocolate!


Christmas day Robin was cookin’ up a storm, doing the whole turkey dinner thing with the smashed potatoes, green beans, dressing, etc. and it smelled soooo gooood on TCM. Friends Jaye & Irwin (Winsome) joined us for dinner, made even more special by using our china and silver, toasting each other and the holidays with champagne. Good thing Jaye was around to make the gravy  J  


During the holidays, Robin socialized with friends Pat and Sue, and others too. Typically these times start with a trip to one of the nice coffee houses in town, walking around town to visit some of the shops, sometimes running around town via car to do the necessary errands, maybe lunch (especially when I am with Pat!), and/or the weekly trip to the market. As you can see, Robin has been taking a break from working on boat projects, lately.             

                                                             Coffee with our favorite waiter, Antonio


Meanwhile, Martin was working and working on a hydraulic system for the stabilizers. This has taken up much of his time and energy. And he is STILL working on it. We were able to take the boat out for another test run after the injector pump was replaced and the turbo re-installed. This time TCM ran well, no more smoke, and nothing broke along the way! A measure of Success!


New Year’s Eve did arrive here in La Paz, and found us at the home of our friend Olivia. She is newly wed to an American man, Joe, and they live in a nice house, which we were able to see and enjoy. There are two courtyards, which were decorated and ready to seat about 20 people, including some of Olivia’s family and a few other north-American types like us. Joe had put together some wonderful music on CDs that we enjoyed and danced to. We drank champagne to welcome the New Year, and then had a midnight dinner. Olivia had made the traditional pozole (yummy!!), and there were many other dishes to fill us to the brim. Martin probably had not been awake this late in decades!!



                    Olivia, our New Year’s Eve hostess                               The courtyards                                                                                            Joe & Olivia celebrating NYEve


News Flash!! Since the time this update was originally written and prepared for the website, a few things have occurred: Martin found a cracked plank in the area near the bow that was repaired after the sinking of TCM. This means the boat has to be hauled-out, in the boat yard, AGAIN. The entire hull needs to be checked “with a fine tooth comb”, and all determined to be secure and safe. We are sure this will be the case, but we are not looking forward to another haul. As long as we are out, we will also get the bottom painted again, as this is a regular maintenance job usually done every two years. The good news is we ARE still here in La Paz (the Universe is always working….) where the boat yard is and they must repair the hull at their cost. The other good news is that we have not taken TCM out across the Sea of Cortez or anywhere else where rough water may have caused some major damage. All is well.


And, since this is happening now and will take us into February before we are ready to go anywhere, we have decided to stay on the Baja side of Mexico and to enjoy the Sea……   one more time!! This decision has taken a lot of pressure off of both of us, especially Martin, because it makes the list of projects more easily managed. Also, it will be grand to play with our many good boating friends again around the anchorages, the islands, and at the upcoming Loreto Fest! We still hope to do some cruising by van on the mainland side during part of the summer… when it gets so hottt in the Baja.


News Flash #2!!! Yes, yet another change……  but this one is another good one! Since that last update was written a few weeks ago, we now know that the repair job to the cranked plank can and mostly has been done IN the water. Siggghhhhh. So, we are still here at the dock at the marina, working away. Hopefully, keep your body parts crossed, we will be outa here and enjoying the nearby islands, soooooon.


Sooooo, that is the latest and greatest about us. Let us hear from you and what you are doing, where, and to whom.

Thanks for visiting us here,  Cruising ~ The Cat’s Meow Style!