Cruising  ~ The Cat’s Meow Style ~ June-mid July 2006

Ups and downs


At last……. Cruising again in the Sea of Cortez. We waited a long time for this. Every day, every night, every adventure we say “thank you” for giving us our lifestyle back.


                                                             San Juanico cove sunrise


June was another month of big ups & downs for us on The Cat’s Meow.

In early June, Martin’s 90-year young mom, Laura Hardy, came to visit us on the boat. She was accompanied by Martin’s daughter, Deb Wolgat. The lanai room was set-up to be Mom H’s room, complete with all facilities, if ya’ know what we mean. Deb did a wonderful job of keeping her grandma fully watered and comfortable. Deb also had some fun in the sun, kayaking and snorkeling, and beachcombing almost every beach we saw in the week they were here on the boat. Mom H did sooo well!! She climbed up & down the ladder, in & out of the dinghy, fished from the dinghy and from the aft deck (and caught – ahem - more fish than her son has caught with a pole in about 3 years…), worked her crossword puzzles, and even made decorative things for the boat! She is a real trooper! Martin took his mom on dinghy rides, took the fish off the line for her, and did some fishing of his own – with the spear gun. One evening, we all took the dinghy to the Cocktail Cove pizza & beer get-together right by TCM’s mooring here in the harbor. Annie and Ben, of Calliope, helped us learn the ropes about getting in little (that is why they call it “chico”) Candelaros Chico anchorage. They even came aboard and made fish tacos for everyone! Ben and Martin – Annie and Robin call them Tom n’ Huck – went diving and gathering for some of our dinners, too. 



       Cocktail Cove pizza & beer party                                                    Clear water view in Candaleros Chico cove                               Martin & Mom getting a little dinghy




                Deb kayaks & relaxes                                                                        Huck & Tom return from gathering another dinner


After the family visitors flew back to their normal lives, we provisioned, got fuel, and took off again for the anchorages. San Juanico is one of our all-time favorite places to put the hook down. It is a large cove, with a northern and a southern anchorage, lots of rocks and reefs, about five beaches, some spires to kayak around…. It is great. Stark, beautiful, quiet. We spent two weeks there, along with our friends on Milagro, Calliope, and others that came and went. One night we had an after-dinner cocktail hour and marshmallow roast on the beach, and the night of the summer equinox, we had another get-together on the beach and we made a toast to the sun. The weather was warm, the water clear, life was good.


                         Beaching it at San Juanico cove with a few cruising friends



Then… a two-day blow from the south churned-up the water and bounced our boats around purrrty good. Martin put a stern anchor out, which helped the bounce from the swells quite a lot, but it was still bumpy for a couple of days. The water temperature actually was lowered and the water turned green. For the next few days, we did some snorkeling and boat projects, we waited it out, hoping the perfect weather would return. It did, but TCM was quite low on fresh produce and some other goodies, so we decided to head back to Puerto Escondido, and then to meet the other boats farther north for the Fourth of July activities. Well……


The Cat’s Meow’s huge old International Harvester marine engine had bad, really bad, problems about two hours out of the cove on our way back to the harbor. We had to stop, dead in the water. When we called back to our friends at San Juanico, other boaters heard and followed the conversation, and thankfully Daryl & Rita on Overheated – who had just passed us on their way to San Juanico – turned around and towed us to the next island closer to the harbor, Isla Coronados. We put the hook down and spent an uneasy night. We were entertained by the season’s first thunder & lightening show, with winds clocking around 25 knots. The next morning, other friends Alex & Sue on Maitairoa towed us to Pto. Escondido. What would we do without so many great friends??


We were never in any danger, we had good friends nearby, and we were now quite safe on a mooring in Escondido. Whew. This was about June 27th. The July 4th activities were not going to happen for us, not in Bahia Concepcion, as planned.


Martin, of TCM, called Martin (“Marteeeen”), the mechanic we know and trust in La Paz. The following Sunday, Marteeen and his assistant arrived and spent three days working on the engine. Poor TCM. Her guts are all taken apart. This is going to be a BIG JOB, and quite costly as well. But, what are our choices? After putting two years of hard long labor, and funds, into our home to get her back to cruising, we can only put her engine back together again. The engine is almost 40 years old, and has been pretty problem-free for us since 1998 when we bought the boat. Did the sinking cause the present problems? It is too hard to tell. Lots of wear, lots of use – before we owned the boat and since – plus the sinking = time to do some engine repair. We were both very shocked, and then depressed at the prospect of missing more time cruising and enjoying our friends and the Sea. It has been tough, and it will take time and yes more money to get through this one, but we will be even better than ever when this is finally over.


 TCM’s Int’n’t’l Harvester engine torn waaayyyy down


Meanwhile, Martin is working on other big boat projects while he searches for and orders lots of engine parts. He has completed filling-in the hole where the exhaust stack went through the main salon and the top deck. This was very important, as summer rains and the hurricane season are coming our way. Along with the job of making new deck space where the stack was, we also knew there was some damaged wood in other places on the top deck, and Martin has been finding and repairing those too. Robin has removed the “privacy screens” which are between the deck and the teak rails to clean them, and is busy doing other projects inside.


Top deck where the exhaust stack used to be 


Friends we first met during our first Loreto Fest, in 2001, returned to this area for a while to sell their boat, Debutante. Brian & Carol built the steel hulled 65 footer in Alaska and brought her all the way to the Baja a few years ago! Circumstances have caused them to decide to sell Debutante, which happened quickly for them. It has been great to see these friends again, and to spend a little time with them during their short visit in Pto. Escondido. TCM and Calliope celebrated Carol’s birthday together, altho’ she originally spent her special day in the boat yard in La Paz! We all think this celebration was more fun!



                                                Dining at Pachemama’s with Debutante, Calliope, and Sabado folks                                                    More birthday celebration for Carol



The water is warm and the temperatures HOTT, so we both take a dip or shower-off with the hose to cool ourselves down during the day. We have been sleeping on the top deck for about a month now, on some comfy cots, under the stars. The only thing that is disturbing about this is that construction on the new Singlar compound here at the port goes on 24 hours each day!! Singlar is part of a federal department called Fonatur. Fonatur develops locations all over Mexico, such as Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, Cozumel, etc. Since President Fox’s term is coming to a close, his pet project of building marinas up and down the Baja coast may end quite quickly. This Singlar project is the only one of the planned new Baja marinas even close to completion, and they are working non-stop to get it completed while Fox is still in office. Soooo, jackhammers and pile-drivers can be heard all day and all night. This is quite a contrast to the normal sleepy, quiet harbor we are used to. But, that is why God made ear plugs.  Here are some photos of the building going on, the new fuel dock, plus the ways for the boat-storage facility that is being built.




For now, that is about all to share. We hope you are comfortable wherever you are and that you are enjoying life to the fullest. Even on the “bad” days, we are doing well, and we hope for the same for you.



Thanks for visiting us, come on back for more  Cruising ~ The Cat’s Meow Style!