Cruising  ~ The Cat’s Meow Style ~ January, February, March 2006

We’re Hooked!


The Cat’s Meow has been purring right along. We have made some more advances, at least one more milestone, had some fun along with the work, and we are purrrty happy.


After the fun & frolic of a great New Year’s, we settled down once more to workin’ on the boat. We were still in the marina, friends all around, and we had some good times with them as usual. But, most of the time we had noses to the grindstone. The turbo was NOT all fixed, and it continued to take up some of Martin’s time and some of our money. The big scare came about mid-month, when a cracked plank in the bow area was discovered. This made both of our hearts sink. The possibility of yet another haul-out loomed, more time in the boat yard, more stressful work on the hull……. Robin did a nose-dive into depression. Thankfully, the local surveyor (the person who inspects boats for insurance and who is very knowledgeable about boat work) told us that  a) the split – which was only on the INside of the plank, not leaking water – was due to stresses put on the area during the repair of the hull, so repair would be at the cost of the boat yard; and  b) a haul-out was not necessary, the repair could be managed while TCM was in the water. Whew!! Martin decided to do the repair himself, saving us time, and also so he could be sure of how the repair was accomplished. Another Whew! This was all a big relief to both of us, realizing we would not have to haul our home out of the water….. again. It was during the time that we expected to be at the boat yard for more time that we discussed the possibility of staying on the Baja side of Mexico, for yet another season. We had been pushing and straining sooooo hard to get TCM ready to cross the Sea of Cortez and to cruise on the mainland side….and it was not working. The winter cruising season was slipping away, and with another haul, it could be mid-February at least before we could leave La Paz. Once we made the decision to stay on the Baja side, and to enjoy the wonderful islands and anchorages in the Sea of Cortez that we just love, the pressure came right off of our shoulders. We had more time. We didn’t have to push so hard. We would be seeing and enjoying places and people we loved. Since then, life has been even better. We have taken the time to spend more time with friends and to enjoy La Paz. Read on to see how we did that……  



Robin’s primary project in February was re-doing the main deck with new paint and non-skid. She had just done that very job in Mazatlan, a few months prior to the sinking of the boat, but barrels and compressors and boots and dive tanks and big pumps and many other things had made a general mess of the deck. So, Robin scraped and filled and sanded and re-filled and re-sanded…. and painted and painted, and now the main deck looks great once again. One day she may even get to do the top deck …. 


                                                                                                                                    Purrty new deck



One of the things Martin worked long and hard on was the dinghy. He “Martinized” it by putting a rigid bottom in it, patched things up, worked on the motor (again), etc. etc. Here is the dinghy as he worked on it…. poor thing…..


 Dinghy being Martinized


One of the real characters in the cruising fleet is Jeff, who has sailed his catamaran Moon Me all around Central America and Mexico. Jeff is the guy who dresses up in costumes for any occasion and sometimes just because he wants to. Jeff decided to sell Moon Me (and will be buying another boat), but had a real difficult time letting go, finishing up the deal. One evening, Jeff thought it was “his show” when he was going to pass on the boat keys to the new owners, etc. Except that the guys who bought Moon Me are just as much characters as he, and they put on a “roast”, in the format of the old TV show This Is Your Life…. only this was called Go Get A Life, for Jeff….  Every one had a good time roasting Jeff, he was totally surprised, especially when about 20 people mooooned HIM!


 Roasting Jeff                                      Jeff & Cindy perform


La Paz is one of the locations in Mexico that celebrates Carnival in a big way. Carnival, of course, is the week-long party that ends on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, 40 days prior to Easter Sunday. A large area of the main street in the beach area of La Paz is lined with all types of booths, selling all manner of things including libations and food. At night the street is closed and fills with humanity. There is the “blanket guy”, who has an unbelievable non-stop chatter going on for hours seemingly without taking a breath, selling his blankets; there are about four bandstands and all types of music (sometimes playing at the same time…); there are parades the last three nights; and the whole city is generally caught up in the activity and celebration and party that goes on. The most extravagant and loudest night is Tuesday, with activities lasting until dawn. The next day, the churchgoers get to church and Lent begins, all calms down and gets reeeel quiet for a while. Julie Filippini of sv Eagle Dancer took some good shots during the Carnival celebration, and here are some of them.



        Carnival area daytime                                                                Bebidas (drinks) of all kinds                                                        Beach area during Carnival



                Billie’s ready for Carnival                                                               Dulces (sweets)                                                                             Pan (bread) of all types



                                                Carnival Queen                                                                                                   Another Carnival Queen


Jaye and her husband Irwin, of the sv Winsome, are very good friends, so when her birthday came along in March we had to help celebrate. Mutual friends Jo (Milagro) and Olivia consipired to have a surprise party at Olivia’s house. Jaye was surprised. Her mom was here in La Paz visiting and was able to participate. We even had a piñata to bludgeon to death! This was another fun party J



                                                                                   Jaye was surprised at her 50th (ooops!!) birthday celebration so she took it out on a pinata


The Ides of March, March 15th, was a red-letter day for The Cat’s Meow. That day we actually left Marina Palmira and found our very own spot in the bay to put down the anchor. Dolphins welcomed us as they played in our bow wake, looked up at us (yes, they really do that) and smiled! Yaaahooooo!!  We are hangin’ on the hook!! We are literally unplugged!! It is great!!! When it was time to put the anchor down, Robin wondered if she would remember all of the steps to getting that done correctly. We did a good job and got hooked good! Isn’t she purrrty?!



                                                                                                          The Cat’s Meow, hangin’ on the hook, in Bahia de La Paz!!


Once again we use our dinghy for getting to land and back to the boat, we have to make our own power and water, manage our own waste more thoroughly, and we swing around with the current and the tides. Life on the hook is very different from being at a marina, more complicated, but we do love it. Even after getting out here at anchor, Martin worked hard getting ALL the systems of the boat and dinghy to work well. We ended up buying a whole new water maker system from another boater, and now we are running three water membranes and able to make 60 gallons of water/hour!! That is three times the norm, for those of you who don’t have to know these things, and really great. One day we ran the generator and the water maker for five hours - - listening to the blap! blap! blap! all of that time - - so we could fill our new water tanks. It was grand, knowing we would have about 280 gallons onboard for the first time ever! Then……. at the very end, just when the tanks were topping off, a plastic fitting on the house side of the system (not on the water maker side) blew off and emptied all of the water into our bilges…. within about 10 minutes we lost all of the water we had made, all day long. Booo! We had NO water and had to run the whole system for another two hours! Gads. Such is life on a boat.


Along with the work on the boat, we did have some time for fun, as we said earlier. One evening, a local classical guitarist by the name of Armando Herrero performed at a restaurant that many of the cruisers patronize. Senor Herrero’s compositions and his renditions of traditional pieces are quite easy to listen to, and it was a fun evening.


The spring solstice presented another excuse for getting together with others and celebrating something, so we did. Friends Mark & Sue of sv Blue Suede Sue at Marina Palmira did the planning and work for the “Spring Fling” – another enjoyable time.


            Spring Solstice Sunset


Every Wednesday evening a group of people, mostly but not all cruisers, get together and play some excellent music for the dinner crowd at the afore mentioned restaurant, Ciao Molino. We have dinghied in for an evening or two of listening to the music and having good food with friends.


Musicians jam at Ciao’s      …..while friends get together



We will be leaving La Paz within the next month and heading back to the Loreto area. Here in La Paz we have had the use of wifi (wireless internet). This will end when we leave and head into the Sea; there may be some places with some wifi access, but we are not counting on finding much of that. We will access our hotmail email accounts when we go into town, i.e. into Loreto, but otherwise we will be using our winlink email. This is a ham radio based operation provided to people like us who are cruising and not able to use a land-based email system. Beginning in May, please send your regular emails to our winlink address which is:  for both Martin and Robin. DO NOT send jokes, forwarded messages, or photos to that address; you can continue to send those types of things to the hotmail addresses. Thank you for being careful about that.


It truly is a miracle ~ maybe we should rename our boat Milagro? ~ that so many things are working as well as they are on TCM and that we are self sufficient once more. We know that when she was holed and most of her was underwater, many people thought we would have to walk away from The Cat’s Meow, that she would not be livable again. Miracles DO happen! The Cat’s Meow is really back!! And better than ever!! We still give lots of thanks to the many friends and family who helped us get through all of the last two years of work, struggle, and progress.


Hopefully, in the next update, we can tell you about voyaging up into the Sea of Cortez and having some fun on the water. Loreto Fest is coming up again….  Following this update is a compilation of photos and comments about our life here in La Paz ~ please enjoy!

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