The Cat’s Meow Sinking and Rescue  ~ Pt. 3

She Comes Up With the Sun!


Besides boats and people coming to the aid of The Cat’s Meow, an entire machine had been put in motion. I truly do not remember all of what was going on, there was so much happening all of the time, but here is what I can recall: Club Cruceros from La Paz and many individuals from La Paz were coordinating supplies and bringing them by truck and trailer to Pto. Escondido. Barrels to act as flotation, plus generators and pumps were loaded and driven down by the two Mikes of Amazing Grace and La Otra. Plywood and food and cleaning supplies were being brought to the crash site by boats from Pto. Escondido. Johnny Johnson, former multi-time winner of the Baja 1000 race, drove a pickup piled way too high with more barrels, driving around a point of rock during a rising tide, to get to the beach on our side of the cove. The Hidden Port Yacht Club of Pto. Escondido was gathering pumps and organizing the purchase of LOTS of food, other supplies and for the transportation to us. The yacht club also collected donations and matched them dollar for dollar! Jerry of Mirador, Lynn of Wild Flower, and Greg of Mikelali were acting as coordinators of people, boats, supplies, communication. I later heard that there were updates going out to the cruising fleet all over Mexico at the top of each hour via single-side band radio, people in California and as far away as Panama were getting email updates….

I had no idea there were so many people connected to our ordeal. Mike of Amazing Grace dropped off an envelope of money to me, donations made by the people in La Paz. I cried.  Que Tal? along with friends Mike and Katya of Kindred Spirit, back in Sausalito, arranged a method for people to make donations to help us out; another amazing and very much appreciated gesture, and we have received  donations from people in the States and as far away as Micronesia!


 May 22nd, the rescue fleet


Jose Alfredo Carrillo Arroyo and Daniel Cabrera Ruiz of the Navy ship Matamoros wanted to continue to work for TCM. They and their hard-working crew did not want to leave us. Mexico City, however, had different plans for them and ordered Matamoros to continue on her way to Quaymas. The two men who had helped coordinate the pull of TCM off the rocks needed our signature on a few papers, but we were charged nothing. They explained why they had to leave – we had been shocked they had stayed so long and worked so hard – and they gave Martin and I their own “official” Matamoros hats, a gesture of friendship. It was pretty emotional saying goodbye to these men and their crew. Without them, our boat may never have been saved.

Two more days ensued with all forces working to raise and to save our boat. Martin and I did realize it may not happen, but we were determined to try to save our special boat, and when we asked the fleet that had gathered to please help us to do that, they rallied. More plywood and more nails and more food and more cleaning supplies were brought to us. On day 3, all open areas on the boat, including the scuppers, all hatches, etc. were blocked off by plywood. Somewhere around 15 lines were attached to TCM’s “mast” by Tony of Red Sky, who used his previous knowledge as a firefighter to rig the lines. These lines completely surrounded TCM, going out to points in the water, like a funny-looking Christmas tree. They would be used to balance TCM as she rose from the depths, loosening some while tightening others. All pumps available were readied; all flotation devices were made ready on both sides of The Cat’s Meow. Again, the night watches were held, and the Dingy Diner ladies helped to keep everyone’s spirits up and tummies fed. They even organized a dinghy-raft-up spaghetti dinner!


 Lines, pumps, barrels and people on TCM


During the pre-dawn hours of Monday, May 24th, cruisers converged on The Cat’s Meow, with her generator-run top deck lights ablaze, to begin pumping the water out of her at low tide. The flotation devices were filled with air. Slowly, she rose. Then, she “popped up” and stayed there! She rose with the sunrise, patches in place and holding, pumps pumping, people cheering. It was a sight!



Floating pre-dawn, May 24th                                                She came up with the sun!




Bailing the last of the water from TCM


Within a few hours, towlines had been attached and Siempre Sabado, piloted by Captain Ted and Admiral Billie, was towing her back to Puerto Escondido, her home. The barrels were loaded back onto the truck on the beach and onto boats, all items that had been placed on the beach were removed and put somewhere, the boats that had loaned their varying types of flotation devices hopefully all recovered them, the beaches and rocks were scoured one more time for anything that might have been on TCM. When the last of the fleet of boats left, by about 10:30 a.m., no one would ever know anything had ever happened in San Cosme Cove.



Blurry, but Tony says it all!                                                           Going home to Pto. Escondido


Please read on….  Part 4: We Have Much to be Thankful For!