Cruising ~ The Cat’s Meow Style ~  November, 2007 
Boatyards, Birthdays, and more.... 
There you are!! And, here we are too…..still (!!!) in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Whodathunkit? Since we are still here, we might as well have a good time of it, eh? Come see what we have been up to since your last visit with us. 
Martin had assisted Dario in bringing his ketch, Ballena, down the west coast of the Baja peninsula, and had arrived safely after leaving the boat in Cabo San Lucas . Dario continued on around the cape  on his way up to La Paz, but had a problem while he was anchoring at Bahia de los Muertos. He had engine trouble, was stuck. We drove over to the bay, had lunch at the new Giggling Marlin palapa restaurant, and then Martin and Dario worked on the engine. The engine worked well enough for Dario to get to La Paz, but it still was not running well.That has been an on-going project for Dario. Dario’s sister, Rosemary — whom we have been hearing about for years! — and a friend of hers, Gigiola, arrived a few days later from Argentina. They prepared Argentinian-style foods on Ballena and we had a very nice evening meeting these beautiful women. 
As mentioned earlier, The Cat’s Meow had been experiencing some small leaks for the past months. It has been over three years since she was “splashed” after the major hull repair following the boat accident, so it was time to have the boat hauled-out for maintenance and other projects. La Paz is home to a few different boat yards, and they each have particular advantages. The Bercovich yard, operated by Abel Bercovich, has a rail to take large boats such as ours out of the water, and this is preferable to using a sling for wood-hulled boats. So….November 17th TCM motored down to the end of the bay and carefully moved up onto the rail, with assistance from Abel and his workers. While it may be less stressful to see your boat, your home, sliding up a rail rather than swinging in the slings of a lift, it can still be unsettling. The crank (the HUGE crank) slowly pulled TCM up and out of the water, Abel & Co. carefully put support stands under her hull, and she was high and dry! 
                                  Starting the long haul...up the rail                                                          Abel, after working to get TCM centered on the rail, underwater                                                  TCM  ~ high and dry! 
Some of the caulking, and material that covered the caulking, between the boat’s planks had been loosened or was coming out. We also found two small planks on the starboard side of the bow, above the waterline, that needed to be replaced. Martin wanted to have the bow stem fiberglassed, to strengthen it, and to have a stainless steel strike-plate attached to the bow. (A strike-plate had been popped off of the bow during a storm while at anchor at Isla Isabella in 2002.) He also hoped to get the engine and shaft re-aligned. TCM’s sides, up to the rub rail, were lookin’ purrrrty worn, and we hoped to get them sanded and painted. A big list to accomplish, besides the “normal” bottom cleaning and painting!  
                  Abel, working at  night, caulking the hull                                                                 Yard worker Martin working on the bow                                               Dario and TCM's Martin painting her sides 
Life in a boat yard is not something that boaters look forward to. There is the inconvenience of hauling everything up and down a long ladder, having to be quite careful of what and when anything is allowed to go overboard (i.e. water from a sink), the noise and activity that is part & parcel of a boat yard, etc. etc. Actually, after a little time of getting used to things, we realized that we had a GRAND view of the entire Bay of La Paz and of beautiful sunsets, it is usually quite quiet during the evening and night hours, and we could get a lot accomplished while in the yard. There is often some sort of activity going on that is somewhat interesting or just plain funny to watch, as well. This boat yard is packed with boats “on the hard”, stored for weeks or months or even years, and observing the Bercovich brothers move boats around in order to get them in or get them out is very interesting.  
                                                                                                   Our view from TCM while in the yard 
With November comesThanksgiving, and this year was no exception. Club Cruceros, the La Paz yacht club, pulled it off with aplomb again: they fed over 200 cruisers and friends with a turkey feast! Each of the three years the affair has improved, and the food has always been plentiful and delicious. The Club provides the turkeys, plus the tables & chairs and plates. Cruisers provide the side dishes and volunteers to provide carving, set-up, serving, etc. The day was warm this year, but not quite as hot as last year, thank the gods. Marina Palmira provided shade tents and lots of assistance to make this all happen in a comfortable venue. THANKS to all!!  
                                                                Lots of cruisers giving Thanks                                                                                    R & M + Dennis & Susan enjoying the feast 
One cold and windy day, a sailboat lost its rudder (steering) while coming into the channel to the bay, just past the boat yard. We could see the boat laying on its side, beached, in surf. The captain of the boat fell and dislocated his hip. A call was made on the VHF radio for assistance, and of course Martin was one of those to respond. He climbed into Abel’s panga, picked up a doctor who was waiting at a near-by dock (Robin had been talking with him via cell phone), and whisked him to the injured man. Other cruisers were at the boat by this time, and after some harrowing moments and a lot of work, the injured captain was removed from the boat to the panga, to a waiting ambulance, and to the hospital where his injuries were quickly taken care of. Abel returned to the sailboat and pulled it to safety, with Martin and a few others assisting. The gentleman who was injured is back on his feet, doing fine. 
Besides Thanksgiving, November is also the month to celebrate Martin’s birthday, and this year was a marker — he completed his 70th circumnavigation of the sun!! Seventy years young, you can bet on that!! Robin had been conspiring while he was away with Dario doing the boat thing, and she had planned a “biiig birthday bash” to surprise her favorite man. Good friend Pat, agreed to have the bash at her very nice home here in La Paz. Martin thought he was being taken to dinner the evening of the 25th, with a stop at Pat’s house with friends Susan & Dennis for appetizers. Friends started arriving, a few at a time, to wish him a happy birthday. Martin’s quizzical look changed to a happy-surprised one, and the party began! About 26 or 27 folks were there to celebrate with Martin and to show him how much he is loved and appreciated. 
                              The birthday boy                     Gigiola, Rosemary, and Dario (photo by Alex of Maitairoa)                                                 
After talking and imbibing for a while, a dinner of carnitas tacos and salad was enjoyed, followed by stories-to-tell-about-Martin, which brought lots of laughs and applause. There was a delicious cake, and a toast with champagne to round out the evening. A good time was had by all!! O yes - and everyone got "lei-ed", too...!!  
                                                   A table full of food .....                                                                               ......a DELICIOUS cake.........                                                                      ...and great friends  =  a GREAT birthday bash! 
We hope your holidays are warming up and you are enjoying friends and family, good food and fun. What will December bring to The Cat’s Meow, and her inhabitants? Time will tell……. Please come back and see how we are doing, Cruising  ~  The Cat’s Meow Style.   
                                                                                                                                         (photo by Julie of Eagle Dancer) 
Cruising ~ The Cat’s Meow Style ~  November, 2007                                                                  ((ph(photo