Tag Archives: Sailor

Georgetown, Part Six

It’s hard to believe that this is our sixth visit to Georgetown with the first one occurring in 2010. It is a popular stop for cruisers who spend time in the Exumas. A great many arrive to spend a few days and stay for weeks or even months, returning year after year. It is the ideal place to provision for going further south, so some stop, shop, and continue on their way. Occasionally  cruisers avoid Georgetown at all costs. Some have heard stories about it being “adult daycare.” Others don’t like to be around so many boats, although there are numerous anchorages in Elizabeth Harbour and some are frequently empty. You can be surrounded by other boats or anchored all by yourself. Last year I wrote an extensive post about Georgetown. It’s located here.  This year we are doing and seeing all of that and more.

We arrived in Georgetown at the end of November and quickly settled into our routine. As more cruisers arrived, the activity level picked up. Add to that the opening of the new resort at Lumina Point where we had an additional place to eat, exercise, dance, listen to cruiser jam sessions, and attend Happy Hour. When we arrived in Georgetown there were less than 20 boats here. The number peaks during Regatta Week. Below are two photos of the dinghy dock at Exuma Market. The first shows my son Peter, Mark and Sailor on the dock with five other dinghies when we first arrived in November. Mark is holding the hose hanging where cruisers line up in their dinghies to fill jerry jugs with free RO water, provided by Exuma Market. Yes, that is free. Other places in the Bahamas RO water costs 50 cents a gallon, sometimes a little more and sometimes a little less, but never this convenient and free. The second picture was taken in March when there were about 300 boats in the harbor. Notice the dinghies lined up to get water. By the time we left in April, there were less than 100 boats remaining. When the Regatta ends, some cruisers continue on their way south to the Caribbean, some head back north through the Exumas or Eleuthera and on to Abaco or other islands, and others follow different routes, eventually ending up in the States before hurricane season begins.

This is our third year in Hole 2, a hurricane hole mooring field. Not only do we enjoy the protection from high winds, but we also get to meet new friends each year because as a group we are “Hole 2.”  Michelle and Dan on Sea Monkey hosted a number of fun get-togethers, including a Valentines Day party and a jam session with Shannon and Bob (Category 1) and Gary (Tamaki) singing and playing their guitars. One afternoon Michelle offered to read our Chakras, which was very interesting. The bonfire parties on our beach in Hole 2 are legendary, but this year our main organizers, Joanne and Jack on Houseboat Panda, sold their boat and returned to Canada early. Jack was great at building bonfires and we only had one after he left – someone needs to take on that job. Most of the boats have kayaks and/or SUP’s and it’s not unusual to see several of us padding through the holes together since it’s always calm on the protected water. Below are a few get-together pictures with our Hole 2 friends and a photo taken, I believe, by Ingrid from Tamaki as they flew over Hole 2. The four mooring fields are on the west side of Stocking Island in Elizabeth Harbour. The long sandy beach on the east side of Stocking Island is on the Exuma Sound, aka the ocean. That beach is one of the most beautiful in the world and oddly, even when there are hundreds of visitors and cruisers in the area, rarely are there more than a few people walking on the beach and sometimes we are the only ones. Most cruisers spend time on the beaches on the harbor side of Stocking Island or in town. 

Below is a photo of the women of Hole 2 when we had a farewell luncheon at Lumina Point for Joanne on Panda and a welcome to Jill, the new owner. 

Saturday Night Poker on Seas the Day continued this year.  It is the highlight of our week and a good excuse to get the boat cleaned. We host 12-16 people with the men in the cockpit (seats aren’t as comfortable) and the women in the salon. (A note to the men – we hope to get the cockpit cushions replaced before we come back next year with much thicker seats.) When the number of players left in the game gets down to about 7 or 8, we combine the tables into one, usually in the salon. Most of the cruisers who come are from Hole 2. In fact three years ago when we began this, all the players were from Hole 2 the entire season. The last two years we have also invited friends from the anchorages when there aren’t enough players on the Hole 2 boats as cruisers come and go. Halfway through the game, we stop to chip up (trade in our chips for higher value ones) and eat a variety of always delicious snacks contributed by the players. New friend Holt (SV Agandau) is a gourmet snack maker and we hope he’ll be back next year, not just for his food. The name of his boat combines the symbols for silver (agand gold (au).  Sailor greets each dinghy pulling up to Seas the Day with one of his stuffed toys and kisses. He even has special ones he always brings to the same people. For example, Cathie consistently gets Mr. Squirrel. 

Three years ago we started to play poker at the St. Francis on Tuesday and Thursday. When we arrived in mid November this season, there was one table of about 10 people playing, including the three of us. Once hundreds of boats had arrived a few months later, the limit was set at five tables of ten each and we needed to register by about 5:15, with registration beginning at 5:00 or we would not get a place. Play starts at 6 pm. Mark and I won money enough times that we probably broke even. Buy-in is $5 with all money going back to the top five winners at the St. Francis and top three on our boat. Mark actually made it to the final table at the poker tournament during the Georgetown Regatta where there are many more players than the normal 50. He came in fourth place and won a very nice St. Francis shirt, a bottle of wine, and money – around $50. Pam on SV Dejarlo won the tournament, which was fitting since it is the last year she and Ollie will be coming to Georgetown after many years of being involved in numerous activities and volunteering through the years for just about everything. They will be missed. Below are photos of the final table at the Regatta Week tournament and Jillian, co-owner of St. Francis giving Mark his prizes.

Free yoga classes at Lumina Point Resort were offered during November, December and part of January. They were held on a large deck also used as an outdoor restaurant, a small deck overlooking the harbor, or, when weather was rainy, in their exercise gym. The teacher is from Andros Island and was trained in the States. She is also their massage therapist and is excellent  in both positions. I attended classes every day until the middle of January when I discovered that some of the poses were hurting my shoulder. Starting about that time, the classes switched to three times a week and there was a small charge to attend. The free classes attracted 20-30 people or more. Once the nominal fee was charged, the attendance dropped sharply. Luckily at that time free classes were offered by Agnes, a cruiser teacher, on Volleyball Beach. As the new resort started to get more guests, they stopped having so many activities for cruisers. It is an eco-resort, with solar power running everything and all aspects designed to be environmentally friendly. They even hand carried all of the building materials through the property to build the cottages. The paths are carefully cut through the thick foliage. Lumina Point Resort will no doubt attract visitors who are there for a relaxing, peaceful vacation. Cruisers tend to be noisy!

About the time I stopped going to yoga classes, a few of us realized that our two aquafit teachers from last season would not be coming to Georgetown this year. I volunteered to teach the class and Joanne from SV Bristol Cream provided the music and led the arm exercises. I have taken water aerobics/aquafit classes for many years, both in Columbus, Ohio while I was working and now in Florida. I researched poses that would work in the open water, rather than in a pool, and designed a routine that has a warm-up, followed by aerobics, then exercises strengthening each part of the body, ending with a cool down. As cruisers who came to our classes left Georgetown,  I gave them each a copy of the routine to follow as they visited other islands or back home in their own pools, lakes, rivers, etc. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting many new friends who came to the classes. Having retired from classroom teaching 11 years ago, I had forgotten how much I like being a teacher.

While we still paddle in our kayaks, mostly in the smooth, calm water of the four large mooring fields, this year we added an inflatable SUP (stand-up paddle board) to our “water toys.” I have to admit the main purpose was to give Sailor something to ride on with us. He hopped on our friend Christina’s SUP last season and seemed very comfortable, so now he has his own spot on the “pup deck” at the front of our SUP. So far he has behaved perfectly, sitting the entire ride. However, I am worried that if he ever decides to stand up, we’ll both go over into the water. 

Lumina Point Resort held several open mike sessions and we discovered there are many musically talented cruisers. One of my favorite sessions was when Sarah, on MV Borrowed Horse, played “Dueling Banjos” on her banjo with another cruiser on his guitar. It was incredible. Our friends Shannon (aqua shirt below) and Bob (red hat playing his guitar) are from Nashville, and their country music was fantastic. 

Activities in Georgetown increase substantially during the Regatta. There are usually close to 300 boats in the harbor and while the highlight is the big boat races, there are many other daily events, such as the poker run, bocce ball, beach golf, small boat races, the coconut challenge, a scavenger hunt, and much more.  A variety show is held the opening night in Georgetown at Regatta Park. The participants are both cruisers and Bahamians.

Our friends Cathie and Tom were on SV Interlude when we met them in January, 2013 in Bimini and they introduced us to Hole 2 three years ago. After selling Interlude, last summer they purchased a Tolleycraft motor yacht they named True North. Of course she goes much faster than a sailboat, up to 25 kts. One night we were invited to take a sunset cruise in the harbor with other friends from Hole 2 and we got a taste of Tom’s need for speed. 

We can’t write about our Georgetown activities without including Sailor’s adventures. He does have a great life on the boat. While in the Bahamas he goes ashore twice a day to play on the beach, plus he goes most places with us since the Bahamas are very dog friendly. He hasn’t met a friend as special as Zorro, his Portuguese water dog BFF. They were inseparable two years ago on the Hole 2 beach and later on in Long Island and Spanish Wells. This year a puppy named Bentley, which incidentally is the name of Sailor’s father, was the one dog who loved to run up and down the beach with Sailor.

After each visit to the beach, Sailor has to be washed off with fresh water. Then he is wrapped in this towel so he doesn’t shake water all over the boat.

In past years, we have never checked into the Bahamas before January 1. This year we arrived in Bimini on November 14 and Georgetown on November 27. A huge celebration on the day after Christmas, Boxing Day, is Junkanoo. In the larger cities such as Bimini and Nassau, a second Junkanoo is held on New Years’ Day, beginning at midnight. The parade held in Georgetown was colorful and fun. The groups practice for a long time and in many cases make their own costumes.

Groceries are always an important consideration when visiting the Bahamas. We provision for our entire winter/spring cruise, seven months this year. However, we always have to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy products and the Exuma Market and the Shop Rite Mart in Georgetown have great selections, but fresh produce only lasts on the shelves for a day or two after the supply boat brings food. These are by far the best grocery stores we shop at in the Exumas and other than Nassau, the second best we go to during our Bahamas cruise. The best is the Food Fair in Spanish Wells. Below are photos of one shopping trip at Exuma Market and some of the food we have enjoyed on Seas the Day.

Broccoli, muchroom, and cheese quicheMarinated boneless pork loin pork chops with pineapple and maple syrup, fried rice, and asparagus

Multi chip (and multi calorie) oatmeal cookies

These are items we purchase almost every week

Caramel pecan rolls rising overnight to bake in the morning 

Rice Krispie treats – not fancy or unusual but we couldn’t make them without bringing Rice Krispies with us from the States since cereal is very expensive here

Of course there are many good restaurants in Georgetown. A tradition is Valentines Dinner at St. Francis, always with a wonderful gourmet meal. It is so popular that it isn’t even “advertised” on the morning net, but the reservations fill up quickly.

I often say that the best thing about cruising is the friends we meet. This year, we met Tucker and Robbie on SV Pixie Dust. They were in Hole 2 on a ball near Seas the Day. Little did we know that Robbie would give us a very special gift the day before they flew back to Michigan. She is a talented artist, and she certainly captured our boat, Mark, Sailor and me in the water color picture she painted of us. Each day, we picked her up on her boat to go with us to water aerobics. We looked just like this arriving at Pixie Dust. 

We left Georgetown on April 2nd to start our way north. We’ll be back next year to create more memories. The sad part about leaving is that each year some of our friends do not return to Georgetown the next cruising season when they sell their boats and become CLODS – Cruisers Living On Dirt. Our 2016/2017 cruise is not over yet though. We still have two more months to enjoy the Bahamas as we travel through the Exumas, across the Sound to Eleuthera and on to Spanish Wells.

Rain Rain Go Away and Thunder Too

imageWe’ve been in Spanish Wells, Bahamas for three weeks and until a few days ago the weather has been great, very windy but mostly sunny and always right around 82 degrees in the day dropping to the high 70’s at night. The mooring field is protected on all sides and the water is almost always calm even with high wind speeds. We haven’t experienced thunderstorms or even much rain since we arrived in the Bahamas in early March, but this week has made up for it. The photo above was taken this morning at about 0700 when Sailor went up on the forward deck as he does every morning, checking to see if anything happened while he was sleeping.  Being the smart dog he is, I suspect the gray skies did not make him happy, realizing he might not get to fetch his Kong Wubba on the beach today. An hour later, he was inside and this was the view out of the same salon window.

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The lightning accompanying thunderstorms is usually a concern when you have a mast sticking up over 60 feet from the water.  However, we are hopeful that there are more inviting targets in the harbor, especially the many large lobster and shrimp fishing vessels on the docks with their tall metal outriggers. After awhile you just can’t worry about lightning because it’s out of your control.

The concern for us with these storms is that Sailor has suddenly become afraid of thunder. Never having a dog with this fear before, I looked to Google for answers and it didn’t disappoint me with lots of links for this subject.  Of course, one’s first reaction is to comfort a frightened dog, but I read this is not a good idea.  Apparently it simply reinforces the fear, so instead we should continue whatever we are doing and not make a big deal out of Sailor’s reaction. When Sailor hears the first “boom” he runs down the four steps to the master companionway, sometimes going into the bathroom or jumping on the bed to get as far away from the thunder as possible. He’s worried, but not shaking, panting, or in distress, therefore it’s not too difficult to ignore the behavior.  I read on a site that one theory is the static electricity in the air from lightning might affect some dogs and they go to a bathroom where the pipes disperse the charge. I also know that dogs can hear or sense thunder long before humans do, although Sailor doesn’t panic until the noise starts.  I found two items in his first aid kit designed to calm pets, Rescue Remedy and Dog Appeasing Pheromone. These were purchased for our last dog Daisy to help her relax on long car rides, but unfortunately they have expired.  A definite purchase when we get back to the States will be a Thundershirt although our hope is to work on getting Sailor to ignore the thunder, since it appears the longer the fear persists, the harder it will be to eliminate.

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The high winds and now the thunderstorms have delayed many cruisers who planned to be back in the States by now, or perhaps wanted to move on to the next island. Spanish Wells is a jumping off point to go to the Abacos, which is about 60 miles away.  Many cruisers spend the first part of their Bahamas trip in the Exumas and points south, come back north through Eleuthera to Spanish Wells and go to the Abacos before heading back to the US East Coast.

As we get closer to June 1 when we have to be back in Florida for hurricane season, we have started listening to Chris Parker’s Bahamas weather forecast webcast at 0630 again. (We can also listen to him on our SSB receiver, but the iPad and computer reception is much clearer.) As of now, the weather appears to be favorable for motorsailing back to Florida next weekend.  There will be little wind, so true sailors won’t like it, but we will because that also means calmer seas.  From here we’ll go to Chub Cay in the Berries, then on to Bimini, and the following day back to Lake Worth/Palm Beach. We’ll be getting the mast taken down there, part of our “hurricane plan,” and then we’ll return to Sunset Bay Marina in Stuart, FL for the summer and fall. Unfortunately, this time table corresponds with Memorial Day Weekend, so it might be dificult to get a marina slip in Bimini where anchoring isn’t good and powerboats could be coming from Florida for the holiday. Once in Florida I’m sure the waterways will be busy.  “Busy” translates to lots of motorboats speeding around with their wake wildly rocking the anchored or moving cruising boats, i.e. rude South Florida boaters. Lake Worth, however, is less crazy on the water than Miami and Ft. Lauderdale so it shouldn’t be too uncomfortable. We will probably have to anchor there a few days waiting to get into Cracker Boy Boatyard for the mast unstepping.

In the meantime, today looks like a good day to read and relax on the boat. If things get boring we can always watch what is motoring past us in the harbor. This morning before the rain started, MV Legend II, a 200+ ft long commercial vessel, used the mooring field for her turning basin.  Looking at the photo at the beginning of this blog entry of Sailor gazing across the narrow harbor, this is exactly where Legend stopped while moving east, then rotated until perpendicular with her aft close to the dock where the pink house is and her bow between us and a St. Francis catamaran on ball 8. Then she continued to spin around to face west and pulled up to a dock to unload supplies. When ready to leave, Legend was pointed in the right direction to go through the same channel she entered from earlier. These large vessels do this regularly when they bring shipments into the Spanish Wells port. It’s amazing how expertly they are maneuvered  to turn around in such a small space.

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Later today, the rain did stop and we were able to go ashore.  Sailor got to go to the beach where he fetched his Wubba in the water and then ran and ran,  expending lots of saved up energy.  We shopped at Kathy’s Bakery for homemade bread and, of course, made our regular stop for a frappuccino, aka iced coffee.

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Sailor the Escape Artist

From the first day Sailor moved aboard Seas the Day with us last September, we worried about him falling through the lifelines.  Many people with small dogs put woven rope all around their boat on the lifelines to keep their dogs from falling through. When he was small, Sailor was never alone on the deck. As he grew we figured he was too big to fit through between the lifelines. At Sunset Bay, our hurricane season port in Stuart, FL, we occasionally left him alone on the deck for anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. (We couldn’t leave him inside because he gets frustrated and rips up paper and other items but he was fine on the deck.) He totally ignored people who walked by unless they came over to pet him.  He mostly slept while we were gone. Our deck was usually about five feet above the dock and he had to get off on a ramp we put up and took down whenever he got off the boat.

When we started moving through the water a few weeks ago, sailing south, we never let him on the deck without his life jacket on and tethered to the helm seat if he was outside while we were moving. All went well until we got to Nassau and were at the Nassau Harbor Club.  The dock was almost level with our deck, making it very easy for Sailor to get on and off but when we  undid the lifeline gate he wouldn’t jump down by himself so Mark had to lift him on and off when we took him for a walk. We didn’t leave him alone on the boat.

That night we heard a loud boom around 9:00.  Apparently the Atlantis Resort occasionally has a fireworks show for the people staying there, but they shoot them off from a barge directly across the harbor from us, quite a distance from the Atlantis.  (We discovered why the next day. All the boats in our marina, and probably all the houses and business around us and across the harbor near the barge were covered with debris from the fireworks. We assume nothing landed on the boats and hotel at the Atlantis Resort.)

Sailor has always been very alert to noises.  He often growls softly to alert us if he hears someone walking by the boat in the middle of the night.  He can be in a deep sleep anytime and wakes up if he hears something strange. He is always looking around and listening, no matter where he is. However, he has never been afraid of noises.  When the very loud fireworks started he first ran out on the deck and then came right back, seeming to be very nervous.  We went out on the deck to see what was going on and he followed us, but ran back inside.  We watched the fireworks show for a minute or two and I went back in the cabin to see what he was doing.  Sailor wasn’t inside!

At that moment we saw the marina security guards coming down the long dock towards us.  We were in the very last slip.  They said they saw our dog racing down the dock and he had fallen into the water.  We ran down the dock and saw exactly what had happened.  The dock stops abruptly and turns at a right angle with a short span of water ahead between the dock and the shore. I’m sure he was running so fast he couldn’t stop and went flying into the water. He may not have noticed the dock ended.

It was low tide and there were about six feet between the dock and the water.  Sailor was dog paddling around the wall, but there was no way for him to get out without help. Mark climbed down a ladder and called Sailor over to him. Marinas always have ladders down to the water in numerous places on their docks in case someone falls in or has to get down to the water. Sailor swam over to Mark but it was impossible for Mark to climb the ladder with a 45 pound dog.  Three men were there to help, along with me.  Mark let go of the ladder, took Sailor in his arms and swam to the next dock where a small fishing boat had a low platform at the back.  The water was shallow so Mark could bounce his feet off the bottom.  He lifted Sailor onto the boat and another cruiser staying at the marina lifted Sailor onto the dock.

Sailor was totally traumatized.  By now the fireworks were done but he would not come back to the boat with us.  We figured out later that he must have thought the loud noises and light flashes were on our boat.  Sailor is extremely attached to us and he would never choose to leave us.  Not wanting to drag him down the dock, Mark carried Sailor all the way back to the boat.  We rinsed the salt water off him, dried him with towels and wrapped him in a blanket.  I sat on the floor with him, held him tightly on my lap, and tried to comfort him.  He shivered for about an hour, long after his body warmed up, staring out the door.  The water actually wasn’t very  cold and we worried that he could be in shock.   Finally he stopped shivering, but could not relax.  Mark slept in the salon with him and by morning he ate his breakfast and was almost back to his happy self.

We were leaving that morning for the Exumas and water was part of our dockage fee, Mark was washing the salt off the boat. Unlike marinas in the States where water is free, you pay for it almost everywhere in the Bahamas.  I got off the boat to walk across the street to buy some groceries, locking the lifeline gate behind me.  Shortly after I left, a cruiser came walking down the dock and said to Mark, “I have something for you.” Mark looked and saw Sailor trotting down the dock next to him.  We suspect he knew he could get off the boat by squeezing between the lifelines and went looking for me. Until the previous night, Sailor had never gotten off the boat without our assistance.  Fortunately there is no way to get out of the marina unless you can open a door that goes out to the street and he hasn’t learned to do that…….yet.

Of course, this was very scary for us.  We were lulled into thinking Sailor would not get off the boat without us. After living on it for six months he had never even tried to jump off.  We can only assume he saw the opportunity because it was level with the dock, even though he had to squeeze through the lifelines.  Fearing the very loud fireworks sound, he was no doubt terrified enough to do anything to escape.  At the time we thought he was inside and other than hearing the sounds, we didn’t know he was afraid of them. The second episode was probably Sailor learning a new “trick” and he wanted to come with me.

We thought we were doing everything possible to keep Sailor safe, but it wasn’t enough.  We are extremely fortunate that there was no way to get to the street on the day he tried to follow me because no doubt he would have run right in front of a car.

After being traumatized by the fireworks sound, Sailor is now afraid of our Shark cordless vacuum.  Today while I was vacuuming up sand he brought in from the beach, he jumped up on the couch and left by the window.  Yes, that is a trick our little escape artist has learned.  He’s pretty big to be going out the small window, but he manages to climb up on a shelf and out.  He comes in the same way!

We feel so very fortunate that everything worked out in Sailor’s favor.  The security guards saw him go in the water.  If not for that, we would have been looking all along the dock and maybe wouldn’t have even seen him if he had swum under a dock. In fact, we might not even have known he had fallen in and we would have looked on the marina grounds.

Sailor is adjusting extremely well to sailing.  Each day he learns something new.  He very quickly learned to love riding in a dinghy.  Whenever he hears the dinghy starting to go down into the water, he is at the top of the sugar scoop steps ready to jump in.  The first time he was on a beach, in Bimini, he ate sand.  He actually put his mouth down into the sand and filled his mouth with it.  It made him sick for a few day but he hasn’t injested it again.  He learns fast. We know many dogs are afraid of fireworks, but we’ve never owned a dog who was terrified like Sailor obviously is.

Some people wonder why cruisers bring a dog on a boat.  Sailor is part of our family and we wouldn’t enjoy this experience as much without him. When our wonderful Goldendoodle Daisy died last summer, after living aboard with us for five years, we mourned her, but within a few weeks since we had never not had a dog in our lives, we decided to find another Goldendoodle.  In the end, dogs want to be with their people and with some adjustments, they can be just as happy living on a boat as they are in a house.

Below are a few pictures of our little escape artist coming in the window and relaxing after running up and down a deserted beach in Staniel Cay, the Bahamas.

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Waiting at Bimini Sands

We’ve been in Bimini since Tuesday and today is Friday.  The weather had looked good for leaving on Saturday, but the winds have not dropped.  They were up to 30 kts yesterday with sporadic rainstorms and dropped to the high teens today.  We figured we’d leave before sunrise tomorrow, since it’s a long day’s sail to the Berries where our first stop will be.  Then we took Sailor for an afternoon beach walk and this is what we saw.

IMG_4623At about 6 pm a 20 ft open fishing boat came into a slip by us.  Six people got off with suitcases.  I asked one of them if they had been out on the ocean and was shocked to hear they had left at noon from Ft. Lauderdale.  He said the waves were 2-4 feet when they left and were 8-10 feet as they came into the marina.  Part way over they lost one engine.  The boat has two large outboard motors. Personally, I wouldn’t want to come across to the Bahamas in that boat in flat seas.  They were soaked and of course thankful that they made it here.  A few minutes later they would have had the additional problem of bouncing up and down in the waves in the dark.

We’ll get up early tomorrow and check the wind and seas, but I doubt that we’ll leave unless the wind has dropped considerably and the seas are much calmer.  We don’t go anywhere unless the sea conditions are very mild.

Shortly after we arrived and took Sailor for his first beach walk in the Bahamas he started to vomit.  Apparently he had eaten sand and then some grass.  We tried to stop him but he was fast. For about a day and a half he kept vomiting and had no interest in food or water.  Finally we got him to drink some water and he threw that up.  At that point I searched online and discovered that if a dog is vomiting bile, which he was by then, you should give him ice cubes, then small amounts of water and then chicken and rice.  At first he wouldn’t come near the chicken and rice.  This is a dog who has never eaten “people food.”  Eventually he gladly ate it, in fact he inhaled it.  After a few meals of this we switched him back to his kibble.  Surprise, surprise, he didn’t want it.  Our previous doodle, Daisy, had many allergies and we traced them to eating table scraps.  When we eliminated people food and went to a dog food that had no fillers and one meat ingredient, the allergies disappeared within days.  We don’t want to make this mistake with Sailor. As you can see below, he is waiting for his chicken and rice and won’t let me put kibble in his dish.  (Eventually he did go back to his regular food, but he is eyeing our meals a little more closely now.)IMG_4602

Ready, Set, Stop

Yesterday the riggers finished most of what they broke on the boat.  After they left Mark had to fix some more of the electronics that weren’t working.  Just when he thought all was well, he noticed the chart plotter screen getting dimmer and dimmer.  We don’t know if it had anything to do with the other electronic problems caused when cables were cut, but regardless we realized we had to replace it.  Unfortunately in the five years since we installed our Raymarine E120 chart plotter, the company has completely changed their chart plotters and they are now digital.  The only way to get the display fixed is to send it to Raymarine to be repaired, or we can buy a used one online.  We did the latter and located one about an hour and 15 minutes south of us near Ft. Lauderdale.  We purchased it and are driving down there to pick it up tomorrow morning.  That is one advantage to being on the east coast of Florida.  There were actually three displays on eBay located within an hour and a half drive of Stuart.  All were probably removed when the owners replaced their units with the new digital model.

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If we could have left this morning, we would have been in Miami on Monday and could have sailed to the Bahamas on Tuesday when the current weather pattern is good for going across.  Starting Wednesday, not so much.  We subscribe to Chris Parker’s weather forecasts, Marine Weather Center. He sends out detailed marine conditions for the US East Coast, Bahamas, and Caribbean.  He also does a daily weather webcast which is simultaneously broadcast on SSB radio.  Here is part yesterday’s email forecast.

Sat22-Tue25 should be OK for motoring BOTH Routes/Directions…but N Route may be mildest Sat22-Sun23, possibly Mon24 / S Route may be mildest Mon24 and possibly Tue25. Forecast confidence decreases Wed26 onward, with risk for inclement weather increasing dramatically late Wed26 or Thu27.

Miami to the Bahamas is the south route.  If we leave on Monday and get to Miami on Wednesday, we will have missed the current weather window.  It gets worse.  Here is what he said about the coming month of March:

OUTLOOK for MARCH:
Winter continues! S Branch of JetStream is active, and ColdFRONTs/possible LOs may form and/or track along GOMEX-FL-N Bahamas & waters N of Bahamas…and waters near or even S of Bermuda. March may bring a cycle which repeats every 7 days: 1-3 days of LO/FRONT/TROF with nasty weather (possible GALEs, at-least in squalls) along the axis detailed in previous sentence…forcing wind-less RIDGE S of 25N. 1-3 days of brisk N<E wind following FRONT in all of W Atlantic including ALL Bahamas & FL. 1-2 days of pre-Frontal clocking S<W wind ahead of next impulse mainly N of 25N / S of 25N moderate E<S wind. Then cycle repeats.

Miami is at 25N.  So we may be waiting for awhile in Miami, but that is not new.  Unfortunately if we could have left earlier in February, there were multiple days of good crossing weather.

Dolphins cannot help but bring a smile to your face and no matter how many times we encounter them, we have to stop and watch.  Today they were playing in the marina by our boat tossing fish back and forth to each other.  I didn’t get a shot of that, but I did get a picture of one dolphin diving. We needed a reason to smile.

IMG_4381Sailor has learned a new trick.  When a window in the salon is open, he likes to jump up on the couch, stick his head out and watch what is going on. He’ll have a lot to look at when we finally leave the dock. We’ll definitely need to keep him tethered and in a life jacket because he doesn’t get that he can fall in the water.

IMG_1363He does the same trick from outside standing on the foredeck and looking into the salon.  He hasn’t tried to leave or enter through that window……yet.

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Mutt March

Since we are within a month of (hopefully) beginning our 2013-14 cruise to the Bahamas, our blog entries will start focusing on preparations and destinations.  Therefore I have added a new page under the “Sailor” section of the menu called “Sailor’s Adventures” where the boat dog information will be located. The first entry there is about what we did today, with a short description below.

Every year, shortly after Halloween, the “no kill” Humane Society of The Treasure Coast, located in nearby Palm City,  holds a fundraiser in Stuart.  Called the “Mutt March,” people pay to enter their dogs in the festivities and buy tickets for a raffle.  The dogs come dressed in costumes, participating in a parade and a variety of fun events.   More details can be found in the “Sailor” section of this site, located here. The photo below is one of the winners of the costume contest. Walking behind them, I actually thought a real little boy dressed like a cowboy was riding this dog. Very clever costume and very gullible me!

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Happy Halloween!

We  had a Halloween get-together at Sunset Bay Marina today.  Sailor was the only dog wearing a costume.  I got there late and told Sailor to pose for a picture.  With all the distractions going on around him, he saw the camera, sat up and posed.

IMG_0982Eventually he fell asleep with his head on Mark’s foot.  We didn’t tell him his butt looks big in his costume.

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Sailor’s First Doodle Romp

Occasionally the Moss Creek Goldendoodles who live in the same area get together for a “romp.”  Today we went to the Delray Beach Dog Park, about an hour south of Stuart, to meet with nine other Moss Creek Goldendoodles, aka McDoodles, and a few non-doodle brothers and sisters.  These were the romping doodles:  Smoochie, Harlii, Barkley, Cadee, Cassie, Ozzy, Henry, LoLa, Sailor, and Sunnie.

This was Sailor’s first romp and he had a great time, although he started out white and ended up black and white, covered with dog saliva, mulch, and dirt.  It is a huge dog park and of course we were in the large dog area, with Sailor being the only puppy.  Sailor is fearless and spent a good part of his time rolling in the mulch with other young playful dogs, some doodles and some not.  Most of the doodles tended to stay near their people, but a few were enjoying the freedom of running off-leash.  After several hours, we drove a few miles to the Village Tavern Restaurant in Boynton Beach for lunch.  Below are some pictures from our first romp. At the bottom of this post is a slide show with more photos.

LUNCH AT VILLAGE GREEN IN BOYNTON BEACH

The white doodle at the far left is Harlii, Sailor’s uncle.  The white doodle at the center front is Smoochie, Sailor’s aunt. All of the other doodles are from Moss Creek and a few have the same father as Sailor, Bentley.

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DELRAY BEACH DOG PARK

Uncle Harlii with nephew Sailor

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Someone smaller than me!

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Taking a break after rolling in the dirtIMG_3551

This is why he got so dirty……but boy was it fun!Sailor 1

Why is Sailor the only dirty one?

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IMG_3536Eventually, Sailor found a bench to sit on so he could rest and watch the other dogs “romping.”

Slideshow pictures below.  If they don’t change automatically, use arrows on the side to move manually.

Sailor’s First Beach Walk

Mark and I grew up in Duluth, Minnesota and their forecast for the next two weeks is snow with lows in the 20’s. It appears they might get an early winter this year. Seasons in Florida are changing too.  When we first moved aboard the boat five years ago we were getting a car to rent and were picked up by a Hertz employee.  While talking to him about the weather he informed us that, “There are two seasons in Florida……hot and damn hot.”  We are now entering the “hot” season, with “damn hot” hopefully almost over. Today seemed like a good day to take Sailor for his first beach walk. Unlike Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, almost all the beaches in this part of Florida allow dogs and there are a number of designated “dog beaches” where they can go off leash.

Stuart Beach is just six miles from the marina. After we parked and made our way towards the water, Sailor seemed quite interested.  He had never walked in sand before and on the wide beach that’s about all he saw at first.  He was straining, obviously wanting to run across the sand, but we had no intention of removing his leash.

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For his first ocean beach experience, we probably should have gone to nearby Bathtub Beach, where there is a reef that keeps the waves off shore. Unfortunately, today the waves on Stuart Beach were a bit high and the tide was coming in.  We connected a long training leash to his harness and waited to see his reaction.  Sailor is always curious about new things and he stood at the edge of the water looking out at the ocean, not knowing that the edge would soon change.

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And then it did and he wasn’t quite so curious anymore. As the water came towards him, Sailor ran backwards while Mark let out some of the leash.

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Not wanting to scare him, we walked along the beach for awhile staying away from the water’s edge.  Eventually, two off leash dogs came by and Sailor got curious again. They played for a little while and then the dogs continued their walk.

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Daisy’s first beach experience was along the coast of Lake Superior and those waves scared her.  Eventually, she learned to love walking on the beach and I’m sure Sailor will too.  He has a lot of them in his future.

Weekend With Sailor

Sailor had his last puppy shots on Wednesday and on Saturday we decided to take him out to dinner with us and then to his first visit to the Stuart Bark Park. Below, Sailor waited for Mark to set up his ramp. He always sits patiently until we say “OK” and then he is allowed to walk  down the ramp to the dock below. IMG_3387During previous car rides, Sailor has been a bit unsteady sitting or standing on the back seat.  We bought him a “hammock” and this was his first ride in it. There are openings for seat belts, therefore he can still have his seat belt harness locked in. Yes, he is getting bigger and can now see out the car windows.  He weighed 23 pounds at his vet visit on Wednesday.

IMG_3403This was his third visit to Toojay’s and once again he behaved perfectly.  He slept under the table while we ate and when we were finished he sat and waited while we got ready to leave.

IMG_3392After dinner, we walked next door to West Marine to buy some hose for our new washdown pump.  West Marine allows dogs in the store, especially ones as well behaved as Sailor.

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Next we went to the dog park.  We brought him into the  “little dog area” but he seemed to want to be in the “big dog area” on the other side of the fence. Actually, the little dogs felt that way too, either barking at him or refusing to play. They were nice dogs but weren’t interested in rolling around on the ground with a puppy.  Perhaps there needs to be a “puppy area.”

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IMG_0972More fun was in store for Sailor on Sunday.  We had been in contact with another Moss Creek Goldendoodle family who live near us in Palm City.  We met Marilynn, Ray, and Smoochie at the Downtown Stuart Craft Show, a short walk from the marina.  Smoochie is the sister of Sailor’s father, Bentley, so today he met his aunt.  It took a long time to walk through the show because we had to stop every few feet for people to admire and ask questions about Smoochie and Sailor (aka Mini-Me).  We met quite a few other dogs, including several Goldendoodles.  One, named Max, turned out to be another “relative” from Moss Creek.  Stuart is a very dog friendly town.

We met in the park near the marina and Aunt Smoochie had to explain to Sailor, with a few barks, that she wasn’t interested in puppy play.  Eventually they calmed down for a picture and we walked to the craft show.

IMG_3441One of the dogs we met at the fair was another Moss Creek Goldendoodle named Max. By next summer, Sailor will be the size of Max who is much bigger than he appears in this picture.

IMG_3447After a fun time, and four new scarves for Sailor purchased from one of the venders, we headed back on the boardwalk.  When we got to the boat, an exhausted Sailor slept for the rest of the day. As a boat dog, Sailor will be meeting many new people as well as lots of dogs, and this weekend he showed us that he is up for the challenge.

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