Pets Onboard

If I were to put a percentage on how many cruisers have pets onboard, I would put it at close to 50%. Yeah, that surprised me a little bit as I thought the number would be much less. People do love their animals. The number one pet to be found onboard would be dogs, followed by cats and bringing up the rear would be birds. One boat we saw in Miami had parrots on board with large outside cages situated over the dinghy davits.

Having cats on your boat is fairly easy to manage. Providing a litter box in a location that is both convenient and that mitigates any odor is probably the hardest part of the whole process. For us, the box is in the port head inside the shower area. Our Lagoon has two showers but since there is only the two of us we don’t need the extra shower area. If guests come aboard for an extended stay we move the box outside to the cockpit. The head area also has two opening hatches for odor control, even though we’ve never had a problem with odor because Michele cleans the litter box everyday. The box sits on one of those pads that trap litter that gets on the cats paws when they exit the box. After the box is a small rug that further traps any stray litter. We don’t keep the box in the cockpit because I don’t want a litter box close to where we eat. Just sayin’..Also, during inclement weather if you don’t have a proper inclosure for your cockpit, you have to move the box inside to keep it from getting wet. And that’s what works for us regarding cats. Of course, if you take your cats or any other animals outside the US, consult the website Noonsite for all the info you need regarding bringing pets into a foreign country.

Ahh, the dog. Dogs can be a little more complicated then a cat. The biggest reason? Dogs don’t crap in a box! If you can’t train your dog to go potty on a training mat while they are on the boat, then your cruising plans must be altered to accommodate daily trips to shore. Passages of more then two days are not possible if your dog will refuses to relieve themselves onboard. Even on the ICW there are very long stretches with no suitable place to land. The marshes in Georgia and the cypress banks in South Carolina come to mind. We were fortunate in that it only took two weeks for Gidget to learn to use the pad. Here’s what we did…We bought the largest pad that would fit on the boat and every day Michele would take Gidget and introduce her to the pad. For the first week she sat on the pad just fine, no pee, but she looked good sittin’ there. Since we were at a marina at the time Gidget still had her walks off the boat to relieve herself. During these walks Michele carried a few paper towels with her and when the dog peed she placed the towels under her to, uh, collect a sample. The towel went into a ziplock bag to preserve the sample. After a few days of collecting, the towels were rubbed onto and into the mat in order to give the mat a scent. Another couple of days of bringing Gidget to the mat and she got it! Now the only time she has to leave the boat is for some exercise. P1020172In our boat this is how we separated the litter box from the rest of the head. P1020174 P1020173Here you can see the pad that traps most of the litter that gets stuck to their paws.P1020175The cat hide-a-ways…P1020176Here’s the training mat that Gidget uses and crazy as it sounds, at least one cat uses it too! P1020178In this pic you can see I have tied a line to the pad. I drilled holes into both the pad and mat and using a bowline connected the line. One end of the line is clipped to the boat. When it comes time to clean the pad, I unclip the line, pick the mat up over the lifelines and dip it into the water several times to rinse it off. It drains for a minute or so then gets hauled back over the lifelines. Really simple. The pad has withstood 20-25 mph winds, but over that it starts to move around a little. To keep it in place in high winds I rinse it and place a full gas can on it or if it’s really blowing I’ll move it to the cockpit.P1010721151Training “session”…P1010851P1010781Happy campers…

Hope this helps……Until then….

 

Settled In At Murrels Inlet

Well, the race north to Murrells Inlet is over and we’re tied up at the Osprey Marina at the moment. We were trying to get here in time for our daughter Genne’s, spring break. It was doubly important because just a few weeks ago we found out we were going to be grandparents again! It was well worth the long days at the helm to see her walking down the dock to us. Our plans are to remain here for at least ten days before heading north again, maybe even longer. We want to avoid as much cold weather as possible up north.

During our time here, since we won’t be traveling, I’ll keep my promise and write about how we deal with animals onboard. Also, I’ll put together a blog on what has worked for us and what hasn’t, when it comes to stuff onboard and things we thought we needed. Surprise is the word that comes to mind when I think about the stuff we thought we just had to have.P102009690% of what the ICW in Georgia looks like…..P1020105You can see the southern charm in a lot of the waterfront homes in South Carolina..P1020109It’s never a good day when your boat sinks at the dock!P1020133P1020135Sunset from inside the salon and outside as well…P1020111This mega yacht sat at the city marina in Charleston. Tried to catch the name but didn’t see one.The thing was huge for a sailboat.P1020116The suspension bridge in Charleston. I believe it’s the longest one in the US. It brought back memories because we drove over this bridge many times in our boat search. When we were on it I would tell Michele, “someday we’ll be down there on our own boat traveling the ICW”. So cool that now we are experiencing what we used to dream about..P1020132The lighthouse at the Charleston Inlet…P1020123I didn’t catch the name of this fort but it sat at the entrance to Charleston.P1020141Another waterfront home!P1020142This something I had never seen before. This dear jumped in the water and started swimming across the river. Michele was just able to get a shot as it jumped out.P1020153The ICW here kinda reminded me of the Jungle Boat ride at Disneyland. It was real narrow in spots and it felt like you could reach out and touch the trees…P1020145 P1020148

My thought was maybe this tower and others like it, help spot fires such as the one above?P1020155 P1020159Couple of shots of the local wildlife. I was surprised that we were still spotting dophins as well..P1020144When it comes to staying warm I have no shame or pride! It was 46 degrees and blowing 15-20, so yeah, it was not pleasant. Neither of us brought cold weather clothes so we just layered and layered what we had. How do you like the “sock” mittens??P1020060I told you it was cold…Gidget’s no dummy! 🙂

Until Then…..

 

Mad Dash Through Georgia

And that’s what it was, a mad dash. I really can’t tell you much about Georgia because we were making 60-70 miles a day and stops were overnight only. I can tell you that after leaving Fernandina Beach, it’s gets real boring, real quick. The ICW is not very scenic along most of Georgia and southern South Carolina. The landscape is flat, marshy and with the way the ICW meanders through the state, it feels as if you’re getting nowhere. As we closed in on Savanna, the scenery changed and well, it looked like I thought Georgia was “supposed” to look. We stopped and took on fuel and water at a little marina, the name I can’t remember, and the people were so nice. It was “yes sir and yes ma’am”, we really felt welcome. They kept telling us to take our time, no problem, it’s a beautiful day, relax. Yeah, it was nice to feel some southern hospitality. Outside of Savanna, it was back to the marshes and bored once more.

Why are we racing north you might ask? We’re trying to be in Myrtle Beach in time for my daughter Genne’s spring break. Typical day now is outa bed ( for me ) at 8:30, have breakfast and coffee, then up anchor and gone at 9:30. At 5:30 evaluate whether to stop and drop the hook or go a little further to gain ground. Most always it’s go further and drop the hook between 6:30 and 7:00. This schedule gives us 60-70 miles a day, which for us is a lot, especially on the ICW. If you’re wondering why we don’t leave earlier it’s because after years of getting up at 5:30, now I can sleep in and I do…:)..

A couple of nights ago we dropped the hook in a creek just off the main channel. All day long we maybe laid eyes on four boats. Not more then twenty minutes after the hook is settled, up comes another sailboat and he drops his hook right in front of and slighty off to the side of us! The whole ICW in this area is empty, the creek is empty and this guy drops on us 25 yards away. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t upset at this. My concern was it was cold and we were going to run the genny for heat that night.If we know we’re going to fire up the generator, we try to anchor where it won’t disturb other boaters. I figured if he gets upset at the genny, he shouldn’t have anchored so close when there was absolutely no reason to, given the amount of room available all over the area. Now here’s the kicker. I’m looking out the forward window on the starboard side and he’s gone. What the heck? Go to the cockpit and there he is beside us. I tell Michele, “hey this guy is dragging”. She asks me how do you know? “Well he started out in front of us and now he’s on his way behind us”! And so I watch him slowly slide by right past us and then into the middle of the creek where the current was slowly dragging him downstream. Finally his hook caught and he came to a stop in the middle if the creek where he spent the rest of the night. I never saw him once look out and check on things the whole time he was there. I know when we set the hook, both of us are looking around, taking bearings and familiarizing ourselves with the area.  We may do this several times during the evening just to be certain. As for him, at least he drug far enough away to not hear the genny!

Last night right after we settled in, thunderstorm warnings starting coming in. At first I kinda dismissed them thinking no way would we be affected. However to be prudent, the ipad radar app was consulted and yeah, they were headed our way and fast! First thing was to let out more chain bringing our scope to 6-1. We were in 6 foot of water so I thought 6-1 would be fine. Everything outside the boat not tied down came in. The cushions, the genny, dog pad moved to cockpit and solar panel lashed down. Since they were calling for 45-50 mile winds, I figured we may as well fire up the engines and chartplotter in case we had to move fast to reposition the boat if the anchor broke loose. Donned my foulweather gear and waited. Five minutes later it was on us and yeah, it was kinda crazy, kinda cool. The wind when I went out side to grab a light, was blowing so hard no way could I open my eyes while facing into it! The lightning flashed and lit up the whole area giving me a good view of our position. The anchor alarm was also activated to give us an early warning if we started dragging. Thanks to the new Spade anchor, we didn’t move an inch. All in all it was a good show and good practice for us. I did learn that you need some kind of eye protection or goggles if it’s raining and blowing that hard. Otherwise, you just can’t see a thing. And the boat got a good washing!

Here’s an update on Mindy. She is taking food through a syringe for now until she can eat on her own. Her fluids are supplemented by inserting a large bore needle under her skin and letting the fluids drip from an IV bag. She is using the litter box as well. When we get to Myrtle Beach, she’ll go back to the vet for a re-evaluation.

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I thought this was a cool boathouse..P1020061

I believe this fort sat at the southern most inlet in Georgia.

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The first nice sunset we’ve seen in a while…

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We drove over this bridge on our way down…

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You see quite a few range markers in Georgia. The top pic is what they look like up close. They come in pairs and when you are properly lined up in the channel they look like the bottom picture. When you’re out of the channel they look like the middle pic..

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Lighthouse in Georgia…somewhere…sorry…

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Mindy getting her fluids…

 

Until then….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Augustine

Playing catch up with the blog again…This post will be short and sweet because in all honesty, I’m just not in a good frame of mind to blog. Mindy, one of our three cats onboard, has taken ill and is spending the night at Fernandina Animal Clinic. She has some sort of liver problem that looks serious to the vet. We’ll know more in the morning. So as you can see, we are in Fernandina Beach. We were supposed to leave today for points north but Mindy’s situation has changed that a bit. Plans: written in sand at low tide!

A little about St. Augustine. It’s a beautiful town with tons of history. Staying a day or two will not do it justice. Everywhere you walk there is history or some interesting architecture with influences from the Spaniards, the English and the Americans. Eating out is a problem here. The problem being what place to choose from! Most of the restaurants have live music that suits the establishment. If you can’t find something to eat here, you’re not hungry. This is one of the few places we are looking forward to revisiting.

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Top lighthouse is the Ponce de Leon…The bottom one is the St. Augustine. This is as close as we got to either one…P1010979

Caught another dolphin….P1010986 P1010990

A couple of beachfront homes…P1010999

This looked like a cool place to hang out..P1010997At one point the channel in the ICW brought us within 200 feet of this beach. Yea, it was a little strange feeling…P1020031 P1020029

One of he old cemeteries in town…P1020022 P1020021

A couple of shots of the fort guarding St. Augustine..P1020026

This is a furnace outside the fort in which they would heat the cannon balls red hot and then shoot them at the ships. Since the ships were made of wood it was a good chance they would catch on fire. I found this a very interesting piece of history….P1020040 P1020038 P1020037

An old original drugstore, now a small museum…P1020036

I couldn’t resist…P1020043 P1020044

Typical scenery walking through the town. It was so relaxing to stroll about…P1020020

Michele and I. In case you’re wondering what the wine cork is doing under my ear. It’s one of three that is strung on my sunglass strap. If my glasses fall in the water, they float!