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Our dream of cruising on a boat Around the Great Circle Loop and beyond has the drawback of leaving our friends and family far away from us for an extended time. This blog is intended to keep you up to date on our travels and adventures, and encourage you to join us for some part of our trip as we make our way around the waterways of the eastern US, Canada, the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Click on the archived posts below to follow our journey. Our dog, Ben, has been helping us write this blog since he has more time!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Kiss the "Active Ass" Goodbye!

Hi Everyone...Ben here again,
Well, they finally did it...you can kiss the “Active Ass” goodbye! The new boat name is the “Izzy R”. As you know, I preferred the old name, but Jeff was clear that it had to go. I’ll have to come up with a new ice breaker with the other marina dogs.
I wonder if Izzy is going to finally give in to changing her name to Rogers. That would make me Ben Rogers. I don’t know…Dale Evans didn’t change her name to Dale Rogers.

Dog overboard practice started this month! Jeff and Izzy had an opportunity one day to hone their skills on dragging my sorry butt out of the canal. Now I understand why they made all the fuss about only getting on and off the boat at low tide. I thought I could make the high leap up to the bow when we came back from the Farmer's Market, but I miscalculated by a few critical inches and my hind legs didn't make it. The lack of thumbs came into play again as my front paws just slid off the edge and I saw the inevitable drop into the strange world of the brown canal water below me.

After the initial splash and excited yelling, ( I'm not sure who yelled the loudest...Izzy or me!) I calmed myself down enough to head for the nearest post to climb, like I’ve seen the cat do in the yard next door. That didn’t work for me. It just made my feet sore from scraping on the barnacles and oysters that ware growing on it. But I had a good hold on it with all four feet wrapped around it like a koala bear. Guess I’ll have to practice that maneuver on dry land some day. Since I still had my leash attached, and Jeff was holding it, he dragged me off the post kicking and clawing. I didn’t want to let go, but he had me by the throat, so I had my first forced swimming lesson right then. He made me swim back toward the boat while he and Izzy stood on the deck and coaxed me way around to the back of the boat. Since my choices were to swim or be choked, I opted to try the swim. That was a long way and the water didn’t taste very good, but it was cool and felt kind of refreshing after that long walk from the Farmers Market. Jeff jumped in the water with me from the swim step and helped me climb back on the boat.
I was really glad to get out of that water. So was Jeff.
Thanks for the rescue, Jeff. Sorry I gave you such a scare, Izzy. I didn't mean to fall in. Izzy made me take a bath after that. And she made Jeff take one too.We got all cleaned up and smelling better just in time for a visit from Kay and Harold. You remember them from our visit on our way down to Fort Lauderdale. They have that pretty dog, Ralph, with the big teeth, and the nice yard where I pooped. Ralph didn’t come along, so I didn’t have a chance to apologize to him in person and mend our fences. (figure of speech…I don’t think I messed up his fence, too). I think I'll get another chance to see him in a few weeks. Everyone took a dingy ride to the Briney Pub on the Riverfront and from the smell of their breath and clothes, I’m guessing they had drinks and seafood. Of course, I stayed at home to be the watchdog again, because Izzy says I’m really good at that…and I get treats.

My favorite time of the day (other then when I go chasing geckos on our walks) is“5-o’clock-somewhere". I know that’s the time, because Jeff announces it every day. That’s when we all sit out on the sundeck, and they bring out a bottle with some special water that I’m not allowed to have. I get a cookie and bark at manatees and the people riding by in their dinghies, while we listen to music from our new sound system. Here's the view from our sundeck around 5 0'clock somewhere. Speaking of the sound system, don’t let Jeff tell you that I had anything to do with the TV antenna falling into the canal. I’m innocent! He forgot to tie it down on top of the bimini when the wind picked up while he was engrossed in watching Dancing with the Stars. Someone else downwind is probably laughing and having a good time drying that thing out and getting ready to watch TV with our old antenna right now!

So we had to get a new one. This time we got Kyle to come over and do it right. Here’s a picture of my pal Kyle and me. He worked on our boat for several days making the TV and stereo work so Jeff could play country music real loud. (Kyle and I played cards when Jeff and Izzy would go out.)

On Sundays I get to go to the Farmer’s Market to meet other people and their dogs. Jeff always wants to hold my leash when we go there or to the beach because he says I’m a “chick magnet”. Izzy just laughs and says that he’s dreamin’. I like to go because I get some head patting and ear scratching from the people, and I get to sniff and be sniffed. This water here is not like Woodbridge Lake. When we take a dingy ride we see these big scary things that kind of look like a giant version of the geckos that I like to chase on our walks. I don’t know if I’d chase one of these. Actually I think they might chase ME! They come in all different colors and they look mean! Here's a whole family of 'em ... I think it's the GRAY family.There are also some big pelicans here that dive down for the fish in our canal sometimes. They're much bigger than the geese that used to hiss at me in Irvine when I chased them. These pelicans like to hang around waiting for a free meal and I can tell from the look in their shifty little eyes that they’d like to get my treats. I think that Izzy knows better than to mistake them for watch dogs too. I'm the only one that gets treats. I try to bury my milk bones so they won’t come and steal them, but there just isn’t any place to dig a decent hole on this boat, especially since Jeff & Izzy have been throwing out the grass in my “yard”. I tried digging in the AstroTurf there, but I think I developed a blister on the end of my nose trying to get them covered up. The only alternative I have is to bury the milk bones in my bed in the folds of the sheepskin.…rather pathetic.

Well, I'm on duty now as the OWD ( Official Watch Dog) while Izzy and Jeff go out. But when they come back and see how I kept everything safe I'll get...you know...treats!


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Warming up in Fort Lauderdale

Hi All...Ben here again,

The last time I wrote to you I was resting on the bow of our boat here in Fort Lauderdale at our slip waiting for low tide so I could get down off this boat and go chase the geckos and cats. The bow is facing the dock, and the only way to get off this thing at high tide is to be an Olympic gymnast. Unfortunately, low tide is only twice a day and sometimes that’s in the middle of the night! Makes it hard for a guy to keep a regular "schedule". Too high for a walk!
Fortunately I still have my "yard" or at least the part of it that Jeff didn't THROW OUT a few weeks ago! As part of the clean-up process on our boat in preparation for Wendy coming to visit, they decided to make my yard more presentable, so they began throwing out some of the brown grass – just as it was getting the right smell. And it’s hard to get a good aim in it now, if you know what I mean. Jeff gardening

Wendy came to visit us one weekend after we arrived here, so Jeff and Izzy got real busy getting the boat in tip top shape for her arrival. Jeff was working on some project so she could take a shower in the guest head…I’ve never been down there, so I don’t know what all the fuss was about, but it seems to have been fixed cause she smelled real good all the time she was here.

Then they got the crazy idea to get the boat wet all over and scrub it with brushes and wax it so it was real slippery. I’m not sure what they were thinking…I could hardly stand up anywhere!

Here’s a picture of Wendy with Jeff and Izzy…..uhm… that I took… Wendy said that Neva misses me. You remember her. She was my pal in Denver.

This is me with my good friend Neva when we were in Colorado. I keep a picture of her near my bed. She's a frisky one!

While Wendy was here we went on a Water Taxi ride one day to see some of the town. Bridge opening in Fort Lauderdale on the Intracoastal Waterway with lots of boats! Wendy and Izzy looking at the sights from the Water Taxi Jeff's version of sightseeing ...babes and boats
We checked out the beach across from the shops and all those restaurants that smelled goodand dipped our toes in the ocean...not as cold as the Dog Beach in California
Then we took a dinghy ride and we saw lots of kids having a race in their sailboats Jeff likes to go try new ways of getting home to our boat. Sometimes we have to get down real low in the dinghy to go under the bridges he picks. Like this one. Someone sat on my tail going under that.
Wendy and Izzy decided I needed a haircut, so I got a ride in the back of Wendy’s convertible and went to a place called “Rover the Rainbow”. Three very nice young men shampooed and pampered me, clipped my fur and gave me a cute scarf. They made my arms look big and strong, and left my tail real long and fluffy. Here’s a picture of my new haircut. Whadda ya think?
Here's the old haircut... ....and here's the new haircut. Notice my big biceps, and defined abs. Cousin Brian came over to have some fun with us while Wendy was here. They all went out on the town and left me to guard the boat. I did a good job and got a treat when they came home. I think they had fun, according to this picture.

Jeff went off on a motorcycle trip in Mexico and left Izzy and me here on the boat alone for ten days. Neighbor John gave him a ride to the airport in his flashy Jag. They both had big smiles as they drove off.
Nice ride to the airport A picture of Jeff and his motorcycle in Mexico

Can you believe it…one of those days he was gone was Izzy’s birthday!! He really had to kiss up, so before he left he arranged a nice birthday dinner for her with cousins BJ and Brian at Morton’s Steak House, and a subscription to Netflix with a bunch of chick movies. He also sent the obligatory guilt flowers on the special day while he was riding in the dirt in Mexico. Guilt flowers BJ and Brian with Izzy on her birthday at Mortons
I thought I'd at least get a steak bone out of that but no-o-o-o-o. I just got a dog biscuit and a pat on the head. Of course Izzy told me I had done a great job as the watch dog while she was gone! They came back all happy and kept me up late playing loud music and laughing. I think they had wine...
Izzy and I actually had a nice quiet time without him here…no pressure to fix anything and no calamities for 10 whole days! I took this picture of Izzy chillin on the deck while Jeff was gone. It also gave Izzy time to ride her bike to shop at the Galleria (I think she only bought two more pair of shoes this time), and order a new teak table and chairs and lights for the sundeck on line. She took me on real long walks and stayed up late with me watching the chick flicks. Guess Jeff had a good time too, and he didn’t come back with any splints or bandages so Izzy was relieved and happy to have him home.
He must have gotten bitten with a motorcycle bug in Mexico though because he helped our neighbor, John, fix up this little scooter, and then talked him into letting him use it for a while. As you can see, “Cutie” is quite different from his usual style, but it has a motor!
Jeff with John
He looks kinda silly on that little thing....John calls him "Easy Rider". Who's that?

Well, I'm on duty now as the OWD ( Official Watch Dog) while Izzy and Jeff go out for sushi on their bikes, so I'll have to catch up with you later.When I do a really good job at this, Izzy gives me treats!