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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!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ben's First Blog

Merry Christmas!
From Jeff, Izzy and Ben
In Spooner's Creek, NC

Hi All…Ben here,

I’ve decided to write to you because Jeff and Izzy are always really busy, and someone needs to keep you up to date with all of our fiascos…err.. (mis) adventures. Besides, I needed a job. So far my only responsibility has been to bark at strangers, and on this boat there just aren’t too many. On a few occasions, I’ve heard Jeff blaming me for some goof that HE made, so I also want to set the record straight about my involvement in any of his shenanigans.

For one thing, I had nothing to do with the placement of the name or the door on the back of our boat. It came like this...long before I ever set eyes on it. Someone else did it - not me!

Hmmm... unfortunate placement of the transom door ...

Jeff wants to change the boat's name to "IZZY R". There's some inside joke there about getting Izzy to change her name too. I guess I'd become Ben "Rogers" then. Frankly I like “Active Ass”. It's a good calling card for me with the other marina dogs.

We’ve had a few exciting times – one with a sudden stop in the mud and the resulting unexpected stay at a nice marina with other dogs to smell, and a man in a funny black rubber suit and a big tank on his back swimming around our boat. Jeff had a beer after the guy told him we only had some missing paint on the bottom.

Guy in the funny black rubber suit

We did need to repair our hydraulic steering and the autopilot, so Jeff put the bikes together and took off in search of West Marine…his new favorite place.

Off to West Marine!

A couple of days ago we were traveling in 46 knot winds coming across St.Simon’s Sound near Brunswick, Georgia. The wind blew off one side panel of our flybridge enclosure. We drove from inside most of the day, but had to go out to tie things down every now and then. I tried to take one of those opportunities to mosey up to the “yard” for a little wiz, but Izzy grabbed me by the harness to stop me from getting blown off the boat.

Speaking of my yard, I’ve gotten to like that little patch. At first I was a little confused about what to do with it.


But pretty soon I figured out what it's for...and it isn't for sitting or lying down! It comes in handy when they stop the boat for the night without any dry land around us. They have a habit of doing that…not sure if it’s a mistake or what, but they throw this big metal thing into the water and we get stuck out there! (Go figure?)…and I have to “go”! Since the dinghy has been deflated the past few days ….

Oh, did you hear the story about the deflated dinghy? If so, you probably heard Jeff’s version…one of those times when he blames me for his goofs. He’s been telling people that I was driving when we hit the oyster bed in 6 inches of water and tore a one foot ($250) gash in the pontoon. Izzy was back on the big boat laughing and taking pictures as Jeff rowed us backwards before the dinghy sank!

Beginning of the fateful dinghy ride

Oops… flat on the right…. IZZY!!

He wanted ME to row too…can you believe it? Clearly he could see I have no thumbs.
You should have been here to see the two of them trying to get that dinghy out of the water and back up on the high deck without it turning upside down! Kind of an Abbott and Costello routine with lots of ropes and water. That was another time that I opted to get out of the way so I wouldn’t get the blame. We had to stay in another nice marina for an extra day to take care of that! Thunderbolt Marina near Savannah is real warm and friendly…we’re in the south now!

Yesterday was “holding tank explosion day”. We thought we were cleaning it out, but we were really overfilling it. When Jeff took out the plug with the blocked vent line, he got a surprise shower of poop from head to toe. I stayed quietly on the flybridge far away from any place where he could possibly involve me in his explanation of this fine mess! Not my fault…I only poop in my yard. Izzy didn’t take any picture of that snafu. Jeff spent the day figuring out and repairing the problem and cleaning up the mess while Izzy did the laundry, went grocery shopping and baked a cake hoping to cover up the smell.

I don’t want you to think its all problems (opportunities). We’ve also had some real nice quiet times for me to sleep and dream of when my house won’t move anymore. Today we’re traveling south going to Jacksonville, Florida with our deflated dinghy on the deck, pretty embarrassing…we’re looking rather like the Clampets!

Can you say "Clampets"?

Tonight we should be able to put air in the freshly patched pontoons and try it out when we go to see Patti and Tom on their boat tomorrow. I love those dinghy rides, but just have to figure out how to warn Jeff of shallow water so I won’t be blamed for another patch. Maybe this dinghy should be named “Patches”.

At least we're not traveling in this boat that was in the harbor today!

I hear it’s warmer in Florida, so I hope I’ll get to get go to the doggie beauty parlor for a cut and fluff and have my nails done soon. Up until now it has been real handy to have the wild and wooly look to get attention and treats from strangers on our walks, and to keep me warm up here on the fly bridge in the cold. Sometimes on cold, rainy, windy days Izzy even puts a blanket on me up here. Kind of wussie, but warm.

That’s me in my helm seat…navigating

We were just buzzed by a fancy helicopter Jeff called an AeroEspeciale. Seems we’re about to be approached by a Navy submarine and we have to get out of the channel and stay 500 feet away. There is a Coast Guard boat escorting it with men and guns all around it. Izzy’s getting pictures.

Well, I just heard some excitement at the helm about coming up to the Florida boarder soon, and some questions about the whereabouts of the “chip” for the new navigation area and the really low tide…Izzy’s saying, “Three point six feet of water!!!” Not sure what that’s all about. Sounds familiar though…it usually means we slow down a lot. Hope we get to stay in another marina! Especially if we have “chips”!
I'll write again soon, but meanwhile I'm just gonna watch these birds....


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