Tuesday, January 28, 2014

In the Lap of Luxury!

The photo above was snapped by Jennifer at Longboat Key Club Moorings where the whole crew was able to enjoy several days at this luxury facility. Now you may be asking yourself, "How could the life of the canine crew get any more luxurious?"

Well, to be honest it can't. They have two servants waiting to attend to their every need 24/7, a flock of adoring fans wherever they pull in, and the world's best gourmet dining onboard their own private yacht. Belly rubs, soft blankets, never ending treats, and the list goes on and on.

But this time the human crew got to enjoy some of the good life.

The marina is part of The Resort at Longboat Key Club which is over 400 acres with every amenity you can imagine.

 There are 8 restuarants.

A full spa and fitness center.

Tennis courts and a pool.

You know one could really get used to this... But don't worry about the kids. There's also miles of paths to walk and explore and they got their share of attention. So maybe Mom and Dad did enjoy a few amenities on their own. There was never a meal missed and we were back for cuddles every evening. After all, you gotta keep the crew happy.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Making the Rounds

Since Dee Dee successful navigated her first overnight crossing the crew has been making the rounds at a variety of marinas as we initiate our tour of the Florida west coast. First, they spent several days relaxing at the Clearwater Beach Marina. While they weren't allowed on the beach, they were able to walk on the sidewalk nearby. They loved taking long walks each day and meeting the people coming off the beach.

When we left Clearwater we made a short hop to Marker 1 Marina in Dunedin (pronounced, "Done Eden" - I didn't know).  Dylan took up his usual post on the flybridge helping the captain pull away from the dock. While Dee Dee settled into her favorite spot in her crate. Will I ever reclaim that salon space? Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to put the old bed comforter in there when I bought a new one...

We spent several days enjoying Dunedin and the beautiful sunsets.

We then left for Gulfport Municipal Marina. The town of Gulfport has a real funky feel and some very interesting shops and restaurants. There's a neat park with trails throughout where the crew walked and enjoyed (OK, barked at) the wildlife. Dylan continued his wildlife search for dolphins when we took off for St Petersburg.

He hadn't seen any in days and was getting a bit lonely. We're guessing it was because the water outside the ICW was too shallow for them to swim in. But on the way to St Pete a few did appear much to Dylan's delight.

St Petersburg is a lovely small city with so much to do. The kids are really enjoying the many walkways and parks along the water. We've been taking in some of the restaurants. Maybe too many as Dee Dee showed her displeasure by destroying the downtown map.

Too bad for her, they had plenty more at the St Pete Municipal Marina office. We plan on spending a few days taking in the sites, meeting with some boating friends, and enjoying the sunsets. Oh, and going on lots of dog walks. Gotta keep the crew happy!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Another Salty Dog

Dee Dee accomplished one of her most important firsts this week when she successfully completed her first offshore overnight passage. She was fitted to Dyna's life vest, a touch loose but very serviceable and something we hoped to never take out. She seemed to know something was up and immediately ran to her crate which had the ditch bag beside it.

We left from Port St Joe's Marina about noon on Saturday and headed out to what we thought would be a few choppy hours followed by a night of calm weather - 5 knot winds with 1-2 foot seas. Perfect.

Well, it would have been if it were true. In reality we spent a snotty night of short, steep, 3-5 foot waves on the beam. We knew the crew was not happy when dinner time came and neither of them gave us "the stare." Instead, Dee Dee cuddled in a ball by whoever was nearby, usually it was Dylan.

While it wasn't the "first" we had hoped for her, she never cried or complained or felt sick. She just hunkered down and carried on. We were very proud of her.

Finally the morning came and the winds did settle down to 5 knots and the seas did reduce to 1-2 feet. And Dee Dee had added another notch in her nautical skills belt.

Even Dylan was happy to pull into the Clearwater Municipal Marina with the promise of his paws touching dry land.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Leaving Panama City

We knew the day had to come that we would leave Panama City Marina even though it was getting pretty comfortable there. Marina manager Stan Jones snapped a picture as we pulled out of the marina. We think she looks good! We know we'll be back.

The crew did enjoy their time in Panama City. They had multiple walks each day and were cooed over by other boaters and folks we just met along the way. Mostly they liked having a routine.

The nightly sunsets were beautiful although the crew was usually deep into their evening meal by then. It was the last place we would be in the Central timezone which the crew had settled into very nicely. There were different places to walk, even a small field to sniff in. The kids were enjoying themselves.

We were enjoying the restaurants and took a tour around to the other marinas in the area. Stan drove us over to see the St Andrew's Marina which has a nice floating dock and a charming little town right on the marina's doorstep. We also visited the other Sponsor marinas in the area, Lighthouse Marina and Pirate's Cove Marina are near the beach. Bay Point Marina is in a gated community with a golf course walking distance from the boat.

But we were getting worried that if we stayed much longer we'd have to change our residency. So we threw off the lines and set off. The crew immediately took up their stations.

Dylan kept watch for dolphins.

Dee Dee took Dyna's favorite spot at the foot of the flybridge stairs.
But Dee Dee was most happy cuddled with Dylan on the pilothouse settee.

It was a nice hop to Port St. Joe Marina where we found several other transient boaters waiting for a window to cross over to Florida's west coast. The crew met up with Janet and Bob on Harmony who they first met last June on the Hudson River when Dee Dee was just a little drip of water.

Port St Joe is a lovely town with pretty much anything you could need just a walk away. Dee Dee especially liked the wrapped dog toy that the marina put on the stern every morning. She found a similar toy left at Grandma's house every morning too.

But Dylan and Dee Dee's favorite thing is the four miles of walking trails right beside the marina. They now have a new favorite routine for their walks. It is a terrific place to be "stuck" waiting for a weather window to cross from the Florida panhandle to the west coast.

It's lining up for a noon departure tomorrow for a 27 hour run to Clearwater. This will be one of Dee Dee's biggest firsts yet - an overnight crossing on the boat. I'm sure she'll look to Dylan's experience for what to do and he'll be the perfect mentor.