Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ortega Landing

Dylan and Dee Dee are about to end their time here at The Marina at Ortega Landing. For Dylan it was like old home week. He's been here many times including a 5 month stint with Dyna back in 2011 when we had all our electronics replaced.  He got together with some of his old buddies, Abby, Myia, and Ty. Their mom, Deb, who works at Huckins Yacht, and their dad, Walt, who loves to hand out treats. That makes him very popular with the group.

It's been a good week with long walks through the pretty streets and romps on the large field at the marina. A highlight was attending the Riverside Arts Market on Saturday morning. It started with a dinghy ride to downtown Jacksonville.

Once we got to the event, Dylan and Dee Dee learned quickly to work the vendors for treats. Sit prettily, cock the head, and bat those big brown eyes - it worked every time. They even got some from a nice lady walking by who had just purchased homemade treats for her dog from Bubba's Bistro. We visited Bubba's, too.

Early tomorrow morning we head to Cumberland Island, GA where the crew hopes to get in some more beach time with swimming. It'll be the first dip since leaving the Bahamas. They're definitely in need of a fix!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Happy Birthday!

Today is Dee Dee's 2nd birthday. Are we the only one's surprised that she made it this far?

No one can say it has been a boring time but it has also been filled with amusement and joy watching her grow up with Dylan at her side.

She is beautiful and loving and fun and smart and at times exasperating. She is Dee Dee with a personality all her own.

The time passes so quickly. We're not sure what adventures await us but we know they will not be boring...

We love you, Dee Dee!  Happy Birthday!!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Beach Toys Review

The crew visited the beach practically every day in the 8 weeks we were at Great Harbour Cay Marina. It gave them a chance to test a wide variety of beach toys. We think that qualifies them to do a review!

For Christmas they received two new beach toys from Mom and Dad in anticipation of their romps in the Bahamas. They were two floating bumpers that rated highly on Amazon.

The Chuckit Tumble Bumper Toy is brightly colored and floats but was a bit thick for holding while they swam. It really filled Dee Dee's mouth. It was fine but not their first choice.

The Chuckit! Amphibious Bumper was without question the favorite of not only Dylan and Dee Dee but also their buddy Gracie. It has a rope tail that allowed all three dogs to grab and pull. It was used every day, surviving hundreds (thousands?) of tosses until it finally was torn apart. Still given its heavy use it held up well.

With the loss of the favorite Chuckit toy we dug through the dog box and pulled out Dyna's two old training bumpers - an orange one and a white one. When they were new they looked like the picture above.

Both where a bit worse for wear but the team loved retrieving them and were even able to get all three jaws on at once. The orange one started taking on water and partially sinking so it became a boat toy. The white one was lost at sea on Gracie's final beach trip. It never washed ashore...

So we turned back to the Chuckit Tumble Bumper, dug some more through the dog box and pulled out a small ball that floated, a West Paw tug toy that also floated, and an old Wubba water toy.

The ball could only be held by a single dog and didn't allow for tugging so that one was quickly abandoned. The tug toy also was not good for tugging while in the water so was mainly ignored. The Wubba was a hit as the many flapping pieces which floated up on the water allowed for lots of tug-of-war games.

So what is on the list of "must buys" now that we're back in the States? Definitely another Chuckit! Amphibious Bumper (or two). A three pack of the training bumpers to which we'll add some nylon line. We're undecided about the Wubba. Wouldn't want to spoil the crew, would we? Oh, throw one in the cart, they deserve it!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Written in the Sand...

There's a wise mariners saying, "Plans are written in the sand at low tide."

We have certainly altered our plans on many occasions, usually cutting short a long passage or bailing out of an overnight crossing when conditions changed or where not as we expected. However, this time was a bit different.

We left Great Harbour Cay Marina around 2 pm Sunday to catch the high tide. It was a bittersweet send off as we said goodbye to a terrific group of cruisers and marina staff.

Hans and his amazing staff made our time in the Berry Islands even better than we could have imagined. The crew has certainly never been treated better or had more fun.

We headed around the island to anchor off the beach were Dylan and Dee Dee had spent so many terrific hours. Our plan was to leave early Monday morning and head to Eleuthera which we have never visited. Then on to the Abacos which we haven't seen in many years. Sunday night was miserable with the boat rocking and rolling. Even the kids weren't sleeping. We should have taken it as an omen.

The wind and waves weren't great Monday morning but we hoped the seas would settled when we found deeper water. After two hours of banging into head seas, we abandoned our plan and turned around. Instantly we were in blessed following seas right on the stern. It was a perfect ride. The next step was to figure out where to go now.

As Jeff started looking at the possibilities he realized we were heading directly for the US with the current conditions remaining the same and predicted to get better for the next 24 plus hours. We decided to go for it and had a perfect overnight crossing arriving in Cape Canaveral Tuesday afternoon just in time to see a space launch.

It felt a bit jarring after the tranquility of Great Harbour Cay with little time to make the mental adjustment. The crew is still suffering from beach withdrawal but holding up well. We've begun making our way north with some stops along the way.

We've promised Dylan and Dee Dee some time at Cumberland Island where they can get in some beach romping. Of course, that is unless our plans change...

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Final Beach Trip

Today was the final trip to the beach with the crew here at Great Harbour Cay - at least until we return.

In 8 weeks we may have missed 3 or 4 mornings. Dylan and Dee Dee quickly learned the signs we were getting ready to go - the smell of sunscreen, filling the water bottles, grabbing the beach bag, zipping up the screens. It has certainly been fun for them and it is hard to imagine a better place for water loving dogs.

We throw off the lines tomorrow at high tide and will move a short 15 or so miles around the island to anchor off the beach where the kids have played. Do you think they'll know? We're hoping Dee Dee won't decide to swim to ashore...

We'll just have to content ourselves with lots of terrific memories and this blog until we return to Dylan and Dee Dee's beach on Great Harbour Cay.

Friday, April 10, 2015


The thing that the crew will miss most about Great Harbour Cay Marina is the beach. A very close second will be Meco. All he has to do is speak or laugh or sing (with that beautiful voice) and they fly to the cockpit with tails frantically wagging. He stops and says hello every day he is at work and usually has a treat.

Dylan and Dee Dee love Meco. Their mom and dad think he's pretty awesome too.

We hope to see him again soon!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Art of the Jump

With all the retrieval time on the ocean while staying at Great Harbour Cay, Dylan and Dee Dee have gotten quite good at judging the incoming waves and jumping over them.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Art of the Toss

The anticipation.

The wind-up.

The execution.

The landing.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


While Dee Dee has come to love endlessly retrieving of the bumper, Dylan's first love is coconuts.

He finds them and then he sets to husking them. Now that's fun.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Bardot Beach

Today we did something a little bit different. We waited until after lunch and took the crew to Ship Yard Beach, also know as Bardot Beach because according to the locals Brigitte Bardot would use the beach when she came to Great Harbour Cay.

We actually discovered the beach when we first arrived. It's that first Bahamas entry with us wearing polar fleece. The beach is on the opposite side of the island from the wide and very long beach they usually visit.  It's a small, beautiful, horseshoe shaped beach enclosed by high rocks.

So what did the kids do there? Well, Dee Dee swam after the bumper and Dylan scavenged for garbage on the beach... Did you really have to ask???

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Paying the Piper

Dylan and Dee Dee's time at the beach does not come without a price. After an hour or so of playing in the waves, the crew comes back full of salt and sand. Not only would their mom rather keep that out of the boat (as much as you can...), it is also irritating to their skin.

So part of the daily beach ritual is getting rinsed off on the bow when we return to the boat. Of course, being great water dogs - they don't like it.

Because they have those adorable floppy ears they are prone to ear infections. That means all four ears receive a healthy splash of ear astringent.

This they absolutely hate. So we follow that up with a favorite treat, then they find the breezy spots for a snooze and dreaming of tomorrow's romp. All in all, a small price to pay for that much fun.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Three D's Beach

Most every day Dylan and Dee Dee have this gorgeous beach that stretches for miles to themselves. It's a hard life...

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Bumper Queen

The crew is still managing to enjoy time at the beach although it is different without Gracie. Dee Dee has become the Bumper Queen endlessly retrieving, while Dylan generally is scavenging for smelly things on the beach.

We took a long walk down the beach on Tuesday. Wednesday Mom and Dad abandoned the kids while they went on a long sightseeing tour of the outer Berry Islands with Hans, Ruthann, Christelle, and Gary. We had a fabulous time. So today we had to make up for it by taking the kids early to the beach. A few tosses of the bumper and all was forgiven.