Cats Aboard!

Someone recently asked for advice for how to train cats to live aboard.  I’m not sure you can train them, but they will figure it out.  We have lived aboard for 2 years, we had 4 cats (due to the fact that our kids didn’t/couldn’t take them when they moved out) and are now down to 3 cats (1 passed last fall).  Anyway, I digress.  They were indoor cats only before we moved onto the boat.  When we first bought our boat and moved aboard, we didn’t have a dinghy, so we had to be at the dock.  We let them roam until we got yelled at, because our 17 lb’er decided to wander into someone’s boat to check and make sure he was still alive.  He was at that moment, but also felt like he had been thwacked with a defibrillator, he was not happy and reported us to the dock master who proceeded to ask us to lock them up over night.  They weren’t too mischievous during the heat of the day but early morning and sun down, they began to get curious.  Okay, so we got our dinghy fixed and unless it’s raining they have free reign, inside and out.  We keep their litter box on the bowsprit, which they LOVE and bring it in when it rains.  I’d say they are happier creatures living aboard at anchor.    Our cats have only taken a bath in the salty water 3 times, let me explain.

Peanutters, he was our oldest, the one that passed last fall, he was the first.  We had lifeline netting all the way around the boat and were at the dock.  The sun was going down. We were chatting with some friends a few finger piers down and all of a sudden, we hear the sound of something splashing into the water, we turned around and Peanut was on the outside of the lifeline netting, trying to get back into the boat, soaking wet!  We are not sure what happened, we had to go pry him off the netting and give him a fresh water bath.  He was fine and after that moment, he never went swimming again.

Sketchball, she is our youngest, and a calico.  We were in Harbortown Marina in Merritt Island, FL.  We had just checked out and were on our way back to the boat with our dog (yes, we have a dog too, her name is Sasha).  We got to this finger pier and she started to sniff and whine at the end of it.  We were like come on Sasha, what are you whining for, and then we heard sketchy cry.  Sketchy (as we so lovingly call her) was crying from below the pier, well, what the heck?  We looked through the cracks and into the water and saw her reflection.  Wherever she had gotten in, she had found a way to climb up underneath the finger pier onto a deck beam and we could see her soaking wet body.  Syd, being the smart man that he is had me go and get the drill, cause the decking had phillip head screws.  I grabbed a towel too and we got her out and rinsed her off and set her on the deck of the boat to lick herself dry.

Dusty, he is our 17 lb kitty.  He is a trouble maker, loves to make sure people are breathing overnight, and has been known to sit on windows until the people inside wake up and then wanders off,  just making sure they are still breathing.   Anyway, he also went in while on the docks at Harbortown Marina.  After rescuing sketchy, we did a head count and found he was missing.  We started wandering around the dock with a treat can, cause he loves to eat and calling his name.  We found him on a sailboat about 4 slips down on the left side of the dock.  Syd called him and Dusty continued to ignore him as most cats do… Syd climbed aboard, and was trying to get him to come to me on the finger pier, well, Dusty was having none of that, so he decided to be clever and jump from the cockpit to the dock.  Whooooopss!  Bad call.  He hit a rope and spun around it and fell splash into the water, so much for being clever.  We were approaching low tide and the docks were not floating docks, so we were about 4-5 feet above the water at that particular moment.  I had to sit on Syd’s legs while he grabbed at Dusty and got him back onto the pier.  He was not happy, but we were glad they were all okay.  Here are a few photo’s of our adventure at Harbortown Marina.

Sketchy IMG_2087

Princess, is the only one who has never gone swimming, (knock on wood), and hopefully she never will!

Soooo biiig, yup it is princess, we call her stretch.


Taking the kritters home







Sleeping kitty


Necessity Trumps Instinct

We went ashore last night to play sailing trivia with some of our sailor friends.  When we arrived back home, Sasha, our 6 year old lab/retriever mix, had gotten into some beef pepper jerky that we had forgotten to put away as it was hidden under some magazine’s on the table in our galley.   Sasha was VERY happy to see us and maybe a little embarrassed that she doesn’t have opposable thumbs to clean up her mess.  There were little torn up baggy pieces all over the galley floor and she was anxiously awaiting her evening trip ashore.  I cleaned up and Syd took Sasha ashore for her evening ritual.

We wake up and it’s a cold blustery morning in St Augustine, the temperature has dropped to a mere 48 degrees, brrr, there are gale warnings in effect and the winds are high approximately 20-25 knots with gusts to 40.  Taking the dog ashore this morning, was not one of the first things we wanted to do!

Sasha is whimpering.  Syd and I go about our normal morning business, listening to the St Augustine Cruisers Net, running the refrigerator, making a pot of coffee, making the bed.  Sasha is following us very closely, giving us the “eye”, that desperate look of please read my mind “Mommy, Daddy, I have to go potty, I shouldn’t have eaten the jerky last night!”

We complete our morning routine and prepare for a dinghy ride ashore for our whimpering doggie.  Fowlies – check, scarf – check, little cotton gloves – check, sandals – check.  We begin to move the dinghy around the boat, preparing it for boarding and I look up just in time to see Sasha peeing on the foredeck, just where we had taught her to go!

The morale is, if your dog really has to go and you have taught her that it is okay to use the foredeck and an emergency arises, she will trust her instinct and make it happen! Gooooo Sasha!!!

Our wedding vows, 7 years ago today 5/15/05

Syd and I were married, just 7 years ago today.  There are some ironic things about the day we got married,  first and foremost is that we chose this day and then realized that it was the same day that my sweet Gram and Pop Pop, Connie and Earle Drake got married.  They were married 70 years ago, today! Happy 70th anniversary my sweet Gram and Pop Pop.

Syd’s brother, David also married Lesa on May 16th, so his anniversary is tomorrow, I think it’s about 24 years they have been married.  We are so glad they were able and willing to celebrate with us 7 years ago,  Happy Anniversary David and Lesa!

We wrote our own vows and shared them with our friends and family in Frisco, North Carolina just 7 short years ago.  We rented a house called the “Nautilus”:  It was beautiful, 4,000 square feet, with 4,500 sq feet of deck space, right on the beach where we got married.  It was a dream and it was the dream we chose, instead of a typical church or outdoor wedding and honeymoon, we decided to spend the week with our family, it was amazing!

If you read our vows, at the link below, please note that you may want to grab a tissue, I cannot read the entire poem without crying out loud.  It has always touched my heart, just as Syd has touched my life.  I am lucky, I am living my life with my perfect partner on a sailboat that we dreamed about together.


Our Tips and Tricks for a wonderful relationship:

1) Be True:  You are special, always be true to who you are

2) Communication: Make sure you can talk about anything, if you can’t talk about it, you will obsess about it and that is never good

3) Love them for who they are:  Don’t try to change them, love them for who they are and if you don’t, they probably are not the right person for you

4) Be Yourself:  If you are not able to be yourself, then move on.  It is hard to live life as someone you were not meant to be.

5) Be Honest:  Always be honest with yourself and with others, then there is nothing to hide, ever.

I consider myself lucky, lucky to have found myself and lucky to have found my perfect partner.


Happy Anniversary Syd, you are perfect for me!

Just watchin’ the world go by.

Road Trippin’


Snuggle kitty


I have been a bad boy.