Friday, March 27, 2015

The Window

There is something that is important to think about before each boat trip, or crossing, and that is what is referred to as the Window, or Weather Window. We recently replaced the windows on our boat to keep the weather on the outside of the boat for once, but that is not what we are talking about here. It is not a real window, it is an opening, an opportunity to sail in the desired direction without having Mother Nature bitch-slap the crap out of you like a whiney 7 year old having a tantrum. In our case, the first leg of our Bahamas trip involves crossing the Gulfstream. On most days, no biggie, we have fished in the Gulfstream hundreds of times, and although we respect it, we do not fear it. This respect means that we know better than to blindly enter it with no regard to wind and waves. This is the part where we prevent a good bitch-slapping. Here in south Florida, the gulfstream cruises almost due North, right off the coast, and pretty much emcompases the majority of our crossing to Bimini. Any front that moves through, heads south in a hurry, and when it is forecast to blow 25 knots headlong into the gulfstream, it will create some pretty bad waves. We had planned to make this crossing tomorrow, but there is a cold front blowing through tomorrow, and depending on the timing of it's arrival, the crossing could be barely squeeked in, or it could get ugly pretty fast.

The thing is, you need to avoid the bad things that you know about, and deal with those that you don't, and somehow live to tell about it. Plowing through 10 foot seas 4 seconds apart is not my idea of fun. Neither is a good old fashion butt kicking, so we have decided to recheck the insurance policies, and wait for a better weather window, probably on Monday. That should give us a chance to get a bit more organized, and hopefully do this crossing in better conditions. Even if it means we have to motor along into an East wind. So, we wait. No Chuck Norris style butt kicking this time!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Where's Waldo, I Mean, Where's Guincha?

We are beat. I mean, hey, how much can someone take? We are trying to get this boat moving, but I seem to have some kind of organizational dysfunction, while at the same time, we are trying to decide what to keep and what needs to go. Notice that I said needs to go, because there is just so much aboard the boat that there won't be room for us soon! We actually have duplicates, and extra stuff galore, so we have whittled and parsed down quite a bit over the past few days. So at least we have that. But, how much dog food to bring? Our 35 pound Podengo is on a special diet since her near death experience a few years ago. It seems that, contrary to common belief, dogs cannot eat anything they want. They are not garbage disposals, plate cleaners, trashcan inspectors like we all think they are. The typical high fat dogfoods and fatty table scraps we always indulge our beggars with are actually killing them, and that is what almost happened to our dog a few years ago. She quit eating. I immediately knew that she was seriously ill, having an unspoken "food spirit bond" with my fellow inhaler of anything food related. Then, she had diarrhea, then some blood came out, then she quit drinking water, all in about 4 hours. This is bad, really bad we thought, so we have to take her in. It was Sunday afternoon, Mother's day, and her vet was closed, so we took her to the only place around that would see her. An animal hospital, of sorts. The place was small, and had a Veterinarian there to see her, but we didn't see any high end furniture or decorations in the lobby. This was strange, because what they charged us was insane, we could buy a car for the bill we paid. At least get a sofa and a decent television in the lobby area, you're killing me here. As it turned out, we had been killing our dog with love. It seems that too much fat is hard for a dog to digest, and the pancreas cannot handle it. We almost killed our little dog by sending her into full blown, fatty food induced, pancreatitis. OMG. We had no idea. We thought that dogs were four legged piranha. We were wrong. Sorry Guincha, no more bacon bits. No more avocado (her favorite). No scraps. No plate licking either. Sounds terrible for a dog, but, she has been on a super low fat diet, no more than 8 percent fat from that day on. Many standard dog foods are 30 percent fat or more!

That was almost three years ago, Guincha is now almost 10 years old, and is still happy and full of life. These dogs are rare, we got her to the states from Holland, and at the time she was one of maybe 15 dogs in the states. There were some in other countries, maybe 300 or so. This is strange to us, she is so smart and engaging, we can't believe the breed is in such sad shape. The dog genetics suggest that the dogs are very early in the evolution of dogs, even older than the Pharaoh dogs painted on the walls of the Great Pyramids of Egypt. So, it looks like to me, these dogs should be adaptable, able to eat anything!

Now, Guincha is on a special dry dog food, and that's it, except for a scrap of baked chicken breast to top things off. She doesn't seem to mind, she likes her food. But, how much to bring? Her servings are a 1/2 cup by volume, in the morning, afternoon and evening. But her food is by the pound. So we are going to weigh a serving, and figure it out. But, other items are not so easy.

What about toothpaste, conditioner, soap, razors, and other bathroom stuff you want to take? Sure, these are available, and can be bought anywhere, but not the brands you are used to. And nothing is worse than crappy tasting toothpaste first thing in the morning. Some things you really don't care so much about the brand, but want to get in the States, due to the cost savings. Coffee, meat and paper goods are examples. So, along with finishing last minute projects, unloading unwanted items from the boat, getting much needed supplies on the boat, well, the boat it seems couldn't take it and it threw up. It looks like it anyway, complete with one 35 pound Podengo right in the middle of the chaos. Where's Guincha? Can you spot her?

By the way, a tube of toothpaste lasts us about 40 days, that's twice a day for the two of us. This is what our life has become. Who would guess that there are 160 toothbrushings in a tube. And why would anyone care? Well, one brushing with that blue Colgate Gel toothpaste, that's why. Ick.