Archive for the ‘Dogs’ Category

Dingo Weather
May 21, 2014

austin WeatherCould be just my advanced imagination at work, but do you see Austin in this weather pattern?

On the Rocks
May 7, 2013

It’s official, I have now earned the title Doofus after drifting up on the rocks yesterday.  I was doing fine until the motor cut out.  I think it has a low idle problem.  Now that I have a manual I will fix it.  That was embarrassing.  No damage done, save to my pride.

I’ve been moving around a bit because when the swells are too big in the harbor it gets a little pukey on the boat.  Shifting to a different mooring can make all the difference in the world; such as when we had a Santa Ana coming in and I came back to find my dinghy gone.  Actually the whole dinghy dock was gone and there was no access to the water.

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The patrol came and picked me up and found my dinghy for me.  Apparently when the bumpy water comes in they pull the docks to the side so they won’t bash to bits.  Good plan.

And I finally got a little trip into the interior.  This place is Never Never Land meets Jurassic Park.  IMG_0031

I have been riding twice at Middle Ranch (I always think Middle Earth, as in The Hobbit), and yesterday came to a point during a trail ride when the view took my breath away.  I had mountains, ocean, and horse under my butt all at the same time.  A fantasy come true.Interior

Austin is considering running for Mayor of Avalon.  He has been Glad Pawing all over town, expanding his Pack daily.  This place is good for him – and I think good for me too.DogTiles

Back to the Future
April 23, 2013

It seems ironic that now that I live more in camping mode (no electricity) than I have for the past five years, I need advanced technology (smart phone) just to do basic stuff like get and keep jobs.

The good news is I traced back through the solar panel wiring with my meter and found where it was incorrectly connected.  Within a day the batteries were charged back up and no more shlepping heavy computer into town to charge it up.  Home office is back on line.

So now my trips to town are mostly about dog and social stuff.  Sometimes both.  I continue to be amazed by how deaf people get when I tell them no, please don’t touch the dog.

It’s always the same.  A fixed stare at Austin’s big dark eyes and doe-like ears and muzzle, and they MUST touch him.  As if in a trance.   “Is he friendly?” they say, not waiting for an answer.  ComPLETELY unnerving to this 18 lb. dog to have a 6′ tall stranger reach for his head.  I don’t blame him.

Some fool threw chocolate cookies on my deck while I was out and Austin was on board.  a) chocolate can be lethal for dogs b) throwing anything on a stranger’s boat is very poor boat etiquette – not to mention the mess of melting chocolate and c) teasing a small dog for sport is just mean.
So I put up signs:  “Do Not feed my dog, you could hurt him.”  “Do NOT throw anything on my boat, it’s rude”  “Do NOT tease my dog, it’s mean.”

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But it is pretty cute when Austin comes to the “door” to say hi, so I can understand how people might be drawn in to look.GuardDog

Redondo Beach and more
March 24, 2013

I stuck my nose out into the fog at Marina del Rey to see if the NOAA water vapor loop was accurate.  It showed dry clear weather, but my eyes saw a whiteout.  Upon inquiry at NOAA I was informed that the loop only measures cloud cover 16,000 miles up – great if I were going to be flying.

To my delight, it was clear just outside of the marina.  A bubble of sunshine escorted me to Redondo Beach, around the Chevron tanker and tugs.  Once inside the breakwater the fog closed in again and didn’t clear up for two days.  Here is the King Harbor YC web cam view.  RBguestdock

An excellent dog park within biking distance was the main attraction.  As I was leaving the yacht club was installing their docks back in for the season on those empty piling posts above.

My next stop was Hurricane Gulch YC in San Pedro.  HGYC is a paper club that still manages to accommodate traveling cruisers through an arrangement with Cabrillo Marina.  They have possibly the most active cruising schedule I’ve seen, with 11 trips planned during the year.  As a group they have decided that the camaraderie of trips is more important than having an expensive clubhouse to maintain.  I was treated to an excellent tour of town, a tall ship, and the mammal rescue center.  Thanks Jeff, Chuck and Barbara!

Cabrillo Beach YC was right around the corner and much closer to the dangerously fun Kelly’s boat consignment store where I picked up the coveted Bruce anchor I’ve been hunting for.  The marina is a great place to walk the dog, with a nice grassy greenbelt area nearby, but the offleash dog park under the bridge is a bit bleak.

It turns out the Long Beach harbor from San Pedro to Alamitos Bay is similar in size (end to end)  to the Bay Area from Richmond Bridge to Bay Bridge, with about the same amount of traffic.  The Alamitos Bay YC hosted me for three days and we did a burgee swap at their monthly membership meeting.

CaptureTheFlagABYCDogs are not allowed on the beach except at Rosie’s Dog Beach, a bit of a walk up the Ocean Park walkway, on the way to the Arco that sells gas $1 cheaper/gal. than at the marine fuel dock.

Wild Life
March 1, 2013

SealsonDockMdR

It is mating season for harbor seals and for some reason they are coming into the harbor to hang out and birth pups.  Naturalists guess that there is an increased predator population in unprotected waters making it too dangerous to be out there.

The seals completely cover a dock finger, sunning and rough housing, until it twists and breaks off from the thousands of pounds of seals jumping up and down on it.  The docks are slated to be replaced anyway, and the seals are hurrying the process along.  What’s really scary is when they get on the boats nearby.  They are protected by law but people still hose them and yell while menacing with a stick or flag.  The seals are undaunted.

Austin seems to realize he is outnumbered and so has cut down on the bark fest when he sees the seals.  At night, packs of 20 seals or so swim by at high speed chasing fish.  They create strange bubble noises under the boat, sometimes hit the keel (ow!) and toss the boat around as if a power boat went by at 10 mph.  The rushing water sound of their big bodies is punctuated by the heavy plunge of Pelicans diving for their dinner in the dark.

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Austin’s dinner is far less challenging.  He continues to recommend Honest Kitchen dehydrated human grade food.  He makes me wear their shirt when we go to dog parks to let his new friends know why he looks so handsome and healthy.

Dock Dorks is At The Printer!
September 14, 2012

Finally!  And yet, right on deadline.  The last few weeks felt like it took forever and then suddenly, DONE.  Makes me think of the way sailors describe long passages where it seems they are in sight of their desired landfall for days and days, crawling to the finish, and then, ta da, we’re here.  Maybe that’s just a  rhythm that can be applied to life in general.  Or one of those weird tricks that time slow-down during moments of anticipation can play.  Like when an accident is underway and e v e r y t h i n g i s s l o m o …

Printing For Less has been stellar about the whole project.  They even don’t seem to mind that I am paying for it with referral points ( I am the reigning queen of referrals with them ).  And once I confirm that it was good for them too, I will continue to make business and boat cards for people to start saving up to print Issue Two of The LiveAboard Series, The Berkeley Bubble. So if you haven’t gotten your 500 cards for $9.30 with free layout by moi, you can still sign up.  Click here for details.

If you haven’t ordered your copy of Dock Dorks, you still can do that too.  Click here.  There are only 1500 copies in the first printing and I’ll be taking them to APE (Alternative Press Expo) on October 13 – 14 in SF.  The first 50 will be hand numbered and signed.

To ward off the jitters and anxiety about the book I’ve been fiddling with a table / salon bunk project I am making out of thick red Oak from pews salvaged from a Tongan church.  All is well. 

We even got to go to the beach yesterday and Austin ran himself silly zippering back and forth
in the sand.  Happy dog.


Three Year Anniversary
September 10, 2012

Three years ago today I made a commitment to a little white dog to be his protector and number one fan till he is done being on the planet.  My cat Beanie was with me for 15 years, and put up with a lot, but her life was much more stable than the boaty life has been for Austin at this point.

In the Winter of 2010-11 Austin became suddenly    paralyzed and I carried him everywhere for three months, serving as physical therapist and cheerleader.  That time was awful but it also somehow advanced our communication, cemented our attachment and trust, and bonded us thoroughly.  Afterwards it felt like it had been a test and we both passed with flying colors.

I feel grateful daily that Austin is in my life.  He is increasingly more loving, playful and cuddly.  He is not an accessory to my life, but a family member with requirements of his own. 

Happy Anniversary, Boobaloo.

What a Drag – when trash lurks at the bottom
August 31, 2012

I was looking forward to my anchor-out time at Treasure Island, but after the first three times that I had to re-set the Danforth because it picked up bottom-trash from previous visitors (old rope infused with mud, plastic bags filled with who-knows-what),  I thought to rename the cove Trash-ure Island. My efforts turned out to be the entertainment of the afternoon.  “Look at that poor noodlehead single-hander, honey,” I imagine they were saying.  Later I was hailed by a chartered Adventure Cat 20′ wide Chartered Catamaran wedding party, “Hey Brattleboro!” the father of the bride hollered, “We’re from Bennington!” Demonstrating that even far from my landlocked heartland the letters VT can still inspire enthusiasm from far-from-home Right Coasters.

I finally found a spot that appeared to be clean and the anchor held.  Because there were no boats near me and I was pretty close to the guest dock and beach, I put a stern anchor out as well.  Then it was pure bliss for three days.  The wind stopped, the Harley Convention went somewhere else, and the air siren at noon on Tuesday was “ONLY A TEST,” as confirmed by a mechanical voice somewhere in the shrubbery.

Austin was in good spirits, thanks to the easy twice-a-day trip to the clean beach.  He even let me bury him in the sand until I got to his front paws.

Our trip to Richmond and the hidden jewel of the Point San Pablo Yacht Club was uneventful.  We got in after a stop in Berkeley to wash off the mud the stench of which I thought I’d never stop smelling.  And yes, I did wash under my nose.  Why am I surprised that the mud of the Petaluma smells just like the mud of Treasure Island?

We got in just in time for a beautiful moonrise, calm and clear.  And except for the squealing of the train switching yard and noises from KKMI boat yard, it’s a surprisingly peaceful industrial area.  Plus, the YC folks are extremely friendly.


It turned out to be just the place to continue working on my almost finished first issue of The LiveAboard Docucomic Series, Dock Dorks.
Thanks PSPYC!