Monthly Archives: October 2014


Cooper in his Life Jacket

When the weather is nice we often spend one weekend day out on the water.  A few weeks back, we discovered what so many South Florida boaters know about having fun out on the water.  It’s pulling up to one of the many sandbars.  That Saturday, the full moon created extensive sandbars near the St. Lucie Inlet.  We had so much fun exploring that we decided the next time we went on the boat, we would bring our Papillion, Cooper, too!  


First things first, we ordered a PFD for Cooper.  The above photograph is of Cooper trying on his new vest.  Then last weekend, after packing the boat bag with everything Cooper might need, off we went.


Here is Cooper posing on our 18′ Boston Whaler, Good Karma.  We chose Cooper for this adventure because of our three dogs he is the smartest, friendliest, and most easy going of all.  In fact, one of his many nicknames is Mr. Smarty Pants.  


For his first time on the boat, Cooper did amazingly well.  He sat on the bench between me and Peter and enjoyed the ride.  It did not take long to arrive at the sandbar.  After placing the anchors, I climbed down the ladder and Peter handed Cooper to me.  He immediately began to swim.  Together, we headed for shore.  Once on shore, the PFD did not hinder him in the least.  He ran up to the first group of children he saw and made some new friends.   



Cooper Amazing Swim Dog!

When I removed the PFD, in a blink of an eye, Cooper was off chasing  birds.  All I had to do was call his name and he ran right back to me.  Then, together we explored the sand bar.  Crossing a small stream over to another bit of sand.  We found crabs, hermit crabs, clams, scallops, and all manner of fish.  Before long it was time for lunch so we headed back to Good Karma to get out of the sun.

Click this link to watch Cooper swim in a tide pool:


After a fun day out of the water we now really have a Salty Dog!



Why Paddle Board?

Everyone is asking why or how did we decided to get into Stand Up Paddling (SUP)? To explain I must tell the story of my very first SUP experience which took place two weeks ago.
First, a little bit of back story.   Peter grew up on a skateboard and mountain climbing. Both activities took advantage of his natural ability to balance. He though SUP would be the best activity, yet.   I, on the other hand, never had great balance.  I have developed my balance over the years with Yoga and so I thought I might be O.K. But honestly, I am by nature a total klutz.  I remember one evening, years ago, walking on the sidewalk on Delray Beach and literally falling into a large cactus. OUCH!
Dan and Jaclyn told  stories about their experiences Paddle Boarding. I asked Jaclyn if I could go with her sometime.  About two weeks ago she invited me to meet her at her parents home on Siesta Key at 9:30 am. Without hesitation, I said yes! Not long after pulling into the driveway and saying hello to Philip and Peggy we were off to the Gulf. Their home is ideally located across the street from the water. We crossed the street and went down a private resident only beach access and emerged on the bright Siesta Key sand. 
Jaclyn took one look at the raging Gulf and said, Oh my, Dad, I thought you said the water was calm today? Philip suggested we look out past the large breaking waves.  Once past the breakers it did appear fairly calm.  Scanning the horizon, we then noticed hoards of surfers riding the giant waves to shore. Surfers typically surf the Gulf a handful of times during the year. Otherwise, the Gulf is as smooth as glass.  Just to up the ante, beyond the surfers was a very large church group performing baptisms and singing on the beach.  
The wind was whipping. Jaclyn mumbled something about not really wanting to get wet. In spite of everything we pushed our boards into the water and paddled furiously past the breakers. Oh and yes, we definitely got wet getting out there.
Once safely beyond the breakers Jaclyn patiently instructed me in the finer points of SUP. Where to put me feet, how to get up and how to paddle. I was game to try so up I went and then a swell would throw me off the board and into the surf. Up again, paddle a few feet, then back into the drink. We paddled along, then rested before I realized that we were WAY off shore. I don’t think I have ever been that far out unless I was in a boat. Jaclyn commented that if I was not a swimmer, we would not have gotten in the water today. It was also helpful that I was able to get back up on the board no matter how many times a rouge wave threw me off. 
We did have fun and we kept paddling around. Jaclyn was up 99 percent of the time, while I fell into the water about 100 percent of the time. Eventually she suggested we head into shore. She told me to hang onto the board and paddle to get in, any way physically possible. As luck would have it, I caught a giant wave and flew toward the beach. I had zero ability to do anything but just hang on. For a scary moment I thought surely, I was headed to ground zero at the Church service.  It seemed possible that I might take out the entire congregation!   Suddenly, there was a nice (Church?) lady trying to help me with the board.  In fact, it was Peggy who with Philip  had been on shore nervously watching us the entire time. They imagined the two of us drifting out to sea. 
In spite of everything, we did get a few photographs posted here today.  No way do they clearly illustrate how far out we were or how big the swells were. You can see from my hat in the top photo that when wet it obscures all vision. That’s why I was determined to not get my hat wet on my voyage with Peter! 
Needless to say, it was a day to remember.  I think this story convinced Peter that we would have lots of fun with a couple of SUP’s.  And so with that amazing experience our adventure began . . .

Paddle Board Adventure!


We went Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Venice today.  The shoreline is muddy and lined with Oysters so to get into the water without damaging the boards it was necessary to improvise.  An old dingy tied to the dock did double duty as an impromptu floating dock.  We used it to slip into the water without scraping the boards or getting stuck in the mud.  

It took Peter all of 5 minutes before he was standing up and paddling down the creek toward the Intracoastal.  Of course, I had to stand up and paddle after him.  We had ideal conditions, low wind and we were with the current.  I decided in the event of a boat wake I would just kneel on the  board and paddle into the waves.  I was hoping to hang in and not fall off!!  Since it was early Sunday morning where was not a lot of boat traffic.  Of course as we came to the end of the creek and the beginning of the Intracoastal a boat flew by.  The knees on board plan was a lifesaver, or shall I say hat saver.  I did not fall off and I did not get my hat wet!  

Once on the intracoastal we crossed over and headed North with hopes of finding a way to get over to the gulf.  We paddled in and out of small lagoons and around mangrove islands until we met up with a group of fishermen.  I asked them if they knew of a good way to the Gulf and in fact they were able to direct us to a hidden location to portage over without climbing or cutting a trail through the tropical forest.  I was first to beach and slip through a grove of Sea Grapes.  It was just about 50 steps from there up a small hill and then down another small hill and directly into the Gulf! WOW! This is exactly what we were hoping to find.  What luck!

The East wind created perfect conditions for paddling on the Gulf. We headed North up to a big, bright umbrella on the beach, we turned and went back to our starting point then South a bit then back to the Umbrella.  It was a beautiful day with little wind and the Gulf was smooth as glass.  Then I happened to notice the man under the umbrella, he was NUDE! OMG a Nude beach!  Kinda gross, but oh well, to each their own . . .  

We paddled back near our secret passage, put the boards on shore and had a swim before portaging back over to the lagoon and the dock.  As we entered the trail we met a man hacking at the vegetation, of all things he asked us if we happened to have a Hatchet with us?!  Oh, yea, a Hatchet is just this thing to bring on a Paddle Board Adventure! He had a dirt bike and was riding the trail but it had become overgrown over the summer.   

Back on the lagoon as we neared the Instracoastal two boats went by.   This time  we were able to maneuver the wake without kneeling on the boards!  We returned to the dock and if you can believe it, we had not fallen off once.  It was FUN!  It was BEAUTIFUL! All you see out there is trees and mangroves. The next time we go I will bring my camera and take photo’s of the birds, nests, fish jumping and anything else I am able to snap while paddling.  Once we returned to the dock Peter took the photo’s I am posting here today.