• Steve

Dogs and dying sea algae


It’s been a strange week at Parrot Tree. (Well, it’s been a strange month at Parrot Tree but that’s a story for another place). A tide of sea algae moved into the marina, bringing with it a stench reminiscent of death warmed over in an oven set at 450 degrees. Days and days have passed and it stubbornly remains, apparently waiting for freshwater to sink it -- and so ironically we’re waiting for rain after the wettest rainy season in memory....

It’s tough to stomach but it is what it is. This massive algae invasion apparently happens here at Parrot Tree every year -- although it’s supposedly happened much earlier this year than ever before. Guess we’re just extra lucky this year!

The pool is as amazing as ever, secluded from the putrid aroma of the marina and mangroves. It really is like an oasis in the surrounding terrain, something to be cherished amidst the gross smelling mess, if only for the smell of chlorine.

Aside from getting the boat cleaned, getting our laundry done, resupplying the boat, and getting some much needed rest (and sun and relaxation by the pool), we also have been delving into working on some of the more necessary list of boat projects. Getting the AC back up and running, especially given the smell situation outside with the hatches open, was of the highest importance.

Excerpt from the official City Dogs boat log:

February 24th, 2018. We fixed the air conditioning exhaust hose through hull fitting this morning! It was a morning project. As our friend Bobby might say, it’s some of our finest work! It is most definitely a great example of a team job and one of our best jobs replacing through hulls that we’ve done. It wasn’t an easy job, those don’t seem to exist on boats, and we needed to go back to the watersports store a second time at breakneck speed after buying fittings that were just a tad too large, but we got it done!

It took a while to clean out all the sealant from the previous fitting, there was a whole lot of gunk in there -- but once we had all that cleared out we were able to get the screw threaded through the hexagonal nut and from there it was simply a matter of hammering the rest of the fitting into place. Of course, first we had to slather a ridiculous amount of 4200 onto the back of the fitting, into the hole and all over the threads to ensure that we have a good, solid watertight seal. No sense doing any job is it’s not done right.

I held onto the railing of the sailboat from the starboard front end of the dinghy (making sure to keep my head from smashing into the barnacle encrusted concrete dock above) while Andrea, perched on the very front of the port side held a small cutting board over the fitting before repeatedly smashing it with our good claw hammer. It didn’t take long before the through deck fitting was nestled into place and I went back inside while Andrea stayed down below, holding the outside of the fitting with a screwdriver to keep the front end from turning while I tightened the hexagonal nut down into place from the inside (after again liberally applying loads of 4200). We could have used the 5200 but we were advised against it -- as 4200 will be much easier to remove once the plastic fitting cracks and needs replacing at some point (hopefully way, way) down the line. After tightening the nut to a dying strain, we cleaned up and went out for a dinghy driving lesson because I need to get more adept at maneuvering the dinghy than I currently am.

Besides working on boat projects, we’ve also been busy dealing with our furry little four-legged friends, who’ve been having quite the banner week...

Fozzie and Mischa valiantly defended Andrea and Steve from a rogue spider in the bathroom, defending our space while doing nothing to stop the spider besides barking as loudly as possible. Good guard dogs or scared City Dogs?

Fozzie got bit by some fire ants the other day when we went for an extended walk on the nature trail. There were so many of them they were matted down into his fur and really hard to get out. Andrea got bit once or twice herself (ouch!) in the process of getting the ants off the little schnoodle dog.

Fozzie was playing fetch on the beach with a stick and ended up limping, favoring his back right leg, not wanting to put any weight on it. He was shaking, whimpering and kicking his leg out, unable to sit still for a moment. You could feel his physical discomfort. We initially thought he must have been bitten by something, but we weren’t sure.

Andrea got on the phone to the local vet, who happens to be on the island on Wednesdays and confirmed that 1)- there are no poisonous things that could poison the little Fozzie Bear, and 2)- benadryl would be the best medicine to give it he’d been stung by say, a jelly-fish. We don’t have a car so we can’t just drive down to the vet in French Harbor, nor can we just hop out onto the main road for a collectivo taxi (it’s a mile and a half plus uphill just to get there) so Andrea goes into the stem cell clinic and comes out with a needle of benadryl that she half injects into Fozzie’s little butt.

He eventually calmed down a bit -- I mean, who wouldn’t with a system full of benadryl -- but you could tell he was still in a lot of discomfort, kicking out that back right leg every now and again, occasionally whimpering in pain despite 25mg of benadryl. So we eventually got in touch with one of the cab drivers we know on the island (shout out to Rudy) who took us down to French Harbor to meet with Dr. Calderone. He confirmed that there wasn’t anything apparently wrong with Fozzie’s leg -- nothing in his paw or pads, no bite marks or anything that he could diagnose, so he sent us home (without charge) with instructions to watch him and report back if conditions got any worse. Of course, we had to pay Rudy but it was worth it for the peace of mind that came with a professional opinion.

Good news is that Fozzie appears to be on the mend. He still favors the other legs and doesn’t seem to like letting his back right leg bear his full weight, so we’re taking it easy with him, limiting his walks to short ones and discouraging play. It’s tough on a boat to limit his vertical movement, but we’re doing the best we can. There hasn’t been any coconut time in several days but hopefully there will be the opportunity for more play in the future. Seems like it could be several issues common to schnoodles (like genetic issues with their knees, etc.) but we’re kind of hoping that it’s something as prosaic as a pulled muscle at this point. Hard to say but we’re hopeful...

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