Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Dog Blog!

Warning: excessive use of the words ‘’pee’ and ‘poo’.

Back in early February we started  thinking about adopting a cat or a pirate’s parrot to keep us entertained on the boat.  We were living in limbo in Honolulu waiting for a weather window to sail back against the trade winds from Oahu to the big island of Hawaii.  So we wandered over to the Humane Society and took a look.  At dogs.

This was my first time at the pound.  I felt like I was at a pooch penitentiary and my job was to pick out the innocent dog.  Sylvie and I went from cell to cell.  Too big, too small, too yappy, too much.  Then we walked to a cell that had two dogs in it.  One little beige guy barking and jumping all over his cellmate, and his cell mate.  His cellmate sat there and took the paw and bark barrage with the nonchalance and disinterest of a true Hawaiian. 

Within 15 minutes of seeing him for the first time we adopted him.    We had our bikes with us so the walk home was a bit awkward with our new friend.  Halfway home while crossing the outskirts of a baseball game a small pit-bull bolted from his owner and went straight for our dog, canines out.  I blocked the attack and grabbed the pit-bull by the scruff and communicated something at the owner.  In the midst of the whole thing I dropped my bike on our new dog and the sprocket cut my shin pretty badly.  The dog was ok but my leg was a mess.   I think he probably wanted back in his cell at the pound.   Too late.

Naming the guy was no problem.  Back in 2009 on a trip to Brazil I met a dog in Ilha Grande (not far from Rio).  The dog’s name was Kachichi.   On the first day a friend and I were taking care of him he was totally confused at the lack of his master and therefore refused to poop.  On the second day he pooped close to ten times.  We took him for a hike to a waterfall where we tried to encourage him to swim but he preferred to guard our backpacks.  What a guy.  Needless to say he left an impression on me as far as dogs go.  Our new crew member looked exactly like Kachich (the first) and we therefore immediately named him that.  

After about three days of saying “Chichi, chichi, chichi, chichi” he got it, he responds to it, if we say his name while on the phone he comes wandering over. 

I really know nothing about dogs.  Sylvie had a French Poodle named Buttons who sounds like she was a whiney little bitch (minor exaggeration for wordsmithing purposes).  But we ‘re both smitten with this little guy.  Let me give you just a few examples of his cuteness.
-We’ve taught him to give us his paw.  So now, whenever we’re about to feed him or give him a treat he’s immediately waving his paw in the air.
-Whenever we’re sitting around he’ll come lean all of his bodyweight on us to the point where if I move my leg he just falls over.
-Sometimes when he goes for a pee with his leg up he ends up pooping. 
-If one of us goes outside and then comes back in, even if only gone a minute, he goes wild with excitement to see us.

Anyway, that enough gushing over Chichi.  We love him and he fits in really well aboard the boat. 

As for an update on Sylvie and Dan…..

We have now been in Hawaii for 5 months.  Our first two months were spent exploring the islands and the rest were in Honolulu and the mainland.  We left the boat at a marina in Honolulu while we went to San Francisco and Vancouver but were then trapped there afterwards.   Our plan all along has been to settle in Hilo on the east coast of the big island but we wanted to cruise the island first.    Since the trade winds always blow out of the north east in this part of the world, it means that going west is really easy, but turning around and going east is really hard.   So we had to wait for the trades to ease, which can take weeks.  In our case it took 6 weeks.

Honolulu wasn’t terrible but we have mixed feelings about the place.  It’s big, crowded, polluted, overrun by tourists and expensive.   On the other hand it has beautiful hikes, endless beaches,  great food,  friendly locals and incredible surfing.  While we were ‘stuck’ there we tried our best to take advantage of these pros.  I surfed at least once a day, either with the sunrise or the sunset in perfect, all day, ever day, 1-3 foot waves.   Sylvie refinished all of the exterior wood on the boat until we found out she was pregnant and then I finished it off.  Oh ya, we’re pregnant, to those who we haven’t told.  She went on long daily walks and swims along the nearby beaches and we tried to stay as active as possible. We had some great visits from friends and even made a few at the marina. 

But when the wind shifted we were both completely ready to go.  Chichi on the other hand wasn’t quite ready.   Our plan was to sail from Honolulu to the west coast of the big island and anchor over night, then work our way around the island the next day.   Within about 30 minutes into our journey we spotted our first whale.  Then the second and then we were in the middle of what I can only assume was the whale migration from Hawaii to Alaska or something.   I sound like a marine biologist.    We caught a fish, whales surrounded us and we had the occasional dolphin visit. 
Chichi was having an OK time of it.  I fed him some raw fish and a biscuit at one point.  He vomited one of them up but by the time I came to see which one it was he’d already eating it again.  He kept everything else down. 

We were really lucky with him because he came (mostly) housetrained.  On the first night we had him he pooped on a rope toy we bought him but after that he never did again.  But while we were sailing he had to.  The wind came out of the south and made the anchorage I wanted to stop at a sloppy mess so we pushed on for Hilo, making the trip a 48 hour non stop sail.  Chichi got more and more desperate as time passed.  He didn’t want to let us down by pooping on deck again but with a lot of encouragement we got him to go on an upside-down floor mat.  He lasted 24 hours for pee and 36 hours for poo, in case you wanted to know.

We’ve now been in Hilo for two weeks.  We’ve gotten into a good rhythm here.  We bought a crappy old Honda station wagon to get us around and we’re land hunting.  Life in Hawaii remains awesome.

Dan, Sylvie, Chichi & Ustupu

Chichi playing with his Kong, oblivious to the sock scarf I'd placed upon him. 
Valentine's Day chocolate fiasco. 

Every Friday night there are fireworks in Waikiki at 7:45pm.  This is where you'll find Chichi hiding. 

Sylvie trying to get Chichi to do something, at Hale'iwa, Oahu.

Hiding in the grass, a throwback to his stray days. 

Dan's birthday

Sylvie makes a meat exception when she's pregnant.   It has to be grass fed though.