STEWART'S YEAR 2000 LOGS
It's not my idea to write this log. In fact I don't really like writing. The snow is gone and soon the bugs will be out. Chasing bugs is much more fun than writing. The sun is warm and the spring ground smells just like a nap. But the Doc has asked me to write because she thinks some people might be interested in what I have to say.
I made my first trip out to the barn to see the big boat being built. It is kind of scary. Phil has made two rooms for me. One is a bed room. Next to it, through a little door, just big enough for me, is a bigger bath room with my own cat box. I will have my own scratching post at the bottom of the mast, just outside my bedroom door. I did not go up on deck. There is a very tall ladder which I can not climb up. Though I am a cat, I never learned how to climb and my jumping days are over. The doc said I can only go on deck (once the boat is in the water) when I have my life jacket on.
They made the deck very safe for me. There is a very tall wall that goes all the way around the boat. They call it a "bulwark". I have seen no cows or bulls working. On top of the bulwark is a net that is held up by tall pipes. They call the pipes stanchions. The net is to keep me in the boat. I can't see over the bulwark so I don't think the net is necessary. They tell me that the whole boat will be tipped over on it's side and the net will be necessary. I am scared of this trip. All the other animals are going to live with the Doc's sister in Massachusetts. I would rather see the world, which is why I am going. I just hope I don't get too sea sick. That's enough for now, this writing business is exhausting. The Doc is going to teach me how to type on the computer machine, someday, when she has time. Right now it's time for a nap!
Stewart's Second Log
I am finally learning how to use the computer…this is much better than writing long hand. Two weeks ago, I was taking a nice nap in a warm sunny window, when all of a sudden this dark shadow loomed by blocking the light. It was the boat- Iwalani driving out of the barn on a huge trailer.
One week ago I got to spend my first night on the boat. It was a lot of fun, but it was cold. I couldn't sleep with all the excitement and freezing temperature, so I decided that no one else was going to sleep either!! I was promoted to chief engineer and got to spend the rest of the night in the engine room. It was much warmer in there, so I finally got to sleep.
I also went to the clinic and had my teeth cleaned. While there, Amy inserted a microchip between my shoulder blades. This will be necessary for me to enter Australia. She had tried to get me tatooed instead, with the documentation number of the boat and a picture of an anchor, but the officials in Australia wanted the chip. She researched it thoroughly and could fine no articles associating it with cancers or tumors. Fortunately for me she put it in while I was asleep; it took her a few tries to get the hang of it and I was the pin cushion test piece.
Here is a picture of the actual transponder. It is a totally passive device with no batteries, but becomes activated when scanned with a special reader. This emits my unique number, much like the number in a barcode scanner in the supermarket. My number and all the paperwork were sent in to the AKC registry where the information will be stored in their computer system. Someday these transponders will be implanted in people and pets and will be able to measure things like glucose levels, so diabetics or others won't have to prick themselves to get blood samples.
Stewart's Third Log
Sometimes I can't understand the human's I live with. They somehow think that their actions in life won't have any affect on anything but themselves. I over heard the Doc talking to Phil. She seems very sad about the other animals left behind. Sydney the lab mix, with dog breath and cancer, is living with her sister and starting to pick up bad habits, that she never had before, like chasing cars. Emily, the other cat, a very schizo individual, was originally going to go to Amy's sister in Massachusetts , but at the last minute, was allowed to stay at house with the house sitters. (There is no way she would have dealt with the boat, she has claustrophobia from having her front leg chopped off by a crazy man and being locked in a cardboard box for one week in the dead of winter. She would have been up the companionway ladder and over the side like a cork out of a champagne bottle.) The dachsund Polly, is also staying with the housesitters to try and give Emily some stability. Even the cliff swallows that were nesting under the eaves of the greenhouse, are affected by the change and have moved on. The tree swallows in the fields also, have moved on. Personally I don't mind the change. I haven't gotten seasick yet and I am the king of the boat.
It will be nice when Phil isn't making so many wood crumbs. At the end of the day they are everywhere- on my fur, in my dish. The boat is starting to look nice though. There is plenty of sunlight which comes through the skylights and even when it is cold and rainy outside, the woodstove keeps the cabin nice and warm. Larry, the canary also likes it out here. He spends a lot of the day singing to the power tools.
My day is pretty much divided between sleeping and eating. I don't really care very much for exercise or fresh air, so this schedule suits me just fine. I get up at eight, have breakfast. Watch the Doc clean my litter box, then mess it up for her. Spend some time trying to find a quiet place for a nap, then have lunch, then nap some more, have dinner, go to bed. It's pretty simple. People think we are cold and wet out here on the boat, but it is very dry and cozy.
The Doc and Phil have tried to plan for every emergency. She has medical supplies for me and the rest of the humans and Phil has tried to fit his entire boat shop into the engine room. Every day they, bring more stuff out to the boat and every day a small amount goes back to shore, deemed unnecessary. We will be leaving soon, once we get the go ahead from the weather guru Phil talks to on the radio. Am I scared? A little bit, but not too much. I trust these humans to do everything possible to make this a safe trip.
Stewart's Log Chapter 4
I have a cousin in New York that believes the earth is shaped like a saucer. He is concerned that we will sail off the edge into the great unknown. In a sense we did. We sailed over the edge, beyond the continental shelf, into water that was over 10,000 feet deep. It didn't look or smell any different than the water that is twenty feet deep.
I am quite proud to say that I am the only member of the crew that didn't get seasick. If anything, the moaning of the rigging competed with the growling in my stomach. I couldn't get enough to eat. It was a trick to eat too. My dishes were securely anchored to the floor with non-skid padding. But there was nothing to keep me from skidding around. The boat rolled side to side, forward and backward. I could grab a bite from my bowl as I skiddered by it. But only a bite. Then I could grab another bite on the next pass. Drinking water was even harder.
The doc got quite sea-sick. She kept it hidden from everyone but me. I remember being that sick one year ago when I had to go to the hospital in Massachusetts for radiation treatment. It wasn't fun. Six days into our trip, Phil found out she was still throwing up and decided we had to turn around. He thought he was torturing the Doc. It was actually a good thing we turned around. The waves were big from a hurricane that was very far from us. But if we had kept on going, the hurricane would have hit us- twice. This hurricane named "Alberto", went north and then turned south again, right over our route to the Azores.
Phil and Justin checked the weather from a radio that broadcasts "weather faxes" onto the computer. Phil showed the doc the pictures. One was of the wave height. She thought the waves were very big. He wanted to re-assure her that they weren't that bad. The picture on the fax said 3-4, which they thought was measured in feet, but in very small print on the side it said-meters. I left the computer on, with "Meters" right on the middle of the screen. This was a serious mistake they were making and it was important for them to know the difference. Feet and meters are not the same! They finally figured it out- several weeks later. The waves were big. Four meters is close to twelve feet! That's why things were flying around like the inside of a blender.
Out at sea there are very different birds from the ones at the shore. They are called pelagic birds. They live on the waves and only come to shore to lay eggs. The most common bird to follow us was one called a shearwater. They flew up to the back end of the boat, floated on the surface, drifted back, then flew back up again. It seemed like they owned their own piece of ocean. Our boat would cross an invisible line and the shearwater that had been following us for miles, would hang back and be replaced by a totally different one. Some birds we only saw at night. They followed right behind the boat and made lots of angry twittering chirping sounds like we were disturbing their sleep. They were called "mother carey's Chickens" They danced around the light off the stern like moths around a porch light.
We had dolphins that swam right next to the boat. Big families with babies and grandparents all swimming together. I could hear them through the planks in the hull, clicking and squeaking. We saw whales off in the distance. Big ones that spouted up big columns of stinky smelling mist- their breath like a fishy cloud, exhaling each time they surfaced. But no flying fish. Not yet anyway.
Now we are down to a very small crew. The doc has been learning how to sail the boat herself. She thinks it is important that I learn how to sail too. They tried to teach me how to steer with the big tiller. I am too small- I couldn't even reach it. So they have taught me how to steer using the remote control on the automatic steering. It is much easier- just push a couple of buttons. Push two buttons and the boat can tack- quite fun to do, especially when they aren't ready. I got reprimanded that this is a dangerous thing to do, making the boat head in a different direction requires one of them to change the sails up forward. Our crew is going to be smaller too. Larry is quite sick. The doc doesn't realize how sick he is. He is not long for this world- but he is very old. Even older than me. She thought she would have been getting a new canary in the Canary Islands. She doesn't know how right she was.
We will be heading south once the weather is right. We will wait for a cold front to come through, so the wind will be out of the North. That way we will go with the wind, which will make it a little easier on the doc. She is convinced she can overcome being seasick. Some of us are not so sure.-Stewart
Stewart's Fifth Log
We've been anchored for way too long in Beaufort SC. The Doc and Phil leave to go ashore in the morning, return at five to light the anchorlight and give me my supper, then leave again and return sometime late at night. It has left me with some quality sleeping time, but I am surprised to admit, I miss the sound of their voices. When it is cold they fill a hot water bottle and put it between my blankets so I can stay warm. I have plenty of books to read, but the TV reception is limited to PBS, which has no commercials; and if you're favorite thing on TV is cat food commercials, it is a bit depressing.
Phil was quite sick for awhile there. The Doc found a human doctor named Dr. Stewart, which she took him to. She chose him because of his name. She said to me, "with that name how could we go wrong?" I had to agree with her. They did something called a "CAT" scan, which was the silliest thing I had ever heard of. They seemed totally puzzled when the results were negative. WHAT WERE THEY EXPECTING! Phil is no cat! Sometimes these humans are a mystery to me.
We are waiting for a few more packages to arrive before we leave again. THANK YOU Sarah and the rest of the girl's at the Veterinary Clinic in Brunswick Maine for my ear medicine. Life has improved vastly for me. I suffer from "allergic otitis" which means I produce too much wax and debris in my ears when I am exposed to things I am allergic to. My ears start itching like mad. The Doc thought she could keep it under control with some different meds she brought along. My medicine requires refrigeration and she was worried that the Seafrost system wouldn't work well- it does. So she tried to get my medicine from different Vet clinics along the way. She went into a place in Newport and just missed the Vet who had left for another clinic. Then she tried a place in Port Jeff Long Island and got very frustrated with the vet, just fresh out of school, sporting a spike hair-do stiffened with some type of epoxy system, who would not sell her the medicine because he thought she might be a federal agent waiting to bust him. She was in a foul mood for several days muttering things like "what has my profession come to, in the old days Vets would have loved other Vets dropping in from different places, we sure don't treat our colleagues like that in Maine." My medicine has a teeny bit of cortisone in it. Which the doc says is less than is found in most OTC preparations. But, cortisone is a steroid, (so too is cholesterol for that matter) and people freak out over the word "Steroid". It might be easier if I didn't like fish so much, because, that I am afraid, is what I am allergic to. I am learning how to fish and have already outdone the Doc on that score. It is great fun and gets me out in the fresh air.
Something has been puzzling me for quite some time. Many of the cruisers we have met along the way, have said to the Doc and Phil, "that they need to replenish the cruising kitty and will be staying in such and such place for awhile." I looked up the word replenish in the dictionary and it means "to fill, or make complete again". I am just wondering what on earth are they feeding their cat? How can they have only part of a cat? This "replenishing" sounds like something I might be interested in; I never feel full, even after a big meal.