Friday, July 8, 2011
How to be a Tourist With Your Dog Series: Boating to the Bahamas with a Pitbull
With the exception of our annual Canine Cruise around the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, our dogs are fairly landlocked, and I'm always curious about the dogs that do get to leisurely boat around. So we've been so excited to hear the insider's view about how Laura, Hans and their adorable 1-year pit puppy Wilbur spent several months living on a boat --appropriately named Knotty Cat-- and sailing from the Northeast to the Bahamas. From tales of no dog areas, to on boat potty training and the warm welcome in the Bahamas, here is an example of how Wilbur and his family boated to the Bahamas:
When Hans and I sailed our boat to the Bahamas this winter, our one year old pit bull, Wilbur, made the journey with us and let me tell you, a wonderful time was had by all!
And it wasn't until we arrived in the Bahamas that we really experienced what I would call true freedom while traveling with a dog. You see, we spent last summer aboard our sail boat on the eastern shore of the United States in the Chesapeake and Potomac, and every time we went ashore with Wilbur we were brought up short by the posted signs on every beach, park, sidewalk, and blade of grass, that forbade pets, and practically drew a line in the sand and dared our dog to place even one pitty paw over it! Just try to walk around The National Mall (a hugely open expanse of land) in Washington, DC with your dog 'cause it ain't gonna happen. Yes folks, signs along its entire perimeter contain a long list of no-no's and in addition to no cigarettes, food or drinks, man's best friend is not allowed to prance upon the land of the free and the home of the brave! And since last summer was so stinking hot this meant we couldn't safely leave Wilbur alone on the boat (akin to leaving a dog in a hot car), so going ashore usually meant me staying (and sweating) on board with Wilbur while Hans went ashore and enjoyed air conditioning and free WiFi.
We never encountered even one 'No Dogs Allowed' sign and we ended up taking Wilbur to pristine beaches, open air bars, and one restaurant even told us if we kept him off to the side no one would probably care. We rarely left Wilbur on the boat alone but when we did, we didn't worry about the heat as the temperatures in the Bahamas during March through April hardly ever goes above the mid 70's and there's always a breeze.
We never let Wilbur off his leash and we always cleaned up after him, and for the most part he was a good boy, but even the most well behaved children (oops, I mean dogs) can have an off day. Like the time Wilbur inhaled a huge hunk of hard salami while on the beach at Treasure Cay (best known for being one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world) and promptly puked it up. At least he was a gentleman and made his deposit right beside a palm tree where no one was likely to step in it and I quickly buried the evidence in a pile of sand!
And then there was that day at Pets Pub in Little Harbor. Normally, Wilbur is a very discreet and slightly lady like pee-er and he just barely squats when he goes about his business, but that day at Pete's something got into him, perhaps it was the beat of the music from the band that was playing. Anyway, Hans had gone to get us a couple of beers and I was lazily gazing out at the water when I felt a tug on Wilbur's leash. I (and everyone else) was then treated to a most unusual sight. Wilbur, with hind leg proudly held high, performed an intricate, hoochy coochy, three legged dance in front of a group of people, all the while sending out a delicate stream of pee. I don't know if he was marking his spot or simply trying to write his name in the sand but I was mortified. I hated to reprimand Wilbur for expressing himself so artistically (after all Pete from Pete's Pub is an artist himself!) so I ever so casually followed behind him, and while smiling ingratiatingly at everyone around us, shuffled sand over Wilbur's creation and no one even seemed to care.
I'm happy to report we dinghied (posse free) back to our anchored boat shortly thereafter.
potty on the boat and therefore doesn't need to be dinghied ashore day and night in order to do his business! Talk about smart!
And while having a dog on board adds an extra element of work and worry, I really can't imagine a life without Wilbur. So if you ever have a chance to go to the Bahamas and think you'd like to take your dog (or cat) with you, go for it, you'll have a great time!
We loved hearing about Wilbur's travels, and you can read more about him and his family on their blog Knotty Cat Tales. Fun Fact: Wilbur's family was the first one that ever started reading, and commenting on, our blog when not even our own parents read it.
We've been so excited to read everyone's posts, and even if we can't literally do the trips as featured, we do find it so inspiring to see the amazing things other people do with their dogs. And it's always a good reminder for pit owners to doublecheck and do the research first to make sure that there is not BSL in the areas you might be traveling.
In case you missed them, you can also read about things to do with dogs in Seattle, Kansas City, Nashville, Alaska, and Chicago. And you can read about roadtripping with 4 large dogs here. We do love hearing insider's tips, and if you would like to share your hometown, please click here for more information or contact us through our Facebook page.