Feels Like Home

Why haven’t I posted exciting pictures of our travels? Or talked about new places? Because we haven’t moved in a long time.

Honey loves it. It feels like home.

I'm Honey. And I live on a boat.

I’m Honey. And I live on a boat.

How We Live On The Boat

It’s our first year living on the boat. And we’re trying to figure out how to keep everyone happy.

I love novelty. I enjoy seeing new places, meeting new people, and then getting the heck out of Dodge before I get bored (or irritate the cool people I’ve just met).

My husband Mike likes habit. He enjoys settling into a place. And most of all, he loves eating in restaurants as much as possible.

And Honey? What does Honey like?

Mostly, she likes to be with us.

Honey the golden retriever looks down the companionway ladder.

Did you go somewhere without telling me?

Would you be surprised to know that Honey never barks in frustration because Mike is in my one part of the house and I’m in the other?

You shouldn’t be. Since our current house is only 34 feet long and 10 feet wide. It’s pretty hard to lose track of anyone.

Honey is in heaven.

But there’s one more thing Honey likes about where we’ve landed recently—the neighborhood. It feels just like home to her.

Welcome To The Palmetto State

After many weeks of cold and slow travel through the North Carolina section of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (a series of linked rivers, sounds, and manmade canals that allow boats to travel the east coast while protected from the open ocean), we were happy to find warmer temperatures in South Carolina.

Red buoy in the Chesapeake with birds.

One days we’re underway, this is our neighborhood.
Didn’t you know that coastal navigation is sailing from one pile of bird crap to the next?

We’ve been in Beaufort (pronounced Bew-fort) at Lady’s Island Marina for the past month.

Honey the golden retriever at Lady's Island Marina.

How do you like my current home? It has the stinkiest sand to roll in.

We will be here for at least a couple more weeks before heading north to the Chesapeake Bay.

What’s the draw in Beaufort?

For Mike, it’s the marina workshop he’s using to build the boat’s new composting head (toilet).

For Honey, it’s the big sandy yard where she can roll on her back. And where she chases her new doggie friends who live on other boats in the marina.

Honey the golden retriever feels at home rolling in sand.

I have to keep rolling. I haven’t picked up every smell and twiggy thing in my fur yet.

And for me? It’s finally being able to wear shorts and bare feet and having a happy husband and dog.

Being here for so long has changed all of us a little. But none more than Honey.

And it has helped me discover an interesting new intelligence she has.

My Dog Has Situational Awareness

When we lived in a house, Honey would bark to let us know she wanted to go outside.

I expected that to continue once we moved on board. And I wondered how stressful it would be to have her bark when we were underway and couldn’t possibly take her to shore.

Honey the golden retriever while dinghy is being assembled.

You want me to ride in that thing? How do I know you’re putting it together right?

But it never happened.

Honey very quickly learned things were different.

She understood she couldn’t get off the boat when she wanted. She even learned not to bark.

Honey knew that her communication couldn’t change anything. So she stopped talking.

But lately that has changed.

It’s pretty easy to take Honey off the boat using her ramp. The marina yard is only a few steps away. Honey has new dog friends she plays with every day.

It’s almost like being back in the only home she ever knew with us.

And Honey has rediscovered her bark.

While I’m working in the boat cabin, Honey will give me a stare when she’s ready to leave the boat.

And if I don’t respond fast enough, she’ll bark. Once.

She knows it’s almost as easy to take her out as it was when we lived in a house. So once again Honey talks to tell us she wants to go out.

I believe that once we’re traveling again, Honey’s situational awareness will click in. She won’t bark to let us know she wants to pee. She’ll wait for us to let her know it’s time.

Honey the golden retriever has boat dog adventures.

Excuse me, can you tell me where the little dog’s room is?

I don’t think any of my earlier dogs would be able to make the shift.

Honey is smart. Honey is eager to please. But I also think Honey feels at home.

What’s Next

Once the new head is installed, we have a few more boat projects to work on.

Most of all, we need to get our dinghy engine ready to use so the current doesn’t sweep me and Honey away when we take a potty break while anchoring.

Honey the golden retriever and Pam row to shore in dinghy.

This rowing thing is really a piece of cake. When you’re the dog.

And then we have to go north.

Our insurance specifies that we need to be north of Norfolk, Virginia by June 1st to be out of the way of hurricanes.

Nope, we won’t see Savannah or Florida this year. Maybe next year.

Where will we go? Not sure.

I’d like to visit my family in New York. Mike wants to go to Canada. Of course we’ll spend plenty of time in the Chesapeake Bay.

But no matter where we go, we’ll know Honey feels at home by the way she barks when she has to pee.

Honey the golden retriever yearns for friends on the boat.

There’s no place like home…

Update: A few readers of yesterday’s post pointed out that my picture was of a poisonous Sago palm, not the Palmetto Honey likes to chew. Apologies for the error. Expected since I’ve lived north of the Mason Dixon line for 30 years. And it’s why I write a dog blog, and not a plant blog.

Your Turn: Does your dog behave differently when you change your living patterns?



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  1. I’m glad to hear Honey has adjusted so well. As for our dogs, mostly, as long as they are with us, they really don’t care where we are.

  2. Well, Honey is a wonder dog, we all know that. She seems to have settled right in hasn’t she?

  3. We keep the same routines and procedures pretty much wherever we are, but we haven’t tried living on a boat.

  4. I wish Honey would write a book on adjusting to change for Barley. We’re still firmly planted on land, but from the way Barley’s handling our move, you’d think I’d asked her to live on a boat, too! It sounds like Honey has lots she could teach Bar 😉

  5. That’s awesome that Honey has adjusted to boat living! Phoenix likes to alert me that the UPS guy is driving around but I’m not sure that counts! LOL

  6. I think Honey will be happy wherever you and Mike reside. She’s definitely in love with her humans! Be safe and I’ll see you next time you’re back in Charleston – THE “Best City for Pet Traveler’s” 🙂

  7. Very interesting post! We had hoped to go to Beaufort last time we went to Myrtle in September, but we couldn’t spare the extra time. Hopefully next time!

    When we go to our condo in MB, the boys know the same as Honey. Bathroom habits have to change. There’s an elevator involved and they understand the auto-opening glass door in the lobby. Of course, occasionally Jimmy’s a little too speedy and hits the glass before it is fully open 🙂

  8. Honey is a great and smart dog! Be happy because you have it by your side.

  9. Oh bless her

  10. No doubt Honey has settled into a nice routine she can rely upon that makes her comfy, physically and emotionally. Good for her and good for you guys as well. I’m sure this year has been one of adjusting to the new ‘surroundings’ be they on land or at sea for all of you. Happy weekend! ღ