The Boat Dog
Story by Princess Michelle Hilton - the Dog
Edited and Recorded by Judith Lawrenson
Pictures by Bill Lawrenson
I was an orphan (or- fan). For me, boys and girls, that meant that when I was very small I had no one to care for me. As you can see from my very cute picture, I am a Shih Tzu, but I really don’t remember who I was before I became Princess Michelle and joined my new and loving family. One night a very kind young man found me in Miami, Florida (my am e, floor uh duh). If you look on a map of the East Coast of America, you can find Miami near the very bottom of the long pointy finger thing that comes down into the ocean. I was sitting on a street corner in the pouring down rain under a traffic light, and I can tell you, I was freezing cold and very frightened (Frightened is a big word for very scared!).
The young man picked me up in his car and took me to his parent’s home. They lived in Florida at the time, but as my life with them unfolded, I lived in many places, and traveled to many other places, believe me! My new parents were what people call "in the military." They were a Coast Guard family and many of the homes I shared with them were by the seashore. My new family loved to sail and be near the ocean. I came to love being on the water too. That is why my story is called "Boat Dog" and this tale of a wonderful trip to the Bahamas Islands and Exuma Islands is just one of my many adventures sailing on a big beautiful boat called Loligo (Lol-y-go). See if you can look up that word in the dictionary or go on line with your parents and see what you can discover about it.
Loligo started the trip I will tell you about from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina with a crew of four. That is where I live now and also why I added Hilton to my name. I used to be just Princess Michelle but I liked the way it sounded with Hilton added to it because it is a part of my home. Do you?
The crew left Hilton Head Island from Skull Creek Marina on a very overcast, cold morning. What an exciting name. Skull Creek makes you think of pirates and adventures doesn’t it? From there they headed for the Gulf Stream and then down the coast to Florida. The ship then crossed from Miami (Florida) to Chubb Cay and on down to Nassau. (Look on the map to find these interesting places.)
I could not go on this long ocean voyage, but I came in a very exciting way too. I flew in an airplane-do you believe it. Mom, I call my owners Mom and Dad because they take care of me, carried me in a soft case with a padded bottom. There was a net front so I could see what was outside and did not have to be in the dark. I did not worry, because I could see there was nothing there that would harm me.
I felt very safe because I could always smell Mom near me. She flew with a friend of hers and they always sat right next to me so I was never really even nervous. Can you imagine sitting down in an airplane or the airport and having a DOG next to you? Lots of people asked about me and looked at me, but to tell you the truth, I was very sleepy and do not remember that much. I think there was something in my food at breakfast that made me feel very relaxed. I don’t mind though. I think I might have been afraid or nervous without it because I had never, ever been in an airplane before.
What excitement-Nassau! Dad and his sailing friend met us at the airport. From the airport, we rode in a taxi to the boat dock. The boat is anchored at a place called Yacht Haven and it is very beautiful. I walked all around with my leash on and saw many interesting sights. We were only here a short time, though, because this isn’t really what the trip is all about. I looked off the side of the ship as we left and said good-by to Nassau and could not wait for the next stop. We are headed for the Exuma Islands. Even the name sounds different, and interesting doesn’t it?
The water is a bit rough on our first day out, but no one seems to mind too much. We are all out for an adventure, after all. Oh, how thrilling! Here we are at our first island-Allan’s Cay. We have stopped here to see the iguanas (e gwa nas). I don’t get to come off the boat-I don’t want to anyway though. I think one of these guys would like a Shih Tzu for lunch! Allan’s Cay is famous for these iguanas and they are only here on this one island.
Someone brought them here years ago and they stayed and really liked it. Now, people come here just to see them. I must say it is quite a sight, but they are certainly not as good looking as I am! Oh well. I guess one iguana must think another one is just the right thing!
As we went across to the beach on the other side of the island later that afternoon, we saw some little tiny shell groups clustered (klus-terd) together under water.
How different they looked. Oh, there is a beautiful sea fan too. We also saw some old rusted out engines here. When I see things like that in my travels, I always wonder why and what-do you ever wonder that when you see something different and no one tells you what it is or why it is there?