Kelly Belle passes thru the Wind~
11 January 2014 | Cedar Point, NC
"....many waters I have sailed
throughout the voyage of life~"
How do I begin to honor my best friend, my companion, my first mate for the past 15 years. Maybe I can begin with how she lived....but then, anyone who has followed our adventures would know exactly what kind of special dog Kelly Belle was. So I only know to tell of her adventures....the 'best sea-dog' ever!!
She came into our lives the spring of 1999 when we had decided to bless our new island home with a pet. Having gone out to find a kitten, we returned with a sweet little blonde furry retriever with a dark nose and ears. We found our 'brown-eyed girl'. Her training began immediately, as she would ride my shoulder as I swam out through the breakers off Emerald Isle beach. She was an excellent swimmer and loved surfing back in on the waves. Many a youngster was delighted by her willingness to bound out through the crashing waves to fetch a ball or stick that was thrown. She would go all day with boundless energy if I would let her~
Once I knew she could pass extreme swim conditions, I knew she was ready for sail training. She was a natural. She loved sailing on Hobie catamarans, she was always on the high side and instinctively knew where to place her weight. Folks of the Bogue Inlet got used to seeing us fly by up on a hull or skim across a shallow sand bar. Upon sailing past Carrot Island off Beaufort, she jumped ship and swam ashore in pursuit of herding some island ponies. Once I beached the catamaran and hiked into the dunes, there she was holding off the stallion while she had penned the whole herd into a tight circle...a natural.
Although she has sailed on too many vessels to mention, she loved small boats the most because of the intimacy and nearness of the water. At a moments notice, she could be wet. So in the fall of her 10th year, we searched for the perfect kayak/canoe design that would accommodate both of us. We found a 12' Magic in Wilmington and began a whole new chapter of cold weather adventuring up rivers and within the marsh creeks. Places we couldn't reach by sailing vessel. I know for sure her favorite boats were the catamaran and kayak.
This past year, in her geriatric age, we opted for a beautifully sweet 22' catboat. I knew she would be able to ride in comfort as we were to take her final voyages. She got the best of both worlds because she was able to sail in comfort long distances, come into some sweet coves by kayak to discover remote beaches and maritime forests. And the decks of this catboat are low enough to be excellent diving-in platforms...if we came close enough to shore and she saw me heading for the anchor, she knew it was ok to go ahead and scout out the new location. Job no.1, was to scout out a fresh batch of sticks for throwing. When we weren't in the water or on the docks, we were investigating islands and paths through the marsh and brush.
Her last voyage this past fall down to Bald Head Island was epic! Although I coined the name, the 'geriatric cruise', she would not have wanted anything more than to spend 24/7 onboard a vessel going anywhere with me. This was definitely my gift to her for a lifetime of adventures. Just her and me and the sea!
Lord knows how much I miss her already~