Stars, Sails - the Parallax View

A family of astronomers at sea... coming soon to a galaxy near you...

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Veterinary Prep for the Bahamas

06 January 2012 | Key West (Boca Chica)
Heather/ sunny and 70F
A little delay in updating this: my apologies! Derek drove me up to Miami on Tuesday and they removed the "surgery" splint I'd been in since they put the plate on my wrist:
Lookit them screws in my wrist! That'll excite the metal detectors...

I know, those screws are pretty long.

They instead installed a Munster cast (no, not the big green guy -- it's designed to keep me from supinating, turning palms-down, which could mess up my future ability to turn palms-up, pronating) that I'll have on for three weeks. It's racier than the previous three-week cast, however, in that it's black:
Back, only this time in black
Back in Black...cast

We stopped a Bobalu's for a take-out pizza. This place is on Coppitt Key just north of Key West, and they have excellent pizza for reasonable prices:
Bobalu's Pizza Coppitt Key

Derek has been very busy the whole time -- not only has he had to take over more of my usual chores, he's been continuing to do his own boat projects. Here is the other base for the helm seat, the one in front of the helm rather than on the back deck. He installed not only the mount, but changed out the hinges on the deck locker and installed bolts to be sure that the locker will stay firm and closed in a seaway:
The deck locker mounted hydraulic helm seat
He then installed an adjustable footrest so that we'd all fell secure at the helm when the boat's underway.

The latest front has almost finished kicking the winds up and temperature down in the Keys, and we are thinking of heading to the Bahamas. And to prepare for that, we need to make sure the cat has all the documents she will need to clear into the Bahamas -- and points south. I found several useful sites. This one has a list of veterinary requirements (Dec 2006) for most of the Caribbean and Bahamas, although is short on links:
Travel With Pets In The Bahamas and Caribbean from "All At Sea" Dec 2006 issue
And this one has links to actual forms, but they would like to sell you their services. Still, the small animal International Veterinary Health form can be hard to find:
Finally, the form as requested by the Bahamas. Note: they will accept a FedExed request and they will fax your permission for an extra $5, as mentioned in their cover page: Application to Import Domestic Animals (including pets)
NOTE ADDED 1/12/2012: The Bahamas faxed back the permit on Thursday, which would be three days after they received that UPS express envelope).

So, today was V-day (for vaccination? vet??):
cat in carrier to see vet

We love that carrier, BTW -- it folds flat and stows on a little shelf forward of the forward bulkhead in the head (accessed through a circular hatch). When you want to use it, the steel tubular construction and strong snaps make setup easy. There is even a little hook to hold the zipper secured when she is in there -- no "kitty pushes her head through the tiny hole where the zipper closes" syndrome. But where to take her?

Being Navy folk, we called the Naval Air Station's veterinary services number and reached Morale, Welfare and Recreation, who told us that there are currently no veterinary services at Key West. Apparently, the Army was supplying the veterinarian, so they wanted the revenues from the service. But the Navy was supplying the building and maintenance, so they wanted some of the revenues, too. And the two just couldn't agree on the proper split, so they canceled the whole thing, for this year at least. Which for the servicemen and women stationed here (and the rest of us) means that an exam and rabies shot that would have cost $5 from Veterinary Services will cost $69 (that's including a 10% military discount). Who's winning this vet battle? Not the personnel, anyway.

Nonetheless, we went to a local vet who does give a military discount, were charmed by the place and the staff and the vet, and recommend him: The Cruz Animal Hospital on Ramrod Key. It's just north of mile marker 27 on the Gulf side, and it can be a little hard to spot (that's A1A Overseas Highway in the background):
Cruz Animal Hospital sign

Their sign is easier to see from the south, but even then it's in among trees.

The parking lot and street-face also doesn't look very much like a business is there (which is kind of charming!):
Street Face of Cruz Animal Hospital

And once you get in, it's a small space with everything you might need.. they even installed boat-style cleats at the counters so that animals on leashes can be easily secured while their human companion checks them in...
Cruz Animal Hospital inside

One thing I loved is that they are considerate. You know how most vet exam tables are stainless steel? To improve comfort and security of the cats and dogs, Dr. Cruz had a closed-cell foam mat fitted to the table top: it's a cinch to keep clean and it must be a LOT more comfortable than cold, slippery stainless! There are pictures of their patients all over the reception area, and some awards Dr. Cruz has received.

Interestingly one such award was for his surgically rescuing Key Deer who had been injured by cars. Key Deer, endangered, protected, are the reason the nighttime speed limit on Big Sand Key is 35 mph. It seems to be working, in that the Key Deer population is much better than it was in the 80s and 90s (and especially since the mid-50s, when the population was estimated at about 25 remaining individuals!): it's around 800 now, but cars kill 30-40 per year: the nice lady in the picture above saw one that had been killed by a car this morning as she drove to work. That's awfully sad, we've driven up and down the Keys multiple times but have never seen them -- we'll have to visit the side road they favor at dusk, I guess, to be sure of seeing some!
Vessel Name: Parallax
Vessel Make/Model: 37' Prout Snowgoose (1982)
Hailing Port: Pensacola
Crew: Derek, Heather and Grant
Two astronomers, looking for variable stars and adventure. After cruising the Caribbean aboard S/V Paradox for 18 months in the early 90s, the crew swallowed the anchor and had a child, always planning their next Great Adventure: cruising under sail with Grant, showing him the world. [...]
We knew that if we ever got a catamaran, we'd want a name to celebrate her twin-hulledness. Parallax is seeing the same thing from two slightly different points of view, which with our two eyes is what gives humans our depth perception. It's also a good metaphor for one of the benefits of marriage. [...]
Parallax's Photos - Main
No Photos
Created 19 August 2013
No Photos
Created 15 April 2012
Derek designs and builds a fridge where there was previously a bunk... and there is great rejoicing!
22 Photos
Created 1 June 2011
The first couple of weeks of the refit of Parallax. It's a messy job, but someone's gotta do it...
14 Photos
Created 21 October 2010

S/V Parallax

Who: Derek, Heather and Grant
Port: Pensacola