A new crew aboard our sailboat.

About BooBee.

She (yes she’s a girl) was 2.5 years old when we first laid eyes on her. She was rescued as part of an abandoned litter, in a drain somewhere in Singapore, we were told. She had been at the pound ever since. The only world she had known was the pound.

Never seen the sea before let alone been in a boat, and there we were bringing her onto our floating home.

She was led on a leash towards the boat. Everything was new and bewildering to her but you can see the excitement in her eyes at being allowed to explore this strange new world.

I carried her over the water onto the transom steps then down the companionway steps into Micasa (the name of our boat). That was the moment she first set foot (paw) on Micasa. Then I realised that she had never climbed a flight of stairs in her life before. I tried teaching her how we humans would climb a flight of stairs. One foot (paw) at a time on each advancing step! It was a hard act to follow. She indicated that she wanted to be in the cockpit by repeatedly glancing up into the cockpit from the saloon aisle. So I carried her up there where she sat, nervously looking around at the idle world outside. She remained there for next few hours. I was never far from her all those while not knowing what her reaction would be in such a foreign world to her. A neighbour sailor happened to walk past Micasa during that time and she looked on nervously at the burly man walking by and grawled at him despite her timid demeanor. That was the moment that I realised she had accepted Micasa to be her new home.

She hardly ate during her first couple of days on the boat. I was afraid that she would starve and tried to get more insight into what she would normally eat at the pound. She was already a malnourished dog. Ribs clearly visible through her thin layer of coat. A glance at her conjured up images of famine ridden Ethiopians that I’ve seen on the news years ago. Her head a little disproportionately larger then her angular torso lined by corrugating outlines of her ribs on the sides. A sad sight indeed!

On the second day she started drinking and eating a little, much to my relief but still way too little to even sustain her little body. She’s a medium size dog and weighed a megre 11 kgs.

She’s not a very food motivated dog I was told by the pound owner. True enough to my observations. She would love going for walks around the marina shores. Never too many walks in a day and she would be like a vacuum cleaner, sucking up all the scents from the ground during her walks. Passers-by would look at her and commented to me that she was very thin with an accusatory look which suggested that I have been starving my dog. Something had to be done fast! I wasn’t use to that.

BooBee (she had been responding to her new name on her second day with us) was a choosey eater. She does not eat Kibble (dried dog food) but only rice mixed with meat, mixed evenly into it. I discovered too that she liked the taste of butter, so along with each bowl of her meal I would mix in a large tablespoonful of butter. She seemed to like eating that and that should improve her malnourished condition rather quickly as well! I finally stopped this practice after a full two weeks of energy rich diet. Her body condition had improved vastly during that period. The corrugation of ribs down her sides were shallower and much less pronounced. Looking at her then compared to pictures taken when she first came on board gave me reasons to be contented that I’ve done a reasonable job of looking after her. She still drew comment about being lean. She has a silhouette of a greyhound with a high hanging tummy. Sexy waist line, the Admiral would comment!

Oh, and the flight of stairs at the companionway – out of the 5 steps she would only use the middle (3rd step). She would leap from the saloon aisle floor and bounce through the 3rd step on her way through the small companionway doors. So much for teaching her how we humans would walk a flight of stairs! Now she’s a blur of vision both going up or coming down from the cockpit.

More on our lives crossing path with BooBee’s – forth coming!

Me and you and a dog named Boobee!

BooBee, my sailor dog standing guard at the companionway door.

Who am I?

My name is Benedict Chin. A Malaysian by birth and for the last 24 years I have been calling the little city state of Singapore, home. I have been working in a corporate environment for more than 20 of those years. I was an executive director in a multi-national company for almost the last entire decade until a restructuring, which saw my retrenchment. That was almost 3 years ago.

And what did I do to help cope with something that drastic? Well, I bought a boat and moved from my high rise apartment to live on the boat with my partner in life (let’s just call her “The Admiral”) I will come back to the “why” in future writings but for now it will be too much details and too far a deviation from the core of our journey towards being sailors. Some journey it was as I was a typical corporate executive who was better at delivering presentation at senior management meeting that say topping up the water tanks on the boat or heavens forbid, berthing (parking) the boat alongside a marina finger pontoon.

BooBee the sailor dog (to be)!

It wasn’t until a few months after we have moved onto the boat that the thoughts of getting a dog to share in our adventures, entered our minds. Some criteria were eventually decided upon before we even started looking for a dog. The dog should not be a big dog as there is limited space on the boat. Our floating home is a 2003 Jeanneau 43 DS (a 43 foot sailboat). It has, I would guess, around 500 sq ft of living space. It would be less that the floor area of a 40 ft container. The width would be more or less the same as the container but the smaller and more pointed extremities at both ends make it much lesser a floor area than a 40 ft container.

The dog will have to serve some functions as a guard dog as well hence it shouldn’t be too small. Size does matter to some extent when it comes to a matter of deterrence. The thought of an “instant” adult dog through adoption was rather appealing as well.

So we went looking at the dog pounds for rescued dog to adopt. After a few days, spread over a couple of weekends we would have seen quite a few dogs but none came through as hot favorites. Oh, there was one which almost made it to this list however, she was adopted before we actually got to see her in the flesh.

At the last dog pound which we visited, we came across a skinny looking mongrel (a female) which warmed up to us by jumping up on me. In retrospect, I think she chose us rather than we chose her. Over the following week there was quite a bit of WhatApps messages going back and forth with the pound owner for information on “Bopit”! Yes that was her name. She was 2.5 years old at that point. The following weekend we adopted her.

Before she came to her new floating home, we have decided to call her by a different name. One that sounds a little similar to her existing name but a little easier off the tongue. “Bopit” has a hard edge to it so something a little rounder sounding like “Booby” may be better. So the name “BooBee” came to be.

Introduction : this blog is a real adventure in life involving my sailor dog and I, and the sea!

Someone once said that it is the things that we did not do rather than the things we have done that we will regret most, towards the end!

This is a real life account of BooBee’s journey from a pound dog to a Sailor dog.  At the same time it is also my journey from being a corporate executive to a liveaboard sailor.

There are many parallels between our two journeys and interestingly enough both our journeys took place at the same time.

Past lives :

Pound dog : Wake up in a pen amidst the mayhem of a hundred dogs (each in their own pen) barking for no apparent reason.

Lunch is the next major event , but there will be a few more hours to kill before that. After lunch comes the major event of the day. She’ll be waiting for her turn to be led outside for a walk, on a leash. At least she’ll get to poo poo on some grass, and sniff around a bit.

After the walk, there will be another few more hours of waiting before dinner. Then it’s lights off. This life is no different from a prison life. Void of nearly all sensories. Hard to imagine how she coped with two and a half years of that before our path crossed.

Corporate guy: Rushed to work in the morning, sloughed through the day then coming home at the end of the day when the sun has gone down many hours before, “tired as a dog!”, just to get a bite to stave off the hunger pains and to rest a bit so that it can all be repeated the following day! 

Always yearning for a bit of an escape when there was time enough to have a perspective glimpse of what life had become!  The feeling of imprisonment was always inevitable.  Sad, miserable and most of the time, rather pointless! 

Like most others, I would put on a brave face and called it a career, a fulfillment of my life’s ambition while playing out my role as a bread winner and provider of a roof over the head!

Both, in a prison matrix of sort, one dreaming of doggie paradise, the other a paradise both at sea and by the seaside.

Both pound dog and the corporate guy are destined for an adventure at sea, living on a floating home together.

This blog is about our lives (Sailor dog and yours truly) on Micasa, our sailboat home. We are liveaboards. Neither one knows much about the sea before that, let along living in the sea, on a floating home and from time to time setting sail towards Islands and land reachable by sea.

If you do not have the time nor the opportunity to seek out your dreams, come and live our adventure through this blog.  It will be updated regularly with real life accounts both from our not too distant past, as well as the present . 

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Happy reading and do remember to live life in the present.

Cheers!