February 8, 2011.
While we were enjoying ourselves in the lee of Hog Cay there was a bit of drama unfolding 10 miles to the north at Raccoon Cay.
Danny, a Husky/ Border Collie mix had run off from his people while on the beach at Raccoon. His people and some friends had spent the last 48 hours searching for him. Danny has that urge to “herd” and unfortunately for them Raccoon Cay is home to a few hundred wild goats. Dannys out running with the goats. Oh, and as a bonus, Danny is deaf…..
Jay on Far Niente was celebrating a birthday and for his birthday he proposed sailing up to Raccoon to bolster the search party’s efforts. So at the crack of dawn 5 of us pulled the hooks and headed north. We arrived by 0830 to discover that boaters were headed in from every direction. We ended up with the crews from at least 20 boats scouring the cay as best we could. The cay is a mile wide by 3 miles long. Its entirely covered with dense scrub brush with a few salt ponds scattered about. There’s only one path that crosses the cay to the ocean side.
Christy & I are pretty familiar with the southern end of the cay as we’ve spent more time at Raccoon than most people. Christy walked the circumference of several salt ponds in the hopes of spotting Danny’s track amongst the goat tracks. I used a machete and bushwhacked a winding path across the cay.
I was able to creep upwind upon at least a dozen different groups of goats lolling in the shade hiding from the blistering sun. I would get within 30 feet and then make a little noise and they would jump to alert and then start to melt away into the thick brush. As each group crept away I was hoping to see Danny traveling with them. No luck.
In the dinghy on our way home for lunch we came upon a distressing sight. Our friend Lynn had taken a pretty good fall and had just gotten back to the beach covered in blood. We grabbed her into the dink and headed out towards the Savage Son. We arrived at the boat just as Dr. Bob did. We left Lynn in the Dr’s care and headed home to rehydrate for the afternoon session. Getting a fresh head of lettuce can be a challenge here in the Jumentos but…Lynn needs a doctor and Bob on Savage Son and the husband and wife team of physicians on Brio were here looking for Danny. Lynn was medicated, stitched and given sound medical advice within minutes and all without an administrator or insurance form in sight.
One of the search parties had found fresh dog tracks on the north end of the cay so after lunch Christy & I headed north with 2 other couples. We found the fresh tracks in a small patch of sand on the iron shore. We searched for 3 hours to no avail. As we walked home along the shoreline of the salt pond closest to our dinghies Christy made a discovery. There in our muddy footprints we had left earlier as we crossed the cay was a perfect set of paw prints…..on top of our footprints. Danny had crossed our trail in the last 3 hours. Talk about frustrating.
We hailed his people on the VHF and when they arrived they searched as best they could. We left them with the suggestion that they stop searching because when they spook the goats, Danny chases after them. I suggested they use a pile of dry dog food to bait the edge of the salt pond, hide downwind and observe as the goats wander in. Hopefully, Danny’s goats will be drawn to the food and he might be trailing behind.
After an exhausting day we all went in to the beach at 1800 hours to celebrate Jay’s birthday and compare wounds from the days endeavor. A good time was drunk by all.