A Herd Of Turtles & Very Large Hearts

Oh Baby It’s Cold Outside…Yes, even in Florida.  Due to a major dip in temperature, our sea turtles are experiencing  the second largest cold-stunning event in the Florida Panhandle since 2010, when approximately 1,800 sea turtles were rehabilitated. Sea turtles can become “cold stunned” — when their bodies go into shock due to frigid temperatures — when the waters get below 50 degrees in shallow bays and estuaries…..

Enter our Snowbird Heros….

Jann Gallager, retired officer for the Department of Natural Resourses, and a prominent and much loved member of the exclusive “Dog Walkin’ Furever Friends”,  assisted in rescuing over 850 “cold stunned” sea turtles here in Cape San Blas. Some of the sea turtles she rescued looked like they weighed more than she did!  Jann transported them approximately one and a quarter hours into the hands of Gulf World, in Panama Beach, FLA., where they are recovering in warm waters.  According to Gulf World, most of the turtles will recover within the week and returned to their waters – depending on the weather.  However, some have suffered pnuemonia and will require extra tlc.

Jann Gallager, retired officer for the Department of National Resources, and a prominent member of our Dog Walkin’ Furever Friends, assisted in rescuing over 850 cold stunned turtles.


And our Jann wasn’t the only hero here in Barrier Dunes.  Retired Vet, Jan Masica, and an owner in Barrier Dunes, stated in her facebook post that “the  turtles were rescued by people walking the shorelines and either hand carried out or transported in sleds, kayaks, and tarps. There were also people out in kayaks gathering up the turtles that were floating in shallow waters”.  Jan was instrumental in gathering many “Snowbird” volunteers to aid in the rescue and transportation of these beloved Cape San Blas sea turtles.

Jan Masica, retired vet and owner here at Barrier Dunes was instrumental in gathering snowbird volunteers to assist in the rescue


Now if that doesn’t warm your heart, I don’t know what will.

Back a few days upon our arrival and first beach walk.  It was a little cool..well, actually it was a lot cold! But we arrived at our second home and amazing beach.  Miles of “snow” white beaches, with very few people enjoying it except us Snowbirds and our pups!


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Journey and Brody goofin around.  Nice height there, Journey!1st Beach Walk 2018-14

Forever Friends…1st Beach Walk 2018-8

Yes, that’s a Canadian Touque..1st Beach Walk 2018-9

Brody’s first dip1st Beach Walk 2018-19

A happy crew!1st Beach Walk 2018-31

And now for the necessities….Piggly Wiggly’s for groceries and The Dockside for our traditional Grouper Fingers…oh yeah!


Can’t get enough seafood…Yummy shrimp donned our tableIMG_2470

and very tired pups after a wonderful day of sunshine, swimming and playing with their friendsIMG_4675IMG_8362


And then enters Christine, Phil and Olive!

Are they here yet?Christine, Phil and Olive's welcoming-2

While we wait…..

Magic plays with reflections on the sand..Christine, Phil and Olive's welcoming-3

And there swimming, of courseChristine, Phil and Olive's welcoming-7

Tam Tam with her ball…Christine, Phil and Olive's welcoming-12

And goofin around…Christine, Phil and Olive's welcoming-10And trying to dunk the turtle hero…Christine, Phil and Olive's welcoming-15

and trying to make up with the turtle hero…Christine, Phil and Olive's welcoming-14

And there they are!  Christine, Phil and Little Olive with her ball!Christine, Phil and Olive's welcoming-16

Can you think of a better welcoming???Christine, Phil and Olive's welcoming-17

True to form!  Christine, Phil and Olive's welcoming-22

After more than a year, we are reunited with our dear friends!Christine, Phil and Olive's welcoming-23

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One happy, wet puppy!Christine, Phil and Olive's welcoming-32

So there’s a story about milk and the way it’s packaged in Ontario, Alberta and ummm…now in Florida.  Bags vs Jugs.  Our dear new Ennismore neighbours, Mary and Jeff, swear by the jugs and have…ahem, made a little fun of our Ontario milk “bags”.  So, as seniors, let’s see how this fends for us trying to open the “jug”….IMG_6284.JPG

So what do you think?  Bag or Jug?  Regardless, we are dining on amazing grouper fingers made by our boys….YUM!

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Last but certainly not least, the ladies are dining out at Apalachicola’s Owl Cafe, (with shopping to follow!) while our men are golfing….our favorite place to eat!


An amazing first week!  Now we wait for Claudio, Kimmy and Meca to join our clan this weekend!

Let me leave you with this….


Life Is Good…..


Full Circle – We’re Baaaack, Cape San Blas(t)!

After one amazing New Years Eve “pub” party at Don & Lea’s and closing said pub at 3:30am, we set out for our Florida adventure, after a delicious Rowan breakfast @ 11:am, and headed to our first stop, Windsor.

And. It. Was. Cold!  -22C and that’s not with the windchill.  You know it’s cold outside when your feet can’t get warm in the car!  The drive was fine, the hotel..well that’s another story.  PM me if you want to know what hotel in Windsor NOT to book.  I’ll leave it at that.

Off we go in the morning around 7am, temperature is now -16C.  Still very cold?  Oh no…as we travelled SOUTH, the weather got colder.  Yes, right back down to -22C until we arrived at our next stop, Knoxville Tennessee.  We stopped at La Quinta Knoxville Papermill and I recommend this hotel.  It’s right off the I95, clean and the beds are very comfortable.  They’re dog friendly and the breakfast is yummy.  Now on to our final destination!IMG_4627

The temperature was still around -8C, cold, but nothing like the -22C temps that were consistent until Tennessee.

We watched as the temps creeped up to 8C as he headed into Florida.  When stopping at the Florida welcome centre to have our traditional cup of orange juice, the nice lady there asked where we were headed in Florida, as all roads were closed from Tallahassee to Jacksonville..due to a freak snow storm.  Accidents all over the roads!  Luckily we were headed to The Cape and the roads were dry, but sky overcast.  Just as we caught sight of Port St. Joe (the closest town to The Cape), the skies cleared and the sun shone brightly on the ocean.  I’ll take this as a sign…


As we turned onto The Cape, Brody (who is a very quiet guy and doesn’t make much fuss) started crying and looking out the window, trying to alert his hooomans, that finally after being couped up in the car in this silly seat belt, he’s headed to his favorite place…Cape San Blas(t).  Where dogs can play on the beach and life is good.

We arrived at approximately 5pm and were greeted by our friends and most importantly in Brody’s world – his girl Tam Tam.  He was so happy to be here, I think he wore our his pal:-

After a fabulous dinner, totally cooked and presented by Trevor, joined by Nancy and Jannie, we headed to our Condo to a much needed rest.

Ahhhh….lovely nights sleep, awakened to thoughts of all the great memories we will make here with our friends, both furry and human.

The Cape awaits….

I’ll leave you with this…


Life is good.


Friend, Amigo, Pengyou, Vriend, Sadiq, Ami, Freund, Vinur, Cara, Amico, Filos…

…over my 61 years, I have been blessed with many Friends.

And many of these friends are asking me where the heck my blog has gone.  Hmmm…See, I was thinking (always dangerous) that maybe I was inundating people with them, so decided to cut back.  However, what I’m hearing is that many of my dear friends like to read em!  So, I’ve got some catching up to do!

Here at Cape San Blas(t) our pack keeps growing!

from left to right (Mikey, Ken, Ruth, Susan, (Trevor is missing) Kim (Claudio is missing), Jann, Nancy, Christine, Phil, Michele, (Leslie is missing), Catharine (Pete is missing) and Megang1

Most of our new friends are snowbirds, however, some are also owners here – but ALL of them are dog people.   Many of our closest friendships have been through our dogs.  Most of you know that is how Mikey and I met…and he didn’t have a dog!

Here is Jan and her lovely family…. Jan is a fellow photographer and an owner here.  Jan blesses us with her wildlife photography, beautiful sunrises and sunsets.


Here’s Carol and Andy…another very talented photographer and owner!

16129197_10158238754525454_910684649_o… we also have Catharine who wears many hats as a photographer and Professional Dog Trainer.


and her hubby, Peter – who is a vet and with this pack, very handy!  feb-2-28ok, now your getting why I don’t need to take my camera out every day?

Suz & Trev…our dear friends…Love you both LOOONG time


And then there’s Ken (who introduced Mikey and I) and Ruth..again dear long time friends


Christine & Phil whom we met here last year!  Love you both LARGE


Nancy Jean, we met last year and have visited back and forth from Michigan and Pickering this past year.. beautiful inside and out.16252024_10158255327495454_5423493161732891761_o

Jannie, our little leprechaun “shenanagator” we met last year and again visited back and forth to Michigan.. so thoughtful and giving16463191_10158319184150454_2523451866368014731_o

Kim and Claudio..we met them  here last year, but really got to know them this year.. Love you both


Our fun Wisconsin friends that brought us some of their amazing CHEESE!


Leslie..where did you go!?  I didn’t get to say good-bye to you.  So wonderful to have met you and I hope we can keep in touch!


and here is a random friend that we met just today…


So…you get the picture (no pun intended) right?  We got a lotta friends.. and they keep growing. If I’ve missed anyone, it’s cuz I haven’t got a good picture of you..so c’mon over and we’ll fix that.

Now to the point of this blog.  Like family, there are many types of friendships..acquaintences, old, new, casual, besties…When it comes to socializing here at the Cape, due to the size of our pack, many times we can’t do it all together.  But that doesn’t mean that we don’t try!

Merriam Webster defines friends as:


So blessed to call you all my friends.

I’ll leave you with this:-


Life IS Good……

We Made It…..

…despite the weather.

We slept in a bit on the 2nd days drive, and it’s a good thing we did.  As usual, before leaving the hotel we double, triple check the room to ensure that we haven’t left anything; had a great continental breakast and headed out for LaGrange Georgia, our second of three travel days to Cape San Blas(t).

All was great driving through Kentucky and then into Tennessee when I asked Mikey to hand me my sunglasses, as I was driving.  OK, my family and friends know what’s coming next, as I lose my sunglasses everytime I travel.  I have an expensive taste in glasses, so during every day life, I always make a point of knowing where they are at all times.  Dominican, lost my Gucci’s.  Next Dominican trip, I lost my Maui Jim’s.  Last year at The Cape, I lost my Tiffinie’s (which were prescription glasses and our new found friends, Pat & Rick Smith found them!).  Michigan, I lost my prized polarized Ray Ban’s.  And now, I’ve lost my newest designer glasses who’s name I can’t remember..(some guy that charges a lot of money for his name). But there’s good news!  I call the hotel, Country Inn and Suites, Georgetown Kentucky, and they found them!  I can get them on the way back…in TWO MONTHS!  The other good news is that when I stopped at Costco, they had these amazing polarized sunglasses, which I love…and they were only $25.00!  Maybe that’s the way to go.  Like everything at Costco, if you like ’em..pick up a couple!

The drive through the rest of Kentucky and into Tennessee was beautiful and sunny…Then on to Atlanta, Georgia.  All I can say is..Atlanta, we are no longer friends.  We’re breaking up and I never want to see you again.  Highway closures, accidents, detours and even more accidents.  Nope, no more second chances for you.  We’re done.  I’m going to take up with Nashville and i65 from now on.


Next morning, we both awake early and decide to forego a Cracker Barrel breakfast (really?) to get on the road to our destination..Cape San Blas(t)!

The morning sunrise is beautiful…mist and all.



Better still, the temperature is warming up!

img_0124-2(that’s 22 celsius for the Canadian folk)

And we are (almost) there!  We arrive at the Piggly Wiggly…..


….and bump into Trevor & Suz and friends we met here last year who are from Ottawa, Claudio and Kim.  So it goes like this…I run into pick up a few things and Mikey stays outside with Brody.  He’s sitting on the bench in front of the store when Trevor sits down beside him…they have a good yuk  and then  run into Kim & Claudio, friends we met at the Cape last year who are from Ottawa.   I come out of Piggly’s and see the gang….Trev tells me Suz still in Piggly’s.  So I go back in and spot her at the fish counter.  I sneak up behind her and give her a hug…she sees it’s me and immediately starts to cry and hug me and tell me how much she has missed me…we’re hugging and Suz crying when I say..”Suz..it’s only been a week since I’ve seen you”…as the nice lady behind the fish counter looks on in disbelief..Canadian’s eh?

WE ARRIVE to our home away from home.  It’s like we’ve never left!  We dump out stuff, change into our shorts and head for the beach with the Lewin’s……and so it begins…..


Suz doing her happy dance!


Brody is beyond excited to be back on the beach!first-beach-walk-and-dinner-2



Lovin life!first-beach-walk-and-dinner-13

It’s contagiousfirst-beach-walk-and-dinner-14

The three Amigo’sfirst-beach-walk-and-dinner-16

Two newbies! Their first year at The Cape…betcha it won’t be their last!


Then two pups become three as Kim, Claudio and Mecca join us on the beachfirst-beach-walk-and-dinner-19

Mecca strollinfirst-beach-walk-and-dinner-24





At last!….Ruth and Ken arrive and meet for dinner at our place with the Lewin’s…Suz yummy, yummy Chili and some shrimp boil..


First of many, many wonderful meals together…just missing two more of our buddies, Janny & Nancy…They’ll be here soon!


What an amazing beginning to creating some wonderful memories!


I’ll leave you with this…


Life Is Good…..

Good-Bye Cape San Blas(t) – See you next year!

As I type this last Barrier Dunes – Cape Escape Blog, we are driving into Port St. Joe’s for the last time this year.  What a ride we have had!  We take with us these very special moments….

Amazing new forever friends (Jann, Nancy, Christine & Phil, Carol, Jan, Lissa, Pat & Rick, Julie & Mitch, Margaret & Steve, Jana Wendy Jackson, Kim & Claudio)  .  Amazing old forever friends (Trevor & Sooz, Ken & Ruth, Steve & Diane).  Lots and lots of fury friends (Clover & Magical, Journey, Olive, Andi & Hope, Maggie, Charlie, Jackson, Tammi, Pearl & Boji, Scout & Cabo, Mecca, Rory & Seamus and all the others that names escape me, but not their beautiful faces.  Oh the beautiful beach.  White sand.  Long walks. Dogs playing   Sea shells. The sea.  Sunsets (thank you Jan, Carol, Christine).  Fantastic sea food (St. Joe Shrimp, The Owl in Apalachicola, The Sand Bucket!, The Indian Pass, The Dockside). Horse Back Riding on the Beach!  Dog Mardi Gras in Apalachicola!  Golf @ St. Joseph’s Bay (didn’t see the three legged alligator, but did see one with 4 legs and BIG TEETH).  Singing on the beach.  Cigars on the beach watching the sunset. Turtles.  Fishing. SUNSHINE!  Dolphins!


Friday – Trev and Sooz offered for Mikey, Brody and I to extend our get away for another two day by sharing their condo!  We gladly accepted their gracious offer, as we just weren’t ready to say good-bye to The Cape and all our friends just yet.  The four of us invited our precious Golden forever friends for a luncheon at our place.  Well, it was more a leftover and get rid of everything in the fridge and freezer lunch.  It was wonderful….

Jann with Magical…she made herself right at home!

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Sooz and Trev

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Nancy and Mikey

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Journey looking for a hug!

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Brody and Journey playing tug of war with Journey’s new stuffy

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Brody, as the only male on four legs, need to survey the street

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Trevor, the stiff upper lip Brit is really just a teddy bear when it comes to 4 legged fur babies

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Nancy, Jann, Sooz and Trev

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….and Mikey!

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To Jann’s surprise, Nancy brought brownies and candles for her Birthday on March 5th!

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The girls left and then it was time to get it together and clean the condo, pack, and get ready to move over to Sooz and Trev’s for a couple of days…

Saturday: – It’s moving day!  After the morning walk (without the camera), we moved over to the Lewin’s condo for the weekend.  The pups were over joyed!


The men decided they wanted to golf and I politely declined as I was more than tired and didn’t sleep well at all.  As a matter of fact, my mind was so busy – I slept only 3 hours that night.  Sooz and I decided to take the pups over to the Hammock Trail at St. Joseph’s Penninsula National Park, which was very relaxing.


Only thing missing on this beautiful but dead tree is an Eagle!




















Check out the turtles and their “friend” lurking…he was huge!  This is right outside of The Lewin’s condo!



And some feathered friends….




saturday-2Trev made us a curried chicken and rice for dinner…it was delicious!

Off to bed to bag some zzzz’s in anticipation of our last full day at The Cape.

Sunday – Lovely walk in the morning.  Found THE SHELL!  The beautiful clam shell that looks like a heart…Problem.  The clam was still alive in there.  Snif, snif…Mikey suggested that I should put him back in the ocean to set him free.  He was right of course.  I would have felt soooo guilty had I have kept him.  Met our Golden Girls – love walking with them and their fur babies.  Sooz and I were then off to Port St. Joe for some shopping and lunch.   What we didn’t know is that downtown Port St. Joe rolls up it’s sidewalks on Sunday.  So we went off for lunch at The Dockside.  We ran into Margaret and Steve.  It was quite busy, so they suggested we share a table with them.  So glad we did.  Lovely couple that have been coming to Barrier Dunes for the past 5 years.  They gave us some fun things to do next year when we return.  Steve suggested we try the Oyster shot…Raw oyster in a shot glass filled with a Bloody Mary.. Oh yum!  Off to St. Joe Shrimp to pick up some grouper fillets and oysters for our last fish fry while in The Cape.  The boys cooked up the most fabulous Grouper fingers and fried oysters.  So fitting for our last vacation dinner together.  Headed down to the beach (actually RAN) to catch the sunset.  Mikey caught some great shots on his iphone and Trev with his camera.  Cigars, wine, sunset, pups and FRIENDS…..  I LOVE MY LIFE!!!!

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Catching some rays while Sooz and I head to shop in St. Joe’s

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When we returned home from shopping, we found this guy in the backyard…

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Amazing sunset!

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Tried to watch the Oscars, but fell asleep..awakening at 4am. Ugh….

Monday – Couldn’t get back to sleep as too much to do!  Early morning walk was scheduled for 7:30am and not the normal 9:30 in order to get a head start home.  Met with our Golden’s on the beach and didn’t they buy us all a “Life is Good” t-shirt and beautiful cards!!.  Of course they didn’t forget Brody and Tammi either by including a couple of oyster bones!  We spent the walk telling each other how much our vacation was enhanced by each others company.  So blessed to have met these two fabulous women.  THEN….Sooz found “the clam shell”…intact, but with no clam inside….We were both jumping up and down like school girls.  She proudly gave it to me telling me that “I told you we would find it today”….Gladly, she was right!

Journey wanted to get in on the hug!

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Beautiful Clover

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“Look what I found Robz”!!

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One last swim!

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The Pups didn’t cross the line!

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My special friend…

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See you soon Jann!

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See you soon Nancy!

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I will leave you with this….

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”

Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey


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Until we meet again…..



Cape San Blas(t)#100happydays

Rise N’ Shine!  We get why Florida is called the Sunshine State!  However…….this morning it had one angry sea and wind!  So windy we lasted only 10 minutes on the beach.  Once you got out of the wind, it was lovely..

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This little guy even tried to escape the sea!

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Alas…say what you want about Northern Florida being ccccooold….this is beautiful white SAND, instead of the nasty stuff you have to shovel at home!

The boys headed off to golf.  Apparently Trevor had FIVE, yes FIVE layers on, not including a toque and hat on top.  Too bad they didn’t get a photo…they must have been concentrating on their game, or better still, trying to keep warm and swing with all those clothes on.!

Sues and I on the other hand decided to have a day with the pups in Apalachicola.  Our mission was to get Sues “Turtle” home.  This is a concrete turtle that must weigh 60 pounds.  She’s been determined since she saw this beast, that she is going to bring her prize home to Canada.  We also wanted to get the pups fitted for a new easy walk harness. Both of us have trouble hanging onto our dogs when they get it in their head to dislocate our shoulders by leaping in a different direction.  So off we go…..

Our first stop was to get a shot of the famous Indian Pass…Too bad the garbage bins were in front…next time I’ll take Sues up on her offer to go move them!

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After spending over an hour shopping, and in the case of Brody and Tammi, sniffing around in The Oyster Bones, and being fitted for brand new harnesses, we headed off to have lunch at the Owl.  This is our second visit, as the first was very impressive.  The unique thing about this lovely restaurant, is it’s pet friendly.  So, we dined with Tammi and Brody in the sunshine.  It was beautiful and sunny and WARM.  The pups enjoyed their bones and we enjoyed fresh shrimp stuffed soft tacos….The picture below doesn’t do it justice…very affordable and delicious!





Our hostess, Christine was attentive and brought out a large bowl of water for the pups.  She knew how to get on our good side!



Thanks Christine!  You made our visit that much better!



Now…off to get the turtle…..  I wait in the truck with the pups and Sues goes in to buy the turtle.  We were there earlier and negotiated the price and advised we would be back to pick it up..Problem is, neither of us can pick him up!  So, the owner goes a couple of shops down and finds a willing young man that will carry this tortoise to our truck.  A lovely young gentleman finally emerges trying to look as though this turtle isn’t 70 pounds of concrete, gently puts Sues treasure into the back of the truck…..Only to realize, it’s lost it’s toe!  Back he goes (and I bet right about not he’s thinking why he agreed to do a good deed for two retired ladies) along with Sues to find another….It all worked out ok and I’m sorry we didn’t get the young lads name.  He was so nice to have helped us out.



This beauty will accentuate Sues garden nicely…that’s if Trev can lift the sucker!

We ended the evening inviting the Lewin’s over for a Chili dinner, topping it off with cigars and wine on the deck……Truly amazing day…AGAIN!

I’ll end with this…..I totally get it!


Life is good…….