Sunday, November 23, 2014

On The Move

Dylan and Dee Dee wish to apologize for the neglect of their blog these past couple of weeks. It has been a busy time as they help move the boat south in search of warmer climes. Unfortunately, they were not to be found. The whole crew watched in dismay as the weather map showed freezing temperatures all the way down to Florida. One morning in Hilton Head, South Carolina, Dylan and Dee Dee awoke to a temperature of 25 degrees F which is bad enough in itself, but a Google search revealed it was 23 degrees in their homeport of Castine, Maine. It was so wrong.

But true to form they managed to make the best of it and visit several new stops. After leaving Charleston Harbor Marina - mutiny adverted by pulling out some of the special treats - they had an offshore run to Lady's Island Marina in South Carolina where every boat seemed to have a dog onboard.

We decided to move 4 nm south to Port Royal Landing Marina in search of 70 degrees. We found a friendly marina in a beautiful neighborhood perfect for walking the crew but still cold.  A 13 nm hop south to Skull Creek Marina is where we awoke to 20 degree temperatures and high winds. We were all getting a bit discouraged.

Nine more nm to Harbour Town Yacht Basin meant a day at an amazing resort marina where we were able to shed our coats but forced to keep our sweaters. aCappella looked pretty good at the dock and we even snuck away for a fabulous meal overlooking the water and a gorgeous sunset.

After several more travel days we find ourselves anchored off Cumberland Island - a big hit with the four and two-legged crew. The temperatures have finally risen but that brought rain and fog. Thanksgiving will happen for us at the St Marys, Georgia cruiser's dinner, our first time attending. We're all hoping for sunshine and warm weather. But ultimately we're happiest when we're all together.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mutiny in Charleston?

We love to visit new places on our boat. Every season is a mix of our favorite stops and locations we've never been before, or haven't been to in a while. One stop that always makes it on our itinerary is Charleston, SC. We love the city and the food and all there is to do, plus we have very dear friends who live here. In the past, we've stayed a few days to a few months.

It's not a bad place for the the kids either - they've always managed to to have a good time. But this stop turned into something quite extraordinary for Dylan and Dee Dee.

If I've failed to mention it before, Dylan loves dolphins. No, I'm serious - read the blog...

Dee Dee generally follows Dylan's lead and runs to the bow when he gets excited but we've never had the feeling that she fully understood what the fuss was all about. All that changed this week at the Charleston Harbor Marina.

We requested to be placed out on the A-dock extension this time because that's typically where the other transients are and we wanted to be close to our peeps. In the past we've been in one of the A-docks slips and know that the dolphins like to feed along the edge of the docks there. What we didn't realize was that they also like to feed along the extension but there, the docks are narrower, there's no fence in the way, and it's close the the breakwater opening where dolphins can come into the basin. You can see a satellite image of the marina at the link below. We are along the long side dock on the western side of the marina on the bottom half.

Charleston Harbor Marina

During our first afternoon here, two dolphins were chasing a fish back and forth between the dock and our bow. That got Dee Dee's attention!

Since then it has been pandemonium. The second the crew is finished with breakfast, they're out. The day is filled with the sound of eight paws roaring from the bow down the side to the cockpit and back again as they follow the dolphins' movements. Even the fail-safe method of calling "treats" doesn't always get them in. Getting them in for bedtime is a chore but then they crash for the night.

Needless to say, this past week or so in Charleston has been a good time for our canine crew. The problem, it's time to go...

The weather window is lining up for us to hop offshore to Hilton Head. The crew doesn't know it yet and we're concerned that when the engines start there may be a mutiny. They've threatened once or twice in the past but this time could be for real.

We're thinking of maybe sneaking out under the cover of darkness. Of course, that would mean we'd have to get out of bed without waking them, start the engines without a sound, hope their food clock malfunctions, and pray that no dolphin makes a snorting noise. That could be doable, except for the dolphin part.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ripped Off Again!

Just in case you have never seen Dylan and Dee Dee's blog before, Dylan loves dolphins. To make sure you fully understand, Dylan LOVES dolphins. On good days he spends most of his time underway running between port and starboard just hoping for a glimpse. However, we have a rule on aCappella that no dog is allowed outside the pilothouse alone when it is rough weather or dark out.

We left Wilmington, NC to head offshore overnight to Charleston, SC mid-afternoon. The plan was to head out the Cape Fear Inlet before dark. The sun was setting as we neared the inlet so we switched on our navigation lights and found that the stern light was not lit.

With Jeff leaning over the edge of the flybridge replacing the bulb, Dylan sleeping in his first mate position at my feet, and darkness quickly falling, a dozen or more dolphins appeared off our port quarter leaping high out of the water playing in our wake. What to do! Should I wake him and let him out to greet his buddies? There was just barely enough light to see them so is that really considered dark? Did I want two of my guys out there leaning over the side of the boat in darkness?

In the end I simply enjoyed the sight and let Dylan sleep. I ask you, is he really being ripped off if he doesn't even know it????

Friday, October 31, 2014

Trick or Treat!

Dylan has been lucky enough to experience a real Trick or Treat a few years back when we were in Maine for the holiday. He loved seeing the scores of children that came to the front door. Alas, Dee Dee's first trick or treat was spent last year at anchor. Not many trick or treaters there...

We were alerted yesterday that there was a five year old liveaboard who would be making the rounds tonight. Fortunately, we were also loaned some candy so we wouldn't have to worry about being tricked.

A little after five a knock came on the side. Our canine security crew leapt into action with Dee Dee opening the door and Dylan following behind. Imagine Dee Dee's surprise to find a zombie on the dock demanding a treat. She went nuts. Even removing the head to reveal an adorable blond five year old boy didn't appease her.

Fortunately, the human youngster wasn't fazed by the crazy barking of our canine one. The treats were delivered and no tricks were received. Of course, Dee Dee knows it was her diligence and not a few bits of candy treats that saved the day.

As for Dylan, "Did someone say treats?!?!?!?!?"

Saturday, October 25, 2014

It's So Unfair

The longer we cruise the shorter our days become. A 30-40 mile day is typical. 60 miles is considered a long day.

We left Morehead City, NC for a 72 mile offshore hop to Masonboro Inlet where we planned to anchor. Unfortunately, for reasons too sensitive to discuss right now, we missed our 7 am departure and didn't get off the dock until after 9 am. It was a long day.

Once out, the seas were calm and we decided to burn some extra fuel to keep on our plan and arrive before sunset. It was a beautiful day. I was piloting as we neared the inlet and I suddenly had that creepy feeling of being watched. I looked at the clock. It was nearly 5 pm. The canine crew's supper time is 4:30 pm. Sharp. Somebody was being ripped off.

I explained that we were almost at the anchorage and I would feed them as soon as we were secure. It did no good.

Finally, we arrived, found our spot, set the anchor, and closed up the boat. The kids were more than ready and reminded me that due to our planned early departure their breakfast had been served an hour early. Dylan and Dee Dee were nearly faint and trying to figure out how to dial the ASPCA on my cell phone.

Just when they were sure the end was near, supper was served.

Sometimes life is so unfair...

Friday, October 17, 2014

Don't Leave Us!

Every time we leave Dylan and Dee Dee on the boat and go somewhere we get "the look." If you have a dog you know exactly what I mean. That "this is worse than being beaten and starved and thrown off a train" look. How could you leave me? What could possibly be more fun than being with me?

They're sure we're sneaking off to eat piles of raw steak while chasing Frisbees and scratching other dogs' bellies. Nothing else could tempt us so.

Sadly, they don't understand because they've never been to the Saturday night Krogen Cruisers dance!

(Photo courtesy of Jeff and Ellen Hall, those two crazy people in the middle - stripe shirt/flowered blouse - Jeff is in the shirt...)

These guys know how to party. Sorry, Dylan and Dee Dee. In this one regard you can't compete! Fortunately, it's only once a year. Can't wait until next October!

Friday, October 3, 2014

A Monster and I Can Prove it

We often call the little whirlwind that is our Dee Dee, a monster. I know that those who see her beautiful face doubt me but I have irrefutable proof.

When we first picked up our little girl I noticed that she had two unusual swirls of fur on either side of her neck - one on the left side.

And one on the right.

From the start they reminded me of those two bolts that stick out of Frankenstein's neck - you know what I mean. I thought they were just some quirky fur configuration that would go away as she got older. But no, they seem to be here to stay. Dee Dee is now a young adult (nearly 18 months old) and she still has these distinctive marking.

Now you tell me if you don't see a similarity. Yes, she's our little monster but we love her just the same.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Crossing Our Wake

One question that is frequently asked when you are undertaking the US Great Circle Loop is, "Where do you cross your wake?" For us it wasn't a simple answer. We have been traveling the US east coast and the Bahamas for over 10 years, so technically, when we crossed back to eastern Florida we would be crossing our wake. But we decided to pick a starting point for our Great Loop adventure and chose the Potomac River.

We had left our boat at Olverson's Marina for the past couple of summers so we knew it was a good place to get some last minute projects done and do a major provisioning. We spent a couple of weeks getting ready and left on May 13, 2013 to head up the Potomac River to Washington DC and the Capital Yacht Club. I grew up there, we met and married there, but we had never taken our boat there. We decided it was time. We'd anchor one night and be in DC by the 14th.

Little did we know that it would be our beloved Dyna's last night. While slowly failing for some months, she took a sudden downturn. It was not how we envisioned starting our adventure. But with the help of the kind and understanding people at CYC, we were able to begin our journey the way Dyna would have wanted - looking forward to the next great adventure.

Those who have been lucky enough to share the love and companionship of many dogs know that one can never replace another. However, I believe that each one increases your capacity to love, giving you that much more to give to another. So as we began circling the eastern US, life was circling as well.

Just weeks before Dyna passed away, her great grandson and great, great granddaughter had a litter of three puppies. We stopped along the Hudson River to return to Maine and bring home a new crew member, Dee Dee (Dynasty's Delight) from that litter. We knew almost immediately that she indeed had Dyna on both sides due to her headstrong way and dominance of Dylan.

As we continued to do our circling, we watched Dee Dee circle through her first year from a puppy to an adolescent to a young adult. Through it all she had Dylan to guide her, showing her the boating routine while we all experienced new places and people.

Last May we stopped our circling to return to Maine for the summer, returning to the boat last month to close the loop. We finally returned to Olverson's "crossing our wake" and completing the Great Circle Loop. We even decided Dee Dee should have honorary looper status. We hope to make it back up the Hudson River so even she will cross her wake some day. But first a few other adventures.

As in every aCappella adventure, there were lots and lots of dog pictures. We've let Dylan and Dee Dee select their favorites from their Great Circle Loop adventure and have included them below.

Dylan started with his mentor Dyna at his side.

Too soon he was the lone crew member

Dylan took on the task of becoming Dee Dee's mentor as she learned the ropes.

The first lesson was how to handle a long car ride to the boat.

Dee Dee proved to be a terrific crew member as she learned the most important task.

Whatever Dylan did, Dee Dee did too!

Soon we were ready to throw off the lines and head to the Erie Canal.

Dylan watched over the little one as she got her sea-legs.

Dee Dee liked to stay close.

The towns along the Erie Canal were always interesting, especially with a band concert right at the dock.

Dylan showed Dee Dee how to help Daddy at the helm.

And how to wait for him to complete his engine room check.

So they could do their circle around the block to check all was well.

There were dinghy rides.

Dee Dee's first offshore overnight trip.

She was growing up!

Dylan now had help spying dolphins.

Dylan introduced Dee Dee to the beach at Cumberland Island where he and Dyna spent many happy hours.

Back in Maine the crew had to trade their DeFever for a 13 foot Whaler.

Dee Dee discovered the joy of sleeping in the sunroom window.

...just like Dyna loved to do.

And finally back to the fields of Virginia where we crossed our wake. And then set out for the next adventure.