Sunday, September 10, 2017

It's Time To Go

After 5+ weeks here in our beloved Castine, it is time to go. We have monitored the storms, checked the weather, and Red Head is prepped for passage. We'll safely eke our way south, moving whenever we can.

Goodbye Castine. Goodbye dear friends. We love you all.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Castine, Maine

Our planned month long stay in our old hometown of Castine, Maine flew by. The crew apologizes for being remiss in their blog postings but it has been a busy time.  Of course, there has been swimming.

There was swimming at Indian Bar.

And Fort Madison.

And Smith Mills near the falls.

And Sheep Island.

The whole Red Head crew has enjoyed our secure spot tucked in behind Sheep Island.

The kids even spent a few days on a schooner mooring close to town.

Dylan and Dee Dee had front row seats for the Maine Maritime Academy freshman jump into the water.

There were walks about town and visits with friends at the town dock.  The kids have been having a grand time. A particular highlight was when Rocie and Glenn, the new owners of Dylan and Dee Dee's house on Main Street, invited them in for a visit.  Yes, Mom warned them but overall the kids were great.

After checking their old "puppy chow" spot for forgotten food and examining every room for any changes, they settled into one of their favorite spots, the kitchen sun-room. Dylan has spent many hours there guarding against killer squirrels. He immediately took up his old post. Dee Dee was just looking because Dylan was...  Thank you, Rocie, for the wonderful pictures!

September 1st, our planned departure date, has now come and gone. We waited for rough seas offshore to pass and now we wait to see what Hurricane Irma will do.  Our hope is that we can move in the next few days. It reminds all of us how small we are.  The main thing is to keep the crew safe.

The entire crew of Red Head wishes all of our cruising friends safety in the storm. Remember, anything can be replaced except for those we love.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Why Is It Always Dee Dee?

We all knew kids growing up who seemed to always have issues - broken bones, stitches, head stuck between the banisters... (OK, that last one was my twin brother, actually, all of them were - sorry Joel). On Red Head, it's Dee Dee. Today she did it again.

The morning was spent trying everything we could to fix her problem onboard and finally giving up and going to the vet.

Of course, "going to the vet" is a bit more complicated when you are 2 miles from shore on a mooring ball. First, we had to put her on the dinghy for the ride to the Castine Town Dock.

Then I had to borrow a friend's car (thank you, Bente!) and drive a half hour to Maine Coast Veterinary Hospital in Blue Hill, Maine. There she was whisked in for her emergency procedure.

So what did our little girl do this time?

She got one of the marrow bones her dad gave her and Dylan as a treat this morning wedged behind her canines. A sedative by the vet, a little manipulation, and it was off. Mom had to wait an hour for the sedative to wear off and then we did the whole travel thing in reverse.

She's still a bit dopey and even slept through lunchtime. Something I'm pretty sure Dylan has never done.

On the bright side, she is the star of the Maine Coast Veterinary Hospital Facebook page today...

For now, our little princess is taking it easy. Of course, I'm pretty sure if I offered her the same bone tomorrow, she'd grab it!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Dylan and Dee Dee's Ride

Dylan and Dee Dee love dinghy rides. It is the perfect example of both the journey and the destination being the reward. While a dinghy ride means they're going someplace fun - beach for a swim, to shore for a walk, or just a visit on the dock - they also enjoy the wind in their faces, the smells, and the sights on the ride over.

For Mom and Dad, the dinghy is the "car." A dinghy ride is often how they do their shopping, visit nearby friends, and get to where they want to go. It's a critical part of any cruising boat.

The Red Head crew has had several different rides over the years. On aCappella it was the 13 foot Caribe inflatable. She was great. We had hoped to move her to Red Head but she was too big for the well-deck.

So Mom and Dad bought the kids an 11 foot AB inflatable for Red Head. They've certainly put a few miles on her.

But maybe the whole crew's favorite ride is the 13 foot Whaler, Bada Bing, that we used in Castine. She's big, she's comfortable, and it's easy for Dylan and Dee Dee to jump in and out.

When we sold the house, she was turned over to our good friend Larry for care and feeding. He's done a great job. He brought her out to meet us when we arrived back in Castine and left her for our 2 mile ride to and from town.

Truth be told, the kids have loved all their rides over the years, just as long they eventually lead to swimming.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Maine Homecoming

We all have places that just feel like coming home. The Red Head crew finally pulled into Castine where we will be staying for a spell.

It's been two years but the old feelings were there. We watched through the fog for the first glimpses of Dyce Head Lighthouse.

Then the Castine Harbor bell buoy.

Even the State of Maine training vessel which sits beside the town dock.

Good friends Larry and Bill were our escort back to our mooring where we will sit for the next few weeks.

And then they made sure we were safely secured.

On this beautiful Maine day, it's good to be home.

Monday, July 31, 2017


The crew of Red Head just completed over 2 weeks in Boston. They stayed at the Constitution Marina which turned out to be the perfect location. Why?

Mom and Dad loved visiting the many restaurants and sites nearby, and spending time with dear friends. But for Dylan and Dee Dee it was all about...


The dog park!

Just a short walk away was one of the best dog parks the kids have ever visited. And this crew knows dog parks. 

It was a beautiful setting. The dogs and people were friendly.

Dylan and Dee Dee are already planning their return trip.

Located at the Paul Revere Park, Dylan and Dee Dee give it a solid five paws. Definitely, a not to be missed destination in Boston.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Our Two Goldilocks

If you have followed the blog for several years, you probably remember there was an episode in 2014 involving little Miss Dee and dolphins.

Let's just say Dee Dee is the only member of the crew who experienced Swims With Dolphins.

The near catastrophic failure of her harness as her dad tried to pull her back onto the boat led us on a multi-month search for the "perfect" harness for cruising dogs. If you want the whole story, you can find the previous blog entries here:

Swims With Dolphins - Lessons Learned
Crew Safety - Let's Get Started
Crew Safety - Size Matters
Crew Safety - Putting Them To The Test
Crew Safety - What We Learned

We tried numerous options but none of them satisfied all of our requirements. We never did find the one that was just right. There were problems of fit, questions about the integrity of the fasteners, and issues with metal components rusting in the seawater environment.

What we have settled on over the 2 plus years since Dee Dee had her big adventure is a combination of harnesses, some while underway on the big boat and some for use on the dinghy and for swimming. A big problem being that any harness with metal components quickly rusts if used for swimming.

Currently, we are using a walking harness when the dogs are on the dinghy and going swimming. They have all plastic clips that don't rust and offer a handy way to lift the dogs in non-stressful situations.

While under way, we put them in more substantial harnesses with lifting loops and belly plates for support. Dylan's has not rusted as long as we keep it out of the water.

As Dylan and Dee Dee's harness are showing wear, Mom decided it was time to launch another search for the perfect harness. The crew would like to get the whole ActiveCaptain community involved - well, at least those that have canine crew. With a cross posting on Facebook, we're hoping to generate discussion and suggestions. Maybe we could even build enough excitement to convince some of these manufactures to create a marine harness. Mom tried to convince them before but was told the market wasn't big enough - really?!?!?

Below is the crew's list of requirements:

1. A belly plate to support them should they need to be lifted.

2. A large loop on the back, often referred to as a traffic loop, that offers an easy target for a boat hook and a good handle for lifting.

3. A comfortable fit. Yes, we know that the safest option is a life vest for the crew and we do carry them onboard. But the crew finds them uncomfortable. The harness needs to offer enough adjustments to allow for a comfortable yet snug fit.

4. Secure, rugged fasteners that won't rust in the marine environment. Maybe we're wrong but Mom worries that plastic clips may fail when lifting a large, panicking dog. Yet every metal fastener we have tried rusts. We need good quality stainless steel fasteners.

5. Fasteners on both sides. Many harnesses require that the dog step into at least one side of the harness. One of the things we loved about the Kong harness (other than the nice large loop on the back) was that the chest strap had fasteners on both sides making it quick and easy to put on the dog.

6. Fasteners should be quick and easy to use. The fasteners on the Kurgo Pinnacle harness are the same ones used on their crash tested harnesses for cars. While, they are sturdy, they are also more difficult to use. Is there something that can incorporate both security and simplicity?

7. The harness straps must not stretch nor the fasteners slide when they become wet and undergo stress. We are fairly certain that the ultimate undoing of Dee Dee's harness was that the plastic clips slid on the straps after a half hour in the water with a dog frantically swimming.

Do you have a harness or harnesses that work well for your canine crew? In what situations have you used them? Does your crew swim and does the harness hold up in saltwater?

We believe that together we can find a better solution. Help Dylan and Dee Dee find their next safety harness.

Oh, and Dee Dee says something in a nice hot pink or purple would suit her quite well.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Long Island Sound

The Red Head crew has finally made it to Long Island Sound. First, they passed through New York Harbor.

It was Dee Dee's second time and Dylan's third. Dylan's first was with Dyna by his side - Dyna was always smiling. We still miss that sweet girl.

As always, things were hopping as Red Head passed through the harbor and on up the East River.

Good thing Dylan and Dee Dee were standing watch.

The real fun started when we snagged a mooring at Seymour's Boatyard in Northport, NY and the kids got to go .... wait for it... swimming!!!!!

The beach has "No Dogs" signs posted about but at 6:30 am no one seems to mind. Dylan and Dee Dee think they're a lot like Bonnie and Clyde - little outlaws.

There's one more morning excursion to the forbidden beach and then Red Head will continue her journey north. After all, there are more beaches to conquer!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Good Morning!

The crew on Red Head keeps pushing the envelop on wake up time in the morning. They don't care 'bout no clock. They says it's morning whenever they see the sun. While that's becoming a little problematic as we head further north into earlier sunrises, Mom did get to witness an amazing sunrise when we anchored at Cape Henlopen.

While we wait out some nasty weather in Atlantic City, NJ, this morning Dad decided to make a Coconut Date Smoothie for breakfast, a favorite with Dylan and Dee Dee. Not the smoothie so much but the bananas and dates that go into it. You may have guessed, Dad likes to give a taste.

Then, as if the crew isn't being spoiled enough, Dad decided to take a couple of the marrow bones out of the freeze to thaw as a treat for later.

Mom finally convinced him that maybe they should be put a bit more out of the way. It worked as the kids finally left the galley for their morning tussle. But later this morning there will be some real fun times...