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.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Shakedown!


We've had several days on the Chesapeake to do a shakedown of the boat and crew. Both are functioning well.


There was a beautiful day cruise to Salt Pond Marina where the crew performed a perfect docking going in and behind the fuel dock. It was even captured on the ActiveCaptain Facebook page.


On leaving Salt Pond we had a typical snotty Chesapeake run up to the Piankatank River. In short order Dylan and Dee Dee had found their comfort spots. Dylan at the foot of the helm.


And sometimes cuddled with Dee Dee on the pilothouse settee. We anchored for two nights in perfect calm and just enjoyed being together.


With all the doors open Dylan and Dee Dee could check on any approaching danger from wildlife,  just sit in the breeze and sniff, or head back to the salon for a snooze. The perfect crew life.


The next day's run to Sandy Point for a 3rd night at anchor afforded Dylan's first dolphin sighting of the season with about a dozen surrounding the boat. He was ecstatic.

Tomorrow we pull in for a few days at shore. It's time to drag out the anchor chain for an inspection, untwisting, and remarking. It's a nasty job but one that makes taking the anchor in and out much easier.

The whole aCappella crew is happy to be underway once again. What adventures we have ahead of us!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bath Time!

 Before we headed out to officially begin cruising this season, I decided to give the crew a bath. It never ceases to amaze me how dogs that love the water so much hate having a bath. As usual, Dylan gives in right away and makes the process fairly easy. He went first.


As always, I'm rewarded with Dylan's display of beautiful curls every time his gets wet. It's one of the many things I love about my Dylan!


Once I was done with Dylan, I brought Dee Dee to the bow. She suspected something was up but was mainly happy to just be a part of things even if it did involve soap.


Finally, both were clean and fresh. They've had their ears rinsed - actually the worst part of the whole process - and were ready for their much deserved treats. Who could resist those pretty (and clean) faces?


Bully sticks on the bow makes it all worth it! The only thing left to do after all that excitement... a nap.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Homeless Again!

It was a busy and stressful week for the kids. Well, stressful for them means that occasionally their daytime naps were interrupted. After a week onboard, they were booted once again out of their home while aCappella was hauled, bottom painted, and received an insurance survey.


It's always an issue about what to do with the 4-footed crew. During the day they settled into the small lounge area in the back of the ships store. Fortunately, the guys working there loved dogs and didn't seem to mind as Dylan and Dee Dee took the place over

They loved the big wrap-around window right in the middle of things. This let them keep track of just about everyone's comings and goings. Atlantic Yacht Basin is a busy yard so there was pretty much always someone coming through the door. There was hardly any time to nap.


But the place did close down at the end of the day so that meant two fun-filled nights at the local La Quinta where there was plenty of time for napping. Of course, this time a preliminary room sweep occurred to ensure there were no repeats of the last time with the soap.

There were two mornings of Daddy's famous Brightside waffles and we even had a pizza delivered one night. Those things never happen on the boat.

By the second morning we were all getting a little restless to be back home. Dee Dee showed her displeasure by barking loudly - checked the water dish (full), made a potty run (nothing), wiggled a toy (no good). So finally I put on the TV and found Paw Patrol, a Nickelodeon cartoon, "where no job is too big and no pup is too small! When there is trouble in Adventure Bay, the pups of Paw Patrol are ready to save the day."

She was mesmerized. Of course, like any respectable children's show there are tons of associated items you can buy. Dee Dee is already hinting, after all Christmas is practically around the corner. At first she wanted the Paw Patrol Lunch Kit but then learned it didn't include any lunch.


So then she was torn between a Paw Patrol Plush Pup Pal.


Or a Paw Patrol Racer.


Hard choice. She wondered if she could be good enough so Santa would bring her one of each.  I told her when that happens pigs would fly out of....well, you know.


As for Dylan, he was the usual angel, happy to just be cuddling.

We were back onboard right on schedule and happy. We don't even miss the king-sized bed. Well, not too much...


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Not If, But When...

There are events that happen with dogs to create a situation you know isn't going to be pretty.  Such an event happened at our La Quinta hotel stay last week when we were heading back to the boat. Any guesses about which dog?

This was little Dee Dee's second night ever in a hotel. She was fascinated with the one room where everyone would stay together and ran around checking out every corner. We were busy finding places for clothes and computers and didn't notice that she had found the bathroom.

Unlike our house or boat, the hotel staff lays out little soaps and shampoos on the edge of the tub. You've all seen that before. Dee Dee hadn't.

La Quinta leaves Citros, a citrus-scented set of products. They're quite nice. I doubt they taste good but you can ask Dee Dee because she ate the entire bar of soap including the wrapper.

A quick search on the internet found that it's not dangerous although we'd need to watch her over the next few hours.

We knew this event wasn't going to pass without incident. We even had an idea of what might happen. The only question was...when.

At 2:30 am, Miss Dee Dee woke up and released the entire contents of her stomach including a 3/4 piece of whole soap all over the bed. Trust me, at 2:30 am, you don't notice the citrus scent any longer. And after that event, no one much slept the rest of the night.

It's a valuable lesson. New places can't be trusted when you have a puppy. Or a Dee Dee.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Short Timers

The crew has been very busy helping clean out the house and have hardly noticed that the summer has flown past. None of us can believe that we are down to days before we move back onboard. There's one more run to the dump, a carload of books to take to the library book sale, a few more boxes to pack up and stash in the attic, a car to pack, and then we'll be heading south back to aCappella.

So we've asked the kids what they will miss most about their land-based home. They love their daily walk around the block before breakfast - one of their two favorite times of the day (breakfast that is). Any guess what the other is?


It could be their lunch-time walk down to the town dock. Dylan loves the area where the pigeons hang out at the dock.


 And the smells there can't be beat!!


Is it the sun room window seat? It makes the perfect perch for keeping an eye on those dastardly squirrels - much worse than pigeons according to Dylan. He diligently stands watch and Dee Dee comes running when the alarm is sounded.


It also makes the perfect spot to lie in the sun.


The backyard, which Dee Dee points out always has a stick, is a big team favorite. The video shows how seriously they take stick retrieval.


Dylan and Dee Dee each have their own chair in Daddy's study which is perfect for a snooze after a good romp in the backyard.


And of course, the whole crew will miss the king-size bed. 


But ultimately it's about being together. Whether it's squirrels or dolphins, the town dock or aCappella's bow, a backyard or a dog park, the kids are happiest when we share the days and nights.


Of course, a king-size bed on the boat would be welcome too...