Monday, May 31, 2010

And poof, we're home...

After 9 months and 3 days of being on our boat, we rented a car, loaded it up, and drove back home to Maine. In keeping with our tradition of using the SPOT Messenger when we were moving, we turned it on for the car ride home to show the long 17 hour track between Virginia and Maine.

There will be a lot of projects to get done this Summer - the house, the boat, and ActiveCaptain. And while we're full of plans and lists right now, we can't help thinking back to all of the wonderful people we met and the incredible times we had.

On a calm evening in the Keys, Joe Nekola took the video below. It's one of many cocktail hours we shared with friends. Joe recorded the full song that we also played at the MTOA rendezvous way back in September - a long time ago. We'll leave this cruise remembering this evening back in March.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


I grew up in Rockville, Maryland just outside Washington, DC, one of five children. My parents just sold our old house earlier this year. It was in a nice suburban neighborhood. We moved in when the house was new. One of the things my parents liked about the neighborhood was that when it was built, rather than leveling everything in site, they carved out lots and roads leaving most of the wooden area it was built on.

Of course, that meant that every fall there were tons of leaves; I mean an endless, mountainous supply. And, as it should be, it fell to the children to rake them up. In response to our complaints my mom would say, "Just think of the satisfaction you'll feel when it's done." I guess some lessons take time.

Many years later, I have grown to love the feeling of completing tasks, looking at something that was a mess and is now, due to my labor, beautiful.

Much of the past two days have been spent cleaning the dinghy. When you live on a boat your dinghy becomes your car. It takes you from the anchorage or mooring field into shore. It takes you from your rented slip up the river to a restaurant or grocery store. Sometimes it takes you on the cruising equivalent of a Sunday drive. Over the past 9 months, our dinghy has delivered groceries, taken us to dinner dates, and, the best outings, brought the kids to their swimming spots. But all these activities had taken their toll and she was in need of a thorough cleaning.

After rinsing her off I got out one of my favorite products, GoJo Orange, which we list in our Products and Tips We Love section of our website. It's not just that it does a fantastic job of getting off the dirt and scum, it's also not a "boating product" so it's reasonably priced. I'm convinced that somewhere there's a Federal statute levying any product with "marine" or "boat" in its name with a 200% tax.

So I started in and as I finished the starboard side and moved to the port I had to step back and admire the difference between the two. And, yes, I felt a great sense of satisfaction. Mom, you were right.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dyna's Birthday

May 19th is Dyna's birthday. This year she's 12. While most dogs would be content to find a shady spot to sleep all day, Dyna is usually first in line doing whatever we're doing, pushing Dylan out of the way if necessary.

This morning started out with Dyna's most favorite of activities - swimming. Given the choice between eating raw meat and swimming...Dyna would jump in the water.

Bright and early we took her off the dock and onto the point at Lodge Creek. She'll retrieve that orange bumper until we have to force her to come back for breakfast. It doesn't matter what else is happening outside. Dyna is fixated on the bumper and diving in the water.

An older dog is a beautiful thing. They start to realize their limitations and gracefully look for help with certain things that were once so easy. Dyna can't jump up on the bed any longer. She now puts both paws on the mattress, turns back and looks for assistance. Some nights she's too tired to even walk down below and instead stays curled up in her bed for the night.

For most of the day, Dyna slept. She was always around no matter what we were doing, but a morning of swimming means a day of sleeping for Dyna now.

While out shopping on Tuesday we bought some special treats to give the girl on her special day. She loved them even though she had to share some with the little brat (Dylan).

By night, we realized that she'd need a little medication for pain, but that's OK. And with the cooler weather, she did make it down the steep stairs at night to complete her day. One little lift of her hind legs brought her in bed, all curled up at my feet, dreaming of swimming in the morning.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Last Thursday afternoon we pulled into Olverson's Lodge Creek Marina the place where aCappella will spend the summer. We spent five days here last fall (see our blog post) and the kids really enjoyed the huge field to run in and Cas' treats. Freddie met us at the dock and helped us settle right in. It felt a little like coming home.

So this is the official end of our 2009-2010 winter cruise. We have lists of boat projects - those who have read our blog from the beginning know how we love lists - and a schedule for getting the boat closed down. She's been home for 9 months and has definitely served us well. We will miss her, miss the adventures, and miss the wonderful people we've met. But we also miss our home and good friends in Castine. We will be there in less than two weeks.

Now we'll have to get used to a bigger bed, all the hot water we could want, and a grocery store always at the ready. It'll be a hard adjustment. We're looking forward to going home but we're also looking forward to getting back on the boat again. The kids are just looking forward to supper. Oh, to truly live in the moment...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

ActiveCaptain on the iPad

Here are some screen shots of the iPad application to be released in a few days that fully supports all of ActiveCaptain's data offline. No internet connection is needed to view all of the marinas, anchorages, bridges, locks, boat ramps, etc., along with all of the reviews. It works incredibly well and even rotates the chart as your boat is turning.

Enough writing about it - here's what it looks like. Click any picture to see the full size.

Zoomed out view of Charleston (the round red dot is our location)

Zoom in a little to our location

Tap on the red marina marker - up comes a pick list

Select Charleston Maritime Center - displays results in tabs

Show the Services data

Display the Reviews

Move over to the famous Matanzas inlet area - see the yellow hazards

Tap on a hazard and display it's details

Show the hazard's Comments

It all works extremely well right now. Obtaining the software allows you to run it on both an iPhone and iPad at the same time. It works identically on the iPhone except for the smaller screen. The data is identical.

Tap in the (i) icon in the bottom right, select ActiveCaptain, and you can Update your data to retrieve all marker information and reviews that have been changed since the last synchronization.

And of course it follows your position optionally locking your GPS position in the center of the screen, turning the display as you turn.

This is way, way cool...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

iPad 3G

Three offshore hops and we're in Charleston at the Maritime Center - one of our most favorite places. Immediately, the air conditioning was turned on to spoil us. Although we intended to stay for 2 days, I paid for 5. Pay for 5 days and you get 7 days - I'm such a sucker for that. Truth be told, the weather wasn't good for us to leave today (Sunday). We need this bad weather to pass over and it looks like things don't clear up until at least Wednesday.

So I convince Karen to walk to the Apple store in the late afternoon. This is one of the advantages of being in a real city - lots of things walking distance from where we are. We had a video cable that we wanted to return and it seemed like a good idea to do that right away. Besides, we needed the 10 block walk.

Upon arriving at the store at 4:50, we find a long line waiting to get in. Imagine that - today at 5:00 pm is the release of the iPad 3G (cellular connectivity + GPS). "What luck!" I told Karen. She didn't buy it though - she knew this was a multi-step plan probably started weeks ago.

So we wait on line for about 20 minutes, get up to the door and are greeted by a set of serious geeky-looking people. Now I'm definitely a member of the geek class but even this set had me wondering where my class had gone wrong.

We're escorted in the door with our own sales assistant who gives us our new iPad 3G. We made the cut. So did 3 people behind us. It was that close.

It's been fun to experiment with it. The screen is beautiful and the apps are mostly working well. There are some bugs that need to be fixed - common with a device so new like this.

The GPS, thankfully, works much better than the iPhone's GPS. It even locks position signals below deck. I can see an anchor alarm in the future with this especially since it manages to have exceptional battery life - 10 hours or more.

We met with our good friends Jeb & Linda who made an incredible dinner party centered around the Kentucky Derby. The dogs remember the dog park across the street and are having a wonderful time too. This is a special place.

Here are a couple of screen shots showing what my iPad 3G looks like. It'll be fun to see how it fits with boating once we get back underway.

My iPad screen background:

Looking at the blog (looking at itself!) in Safari: