Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve morning is bright and warm and dry. A picture perfect day. We started with a quick workout and then breakfast outside on the cockpit. Halfway through we realized it was the first time we have ever had New Year's Eve breakfast outside...

Neighbor Paul on Carry On thought we looked so "idyllic" he snapped a picture. Of course, Dylan had to be a part of it, too.

Tonight we will join Betty and Al and Dinny and Paul on Carry On for a New Year's Eve dinner and celebration. It is doubtful we will be awake at midnight but certain we will have fun.

We look forward to the new year, to new adventures, to friends old and new, and to time with those we love including our faithful crew.

We wish everyone a happy, healthy, and safe New Year.

Karen, Jeff, Dyna, and Dylan

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day

The temperature was warm.

Dyna and Dylan enjoyed Christmas treats, although Dylan thinks Dyna's was much bigger

It never gets old, at least for me.

 A wreath helps the kids welcome Christmas.

A pecan pie, ice cream, a sampling of rum from around the world, and fellow boaters close a wonderful day.

Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

This is the first time that we will be staying on the boat for Christmas and not visiting family. There are several reasons but one was to just have the experience and see what it would be like.

So what do I miss? Well, certainly spending time with family, especially my youngest niece and nephew. I miss a Christmas tree and lots of decorations. I miss the big family feast. I even miss the snow.

But Christmas here on the boat has its own charm. We've strung some lights, got a wreath, and a poinsettia. Several other boats in the marina have done elaborate lights and even Christmas trees. We even had a boat named Christmas pull in a few days ago, who stayed true to her name with a Santa, lights, and a tree on the bow. We've participated in some local events. And will be spending time with fellow boaters.

There's no snow but we've been eating breakfast on our new cockpit table and taking our walks in short-sleeves and even shorts. The dockmaster has donned a Santa hat and a local radio station is playing Christmas tunes. Tomorrow is suppose to be in the 80's.

We'll be doing some baking and having our own Christmas feast, all scaled down to fit in our galley stove. Dyna and Dylan will keep ever vigilant for Santa.

Of course, we'll watch my Christmas favorites on DVD - Charlie Brown Christmas, Grinch, and It's a Wonderful Life. And it is a wonderful life indeed.

We hope that everyone has a safe and happy Christmas wherever you may be.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Sexiest Man Alive

Admit it, gals. There's nothing sexier than a man wearing rubber gloves. At the galley sink, in the head, wiping down woodwork, give me that over Brad Pitt any day. In the stateroom might be creepy, unless he was scrubbing the floors.

We have not done a thorough cleaning inside and out since we've been back onboard. Moving south, business, travel, are all things that have kept us busy and just keeping ahead of the dog hair has been a challenge.

Arriving back at the boat following Thanksgiving we realized it was time - past time. So we decided to take a section each day and do a complete "spring cleaning." Hey, these temps in Maine would definitely qualify for spring.

We started at the back and are working our way forward - saloon, galley, pilothouse. She is looking good. Of course, the dog hair keeps chasing us but then it's such a small price to pay for these two cuties.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday. It's a time to take a break and be with the people we love. And of course eat lots of great food. It doesn't have the pressure of buying gifts or weeks of hype. Just quiet time to be together.

We loaded up the rental car last week and drove the 500+ miles from Jacksonville to Tennessee, where inexplicably most of Karen's family has migrated. Dyna and Dylan settled in together on the back seat which we'd encased in sheets to keep the hair at bay. They didn't know where we were going but were just happy to be going.

We stayed with Grandma who graciously puts up with the dog hair. Thanksgiving day was at Aunt Jane and Uncle Chuck's. Dylan's job was to guard the dinning room table, even long after the meal was complete and all it contained was a puzzle.

Most of their cousins are grown but the youngest, 9 year old Marcos, and one grand-cousin (is that a term?), 2 year old Isaac, provided Dylan with some much appreciated crumbs from the table.

They handled the long trip back like the seasoned travelers they are and all were happy to be back onboard.  It's hard to beat an evening on the sofa with Dad.

We look forward to settling in for a few months and getting many projects done. We'll find time to have fun with fellow boaters and we just heard about a dog park nearby.

Life is good and we have much to be thankful for.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Stuck in Paradise

River Dunes Marina is an ActiveCaptain sponsor. I originally contacted JC, the Marina Manager, about this time last year when we were looking for a place to stop because I had been seeing the amazing reviews they always received. He urged us to come and see for ourselves but the timing just didn't work out for us.

I spoke to JC again this year and again he urged us to come see for ourselves. This year we made it, planning to stay a day and then quickly move on - we'd lost time when we were "stuck" in Portsmouth. The plan was to head to the Beaufort inlet and then offshore so we could be in Florida by mid-month, then to my mom's for Thanksgiving.

We all know about boating and plans.

We pulled into the channel for River Dunes on Wednesday afternoon not expecting the large, beautiful basin that opened up before us. We both went, "Wow" - honest. I don't know what we expected but this is a beautiful place with just the right amount of manicured grounds (lovely to look at but not overdone), magnificent homes, winding streets, a pool surrounded by cabanas, a large clubhouse, and fabulous floating docks.

And it just kept getting better. JC met us at the dock with a knowledgable dockhand. Imagine that, a dockhand who knows how to handle lines. Quite an unusual finding. When we went into the clubhouse to check in I met Louise who handles the front desk and was a constant help during our stay. She was not only competent but she was thoroughly pleasant and fun to talk to. I thought, too bad we can't stay longer.

We signed up for their family style dinner Thursday night with plans to leave early Friday morning. We were pleasantly surprised when Elle and Dick on Summer Wind pulled into the basin and we all joined JC and his wife for a terrific dinner. Talked turned to the weather with predictions of 20 foot seas off of Frying Pan Shoals and gale force winds.

By Friday morning the winds were howling, yet again foiling our plans. By the afternoon a gaggle of Krogen trawlers began coming in out of the weather - it is called a gaggle isn't it? The basin filled up as the weather got worse. We weren't going anywhere. I wasn't complaining. A great dinner at the clubhouse with the Kogren-ites, a couple of trips into Oriental in the courtesy car, numerous walks on the grounds with the kids - I could get used to this.

But we do need to move on. Tomorrow is looking promising, so tonight we're making plans to leave early. Whatever the morning holds I won't complain. We do have places to go but being stuck here for another day wouldn't be so bad either.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

aCappella's anchor light...

The highest fixed item on our boat is the anchor light.  While we can tilt down the VHF and HF radio antennas for bridges, the light on top of the arch only comes down with great effort.  It sits a full 20 feet above the water surface.  We know that any bridge lower than about 20' must be lifted in order for us to proceed through it.

No, we didn't hit a bridge.

In 2005 I changed the bulb in the anchor light.  It's an expensive halogen light that we turn on through all darkened hours at anchor.  It has burned brightly over many nights for us warning other boats that we were anchored.  Because of its technology, it consumes a fair number of amps to provide the required 2 mile range.

A couple of weeks ago there was a wonderful new LED replacement bulb at a great price from Defender (part of our Defender 1st program with them).  We purchased a couple of the bulbs with the intention of using one for the anchor light.  It has the required range but burns less than 30% the amps of the previous bulb.

So I carefully removed the sealed fitting that has guarded the existing bulb from wind, rain, and even hurricanes through the last 6+ years.  When I got the housing off there was an unexpected finding inside.  It was almost filled with dog hair.

Can anyone come up with an explanation of how this sealed container could be filled in this way?

The new bulb is wonderful, bright, and saves a lot of power.

I'm starting to wonder what my lungs look like.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Stuck in Portsmouth

We really do love Portsmouth, VA and always stop here going north or south. We pulled into Ocean Marine Yacht Center, an ActiveCaptain Sponsor, last Monday with the plan to leave Tuesday morning. We thought it would give us some time to chat with Dave, the dockmaster, about some cool things we have coming, get our Bagel Nutz fix from Starboards Coffee, and see what's new at Skipjack Nautical, two other Sponsors, and be on our way.

Then we ran into good boating buddies Elle and Dick on Summer Wind and met some new boaters all staying at one of the town basins. As we pulled away from the dock at Ocean Marine we decided 24 hours just wasn't enough and swung around to the basin. Another day wouldn't hurt, we had plenty of time.

First, the weather turned a bit nasty, then we decided to fix a small generator raw water pump leak, and then the weather turned really nasty. Yadda, yadda, yadda, we've been stuck here now for almost a week.

But honestly, it's been a great week. We've met numerous new boaters including another couple from Maine, had great German and Chinese food, tried the chocolate muffins from Starboards (Elle's suggestion), made it to the farmer's market, found a field where Dyna and Dylan could romp, walked through the lovely houses in the historic section of Portsmouth, and stayed long enough that our good friend John Salyer showed up. John is dad to black labs Gracie and Dixie who visited Dyna and Dylan in Maine this past summer. It was 16 paws having a much needed chase this morning.

Yesterday and today have been cold, rainy, and windy. The water lapped high above the dock this morning causing us to wade ankle deep to get back to the boat after going to the farmer's market. It reached about 2 feet over the dock before receding, causing us to repeatedly adjust the fenders.

Tomorrow looks good and we plan on finally throwing off the lines. It's time to move on but we know we'll be back. After all, is it really considered "stuck" if you like being here?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Piankatank River

If you were following us in 2009 you may remember we fell in love with a beautiful anchorage on the Piankatank River tucked in behind Berkley Island. At first we just liked saying the name of the river. Come on, everyone together - Pee-yank-a-tank. Now tell me you said that and didn't smile.

We loved it so much we stayed several days taking the kids to a small beach at a camp every day for a swim. Dyna was our swimming fool. She loves to swim more than anything in the world, even eating. Dylan, well, there's nothing he likes better than eating. It was a wonderful time.

We decided to go back and it was as beautiful as we remembered. The kids had dinghy rides and walks on shore. Unfortunately, there was no swimming. Dyna can't swim since her throat surgery. It was a bittersweet reminder that she's now a very mature girl. But also reminds us how lucky we are to still have her with us.

We spent five days in the anchorage and saw the full spectrum of weather. One morning the water was as flat as a mirror with the clouds as distinct on the water as in the sky - those things in the water are reflections of the sky. The next we had white caps surrounding the boat.

It was hard to leave but the nights are getting cool and it reminds us we need to move further south. There are other anchorages and dinghy rides and dog parks and friends at the dock. But nothing is better than some quiet time in a beautiful anchorage surrounded by the kids.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Meandering South

We finally pulled anchor this morning after a week on the Corrotoman River. It was a quiet, secure anchorage that saw us through a small squall and a few days of rainy, blustery weather. The squall blew the rain sideways into our open port-side portholes right into the stateroom. By the time I ran down to close them it looked like someone was spraying in the porthole with a garden hose. Mother nature is amazing.

Because of the weather the kids only had a few dinghy rides and little time ashore, but we were able to get a lot of work done. Watch upcoming newsletters for announcements!

Today was a short day, barely 26 nautical miles. I did most of the piloting with the help of my ever vigilant crew.

Every good captain knows the importance of good alert crew members to ensure the safety of the vessel and all onboard.

As we approached the Nelson Bridge crossing the Rappahannock River I was blinded by the glare. It reminded me of a cool tip I learned from good friend Pat Berry on Got The Fever. Portable shades made from screen material and little suction cups. I made one as soon as we got in.

Cut the screen to the size you want, nip just enough in each corner to push the tip of the suction cup through, and put them up when needed. I decided to do one that could go across the top of the main window like a shade visor. I couldn't get a good picture of the whole thing so I just took some detail of the suction cup in the corner. I'll let you know how it works.

We'll be off again in a few days but not before we get the kids to shore and let them stretch their legs. We're looking forward to that also.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Catching Up

We apologize that we have been remiss in updating our blog. It has been a busy time. There is nothing we love more than meeting other boaters, seeing our old friends, finding new ones, and of course, what boaters do best, partying. But with two back to back rendezvous the whole crew is exhausted.

The Krogen rendezvous was terrific. They had the same amazing band as last year and once again we managed to dance way past our bedtime. This year we were invited to stay at the dock as honorary Krogen-ites. We dropped anchor Sunday morning to watch the intricate dance that is done to undock all the Krogens. This year was blustery with threatening skies so the show took a bit longer.

The talks and our songs were very well received. In fact, we've already been booked by both groups for next year's events. Can anyone recommend a good agent?

We had hoped to spend some downtime in Solomons and visit two ActiveCaptain Sponsors, Zahniser's Yachting Center and Spring Cove Marina. Unfortunately, Dyna developed an, um, digestive issue we couldn't solve, so we headed back to Olverson's were we had our car and a vet we like. She got checked out and received some antibiotics. She's fine now.

Of course, it is never possible to have a brief visit at Freddie's. There's friends and Nino's Pizza and easy shopping and Liars Corner. So we ended up there for the week. It allowed us to drive over for the Annapolis Sailboat Show. Ted and Sally on Amichi joined us. It was a beautiful day. We met up with numerous business partners and kept running into boaters we knew. This boating world really is small.

We finally shoved off today to head to a quiet anchorage to get some work done. A lot is happening so the parties need to stop for a while. Dyna has taken up her favorite spot in the breeze. Of course, Dylan has to make his way into the picture, too...

Monday, September 26, 2011

It's the People That We Meet...

The MTOA Rendezvous ended yesterday and as always it was a great time. We gave a talk about cruising the coast of Maine and a 2 hour talk on Medical Emergencies for Cruisers. We exchanged some terrific tips at the Round Table meetings. There is no better source of good, reliable information than talking to others who are actually out there cruising and living onboard.

Fours days of fun, parties, meeting many old friends, and making great new ones, what could be better?

It's a lot of work and the kids get short changed as we run off to meetings, dinners, parties, and friends' boats both day and night. But the wonderful, warm comments we hear from the members make it all worthwhile. We feel especially proud of the medical emergencies series. If just one cruiser in the future is helped we have given back more than we could ever hope. And of course there is the awards dinner where members were forced to listen to our silly songs.

Many folks have asked for copies of our slides and the words to our new song. You can find the Maine slides here:
The slides for Part 1 and for Part 2 of the Medical Emergencies talks are here:
And last but not least, there is a video from Celeste Yost of "I Told You So" here:

We thank everyone who made the MTOA event a success and will look for you along the waterway. Next weekend we will be speaking at the Krogen Rendezvous. We'll see some of the same friends and catch up with others. The people – it's the best part of cruising.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

At Anchor

There is definitely something nice about being at a marina. You don't need to think too much about the water you use or the lights you turn on. Restaurants, groceries, and other amenities are often nearby. And of course, you can always meet a friend, either old or new, on the dock.

But we also love being at anchor.

Being at anchor is quiet and peaceful. We're usually far enough away from lights that the stars are brilliant, the sunset seems to surround us, and the sounds of the night become a lullaby.

Dylan patrols the bow for birds while Dyna sleeps in the evening breeze.

Tomorrow we pull into the Cambridge Municipal Marina for the start of the MTOA Rendezvous. We look forward to seeing many old friends and making new ones. It'll be 4 days of parties and learning and catching up and mostly lots of fun.

But for tonight, we sit in a beautiful cove, listening to the crickets, surrounded by those we love. Life is pretty good.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia

So Dyna had surgery a week ago. So it involved her breathing, kind of important. So she's old and needs to be cautious in her recovery. Dylan still doesn't understand why it's, “Dyna, Dyna, Dyna.” What about poor Dylan?

Dyna gets people writing nice things and stopping by the boat to see her. She gets puppy chow like Dylan never even knew existed. She and Daddy stay up in the salon at night while Dylan has to go below with Mommy and he just knows they're eating steak and french fries all night long. What does Dylan get?

Two days ago Cassie and Godiva pulled in behind us with their people on September Song. Dylan has been enjoying swimming and running and chasing and just watching them from the cockpit. And the best part, Dyna has to stay on the boat.

So does it make up for everything? Pretty much. But the special puppy chow sure does look good!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Patient Update

Tomorrow will be a week since Dyna had her surgery. She has been overwhelmed by the many kind thoughts sent her way - emails, blog posts, comments on the website - and so have we. We knew she was a special girl but didn't realize how many others did too.

When we left the surgery clinic we had two pages of instructions including limited activity for two weeks. No jumping up on furniture; she did that in less than 12 hours. No climbing stairs; that took a little over 24 hours. The bandage must stay on for 5 days; she rubbed it off in 4.

The one instruction she did like was 2 weeks of soft food. She gets a can of Innova wet food twice a day and this stuff looks and smells better than some diner food I've had. Dyna loves it. Dylan is wondering what operation he can have to get some of this stuff. In a little over a week the Queen will go back to her normal kibble and we're expecting a revolt.

Aside from her bald neck and shoulder she is looking and acting like her old self. We've started walking her down the dock in the mornings. She is doing well.

We all thank you for sending your warm thoughts our way.

Note that the picture below was taken the day after the surgery and looks worse than it is. The red around the bandage is adhesive used during surgery and has mostly worn off already. The fur will grow back and she'll look like regular Dyna in a few weeks.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Long Day

We left at 8 am for our 10 am appointment. Dyna checked out fine so they scheduled her surgery for the first slot with the hope that we could bring her home the same day. We now had to figure out what to do with Dylan in Richmond for the afternoon.

Drive through lunch at McD's. Trip to PetSmart for canned food for Dyna and a special treat for Dylan. Trip to a dog park but without Dyna, Dylan was too timid to play with the couple of dogs that were there and it was terribly hot anyway. Back to the the clinic to hear her surgery went fine but they found a mass in her chest.

The surgeon said it could be several things, the same mass we thought we had cured 3 years ago, scar tissue from that surgery, a different mass, or just a fatty tumor. He advised us we shouldn't worry at her age, that the current surgery would improve her quality of life - maybe do another x-ray in a few months to see if it is growing. "Come back at 4:30 and we'll see if we can send her home with you."

A trip to Petco to get some more soft food for Dyna - we had miscalculated the amount we needed before. Drive around Richmond a bit and then back to the clinic at 4:15. Lots of instructions for her post-op recovery and then about 5:00 our little Queen appeared in the waiting room. Her neck, chest, and shoulder are shaved on her left side and covered with a bandage. She was a bit wobbly on her feet from the anesthesia but had that stubborn "let's go" look that is the Dyna trademark.

Both kids slept all the way home. Dyna due to the after effects of the anesthesia and Dylan from too much excitement. We arrived at the marina about 7:00 and Dyna walked the dock to the boat with nary a wheeze or a huff. She has a two week recovery with restricted activity, no jumping up on furniture (yeah, right), and soft food only. No stairs, so her dad has volunteered to sleep in the salon with her - can we say Daddy's girl?

We thank everyone for your very kind thoughts, words, and prayers. We're all happy to be home and have this day behind us.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Going to Richmond

Dyna has brought so much joy to our lives in the four years since she adopted us. This year she turned 13 making her officially an "elder." We've been fortunate to have her this long as we stumbled upon a life-threatening condition when we first got her.

Thanks to better healthcare than I get and a skilled surgeon, her life was saved. A side effect of that surgery was a condition called laryngeal paralysis. The nerve controlling her airway was damaged making it not open properly when she breathes. It has been a slow progressive condition that has required us to keep an ever more vigilant eye on our stubborn girl who wants to run and swim and be a part of everything.

There is a surgery that can fix the condition but she could never swim again. And those of you that have followed this blog know about Dyna and swimming.

This summer Dyna's breathing became more difficult as age was catching up with her. But we adjusted, going out when the weather was cool and driving her down to the town dock for her daily audience.

But during the past few weeks back on the boat, the southern humidity has taken its toll. So yesterday we called back to Maine to talk to Chris at Lucern Veterinary Clinic for advice. As always she was wonderful.

Tomorrow we drive to Richmond, VA, 1 hour 37 minutes drive according to Tom-Tom, for a consultation and if all goes well, surgery. She may be released the same day or they may want to keep her overnight, so we're bringing an overnight bag for us and for Dylan. There are two Red Roof Inns in Richmond.

As with any surgery there are potential complications during and after, but the benefits appear to outweigh the risks at this point. We hope to give our precious Dyna a few more happy years, both for her and for us. We will keep you posted.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Post Irene

We have heard from many of you wondering how we made out in the storm. We apologize that we haven't responded sooner but the marina and most of the surrounding area was without power for several days making our cell service and internet access spotty to nonexistent. And then we had days of catch-up...

The worst of the storm hit in the middle of the night with winds increasing around midnight. We were well protected from the winds here but still did our share of rocking and rolling. Our greatest concern was the water rising above the fixed piers.

We pre-selected a point on the piling. If the water reached that level we would throw the lines and head for an anchorage. Not something we were wanting to do at 2 am in big winds. The water reached about 18 inches of our mark and quickly receded. It was like watching a tub drain when you pull the plug.

By daybreak all was past and there was no damage to boat or crew. The only thing lost was a good night's sleep. Well, actually the crew slept just fine, even at the worst, we were the ones up.

The past few days we have spent undoing our storm preparations and getting the boat ready for our departure in a couple of weeks. Yesterday we took the dinghy down to ensure all was in working order. And of course that led to a dinghy ride for the crew. They deserve it after handling their first, and hopefully last, hurricane like the experienced salty dogs they are.

We hope everyone faired equally well and look forward to seeing you on the water soon.

Friday, August 26, 2011

New Adventures

Early in the summer we selected August 24th as the day we would leave our land-based home in Maine and head back to the boat. September is actually the best month to be in Maine but we have several commitments to speak in the Chesapeake in September so we stuffed the car to the gills, loaded up the crew, and departed.

Once again we fulfilled the requirements of the Red Roof Inn for "one well-behaved dog" - see last August's entry "One well-behaved dog is permitted...". The crew handled two days in a car well and were happy to be back onboard.

If you're wondering where we are, look at the track for Irene. I guess we should be flattered that the National Hurricane Center thought we were important enough to highlight our location.

So today we will spend time preparing for the storm we hope will miss us. We'll get to break in the new foul-weather gear we splurged on last spring. There will be lots of practice tying lines and we'll find out if we really did seal up all the leaks. We've got plans A, B, C and more, including overnight bags and dog food in the car should Dyna and Dylan get to spend another night in a Red Roof Inn.

We hope everyone stays safe!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Boat Table

In our workout room we have a large folding table. I can't remember why we put it there but over the years it has turned into "the boat table." Whenever we purchase something for the boat or run across something in the house we want to bring to the boat we say, "Put it on the boat table." As the summer moves along the table always becomes piled high and we begin to wonder how we'll ever fit us, the dogs, and all that stuff in the car.

One would think that after almost a decade of doing this we would have everything we need on the boat. But our tastes changes, new things arrive, and old things wear out. The car is just as packed when we leave the boat as we bring back items we no longer use and those special things we don't want to be without for a few months.

Life on the boat forces you to repeatedly evaluate your possessions and decide if owning something is worth the space it uses. After all, there's no attic or basement to stuff things into. It's a great excercise as it requires you to determine what is truly important to you.

So a week from today the whole crew will be back on the boat. We'll arrive, grab some dock carts, empty out the car, and begin settling back into life on the water.

And, if you're wondering what's the most important thing we bring in the car, that's easy, Dyna and Dylan, of course.

Friday, July 8, 2011

July 4th

We apologize for being so remiss in our blog. Life has been busy here on land but there's just not the same day-to-day changes we experience onboard. We've been totally swamped with ActiveCaptain.

But this past weekend was the 4th of July. Not only is this the busiest time in Castine, we had four boats of friends visiting AND Dyna and Dylan got to reconnect with Gracie and Dixie, their black lab buddies from the DeFever Carolina.

The July 4th children's parade went off without a hitch despite pea soup fog. The day cleared, turned warm, and was beautiful as we watched Castine Class sailboats in the harbor while having an ice cream.

We listened to the Castine Town Band play a concert on the town common in the evening - marches, patriotic tunes, and dancing children made it a wonderful time. Unfortunately, the fog rolled back in, canceling the night's fireworks over the water. We're hoping they'll set them off tonight instead.

It's been great to be back onboard our friends' DeFever's having dinner and cocktails - it makes us miss being onboard aCappella. But she awaits us in Virginia.

Diane of DeFever Aurora sent us a beautiful vignette of Castine's 4th. You can view it here:

July 4th is considered the start of summer here in Maine and we are looking forward to more summer fun and more boating friends stopping by to fulfill our boating fix.

We hope your 4th was great too!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Settling Back Home

We've been home for a week and the mail is sorted - well thrown away actually. The bags and boxes have been unpacked. The kids settled right back in with Dyna finding her favorite chair and Dylan splitting time between watching for squirrels out the sun room window and sleeping in his chair in the study.

Friends greeted us with a lovely dinner party and every trip to the post office, town dock, or Bah's Bakehouse leads to welcomes and time catching up. It's nice to be home but after 9 months onboard all this space feels a bit silly.

We've gone from a boat "queen” size bed to a king but still only end up with a sliver as the kids are the ones who get to stretch out. We haven't turned on the cable TV and don't feel the need to. Having a dishwasher is much appreciated and cooking is no longer an acrobatic event although Dyna still manages to find a place underfoot.

The biggest difference for Dyna and Dylan is the lack of daily swimming. Fortunately, we're not completely boatless. We have a 13 foot Whaler which the kids helped get ready. Dylan took up position underneath hoping to catch some spray from the hose. The day was hot so Dyna found a cool spot in the garden nearby. So now the Whaler is clean and the battery is installed. A bit of bottom painting and she should be launched mid-week. Summer can begin.

The kids look forward to daily swimming trips to Indian Bar. We already know of several boating buddies heading to Maine this Summer. The first crowd will be three DeFever's arriving in a couple weeks on their way to Nova Scotia. We've never been by boat and feel a longing to join them.

Meanwhile, we think about the Fall and our next cruise and look forward to the beauty that is a Maine summer.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Happy Birthday to Dyna!

If you believe the "dog years" theory then Dyna is 91 years old today. I think she's doing pretty well for such an old bird. Today reminds us that every day with Dyna is a gift. For Dyna, it's just another day. And like every day since we've docked the boat, it starts with swimming.

Dyna and Dylan begin rustling about sometime between 6:30 and 7:00 am. We attempt to sleep in until the latter but it's usual not worth the effort. So usually about 6:45 am we pull on some clothes, let the kids visit the poop-deck, and head to the cockpit.

Since Dyna almost took a morning dip in Charleston jumping from the boat to the dock, we now use the PetStep to get her to the dock.

The long walk from the T-head where aCappella is docked to shore is a test of strength as both dogs pull in anticipation of their morning swim.

The pulling continues through the parking lot and across the field that leads to Lodge Creek.

Finally, the collars and leashes come off and there's a mad dash to the water's edge.

Dyna's dad manages to execute a perfect "Double Fetch", throwing one stick long for Dylan and one short for Dyna. This allows Dylan to have a much needed long swim while Dyna is able to fetch her stick without interference from the young'un - well, usually.

Meanwhile Dylan flies past. Damn whipper-snapper.

Each retrieval is followed by several minutes where Dyna wheezes and gasps catching her breath, all the while nudging the stick and prancing her paws wanting another go. Dylan finds other things to do.

A dozen or so throws and the girl starts to drag her back feet signaling it's time to head back. A stop at the hose rinses off the pungent creek water. Although I'm pretty sure they'd both rather carry the smell, they've worked so hard for, with them.

The walk back to the boat is more leisurely, even though breakfast is waiting for them.

Two towels per dog are needed to get them from soaking to just wet.

Then it takes both of them to supervise the preparation of the "Puppy Chow."

And it is done to perfection.

There's only one thing left to do while she waits for dinner.

Dyna, we hope you had a happy birthday. We all love you. Even the little twerp.