Sunday, December 30, 2012

Titusville Kayaking

Dylan's manatee buddies visit almost daily.
After a week of looking at all the wonderful wildlife that surrounded the boat we had a real hankering to explore. Our new smaller kayaks weren't appropriate to cross the ICW where the real beauty is, while the sea kayaks sitting in our basement in Maine would have been perfect. Darn! So we looked into A Day Away Kayak Tours which Mark here at Titusville Municipal Marina had recommended and knew right away it would be perfect.

Looking for sleeping manatees.
We met Ron who manages the tours and he suggested we try a motorized kayak tour. Well, being long time kayakers who enjoy paddling we were a bit skeptical. Wouldn't the sound of the motor destroy the peacefulness of gliding along the water? Weren't we just being wimps by not paddling ourselves? But we're always up for something new, so we met him in Sand Point Park adjacent to the marina early on a Sunday.

A small electric motor does the work.
Each kayak had a small electric motor that barely made a hum when it was on. You turned the motor on and off with a switch and steered using a a long handle that attached to a rudder. We also had paddles we could use to turn or backup - the motor only went forward. When we turned on the motors the kayaks glided through the water "at about the speed of a good paddler," according to Ron. It was terrific. We were able to keep our attention on the sights around us rather than focusing on paddling and didn't need to think about saving energy for the return trip.

Look, Ma, no paddling.
We moved along the shore ducking into the basins to watch for manatees sleeping and dolphins. Then went across the ICW to some islands where we got out and stretched our legs while observing the shorebirds. It was a perfect morning which ended way too soon.

Crossing the ICW.
It's a great way to get out and see the natural beauty that is here. It's easy to do even if you've never been in a kayak. And Ron is a terrific and knowledgeable tour guide. You just have to try this! The only thing missing were side cars for Dyna and Dylan. They promised they'd sit still... Yeah, right!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas in Titusville

In the two weeks we have been at the Titusville Municipal Marina we have come to appreciate what is truly special here. And it's not just the dog park. All day Christmas Eve the boat was surrounded by manatees snorting and diving and playing. Dylan spent hours hanging over the edge and quickly learned to recognize the bubbles followed by the circles in the water that meant a manatee was about to surface. I don't know which was more fun to watch, the manatees or Dylan. Just walking to the grocery store or dog park I pass dozens of wood storks a threatened species of bird, but apparently not in Titusville. There's something abundant here that is becoming increasingly difficult to find elsewhere - simple natural beauty.

We were fortunate to meet Ron who runs a variety of kayak tours in the area and he invited us to an annual Christmas morning tradition, birding in the Merritt Island National Refuge. At 8 am in the nearby Burger King parking lot, we met the group and headed over. Luckily there were many in the group who were serious birders or I would not have known how many different species I was seeing. It was spectacular!

Did you know that Titusville is the home of the largest birding festival on the east coast? We had the privilege of spending Christmas morning with several of the founders on Merritt Island.

Mid-morning we stopped and enjoyed the many goodies we had brought plus Mimosas. Then driving out of the refuge we spotted a large gator sunning himself. We are so thankful that this group of old friends included us and made us feel at home.

The afternoon was spent with the kids who unfortunately missed the birding adventure despite promising they'd be good - yeah right. Everyone cuddled for a nap and before we knew it, it was time to go to the dog park which was full of dogs even on Christmas.

The turkey is about to come out of the oven and we still have It's A Wonderful Life to watch on DVD. The kids love a movie night.

The whole crew wishes all of you a very Merry Christmas!

Karen, Jeff, Dyna, and Dylan

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Our New Favorite Dog Park

When it comes to dog parks there are no better experts than Dyna and Dylan. They have been to scores of dog parks up throughout the US and have played with thousands of dogs. The route taken by the aCappella crew often involves planned stops at some of their favorite ones. And we now have a new one in Titusville.

We've been at the Titusville Municipal Marina for over a week now and the kids quickly fell into the afternoon habit of heading off to the dog park and become quite restless if something delays us for even a few minutes.

So what makes this park so special? Well, the city of Titusville decided to turn a parcel of land right next to (and I mean it touches) the marina into a park. It's appropriately named Marina Park. It has a large playground, a ball field, and a big, beautiful multi-lane boat ramp. But the best part is they made a huge dog park. If you look at the satellite image here it is the large rectangular-ish area in the lower left.

It's fully fenced, has a large (over 25 lbs) and a small (under 25 lbs) section - we're not sure what you do if your dog weighs exactly 25 lbs - doggy pickup stations, water hookups complete with a wading pool and drink bowls, benches for the dogs' people, and the best part, lots of dogs. All of this is just a short walk that even our grand dame, Dyna, can make every day.

Are they having fun? Well, see for yourself.

And more dog park fun!

If you are fortunate enough to have four-legged crew onboard you just have to check out the new Titusville dog park. And if you and your crew are nearby you just have to stop in to play with Dyna and Dylan.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's Kid Time

We really enjoyed the Melbourne SSCA Gam. Our final day ended with a beautiful sunset which just put the whipped cream on the sundae. It is the most interesting and diverse group of boaters we have ever encountered. Some have circumnavigated the world (a few more than once), some regularly visit remote and exotic places, some love to simply cruise the coastlines, and some are still dreaming about the day they will be able to throw off the lines. But what we all have in common is a love of the cruising lifestyle and a desire to share our knowledge and experience. Everyone has something to offer.

While we were off meeting and greeting and learning and partying, the kids where spending way too much time waiting for us on the boat. The abuse was so intense that I even caught Dylan trying to hail the ASPCA on the radio. So we promised them that as soon as the last event was over it would be kid time. Before we put the dinghy back up they got a dinghy ride. Dyna was in heaven.

Monday morning we pulled anchor and headed to Titusville Municipal Marina to try out their new dog park. Both kids give it 5 stars. This marina is dog central. We can't leave the boat without meeting another dog and of course now that we're tied to the dock Dyna and Dylan can meet and greet across the bow. We plan to be here for a spell so the kids are pleased to settle in, soak up the attention, and stretch their legs ashore. We're just happy they let us join them.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Bad Rap

A common occurrence when fellow cruisers find out that our homeport is in Maine is some comment like, "I hear it's so beautiful up there but I'm afraid to go because..." followed by one or more of the same complaints.

Complaint: The bottom is rock, not sand or mud, so if I run aground...

This is true but I point out that the depths are ridiculously deep, the rocks are all charted as they've been there for about a million years, and they never shoal. If you're running aground in Maine, you're doing something seriously wrong. Here in Florida running aground is simply part of the experience.

Complaint: There are too many lobster buoys.

There are alot of them but these same folks never seem to complained when sitting down to their lobster roll lunch or full fledged lobster pound feast. In reality, actually grabbing a buoy is harder to do than you think - we've done talks on just this topic. Besides, Maine is a place that needs to be savored, so slow down and enjoy.

Complaint: It's always foggy.

Well, that's actually not true and much can be avoided by picking the right time to come. Hint, September is the absolutely best time to visit Maine. But knowing how to use your radar is really an important skill so think of it as practice. Fog is actually quite beautiful. And even if you don't think so, it typically burns off within a couple of hours.

For the record, the picture above is not of a lovely anchorage in Maine. This has been the view for the past two mornings in the anchorage here in Melbourne, FL where we are attending the SSCA Gam. So you see that practice you get with your radar up in Maine can really come in handy.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Joining the Parade

We've been moving every day since we left Hinckley Yacht Services in Savannah to ensure we will make the SSCA Gam in Melbourne. Today we finally caught up with the ICW parade, the stream of boats that move south along the ICW this time of year. The weather has turned warm and we are pleased to be back in shorts. Life is certainly good.

We've been visiting several of our ActiveCaptain Sponsors which means the kids get to have almost daily time ashore and meet new friends - the two and four-legged kind. Palm Coast Marina was full of canine crew keeping both Dyna and Dylan on the watch. At Loggerhead Daytona Jeff found a nearby by dog park and father and son went off for a much needed romp. The girls stayed home and we did girl things. They returned tired and happy, with no pictures but lots of mud.

While underway Dylan has taken on the position of Chief Wildlife Observer. He spends the whole day on the bow scampering from port to starboard looking for birds, other boaters, and of course his favorite, dolphins. He is a busy boy only taking a brief break to schmooze while we have lunch. By nightfall he crashes in utter exhaustion.

We're at anchor tonight. Tomorrow we head to Cocoa Village Marina and then on to Melbourne where we'll finally stay put for a bit. If you're coming to the Gam make sure to say hello.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

God of the Waves

We've mentioned before that Dylan was named after the Celtic God of the Waves. When it comes to sea conditions we are certainly not above pandering. Lately it appears to be paying off.

At sunrise this morning we left Hinckley Yacht Services in Savannah and went offshore to Morningstar Golden Isles in Brunswick. The seas were even calmer than they were for our overnight a few weeks back - if that's possible.  I worry about payback and remind Dylan that we've certainly paid our dues in the past. The god not the dog, although I believe they're very nearly the same thing.

The kids enjoyed the ride even though it was overcast. At times it was hard to tell the where the sky ended and the sea began. Dylan (the dog not the god) was greeted all day long by dozens of dolphins, or as we need to say in the pilothouse, d-o-l-p-h-i-n-s.

We were amazed that we had the ocean pretty much to ourselves. All we saw all day were a few shrimpers, lots of birds, and of course the dolphins. Mid-afternoon some threatening clouds appeared but we didn't see so much as a sprinkle as they skirted around us.

We'll be taking the next week and a half to meander down to Melbourne in time for the SSCA Gam. For now we are content to glide along the flat ocean.

Wishing the calmest of seas for everyone.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Another Thanksgiving

Dyna and Dylan have had a great week staying at Grandma's house for Thanksgiving. Dylan especially likes the increased number of people around as it means more opportunities to make a score. There where numerous family gatherings including aunts, uncles, cousins, and even three first cousins once removed. According to Dylan, the younger ones make easier marks.

Dyna liked having her bed in the thick of things so she could keep an eye on the comings and goings. All the little people did tire her out after a while.

Grandma's glass front door made the perfect spot to watch the neighborhood dogs being walked and to generally alert us to the many dangers lurking outside.

Our visit would not have been complete without a trip to the Purple Cow. The best milkshakes you will ever taste in a choice of about 100 flavors. If you ever find yourself in Kingsport, TN - it could happen - you absolutely, positively must make a stop.

Dylan selected his youngest cousin, Marcos, as his mark during Thanksgiving dinner. Overall a pretty good choice. The metal around Marcos' neck is from the Turkey Trot 5K that he, his sister, his mom and dad, and Uncle Jeff did Thanksgiving morning.

Dyna choose a quieter spot away from the hustle and bustle and, by the way, just beneath where the feast was laid out.

The day was long and finally both crashed after the dessert was served. I fear the boat will be rather dull when we return.

The whole crew of aCappella hopes that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We wish you all safe travels and look forward to seeing you on the water.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Man Overboard!!!

It was terrifying! I was shaking out the bedspread to get the, what else, dog hair off when suddenly there was Woobie floating in the water beside the boat. I screamed for Jeffrey and launched into the procedures we had gone over in our drills. In a flash Jeff was over the side balancing on the rub-rail and scooping him up before the swift current took him away. Tragedy averted!!

Woobie is Dylan's nighttime comfort toy. He often sucks on him before falling asleep and in the morning if he awakes before we do. We can't remember why he's called Woobie, he just is. He must have gotten caught up in the spread when I gathered it up. After a quick bath in the washing machine and a turn in the dryer, he is now safe and sound back on the bed waiting for Dylan.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Overnight to Savannah

I can hear some of you are saying, "Geez, another picture of Dyna sleeping. Is that all she does?" First, Dyna is a sweet old girl and thus can sleep as much as she wants. Second, this is totally different. In this picture Dyna is sleeping about 20 miles offshore. Notice the yellow edge of the life raft.

Friday was the perfect day to hop offshore for Savannah. The predictions were for "flat" seas. Yes, it actually said flat, something we do not remember ever seeing before. After spending a night at Southport Marina and having a very nice meal at Fishy Fishy we headed out about 11 am. This time NOAA did not lie...  After weeks of fighting weather it felt great to just go!

The seas were indeed basically flat for our complete 26 hour passage. This made the kids very happy. Dylan spent much of his time watching for dolphins. And Dyna, well, she slept, sometimes on the settee in the saloon and sometimes in her bed in the pilothouse.

We fell into our well established overnight pattern. The standard dinner, Chicken Fried Rice, was prepared and packaged Thursday afternoon. The boat was readied for offshore, bringing out the life raft and ditch bag, securing the cockpit table and dog box, stowing items throughout the boat, and generally hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. But this passage we could have had crystal wine glasses balanced in a pyramid. Well, almost.

The night would have been boring except for a clear sky with brilliant stars and solitaire on my iPhone. I never encountered a single vessel on either of my watches. The sunrise was beautiful and brought Dylan's first dolphin sighting. His dad joined him on the bow.

We arrived safely at Hinckley Yacht Services in Savannah Saturday afternoon. The kids were happy to get off the boat and settle in for a bit. We have a couple weeks before we take to the sea again. For now Dyna and Dylan are wishing calm seas for all their cruising friends.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Making Tracks

Pulling out of Top Rack at 6:45 am

We finally pulled out of Portsmouth Wednesday afternoon. Don't get me wrong we love Portsmouth but unfortunately we had a "schedule" - a very bad word to use on a boat. We were willing to miss the various dates for safety but if we made some tracks over the next two days, it would all work out.

So we headed south 8 miles to Top Rack Marina. OK, not exactly making tracks at least we were underway. We had a part for one of the heads that was waiting for us and we couldn't exactly pass up dinner at the Amber Lantern. We were going to have to miss visiting our other Sponsors, Atlantic Yacht Basin, Coinjock Marina, and Dowry Creek Marina. We'll be back in the spring to visit them.

We wanted to cover some miles on Thursday and try to get through Currituck and Albermarle Sounds so we pulled out of the slip before sunrise to make the 7 am Steel Bridge opening. Otherwise, we would have to wait until 9 am. The crew thought we were crazy.  This is the same bridge that annoyed Dyna a few years back. You can see her blog entry here.

The day was cold but pretty uneventful until we got to the Albermarle Sound. We got spanked by the very choppy waves. Even Dyna was mad. I'm fairly certain the crew was planning a mutiny but then supper time came and all was forgiven.

Sunset at Cyprus Swamp

We dropped the hook in Cyprus Swamp, a 70+ mile day, just as the sun was beginning to set. One more long 70+ mile day day and we pulled into River Dunes about 5 pm on Friday. Good friends Cindy and Don came by to visit us Saturday. Cindy is famous on our blog for her homemade pound cake which she brought along. You see we make Cindy and Don think we won't let them visit the boat unless they bring us some of this pound cake. Actually, they're always welcome but don't tell them that because we really, really like the pound cake.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Morning After

Tuesday morning we awoke to only mild winds and the sun attempting to peek through the clouds. We felt very lucky but were sobered by watching the morning news reports about what happen to the north. She may let us become a bit complacent but Mother Nature will always let us know that in the end she is in charge.

The sight Monday morning was somewhat different. The highest tide of the storm was predicted for around 9:30 Monday morning as the surge and the tide combined. Jeff found a cool graphic on the NOAA site showing the predictions.

The alarm was set for 7 am Monday morning as the dark skies were confusing our usual "alarm clock", Dylan looking for his breakfast. We wanted to ensure we were awake, warmly dressed, and fed so we would be ready to adjust the lines and fenders as the water rose and the winds picked up. The water rose to just inches from the tops of the pilings on the other 3 docks, giving us about a foot of leeway. All the boats in the basin held fast and as the water began to recede we breathed a sigh of relief. Just about then the cold began to set in and we dug into our stash of warm clothes.

We were fortunate that the maximum storm surge was somewhat less than predicted and that the winds took longer to clock around and push us towards the pilings than expected. By mid-morning on Monday our fender boards where well positioned against the pilings as the wind pushed us hard towards shore. We spent the day listening to the winds howl while feeling periodic bumps as the winds pushed us against the pilings. But we knew we were safe.

By evening we had pulled the boat back close to the docks and decided to go into town for dinner to celebrate. Even bundled up in our foul weather gear it was a cold and blustery walk. We decided on Chinese food and when the waitress ask us what we wanted to drink we both said, "Hot tea!"

Back on the boat we setup the rabbit ears and pulled in some local news for the first time thinking about those further north and hoping all would be well. As the temperatures dropped and we wished we had one more dog we remembered a small ceramic heater we had tucked away and pulled it out. It at least took the edge off. We set it up in the stateroom as we went to bed and even had to get up in the middle of the night to turn it off.

Today we worked to out the boat back to rights. The morning was spent putting the bimini and antennas back up on the flybridge. It was cold with occasional gusts of wind. We kept winter gloves on except when we had to use our fingers for something. Dyna sat on the settee in front of the ceramic heater until she got too warm and moved to the side. As I came down to fetch things I kept wondering what was wrong with this picture.

In the afternoon we pulled in our extra lines and fenders. The biggest job was getting the anchor chain we had pulled across the basin undone and back on board. The picture below was taken by fellow cruisers the Lovings on Compass Rose and is of us feeding the chain out on Friday. Note who is doing the messy job of feeding the chain. Just sayin'...

All is pretty much back to normal on board. The plan is to move down to Top Rack Marina tomorrow afternoon and stay the night. Thoughts of real heat, hot showers, some laundry, and a fabulous meal at the Amber Lantern are keeping me going right now. With a few long days we still plan on being at River Dunes Marina for our scheduled seminar on Sunday. That is, of course, if there are no other unforeseen obstacles.

We've seen a few boats meander south today anxious to get going. I'm happy to let them find out first what Sandy may have left in our way. For now we are safe and dry and reasonably warm. But most of all we are proud of our seasoned crew for pulling together. With two hurricanes now beneath their belts, Dyna and Dylan have proven themselves true salty dogs.

We thank everyone for their expressions of concern and warm thoughts. For now we wish the best for those who suffered far worse than we did. Please stay safe everyone.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

So you know it's real when Friday morning the men begin to gather on the dock. They're pointing to the high buildings surrounding the basin, discussing which way the wind will clock, how high the storm surge should be. Then they begin pointing to their boats and the cleats and pilings around the basin. A plan is formed.

Next thing you know they've launched the dinghies and started weaving what looks like a giant macramé project. Lines are snaking back and forth between the boats and the docks opposite.

The issue for us is not the winds. We're only getting the edge of the storm and we're also surrounded by numerous high buildings which will block much of the strong winds. The issue is the storm surge - how high will it go?

The pilings on the Portsmouth municipal basins are not terribly high - we measured not quite 5 feet above MHW for the ones beside our boat. The ones on the other three sides are about a foot lower. The predictions for the area are for the surge to be 4 feet, not much leeway. The key is to ensure your boat stays tied to the dock while also not being damaged by the dock pilings. The worst case scenario is the surge bringing the boat above the pilings and the wind pushing you onto them. Big holes in the bottom of a boat are a bad thing.

These are the same pilings as above at the first high tide with Sandy's surge beginning. The next two tides will be even higher.

So we and the crews of the four sailboats sharing this square basin with us spent 2 days snaking lines back and forth across the basin to keep all the boats suspended a safe distance from the docks.

Friday we decided to take a walk to the grocery store for some final provisions. We estimated it was about 1.5 miles and knowing we'd be spending the next few days onboard thought the walk would feel good. What we didn't anticipate is the pouring rain that would come as we started back. A kind soul stopped to pick us up. "I saw you in the grocery store and knew you where on a boat," he said. Still deciding if that was an insult or compliment but appreciated his kindness nonetheless.

We've since had several folks stop by the boat to offer provisioning rides and to see if we were alright. Both the owners of Skipjack Nautical Wares and an ActiveCaptain user living in Portsmouth have even invited us to stay with them if things get bad.

The more I live this life the more I believe in the goodness of people.

Friday afternoon we heard the Navy had decided to send the ships in Norfolk out to sea to better weather the storm. I was below near dusk when the sky seemed to go black. Rushing above I saw a massive Navy ship passing us blocking the remaining sun.

By Saturday afternoon Jeff had snaked a final line across the basin and used our block-n-tackle to pull our anchor chain tight to a piling across the way. The boat is now too far from the dock for me to reach shore so I settled in for the duration. Dyna and Dylan settled in too but still remain in full storm watch mode.

There is a flock of ducks - or whatever you called a bunch of them - who have settled into the basin also. This reminds me of a saying I've heard to follow ducks in foul weather as they will seek the safest spot. I hope it is true!

We awoke this morning to a near high tide, noting the water was about a foot from the top of the shorter pilings across from us. We expect those to be under water for tomorrow morning's even higher tide. We have 2 more tides to watch. Tonight's around 9 and then the worst one tomorrow morning around 9:30. The second one will coincide with the wind pushing us towards the dock - not a good combination. We're counting on our lines and chain to hold us.

We have deployed every fender and line on the boat. The bimini is down. All loose items have been stowed or lashed down. The dinghy is in the water should we need to leave the boat. The larder is full and we have plenty of "puppy chow." And last time we checked we could still get the news on the TV.

We keep getting calls and emails asking us if we're in a good spot. We'll let you know on Tuesday.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Downtown Hampton Public Piers

There are some places along the waterway that we hear about again and again. Hampton, VA is one of those places. In particular, the Downtown Hampton Public Piers has been one of the highest rated marinas in ActiveCaptain. We've read the reviews, talked to numerous boaters who rave, yet somehow we have never made it there. So this fall we decided come hell or high water (the water came after we left but that's another post) we were going to stop in.

We did and we loved it!

We pulled in after spending 8 days on the hook in Mobjack Bay. The kids loved going ashore every day for a walk. We loved the restaurants, walking the quaint streets, and meeting lots of fellow boaters. The Public Piers is a transient only marina with a maximum stay of 10 days. So everyone there is a cruiser like us.

There is a strong SSCA Cruising Station there with one of the hosts being Kate, the former dockmaster. One night they pulled together a boaters' wine tasting at La Bodega Hampton, a really nice wine, beer, cheese, and gourmet store. There were dozens of boaters there and Jeff was even asked to give a speech. He did pretty well on the fly...

Our final day there we made it to the much talked about Old Hampton Ice Cream Parlor. The kids even got a treat when their dad splurged and bought them each a "Pups-icle" - frozen yogurt, peanut butter, and other tasty ingredients with a Pupperoni stick. Too bad we forgot the camera, it was quite a sight!

We'll now put Hampton on our must visit list. If you make it in there, be sure and say hello to Jake, the terrific dockmaster. And be sure to take your four-legged crew out for "ice cream."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mail Day

When we pulled into Downtown Hampton Public Piers we had our mail drop waiting for us. Over the years delivery of our snail mail has gotten less frequent with each batch being smaller and smaller. But there are just some things you can't eliminate with online banking and bill pay...

This pouch contained our absentee ballots. So, knowing how we wanted to vote, we quickly filled them out and dropped them in the mail. No matter how many ads they throw at us or who starts a rant on Facebook, we have spoken.

And guys, really, the rants never work anyway.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ear Terror!

 I saw a show some years back about the history of dogs. They mentioned the apparent correlation between floppy ears and the friendliness of a breed. It talked about a project that was done to see if it was possible to create tame fox. Can't remember why they were doing it...

They bred fox always selecting the most tame of each generation. Over time they became increasingly docile and friendly towards humans. An unexpected outcome was that through successive generations their ears went from upright to floppy - the tamer the fox, the more its ears hung down.

So that leads us to the breed that is arguably best known for its friendly disposition, Labrador Retrievers. I must say that just touching those velvety soft ears brings a smile to my face.

But floppy ears are not without issues, especially in a breed that loves the water. Moisture is trapped under those adorable appendages leading to chronic ear infections. This means that aCappella carries a stash of items to deal with canine ears.

We have ear drying solution which is placed in all four ears after any contact with water whether a bath or swimming. There's several different cleaning solutions to flush wax and any other debris from their ears. We have a variety of ear ointments for those occasions when our efforts aren't able to stop an infection. We even have an otoscope to peer down the ear when we suspect something is wrong. Ears are checked on a regular basis around here.

You would think with all these manipulations the kids would adjust and let us get it over with. Shoot, they always get a treat afterwards. Dyna shows her distaste with her look. Dylan goes over the top.

He runs through the boat doing his "mad man" or pirouettes as we also call them. Tight little circles with his tail tucked in. He "hides" in the corner of the pilothouse settee or frantically runs to the door wanting out. And this is just when we do something with Dyna's ears.

To date he has never escaped. I mean, we're on a boat, how far can he go?

Today as he was sleeping with his head across my lap I flipped each ear flap up for a quick look. He eyed me cautiously. Both were pink and dry and pretty. Fortunately, Dylan escaped the ear terrors for just one more day.

Friday, October 12, 2012


"Youth is wasted on the young."
Quote from my all time favorite movie, It's A Wonderful Life

Tell any sixteen year old that mature adults know how to party and I can just see the eye roll. They think anyone over 30 is sitting home watching Lawrence Welk.  I thought that when I was 16...

There isn't a sixteen year old on the planet who could say that if they saw the party at last week's Krogen Rendezvous! These folks know how to party!

This was our 4th Krogen Rendezvous in Solomons, MD and we do it for the party they throw on the final night. There's great food, terrific people, and an amazingly good band. The dance floor is full all night long. The music is great with the band having as much fun as we are. When was the last time you saw a band take a picture of the dancers?

We always stay up way past our bedtime until the last dance. Mostly because the dancing is good and the times are fun but also because there's a closing tradition not to be missed. Four band members gather on the dance floor to sing aCappella - without accompaniment - and it will give you chills it is so beautiful.

We're glad the Krogen community lets us be honorary Krogen-nites for one weekend a year in exchange for us talking about some silly subject. Don't tell them but we think we're getting the better part of the bargain. We try to make it interesting enough that they invite us back because if they don't, well, then we may just have to sell our boat and buy a Krogen so we can go to the party. It's just that good!