Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dylan's new girlfriend...

Springtime in Savannah, Georgia.  Sweet magnolia in the air can only mean one thing - falling in love.  And the bug has bitten Dylan.

First, the meeting.

Her golden brown color.  Her fluffy tail.  But will she play?

Tillie (formal name Tiller) is from Nordic Tug Quest.  Word has it that both boats are heading to Beaufort, South Carolina tomorrow and another play date is scheduled there.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How Great is Dyna?

When we woke up this morning we had a text message with this image attached. Dyna's great-great-great-granddaughter, Sophia, gave birth to her 7th puppy at 6:00 am. 4 girls and 3 boys!

JoDee and I once tried to count how many beautiful puppies Dyna was responsible for but it was too much. You can see our precious girl in her prime on the Birchwood Labrador Retrievers site. The second picture down is Katie:  Dyna's daughter, Tucker's sister, and Dylan's mother.

No surprise to me that our beautiful Dyna produced such beautiful offspring. But if you happen to get one of the girls beware, she has quite a stubborn streak too.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Most Difficult Turn

There is one turn that is nearly impossible to make on any boat. It doesn't matter if you're power or sail, large or small, one engine or two. Making a 180 degree turn and retreating once you've left the dock or anchorage is difficult. Not necessarily technically difficult, but emotionally difficult.

We've just completed a terrific MTOA Rendezvous held at Fernandina Harbor Marina and had a wonderful time - good meetings, good venue, good marina, and great people. Our plan A was to leave and head offshore for an overnight to Charleston for a stay at the Charleston Harbor Marina - a new ActiveCaptain Sponsor - to visit dear friends, and to get our much needed Charleston fix. Plan B was to divert into Brunswick, GA by early evening if the weather was not good to stay with another Sponsor, Morningstar Marinas at Golden Isles. Plan C was to head back to Cumberland Island and anchor until we could execute Plan A or B.

All week we've been watching the weather forecast. It's hard to remember more confusing or changeable predictions. There's a system coming through mid-weekend and it was never clear from one forecast to the next what we should do.

So we decided this morning we'd throw the lines off and just stick our nose out and see what the conditions actually were. After all, we had some pretty good alternative plans at the ready.

We knew the inlet would be bouncy as we would have current against the wind but the wind wasn't predicted to be terrible - how bad could it be?

As we came around the first bend, I was still on the bow stowing the lines and fenders, I commented to Jeff that it seemed windier than I'd expected. He agreed. And sure enough as we started out the inlet we had a moderate bounce. The captain informed us we had about 20-30 minutes and then we could turn into the ocean and hopefully find calmer seas.

Another 10 minutes and aCappella was bouncing and bucking like a wild stallion. We could hear various items we'd failed to stow finding new locations on the boat, including Jeff's guitar. Fortunately, nothing was damaged.

The kids began to mutiny and the captain wisely said, "We're turning around."

So we're tucked into our favorite anchorage off Cumberland Island. Sunday is predicted to be the worst day, so maybe by Tuesday or Wednesday we'll stick our nose out to sea once more. No matter what, we're on our boat with those we love in a beautiful place. What could be better than that?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Her Chariot Awaits

Dyna will be 14 years old next month. That's like 90-something in people years. Her hearing is mostly gone, her back legs are weak, and who knows about her eyesight...

But she's happy and engaged and she still wants to be a part of it all. She loves dinghy rides and the beach and finding a good smell. She's not ready to sit out any adventures, especially if it involves a dinghy ride.

The last time we were at Cumberland Island we took the dinghy in every morning to take the kids to the beach on the ocean side. It's a beautiful walk through a canopy of old live oak trees draped in Spanish moss. The beach is wide and goes for miles offering the perfect paradise for a Lab. And of course there's always a chance of seeing the wild horses.

As we began thinking about our week here at Cumberland Island, we began wondering how we would get our precious girl the nearly 2 mile walk to and from the dinghy dock to the beach and then back.

Our spoiled girl didn't need to worry. Her dad procured a dock cart from the ranger station and turned it into Dyna's chariot. She quickly learned to just settle down, enjoy the ride, and arrive at the beach ready to frolic.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Farewell Jacksonville

It was with such mixed feelings that we finally threw our lines off at the Marina at Ortega Landing and pointed our bow north. We had stayed there longer than we have ever stayed in one place and it was certainly beginning to feel like "home."

It was sad to leave friends both old and new. Not to mention our personal Publix and many restaurants we came to love. We won trivia night twice at Tom and Betty's and should have won a third time but Jeff, well, that's another story. The whole crew had a wonderful time and we look forward to returning.

But it was time to go.

Our original plans were to leave by the weekend but there was a perfect weather window on Thursday and the weather was falling part after that until next week, so off we went. In fact we were part of a flotilla as Al and Bette on Plane to Sea took advantage of the same window and Paul and Dinny on Carry On used it to calibrate their instruments.

It was a terrific day offshore as we headed to Cumberland Island to anchor for a week. This is most definitely on our list of all time favorite anchorages. The island is wild and beautiful and has the most magnificent beach on the ocean side.

As soon as we rounded the island from the inlet we saw some of Dyna and Dylan's old buddies, the wild horses that live on the island. If you've followed the kids for some time you may remember the up close and personal encounter they had the first time we went ashore on the island. You can see the video here.

It's now Friday afternoon and the winds are starting to howl. Jeff is a little anxious as we had to drop the anchor 4 times before we were satisfied with the holding. It'll be a good test for DragQueen (our anchor alarm for iPhone and Android). We have a few days of poor weather and then the crew will disembark for jaunts on the island and who knows, maybe another meeting with the wild horses of Cumberland Island.