Sunday, December 29, 2013


This was Dee Dee's first Christmas. In past years we have enjoyed decorating the boat with small items for the holiday season. But with an 8 month old puppy that still thinks, "if I can reach it, it should go in my mouth," well, we decided it was better to just enjoy the beautiful Christmas tree in the Panama City square.

The real excitement began when we started getting ready for the big trip to grandma's house. This was Dee Dee's first road trip since we picked her up in Maine in June and drove to the boat on the Hudson River. It was a 9 plus hour drive and both crew members were in top form.

They shared the backseat without a fuss and just a little bit of playing.

But mostly they slept.

Dylan was the perfect big brother. Sweet Dylan.

We spent Christmas week at Grandma's house. It's the longest Dee Dee has lived on land since she arrived on the boat at 8 weeks old.

Dylan showed Dee Dee the spot to watch for squirrels and neighbors and other dangerous things.

Dee Dee found lots of "Dee Dee No" items at Grandma's definitely not puppy-proof house. Heck, it was pretty much one big puppy toy box.

It's a good thing she's so darn cute and knows how to work Grandma when needed.

Each day was full of walks and visitors and new experiences. By the end of the day the crew was ready for a good night's sleep. It was an exciting week.

But as much fun as they had, we all were happy to be back home where all is familiar and most "Dee Dee No" items have been tucked away.

The entire crew on aCappella hopes you had a wonderful holiday season and wishes you a very Happy New Year!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Garmin Revisited!

We received some terrific pictures and a video from our Garmin guests that the crew insisted we had to put on their blog. I think they were just wanting to relive the good times they had. Mom and Dad seem pretty boring in comparison.

Dylan helped setup their equipment.

 Dee Dee kept an eye on everyone.

Joe setup the scene.

While Conor actually did some work.

But the best part was the dolphins!!

Joe captured a video that showed the action!

In the end it was an exciting and tiring time. But the crew can't wait for Conor and Joe to visit again!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Perfect Host and, well, Dee Dee

When it comes to having guests onboard, Dylan is an old pro. He has become the perfect host offering just the right amount of doggie love without going overboard. As for Dee Dee, well...

We just finished having 2 Garmin design engineers onboard for 4 days. These are the guys that get to design the future Garmin products. Can we tell you what they revealed? Possibly, but we're pretty sure that then we'd have to shoot you.

Fortunately, they were both big dog lovers and surprisingly, they remained so after 4 days onboard with Dee Dee. It was one exciting moment after another with events like, "Someone came onboard!" and, "Someone walked up the stairs!" and, "Oh my gosh, they're still there in the morning!" Needless to say there was an abundance of extra attention lavished on both canine crew members.  Dylan certainly managed to get his share.

We spent several nights at anchor, traveled the ICW, and even had another offshore adventure for Dee Dee. The goal was for Garmin to gain real life boating experience to help them design better products. I think that was accomplished even though there were a few distractions, like, DOLPHINS!

If you've even casually followed the crew, you know how Dylan feels about d-o-l-p-h-i-n-s. It seems that Joe and Conor were pretty enamored by them as well. And as for Dee Dee, she actually noticed them for the first time.

It would have been pretty hard not to notice them as these were some of the most active dolphins we have ever encountered. They were literally leaping several feet into the air over and over. Truth be told, we all were having a good time watching.

But there were other modes of entertainment as well, like water bottles and hats and oh, both Joe and Conor wore watches. Dee Dee thought the fun would never end. She liked them both but developed a special attachment to Joe. Maybe his smell? I mean, Joe owns a pug...

She fell head over heels and quite frankly was crushed when they finally left. She stood on the bow with Dylan watching them walk down the dock to the taxi. She kept looking out the window and was sure every noise on the dock was Joe coming back. She ran down to the guest stateroom to look in. She will never forget him and will likely mourn until... what's that?

Wow, a big box full of dog food and treats was delivered right here to the boat! Life is good! Life is beautiful!

Sorry, Joe...

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Another First

This cruise has certainly had a lot of first's for all of us. The Hudson River, the Erie Canal, the Great Lakes, all the way down to the Gulf have all been places new for this crew. It's one of the reasons we wanted to take this journey, to experience new things.

But for our littlest crew member everything has been a first. From her first time underway to her first dinghy ride to the first time she cruised into saltwater, she has been facing new experiences. Today Dee Dee had another very important first.

We had spent a week at The Wharf Marina in Orange Beach, AL where Dylan and Dee Dee enjoyed daily walks to the large field for a run. While we enjoyed the restaurants and movie theater and a lovely Thanksgiving day at Marie and Bob Austin's.  We then made the 11 nm trip to Orange Beach Marina where the crew met other boat dogs while out on the docks. One of the many appeals of Orange Beach Marina is that it is only minutes from the Perdido Pass Inlet.

So mid-afternoon today we threw off the lines and headed out the inlet into the Gulf of Mexico. Right away Dee Dee knew something was different. We had some heavy swells coming out of the inlet and things got only slightly better as we turned east. It wasn't a day we would have normally gone but we have a bit of a schedule, eww.

We bumped along for a couple of hours until we pulled into the Pensacola Inlet and onto our anchorage. Dee Dee was a champ. At first she clung to me, then curled into a ball on the settee. She drooled just a bit but finally settled down and fell asleep.

An offshore passage has now been added to Dee Dee's list of first's. She's becoming quite the boat dog. Of course, she has the best teacher in our first mate Dylan, who by the way also had a first today. It was his first time in the Gulf of Mexico. But to a seasoned salt like him, it was no big whoop.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


We had almost finished crossing Mobile Bay with Jeff at the helm when he suddenly says, "Dolphins!" I looked out to see the familiar fins moving through the water towards the boat. I grabbed the wheel as Jeff hustled the dogs out to the bow while I tried to snap some photos through the window. It was Dee Dee's first dolphin sighting after all...

Dylan immediately knew what was up and ran to the edge to peer over. Dee Dee also knew something was up but couldn't figure out what. Jeff tried to coax her to look down at the four dolphins that were riding our bow wake.

But she was only interested in smelling the breeze. That's fine. There will be lots more dolphins in the coming months and with dolphin expert Dylan there to guide her, she'll catch on.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Wavy, Wavy

There are a lot of things that I like about my handsome boy Dylan - his sweet disposition, his love of cuddling, that he truly does like to please. But one of my all time favorite things are the beautiful waves he has down his back. When he swims or has a bath they turn into masses of ringlets! He gets them from his papa, Cooper, a black Lab that also has beautiful waves down his back. People who meet our crew often comment on Dylan's beautiful curls.

When Dee Dee first joined our crew she had straight fur just like her great-great-grandmother Dyna. But just recently I've noticed that she's starting to get waves down her back. They're not as pronounced as Dylan's but there none the less.

Hmmm, does that mean maybe she'll pick up some of Dylan's other good traits? Oh boy, we sure hope so...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Back in Salt Water

Since leaving Midway Marina we have been moving down the last of the rivers. The crew enjoyed several days at Columbus Marina in Columbus, Mississippi, a beautiful town. Then on to Kingfisher Bay Marina in Demopolis, Alabama a very large and growing marina. Dylan and Dee Dee took daily walks on the docks at both places soaking up the attention.

We got to "experience" Bobby's Fish Camp in Silas, Alabama were we had to raft up to another boat to fit at the tiny dock. Dylan and Dee Dee liked that there were two dogs on the other boat as well. They managed to be entertained even though they couldn't get off the boat. In between our stops we anchored at a variety of places both lovely and dicey. That's part of the "experience" as well.

As we came through our final lock in Coffeeville, Alabama and approached Mobile Bay, we once again entered saltwater, something our hull hadn't felt since the Hudson River in New York. To Dee Dee saltwater is something new. Dylan immediately ran to the bow looking port and starboard for dolphins. I can only guess he knew the smell of the saltwater. Unfortunately, I think we need to venture a bit closer to the Gulf to find his buddies. But Dee Dee ran with great excitement sure that Dylan had something fun to show her. Patience, little girl.

We have settled for a bit at Dog River Marina in Mobile, Alabama. It's a high end boatyard with lots of docks and places to wander. We even found a field beside the yacht club where the crew can romp.

Somehow with all of the planning and traveling and visiting Jeff was able to complete the new ActiveCaptain Companion and get it ready for release tomorrow. Of course, it probably helped that he had his cracker-jack crew at hand.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Busy, Busy


The crew has been enjoying the height of southern hospitality this week here at Midway Marina in Fulton, Mississippi. We had spent 10 days at anchor in Bay Springs Lake, which has made our time at the dock busier than normal. There's laundry to catch up on and shopping to do and boat cleaning. That's on top of the usual ActiveCaptain activities. Plus Jeff has been finishing the ActiveCaptain Companion and finally submitted the Apple version last night for approval.

Dylan and Dee Dee have been very busy too. They've kept track of hundreds of coots floating near the boat each day.

There are five docks that have to be visited, checking for other dogs, new transients, and anybody who might have treats. Of course, every visitor to their boat, two and four legged, has to be greeted.

They get up early to take their mom and dad on a morning walk to the nearby field where they have to chase the stick or the Frisbee. Sometimes there's tasty treats on the ground.  We usually do it again in the late afternoon or evening.

If Mom and Dad go out for the evening, Dylan and Dee Dee must stand watch for any dangers that may threaten the boat.

And Dee Dee must somehow fit in her favorite shows on the Nature channel. I believe she was watching one about lions...

Don't forget there's breakfast and supper and naps and new toys to play with.

They've got to have a good tussle now and then.

No wonder they're exhausted by the end of the day.

It's one hard working crew we have on aCappella.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bay Springs Lake

Dylan and Dee Dee have certainly been enjoying the good life lately. We ended up staying 10 days at Green Turtle Bay Resort - it was hard to leave. There were a lot of walking places for the kids and plenty of the dinghy rides. We had three days of quick anchorages and then enjoyed a couple of days at Grand Harbor Marina, another resort style marina. It was definitely time to toughen this crew up a bit. You know, hoist those sails, swab those decks kinds of stuff.

We've been anchored in a beautiful cove on Bay Springs Lake in Mississippi. We planned to come for a couple of days.  We're on our fifth day here and will probably stay for five more. The scenery is just spectacular and we've had beautiful sunsets each night. I think the whole crew could get used to this.

Dee Dee has been refining her dinghy skills with the help of Dylan. She happily leaps in after him and hangs over the sides now. There's a park about a mile across the lake with a small dock and lots of walking trails. She has learned that a dinghy ride can be much more than just a ride. It can mean that you get to go to other fun places.

She's now ticked off several more requirements towards her Second Mate status. There have been more than 5 successful dinghies rides without a single Dee Dee overboard drill (knocking on wood). All stairs have successfully been mastered, the latest being the flybridge stairs which happened just this week. Now she's found a whole new level to find trouble on...

Of course, there are still a few issues to overcome. The "on command" requirement, while getting better, is still a bit hit or miss. She's still very fond of leaning out over the caprail. And while we have left her out of the crate for a few locking and docking maneuvers, it's only been when she was already sleeping. She definitely hasn't been trusted yet to be alone for anywhere near an hour.

So her crate still takes up a large area of the salon and is used daily - some days more than others. She often goes in on her own to take a nap or when she has a special treat. Dylan doesn't see why she needs to come out of the crate at all. He's found a new puppy friend that never bites

We'll probably be here until Monday after enjoying the peace and beauty in this incredible place. It's a really hard life but someone has to do it.