Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Agony of a Good Boy

During one of Dyna's early visits to Lucerne Veterinary Hospital we were discussing some issue with Dr. Stephanie Monk, one of the two best vets in the world, trying to figure out what it was. Stephanie kept saying something like, "Well, it could be this or that but it's not textbook for the condition." When finally she quipped, "I guess Dyna didn't read the book." That has become a common mantra when discussing Dyna.

From the first day we brought Dyna home we realized that Dyna had written her own book. For starters it is common knowledge that Labs are highly "food motivated." In Dylan's case that is a gross understatement. But Dyna was always quite lackadaisical about her food, eating when she felt like it, despite coming from a home with 9 other dogs and often additional puppies. Dyna's the queen and the queen doesn't have to rush her meals

Dylan learned very early to not mess with Dyna's food dish. Dyna raised 15 puppies and knew very well how to control this one with just a lip curl.

As our girl has grown old eating has become more and more of an all day event. We know she is having some digestive issues and she's a bit senile. It's not unusual for her to nibble a bit and just walk away. We've trained Dylan not to eat what she leaves in the bowl while what falls on the floor is fair game. I usually place a piece of aluminum foil over her dish but often she will walk away before I notice.
 Before long I will hear a soulful moan and find Dylan staring at Dyna's food dish. There's kibble and liver and egg and cheese and other tasty treats all sitting right there. What agony! But he sits and looks but doesn't touch. So I place the foil over top, give him a treat, and say, "What a good boy!"

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Following Seas

After spending five unexpected but very enjoyable days at Downtown Hampton Public Piers we saw a small weather window on Wednesday and decided to make our run to the Chesapeake. The predictions were for the weather to worsen as the day progressed and not be good on Thursday. The best bet seemed to be to make one long run all the way to Olverson's Marina where we'd left our car and where there was a vet we had taken Dyna to before.

So we got up at 5:30 and the whole crew pulled together to get us off the docks by 6:15. Conditions where fine with some light fog but still good visibility. Just enough fog to make the lighthouse at Thimble Shoal look a bit mysterious.

True to predictions conditions gradually turned snotty as the day wore on. Fortunately, the seas were following so other than a few tosses we had a bumpy but very tolerable ride.

Dylan took up his usual spot in the corner of the pilothouse settee close to his mom and dad. While Dyna choose the galley floor. A good choice as it is in the center of the boat and therefore has the least motion. Smart girl.

We were fortunate to get a terrific current push pretty much the whole day getting us in more than an hour ahead of time. The crew has had time to reacquaint themselves here at Olverson's. Dylan has been eying the new kitty on the property. They "met" at Liars Corner Wednesday night. Dyna has had her trip to the vet who confirmed she's pretty darn old and that we are doing all we can to keep her happy and comfortable. The power of modern pharmaceuticals. Tomorrow we'll get them back on their morning walk routine. And in a few days they will be off to visit their grandma in Tennessee.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Documenting our Great/Greatest Loop...

Within the next month we'll officially start our Great/Greatest Loop year cruise up the Hudson River, across the Erie Canal, to the Great Lakes to Chicago, and down the great inland rivers to Mobile, Alabama, and around Florida to come back to the Chesapeake Bay. I've been thinking of techniques to document the trip in a different and out-of-the-normal way and have been experimenting with cameras and software to create time lapse videos of daily travels. It takes 3-4 software products and special camera hardware. The last hardware should be waiting for us at Olverson's and will allow much longer videos to be made - we're currently limited to about 2.5 hours of real time.

So here was most of today's travel from Atlantic Yacht Basin in Chesapeake, VA to the channel leading to Hampton, VA. We're at Downtown Hampton Public Piers escaping a very bad storm that passed over tonight. This test includes some cheesy titles but really good music. I calculate the speed of travel as the equivalent of going about 1,000 knots through the water. I think it feels about right.

So what do you think? Is this worth the effort to document each day's travel like this?


Note that the video isn't working on iPads (mine too). This is why I'm testing it all. The video needs to be encoded differently - the next test will do that. For now, you can only view this on a PC or Mac.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Never on a Weekend (Well, Hardly)

We have a rule that we never travel inside on a weekend, especially if the weather is good. Every owner of a small "go-fast" boat is out zooming around enjoying their free time. It's typically a zoo and few seem to know or care about things like the rules of the road, the effect of a wake, etc. So we try to stay put somewhere.

We timed our departure from the Lightkeepers Marina so that we would reach Shallotte Inlet at high tide. We had numerous hazards to deal with and the one near Shallotte Inlet was the worst. Oh, and it was Saturday and the weather was spectacular.

As we approached the inlet we saw several floating buoys marking the best water. The channel was very narrow but we had hit high tide so we felt pretty good. There were many boats zooming in and out and around the inlet. A beach on the ocean side was lined with small boats and dogs and children were playing. All and all it was a lovely scene.

I noticed a couple of kayakers meandering at the edge of the channel and put my hand on the throttle to pull back. We have kayaked for many years and know how unsettling a sudden wake can be.

Then they turned in front of us right into the channel. Well, alright, I would have waited to cross behind us but I just pulled back the throttle to give them time to cross. Nope. They turned and started paddling up the middle of the channel. I waited a moment to see if they would turn and continue across. Nope. Now I was concerned, we don't exactly stop on a dime.

So I blew a short blast on my horn. The second kayaker looked back and kept on paddling. We were still moving at about 3-4 knots although I was out of gear. I blew a long blast. Again he looked back but kept on paddling. I told Jeff he'd better go out on the bow and tell them they had to move.

"You need to move out of the channel."

The kayaker said, "No, you have to stay out of our way," and kept on paddling. Now I'm getting ready to go in reverse.

"You're in the middle of a restricted channel and we're a deep draft boat. We can't move out of the channel. You need to get out of the channel to let us pass."

"You're on the wrong side of that red."

"No, we need to be between the red and the green or we'll run aground."

"No, you're wrong. You need to move out of our way."

So finally Jeff said, "We can't changed course and our boat is a lot bigger than yours. Plus there are other boats coming behind us. You either need to move or you're going to get run over."

They finally moved off the channel trailing a string of curse words. We looked at each other and said, "Never travel inside on a weekend."

If you're interested in what a trip down the ICW looks like, Jeff has been playing with his latest toy - a weatherproof camera that can do time lapse. Here's 30 nautical miles along our path including the kayakers (if you're quick enough to see them)...

Friday, April 12, 2013

Farewell Dolphins

We love Charleston, the restaurants, our friends, just walking the streets. There's so much to do. We're always a bit sad when we leave. Our log shows we've stopped here 17 times.

Dylan loves Charleston, too. But what he liked this time was having a front row seat to watch the dolphins. We spent our time at Charleston Harbor Marina on the A dock which was along the breakwater and looked out, more or less, towards the Charleston Inlet. For whatever reason the dolphins would gather just off the breakwater to feed and play. In fact, the water taxi made it a regular stop for their dolphin tour.

That meant that from the bow of the boat Dylan could pretty much anytime of the day or night watch dolphins to his heart's content. And watch them he did. Dyna would occasionally join him but she was way more interested in a nap.

So we've finally left Charleston and started moving north again. There were a couple of dolphins on our offshore passage but each day will see fewer and fewer. Soon they will all be to the south of us. But I think it will be quite a while before Dylan stops watching.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Brown Sugar

We discovered there's a 2 year old male Chocolate Lab and few boats down on the same dock. Kelley Poe, the Marina Manager here at the Charleston Harbor Marina, was telling us how he was a service dog. It seems this smart little boy can detect dangerously low sugar levels in his mom and warn her in time to take action.

Looking at my two, I ask, "So what do you guys do to earn your keep?" Dylan thought being so darn cute was enough. While Dyna informed me she doesn't have to earn her keep. How did these dogs get so darn spoiled?

Well, Dylan finally got to meet this amazing dog and his person, Beverly. The two have been enjoying afternoon romps. As we walked out the first day I asked Beverly her dog's name. "Sugar," she said. What else?
So Dylan and Sugar have become fast friends mainly because Sugar likes to chase and Dylan likes to be chased. It's a match made in heaven.

They play until the tongues are hanging out which means a nice quiet evening of napping. That makes all the moms and dads happy.

To return the favor Dylan and Dyna, um, seasoned Sugar's pee mat so he can learn to go onboard. If you have canine crew onboard who don't know this technique you can check out our article on the website. He actually performed his duty on our bow a few days ago. Now to just transfer that to his own boat. He's a smart boy, he can do it!

Even though Dyna doesn't get to romp she still enjoys a good afternoon nap. She takes her morning walk and is fine staying onboard with her daddy while the youngn's play in the afternoon. Her appetite is staying good - of course, Dylan says who wouldn't love eggs and liver and tripe. A few of her other issues have returned but we are adjusting her medications and hoping that will help. You know, I think she's right. Being so sweet more than earns her keep.