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.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Dinghy Rides

One thing that has been the absolute favorite of all our canine crew members past and present is dinghy rides. Dyna was the queen of dinghy rides and has obviously passed along the "I love dinghy rides" gene to her offspring. They quickly learn the words, they know the sounds of the davit motor, they even know when we pick up the dinghy key. It always leads to joyous jumping and running to the cockpit.

Tucker loved all of it, the ride, the destinations, the interesting things floating in the water.

Dyna was our speed demon. She loved to go fast and would stick her nose out into the wind. She never had a bigger smile than when taking a dinghy ride.

Dylan likes the destinations best and wants to be the first off the boat and running to shore.

We plan on doing some anchoring out around the Bay Springs area in Mississippi once we leave the oasis that is Green Turtle Bay Resort. We realized that we hadn't taken the dinghy down since some time before we lost our precious Dyna. That meant Dee Dee had never even seen the dinghy.

So we decided it would be a good idea to bring the dinghy down, clean her up, make sure all was in working order, and start to teach the next generation about the joys of taking a dinghy ride.

Dylan knew right away what was up and ran up to the flybridge to help bring the dinghy down. That has been his job for years. Dyna's job was to run to the side door where the dinghy would land. Dee Dee knew something was up but still wasn't brave enough to brooch the flybridge steps, so she had to be content sitting at the bottom watching.

She was curious and watched as I put on Dylan's harness and made him sit to wait for his dad to get the dinghy ready. She watched him leap into the dinghy and then ran away with a small whimper. Cooing and coaxing had no effect, so I finally had to scoop her up - she is still scooping size but just barely - and put her into the dinghy. She immediately laid down on the floor.

We slowly tootled around the protected harbor. Dee Dee kept looking to me and Dylan trying to figure out this new and unfamiliar experience. It took awhile but she finally stood up to take a sniff and try to see what Dylan found so fascinating.

We had about a 30 minute ride and then back to the mother ship which Dee Dee was very happy to see. The next day we went out again. She watched Dylan closely and went over to the side door to look when he jumped in but as soon as I approached her, she ran away requiring another scooping to get her into the dinghy.

This time she remained standing but snuggled in between my legs for security. Eventually, she took a peek over.

Then before I knew it she was up on the pontoon stretching for a good sniff and I was glad we had her tethered with her harness.

We worked for a bit to teach her the safer way to peer over the side. She caught on quickly and loved watching the water pass by.

Today she ran to the side door and jumped in all by herself and thoroughly enjoyed leaning over the side to watch the water. She seems to have a bit of the speed demon too, as she didn't bat an eye when we opend up the throttle and sped off on Barkley Lake.

Dee Dee is fast ticking off the requirements towards her 2nd Mate status. Now she has learned the joys of a dinghy ride. Dyna would be proud.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Catching Up

Dylan and Dee Dee are sorry that they have been neglecting their blog but it has been a busy time full of new experiences and firsts. Dylan has been acting as the perfect mentor for little Dee Dee, who by the way is not so little any more. She's now big enough that with a quick glance I can no longer tell her apart from Dylan.

We passed our 28th wedding anniversary in St Louis, a place most familiar to me as both of my parents hailed from rural Missouri. A trip up the arch and a nice lunch had us back onboard with the kids by dinnertime. Then we passed the St Louis Arch on the water as we left and headed down the Mississippi River. It was very cool.

We have now finished our trip on the mighty rivers (Illinois, Mississippi, and Ohio) which the crew found to be the most tedious part of the adventure so far. There was much commercial traffic and mostly anchoring out in fairly marginal anchorages. But we still managed to catch some beautiful sunsets.

There were 4 solid days onboard, the longest Dee Dee has spent so far without getting off. She did well but was definitely beginning to reveal her need to run ashore as the nip marks on Dylan grew. Poor Dylan.

Dylan continues to try and teach Dee Dee the proper way to look overboard - with paws firmly on the step stool.

But Dee Dee still thinks it's more fun to lean out for a closer look with her paws on the caprail. Can you say man overboard?

We are very happy to be taking some time to relax at Green Turtle Bay Resort Marina. It is a beautiful facility with not only a lovely marina but a spa, a beach, and a charming town nearby. The kids are loving it at least as much as we are. There are lots of boaters to meet on the docks. They are getting multiple walks onshore every day including a morning walk to the beach. Dee Dee finally took the plunge this morning and swam in after Dylan. She's quite the pro already. Now Dylan has a swimming buddy to chase after him for sticks. There's nothing Dylan loves more than a good game of chase.

Her proud papa even took a video:

We've already taken in a show at the Badgett Playhouse in town. I'm off for some spa time this week and we definitely want to enjoy a meal at the yacht club. As for Dylan and Dee Dee, just give them the beach and a stick and that's all the resort they need.