Written Friday, 16 September from home.
That’s correct; the season is almost finished. Our vacation is over, we are home, came home yesterday, and the boat will be hauled out in less than two weeks.. The weather forecast which had seemed OK at the beginning of our final two weeks, crapped out on us again with winds blowing well into the high 20 kt. Still we had fun. And so did the dogs.
After our first day playing in AbFab, we continued the practice Wednesday-Sunday. We didn’t use San Graal to go anywhere as the forecast couldn’t string together two days in a row where the wind would be favorable for anchoring or passage-making; but the beginning of the second week looked promising.
We explored harbors and beaches we hadn’t got to/couldn’t get to with the big boat. There is something to be said for stepping off the boat into knee deep water and walking the anchor in to set it. We took picnic lunches and treats for the dogs. We met other dogs and their owners and the dogs had wonderful puppy play dates. And they got to run. And run. And run. Probably ruined them as hunting dogs now because they spent most of their time flushing and chasing after seagulls and sandpipers.
We tied the RIB to the dock across from the big boat and every time the dogs would come back from shore to San Graal, Ebba would invariably jump into AbFab and look at us expectantly, like, “Come on, let’s go play.” And she just loved the speed and trying to eat the bow waves.
On one occasion, we came back from a burn around the bay and obviously both dogs were desperate to potty because as we came close to the dock, even before we had had time to wrap a rope around a cleat, both dogs jump off on to the dock and side-by-side, they trotted down towards shore, pee’d, and together, trotted back to the boat. And neither Paul nor I had to call them once. It was very funny and rather cute to watch.
As I mentioned, Ebba loves to lean over the side and try to eat the waves. Or at least she barks very loudly at them. I, obviously, have to keep a very tight leash on her otherwise she would be over the side and in the water in her excitement. Initially, I let her have enough slack so that she was able to put her head almost in the water. But then I got to thinking that that was probably not such a good idea. If she fell overboard whilst we were doing 20+kt, the drag would probably rip off her head. So I shortened her leash, much to her annoyance, and reasoned that if she did slip over then at least it would only be her back legs that got dragged.
And as if to vilify my reasoning and actions, Paul shared an article published in a boating magazine, Practical Boat Owner, that had done a study on tethers – long vs short – and concluded that although the short tether is more bothersome in that it has to be continually clipped, unclipped and reclipped, it was more likely to prevent you from drowning and/or being bashed against the hull of the boat.
This week, our last week of vacation, we managed to get across to Canada and visited Colchester Harbor – a new port for us. Very tiny, lovely people, dog friendly, a rather weedy beach (but that was probably because they had had strong onshore winds) and town is closed on Mondays – when we were there. The plan was to spend the night there and then mosey on eastwards to Leamington, spend the night there and then come back across to Sandusky. But the wind decided to switch direction and strength earlier than predicted so we left Colchester in an increasing SW wind – bad direction for Colchester’s harbor. Narrow entrance + big waves made for some nerve-wracking moments. We ended up at Middle Bass Island State Park Marina.
On my soap box: all Canadian marinas monitor, I think, CH 16 and 68. US marinas have no consistency in channels monitored. So calling MBISPM on CH 9, then 16, and 68 was met with utter silence. I ended up calling on the phone to make sure there was room for us. When I registered, I asked if they had heard my calling – I always wonder if the radio has malfunctioned – and they said, “No”. Hmm … “don’t you monitor CH 16?” “No, only CH 71.” I thought it was unwritten boating law that everyone listening to marine radio would listen to/dual watch with CH 16, the international distress calling channel because you never know, you might just be the one to pick up the Mayday distress call and need to pass it on to the Coast Guard. Off my soap box.
I have always had mixed feelings about MBI marina, mainly because of the amount of goose poop that was always lying on the ground. I knew it wouldn’t be a good match for the dogs because if there is one delicacy that my dogs love, it is goose poop. Fresh or old, doesn’t make a difference. However, I was pleasantly surprised this time; there was very little around. Made walking the dogs so much more fun without having to constantly tell them to, “Leave it”. And because the place was virtually empty, they were very lenient about me not putting the dogs on their leashes. I know the staff must have seen the dogs running but they didn’t cause any trouble, the dogs or the staff. And we found a new path through the trees to explore with squirrels and chipmunks and a few geese and lots of ducks. Dog heaven.
One thing that did come out of this forced in-harbor stay was that I managed to get both dogs to run with me while on their leashes. Ebba was already a master at it but Bella was rather a loose cannon when squirrels were darting about. Ebba did a good job of setting the example and Bella is a fast learner and a good mimicker.
So here we are, at the end of another season, one that was rather shorter than usual due to one thing or another, David and Bekah had a baby and we had to of and visit, we opened our own gym, Anna and Brad got married, Anna qualified for the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games … But it was a good one particularly with respect to the learning curve for both us, Paul and me, and the dogs. Last year, we had Ebba, one dog on board; we really were quite apprehensive at the start of this season as to how the dogs would cope together in such a confined space. And we had similar issues. Ultimately though, all’s well that ends well except we never got them to pee or poop on the boat. But most importantly, the dogs like boating and, we like Boating with Dogs!