Archives for category: 2013 Resolution Letter/Blog

As brief as possible.

unnamed-2Thursday last week: My very good friend lent us her car to drive home with a load of stuff from the Grand Banks and to collect our truck.

Friday last week: drove both cars back to Sandusky. Returned my friend’s car to Toledo OH. Drove back to Sandusky. Decided that we would need a U-Haul trailer to empty the boat.

Saturday last week: filled trailer and truck inside the cab and the back with little room to spare. Said good bye to San Graal and drove back to Pittsburgh.

Sunday: emptied and started repacking the trailer and car.

unnamed-3Monday: finished repacking and set off at 18:35 for Florida. Intention was to stop in Jacksonville on Tuesday/Tuesday night and continue on on Wednesday. Called to make a reservation at a hotel in Jacksonvile and the guy on the other end of the phone, after declaring that Jackson Ville wasn’t coming up on his screen, asked me how to spell it. Only room available was going to cost an arm and a leg so let that one slide. Change of plan.

IMG_5876Tuesday: booked hotel room in St Lucie with early check-in. Plan – to stop for the afternoon/night and continue on to boat on Wednesday. By this time the paperwork and money transfer had all been completed so we were now the proud owners of KK54 Ursa Major (Hull # 1). Change of plan – decided to keep going straight to the boat and go to the hotel just for the night. Ended up unpacking the trailer and most of the car, with the help of two marina hands. So much stuff. One of the marina hands commented that we have the record for the most stuff being moved onto a newly acquired boat. OMG, it was and still is so hot and humid. And then I cried. What the f..k have we done? I must have been looking through rose tinted glasses on our previous visit.

IMG_5882Wednesday: unpacking. Cleaning and stocking the galley. Poor dogs were very good. They are so hot. Met our first manatees. First meal on the boat; first night on the boat.

IMG_5907Thursday: unpacking. Continued with galley. Took dogs to a dog friendly beach. Had a blast except I think Ebba over-did it because she is now limping. Probably getting bowled over by a wave didn’t help. Did pass CrossFit Jensen Beach on the way to the beach. Haven’t been yet but I will.


Friday: found a dog park closer to home; thought it might be better that Ebba didn’t run too much and I didn’t want her swimming in the sea (still limping). Dog park turned into a free-for-all in the lake. Helped Paul bleed the engine after he had changed the filters but it wouldn’t start. Then he remembered that he had isolated the fuel yesterday. Amazingly the engine started after turning the fuel back on. AC unit in the saloon has crapped out – need a new one. The one in our cabin works fortunately. Dock gets so hot I am worried that it will burn the dogs’ paws. Took forever to fill the water tanks. Every other time we have left the boat, we have closed the hatches and windows; not today. And today it rained. Inside of the boat got soaked.

Oh well. It’s all a learning process.

Thanks for reading. #boatingwithdogs

More picture on m Facebook page: #boatingwithdogs2017part2


Plan X

Where to start? (Rhetorical) I suppose I do know, the beginning. This might be a little long but I put off writing anything before because I didn’t want to jinx certain things.


You go back. No, you back. Your butt is too big. Ha, yours is bigger.

The last 8 years had a specific plan for the two of us – pack up the house, become liveaboards and circumnavigate the Great Loop in our worked-on for 8 years Grand Banks 42. Then we got two dogs who grew larger than we had anticipated so now our 42 seemed a little cramped but still liveable. The 2017 summer was when we were going. And everything was in place until …..

Paul found another boat for sale. A little larger all round than our present one, and designed to go blue water cruising but probably still suitable for completing the Great Loop. I was surprised actually because he had always given me the impression that his next boat would be a sail boat even though the GB42 was going to be the last one. But the one he was getting excited about was still a trawler design with 2 great big engines. It was a Kadey Krogen 54.

I am trying not to waffle whilst setting the scene for the last few weeks. While still intending to leave come mid July, Paul had two visits to look at the ‘new’ boat and I had one and we decided, yes despite the fact that she needs so much work doing on her we would make a bid. And guess what, that bid was accepted.

Oh shxt. Now what do we do? We are closing on the ‘new’ boat around 1 August, still leaving on a trip somewhere, and trying to sell our GB42 before we have to make the payment on the KK54.

We did have someone from our home marina very interested in our GB42, test drove it etc but then decided he wasn’t yet ready to leave sailing to become a power boater. So our next dilemma, with which broker should we register her to let the broker sell her?

The final plan ended up being, we would take the GB42 to NC to a broker there, rent a U-Haul van/trailer, drive it down to FL to the new boat. Load it up with enough stuff to get us back to NC to the same marina where we left the GB42 and live there for a while.

But once again, our best laid plans were disrupted.


Leaving Sandusky Harbor Marina for what we thought was the last time.

We set off from Sandusky heading east, the first night of our trip was going to be in Fairport OH. Just before we passed Cleveland OH, we got a phone call from a gentleman who said he was very interested in buying our boat. Hmmm. And could he come and look her over. Paul and I debated; the weather this week was not too conducive for comfortable cruising towards Buffalo and we had to pick our weather windows carefully, one of them being Sunday, the day this gentleman and his wife would visit.

Fortunately, we decided that we would take this last chance of selling her privately and altered course for Edgewater YC. Spent Saturday cleaning her from top to bottom and awaited our visitors with a little skepticism – how would this turn out?

To cut this part of the story short, they loved the boat, made their decision and said they wanted her. Gave us a deposit and discussed the next couple of weeks’ agenda for hauling her out to survey, who would do the survey, who to contact for transferring the title ……

So we have discarded plan A – do the Loop in the GB42; plan B – take the GB42 to a broker in NC and travel to FL from there; plan X – leave Cleveland, turn west, can’t go anywhere until we find out when the survey will be taking place, cruise a little in local waters until then, haul the boat out for survey, rent a car to drive to Pittsburgh, bring the truck back, with rent-a-trailer, empty the boat again, drive back to Pittsburgh to collect the rest of our stuff for the KK54, hope that we have actually closed on the boat by then, and then drive to FL and offload everything on to the new one.

Are you following this? Haha. Good job we are flexible.

That’s where we are at this moment in time – Plan X, a sort of limbo.

The above is rather the meat and potatoes of the story so far, now for the ‘sauce’ of the last few days that make it more interesting.

Anticipating that we would be on the GB42 for around 2 months we put together a huge amount of stuff to load on to the boat. Paul drove up on Wednesday with a truck full of stuff, food, clothes, dog food etc, all the tools we had taken off because we thought the first guy was going to buy her; now we needed everything back onboard for our trip to the east coast.

Thursday was L day from Pittsburgh (leaving day). With the truck full for a second day in a row with items we would need and probably some we could really do without, we drove back up to Sandusky OH.

But now we have a problem with what to do with the truck.

Somehow we needed to get our truck back home to Pittsburgh from Sandusky OH once we left for good (in hindsight, that’s a huge haha). Fortunately, even though I only gave 3 days to think about it, one of our members from T2 CrossFit very kindly said that he would ride with us to drive it home. Perfect.

The plan for Friday morning was to set course for Buffalo NY and stop overnight at different ports (first stop Fairport OH) just before sunrise. I took the dogs for a walk while Paul got the boat ready for the off. Halfway round our walk, I heard a ‘fshpoosh’ sound, then a yelp, then a very very smelly black dog trying to rub her face on my leg. Yes, Bella just got ‘skunked’. OMG the smell was overpoweringly bad. She wasn’t too happy either.


No-one wanted to pet Bella.

Back at the boat I soap-sudded her with Dawn dish soap but that did no good. But we were leaving so that’s what we did, smell and all. Fortunately, I was able to draw on other people whose dogs have suffered the same fate and I had more or less the correct ingredients onboard. Three days later, she still stinks but not as badly.

As already mentioned, our change of course took us to Cleveland and Edgewater YC. Through choice we docked right at the far end of the dock so had a good 0.15mile walk to the shore for anything.

First time going ashore I didn’t bother to put on the dogs their zap collars because neither of them had ever jumped off a dock into the water. Oh my, I will never say never again because the dogs suddenly disappeared to the right down a finger dock. Then there was a yap, splash, quack followed by a huge ruckus. Two dogs, one duck pretending to injured swimming away as fast as their little legs would go. Fortunately both dogs came back as soon as I called. Hauled them both out and swore zap collars next time.

Sunday morning, I decided I would go ashore to use the facilities and I would take the dogs and just tie them outside to wait. Ignored my own advice and set off with the dogs with the thought that I would leash them before we got to the duck’s finger dock. More best laid plans went out the window. The dogs did not listen at all as I called them; they just made a bee-line to their launch pad. This time, Bella listened and came back but not Ebba. She glanced at me, stuck her nose in the air and continued chasing the duck (the same one as yesterday, I think). Again long story short, apart from making me realize how easy it would be to lose a dog and how unhappy I would feel if I did, she swam almost the whole length of the dock (remember 0.15 mile) and Paul hauled her out of the water by the boat. Bloody dog.

Lesson learned: dogs walked on the leash right from the boat.

We had a good time at Edgewater YC but it was very noisy on Saturday night so we decided to move. But where to? Again, we were in limbo because we didn’t know when the survey would take place. So we turned left (westward) back the way we had just come. (It reminded me of the first time I ever visited Pittsburgh and the Eagles song Hotel California – you can check out any time you like but you can never leave; that’s another story for another time).

The weather radar looked good – no storms in the forecast or at least not until after we would be tied up somewhere. And that’s another haha.

We departed the pier heads at 14:20hr with minimal wind and waves, partly cloudy skies and nothing threatening on the horizon. Set course for Sandusky Bay, turned on the auto pilot and sat back prepared to enjoy the ride.

And then of course, a blip appeared on the radar, the clouds darkened, black streak flowed out of the bottom of the darkened clouds and we knew the weather forecaster were not quite right; again.


The beginning of the initial storm – tracking SE @ 15Kts

We watched the track of the storm and adjusted our course accordingly to skirt around the top of the storm and this seemed to be working until another cell began to develop at the north end of the now very big storm. But Catawba Island did its thing and split the storm so we managed to push through between them both without getting wet. It did get very windy on the backside of both storms and with the change of wind direction to the north, the air temperature dropped drastically and the waves grew very rapidly.

With our altered heading, Kelleys Island was now a closer destination than Sandusky Bay; it was about 19:00hr by now. So that is where we ended up – Seaway Marina. I made a very rooky error though as we were coming alongside the dock wall – I got my hand caught between the dock post and the boat. Thought I had crushed it to pieces as it happened. Fortunately though, the bit that got caught was the fleshy bit between the thumb and first finger. I have to say, it is rather tender to touch and is a little swollen but I have no restricted movement with any of the fingers.

Not sure what we will do for the next couple of days. I do know we have to be back in Sandusky Harbor Marina by Wednesday night for the survey/haul out on Thursday.

And then we will be faced with the next dilemma – we have no car in Sandusky.

Bearing in mind we have almost 2 months worth of dog food onboard as well as all the other stuff we repacked on the boat when we thought we were going to the Chesapeake, one truck load won’t cut it. Also we have to go home to Pittsburgh to collect all the stuff there that we deliberately left off the GB42 but will need on the KK54.

But it all has a knack of turning out OK.

A little plug for the Edgewater end of Cleveland. For the two days we were there (over the weekend), the park was kept amazingly clean and the beach has a doggy friendly section. It was awesome. You have to walk past the people’s beach but then you can let the dogs off-leash and they have a blast – open beach and the lake.

Monday, moved on to a ball at Put-In-Bay. Going to watch some of Junior Bay Sailing Regatta and reminisce. Maybe a night at anchor on Tuesday and then back to Sandusky Harbor Marina. Who knows? We’ll see which way the wind is blowing.

Thank you for reading. It is rather long.


FullSizeRender… so long as the snake makes no move towards them.

We are boating with dogs once again. The boat has been in the water for almost 2 weeks now. Probably the latest we have ever put the boat in the water. The lateness of the launch did have one compensation; we didn’t have to put up with the fish f..king along the side of the boat. I know some people find this noise quite endearing; I find it ruins my sleep.

The first week (Monday-Wednesday) the weather improved and was quite pleasant when we came home. Since then it has gone downhill rapidly. This past week, Monday-Wednesday again, it was downright cold. And windy. And eventually wet.

1H6A1716The dogs are acclimatizing to being back on the boat for the most part. Still working on trying to get them to pee and poop on the boat. No luck so far. Am open to suggestions. Bella is such a grass snob though. She will whine and dance about, almost plaiting her legs because she needs to pee so urgently but the damn bugger won’t go on the boat or even the dock, no matter how much coaxing we give her. However, say “Go pee-pee” and head down the dock towards shore and she is off like a rocket ahead of you. As soon as her paws touch the grass onshore, there she squats and pees. And pees. And pees. When she is finished, she about-faces and charges back to the boat, all happy and wiggy-waggy again. Ugh!

IMG_5322Wednesday did warm up a little and in the warmth, the water snakes become active. They also love to sun themselves on the swim platform at the back of the boat.

Paul and I were crawling around in lockers (whatever floats your boat, right?). (Ha! no pun intended.) The dogs were going crazy, barking on the back deck. It got so bad I had to go and investigate (fortunately during the week the marina is almost deserted.) This is what I found.

Two dogs almost falling overboard to try to get at the snake on the corner of the swim platform.

I tried to think of how to get the dogs down onto the platform so that they could chase it away because it was totally indifferent to their barking and evilly mad stares. I thought about trying to get Ebba to jump across the 2′ 6″ of open water from the dock to the platform but decided that was a no-go. But then, I had a good idea. (I have them occasionally.)

I got Ebba off the boat, took the dogs’ gangplank and laid it across the gap from the dock to the platform. At first Ebba wasn’t too fussed about crossing the abyss, but the more Bella barked and climbed over the gunwale, the more agitated Ebba became. Eventually she hesitantly made her way across the gap and squirmed her way across the width of the boat. Of course, by the time she got to the other side, the snake had disappeared. I honestly thought Bella was going in after it. But fortunately she didn’t.

They very nearly caught a seagull though. On one of our walks, both dogs ended up in the marina, swimming as fast as they could after a seagull that was also swimming. I do think it was injured because all the other birds flew away. Though it could have been that this one drew the short straw to act as a decoy to attract the dogs away from the nests, I’m not sure. Fortunately though, again, they came when I whistled. They were quite happy with treats.

IMG_5328What made it even better, the whole trip worthwhile, when we got home there was a Bark Box waiting on the doorstep. IMG_5327

Happy Boating with Dogs!

Thanks for reading.  Joanna

photo-16     It is a long time since I wrote a blog; not because I got lazy but because I was finding the news so depressing and ‘good news’ news stories seemed to be harder and harder to come by. And the blog was never supposed to be a diary of my life. Hence the break. However, I had a revelation today so this is going to be about me. Sorry. You don’t have to read any further if you don’t wish; I totally understand. For those who wish to continue, please read on.

As one or two of you maybe aware, I took up CrossFit, just over a year ago and despite absolutely loathing the coaches, and myself, at times as I struggled through workouts, I have enjoyed every minute. And no, that’s not a contradiction. It is possible to experience both emotions about the same events/moments.

So, my revelation tonight came as I was walking upside down backwards up the wall for the 10th and final time in the WOD. I walked all the way in, totally confident in my ability to get my belly and chest to touch the wall before descending again.

I have had a good week all round and especially in my progress in my strength training this week. For only the second time ever, I managed to front squat 130lb three times, I rowed my fastest ever 2km, and I hit new PRs for my sumo deadlift and push press. Today, my hope was to be able to conquer the 95lb clean cluster – two slightly different lifts at 95lb. I have, in the past, managed the first half of the cluster, but always failed on the second. And recently, I haven’t even been able to get the first half. So I was full of hope … until I lifted the bar for the first time and …. failed. Oh bugger. And no matter how hard I tried and how patient Anna was in coaching me, I just couldn’t get it. I felt soooo deflated, such a failure. I know I am strong enough to lift this weight but …..

So there I was, this evening, walking backwards on my hands with my feet in the air and it suddenly struck me – what a bozo I am! Just a mere 5 or 6 months ago, I dreaded seeing ‘wall walks’ in the workout. I struggled to get to a 45 degree angle never mind getting my belly to touch the wall. And now hardly thinking about the movement at all, I was just focused on getting finished as quickly as possible.

So even though I still can’t get that darn bar up with 95lb on it, I can do a whole lot of other movements I couldn’t do this time last year. There is progress, I am stronger, I am more confident, I love rope climbs and I am beginning to not dread double unders, I get to workout with my best friend, Paul, and I have met and get to mingle with a great community.

I guess if there is a moral to this tale it would be, even if you think things are going badly and really ‘suck’, take a moment to reflect. You might surprise yourself and find that there really have been improvements and that you just have to shift your focus a little to the side to see around the bad stuff.

If you made it to this point, thanks for reading.

Have a great weekend.

Never doubt yourself.

ImageImageThis was the view from our ‘bridge’ on Saturday. There was a junior sailing regatta at Sandusky Sailing Club. Because of the number of dinghies attending, the sailing was held on 3 different courses within the confines of Sandusky Bay. You would think that because the dinghies are in the sheltered waters of the Bay, it would be a fairly safe place for the juniors to sail. And basically it is. There is a lot of power boat traffic and for the most part, they are fairly respectful and zoom around the outside of the fleets. However, there is always one (or two) powerboat owner(s) who have absolutely no respect for other boaters and a complete disregard for the consequences of their actions and boat wake. We saw one largish powerboat power straight through two of the course areas, right through each of the fleets. They were  extremely lucky not to hit any of the dinghies and also that the wake they caused did not flip any of the boats. But the potential was there for a complete disaster. Seeing the attendant coach/parent boats brought to mind when Anna and David were sailing these dinghies.

And now for the crazy bit. Anna and David, although they knew how to sail, cut their racing teeth on the junior racing circuit around the W end of Lake Erie and Columbus OH. Obviously, initially I had to drive them to the various regattas and because I was there, I wanted to go out on the water to watch. And if my Mum was over visiting from the UK, she would come out on the water with me. One year I had a couple of kayaks which I hauled around along with Anna’s and David’s dinghies. And it was in the kayaks that Mum and I ventured out on to the ‘sheltered waters’ of Sandusky Bay. Haha (cynical laugh).

One thing you have to understand is that there is nowhere for the powerboat wake to dissipate really. Most of it is rebounded off the shore. So the resultant wave effect is like a washing machine. Waves come from all directions and are of varying heights. And it was in these conditions that I ‘made’ Mum (who had never been in a kayak before) paddle out probably 3/4 mile to watch her grandchildren. It was a little, nay, very scary and we were very lucky not to be tipped over or run down.

And then today, when we arrived home, we had a little visitor on the front lawn.




Hope you all had a good weekend. USA just gave up their lead for a 2-2 draw with Portugal.


Never doubt yourself.

ImageImage In the grocery store today (and this is something I have been meaning to check up on for a while), the blueberries were available in ‘1 pint’ containers and 18oz containers. There was a $1.00 difference in price. My problem was, how to compare prices oz per oz between the containers when it doesn’t say how many ounces = 1pint or how many pints in 18oz. Looking at the two containers in the store, it appeared that the larger container is/was approximately 2 of the smaller ones. But this is not the case. Apparently, 1pint = 3/4lb (12oz) so 2pints (1quart) = 1 1/2lb (24oz). So when I picked up the larger container thinking I was buying twice the amount, I wasn’t (remember the larger container holds 18oz). Yes, it still works out cheaper, oz per oz, but it is all very misleading.

This link has some great information about freezing blueberries and other soft fruit:

And of course, blueberries are great for your health, very high in antioxidants; great for helping reduce inflammation from exercise; …

We’ve made it through to the end of another week. It is almost midsummer’s night so it has to be the Rachel Carson Trail race/hike this weekend. Good luck to everyone participating.

Have a fun Friday.


Never doubt yourself

Image I made my first post in this blog format on 1 February 2013 and almost everyday since then I have sent out some innocuous comments to be ignored or read by a few or all. Thank you to those who do read; it is quite humbling to think that you would spare a few of your precious minutes to humor me.

I looked back at the first one and it was about being caught at the rail crossing, a diamond heist, horse meat in Nestle products (but not their chocolate) and Medijool dates. Oh, and Paul cycling back to Millvale in the snow. Brrr.

Today, the temperature almost hit 90F with heat index readings into the low 90’sF. Uggggg! And it got me thinking about hydration – of ourselves. As I finished today’s workout and collapsed in a sweaty puddle on the floor, I guzzled the last drops of water in my water bottle. I then went on to cheer and encourage Pat to push through his ‘pain’ as the sweat dripped off him too. Post-WOD, I have drunk two mugs of tea, a coffee and half a mug of water. Not a very sensible plan for rehydration.

I know there is no way that I have replenished all that water I lost, not just during the workout but walking to and from the car, walking around the track at the park and even just sitting still while my body continues its work at keeping me cool. I think I am probably chronically dehydrated. Just slightly less than fully hydrated but a condition that could become a problem if I really pushed the limits into an acutely dehydrated situation. Starting tomorrow, I will be more conscientious about drinking more water. I will fully hydrate myself, even if means I spend more time peeing.

So, in this case, don’t follow my example; do as I say, not as I do. Drink more water. If you wish, you can do that whilst you ‘eat more chicken’. But either way, rehydrate fully.

Here are a couple of links: Why you should drink more water:

And What happens if you don’t drink enough water:

Hopefully the storms will miss you tonight.


Never doubt yourself