Archives for posts with tag: Boating with Dogs

unnamedLast Friday, people at the marina were adding extra mooring lines to their boats and with good reason. It was a little like the preparations made as Hurricane Irma approached last year. It felt rather deja vu’ish. Winter Storm Riley was working itself into a frenzy off the east coast.

unnamed-1Although we didn’t get rain, we did get winds gusting in the 50+mph range and instead of a tidal surge, we had a tidal suck. The water level must have dropped a good 6ft. So much water left the area that the boats closest to shore and the first finger docks on all three main docks were high and dry. To our advantage this time, we are docked on the inside side of the dock so we don’t get the full brunt of the wind and the waves. There were no free-drifting boats either which made the whole experience a lot less stressful.

unnamed-2During conditions like this – sustained winds 25kt+ the swing- and drawbridges close and remain so until conditions improve to a safe level which meant that there was no ‘tall’ traffic in or out of Trent River for 2 days.

unnamed-4The nor’easter storm that caused our gale force winds, moved up the east coast of the country leaving in its wake, floods, heavy wet snow and many downed power lines. Fortunately here, we had none of that. I understand that the UK has had similarly strong wind conditions and consequent damage. Thinking of you.

What we do have are cold temperatures. OK, I know it’s not as cold as it is back home in Pittsburgh but even so! As I am typing this, I have on two pairs of trousers, two shirts and a sweatshirt. I just took off my beanie but am still wearing my thick socks and slippers. I’m not really complaining; well, yes I am but as with most things on the scale of life, it’s survivable.

IMG_7387Still exploring the National Forest down the road from us. The dogs found a tortoise on the trail the other day though it didn’t want to say ‘hi’ to them.

I took them on Sunday when the winds were still high. Now, they love the beach but on Sunday, neither of them wanted to walk on it, at least not into the wind which was the way we needed to go. The sand was being blasted horizontally at us. So we took the scenic route through the trees.

The dogs are doing quite well on the boat with regards to toilet arrangements. Bella will pee during the night and sometimes during the day if encouraged. Ebba, with whom we thought we would have no problem, is proving to be a little more stubborn. Only once has she peed but I think, if she would perform if it was really necessary – such as if we were at anchor.

unnamed-5Yesterday, Paul spent most of the day just hanging around … up the mizzen mast. He was mounting and wiring up the new radar and also adding our wifi booster arial so that when a marina says it has wifi, we will be able to pick it up on the boat rather than having to go ashore to the ‘club house’ to use it.

unnamed-6Now it’s raining.

Am rather excited for this coming Saturday. David, Bekah and Toria are coming to visit for the whole day. Hopefully the weather will be somewhat warmer and drier and not windy. Would like to take them on a little cruise but obviously it is all weather-dependent.

And now, last but not least – 18.2 and 18.2a 2018 Reebok CrossFit Opens

Yes, we burned a mega hole in our cellular data allowance on Thursday evening as we watched the live announcement from R.A.W. Training. And it was another workout that both Paul and I looked forwarded to. Even the clean after the workout didn’t sound too bad. Neither of us lift heavy so we rather thought we would quickly reach our max and then just sit and watch the others complete the rest of their max lifts.

Once again, we signed up for Friday Night Lights at CrossFit Burn. We got our warm ups done and our required equipment laid out. Our judges were primed (Paul’s to keep him on track with me apparently) and 3…2…1…Go!  we were off, DB squatting and burpee’ing over the bar. Because we are doing scaled in the old farts’ division, we had an empty barbell and were allowed to step over it rather than having to jump.

We raced along and out of the corner of my eye I could see Paul always pulled ahead of me on the squats and I caught up on the burpees. We really were both neck and neck so in round 8, I decided that I needed to step up the rate of squats which I did. I kept pace with him then and then  pulled ahead. I beat him by 2 seconds. He says that if he hadn’t done the extra burpee in round ?, victory would have been his again. Haha. Not.

We finished in just over 6 minutes so had a good 5 minutes left for lifting. We both hit more than we had anticipated. I had put out plates to take me to 100# not really anticipating using the last 5#. Last time I had done heavy (for me) cleans, 100# eluded me every time. However, in the heat of competition, I got that bar up and stood tall. Was quite proud of myself. I had time for one attempt at 105#; failed. The clock ticked over the 12 min and we were done.

Paul 1 : 1 Joanna. Bring on 18.3

Thank you for reading.


IMG_3011It happened. Couldn’t stay away any longer. Paul and I bit the bullet and visited CrossFit Burn – it’s about 1.5 miles south of us. Even though I had signed up for the Opens, I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to do them. It’s not the same, completing an Opens’ WOD at a visiting box. However, Steve Jassett and all the members we met made us feel so welcome that I decided I would have a go. And after the 18.1 announcement on Thursday evening, Paul signed up too.

Before I get into the Friday Night Lights workout, though, life has been plodding on quite nicely. The weather has been glorious (right now though it has taken a turn for the worst) and we have been able to wear shorts and t-shirts.

IMG_7383The blossom is out in abundance along with the daffodils and the pollen. Both Paul and Ebba are suffering.

David and Toria came down last week for the day. Had a wonderful time. Walked across the bridge, met with several of the New Bern bears, had lunch, played on the swings and ate cookies. A great day.

I have been taking the dogs the ‘new trails’ we found and have extensively explored a small portion of the forest. We also were able to walk along the beach even though it is blocked in many places by fallen trees. The water is shallow enough to wade out around them. The dogs love this and come back to the boat absolutely exhausted, which we love. Except that the boat is full of sand. But, hey!

IMG_3001Paul, and me sometimes, are still working on the engines. Had the injectors off, cleaned, tested and we have now refitted them and put the engines back together. Again. Well almost. The starboard one still needs a couple of finishing touches before we can start it. The port engine went back together perfectly and all the other bits Paul changed worked just fine.

However, the starboard engine proved to be a different kettle of fish. Maybe, more likely probably, because I was the one who put it back together under Paul’s guidance. I gave him a running commentary as to which screws/bolts went in easily and which proved to be tight/awkward. Anyway, to cut a long story short, apparently #2 injector, which I had said didn’t feel right when I tightened it up, proved to be the one that was the problem. Somehow, a washer didn’t seat itself properly resulting in a ‘miss’ every time the engine turned over. Fortunately no damage was done and Paul managed to put it back together and now it works.

IMG_2997The next problem proved to be the ‘new’ water pump on the engine. It doesn’t work. So tomorrow Paul will replace it with the old pump until he can actually get a new one. (Paul had found the ‘new’ pump in one of the lockers when he was clearing out/tidying up. Should have known.)  Update on the water pump: apparently the new pump, when it was put together at the factory, was put together back to front. A common occurrence. Not. It works now though because Paul took it apart and put it back together the correct way around. I guess it was sucking instead of pumping.

IMG_2999Have to say, wriggling around the engine in a space that is 4 ft high and about 15 inches wide is a workout in and of itself. I think between us, we have managed to use almost every muscle we have. Functional fitness?!

But to 18.1 Paul and I got to the gym around 4pm thinking we were early but had to sign up for a heat at 6pm. Obviously others had similar ideas and got there before us. It was OK though. Gave Paul the opportunity to take some photos and for me to judge one heat.

IMG_2998And then it was our turn. I told my judge my goal and asked him to keep me on pace. Paul told his judge, “That’s my wife and I want you to keep me ahead of her.” Or words to that effect. We were both doing the old fart’s scaled WOD – 8 sit ups; 10 DB clean/STO; 14/12 cal row. He rowed 14 cal and I rowed 12.

Although I didn’t get ‘no repped’ I did once stand up too quickly from the sit ups, having only completed 5 sit ups rather than 8. My judge was on it immediately so I didn’t lose too much time. However, I rather felt it would come back to bite me at the end.


CrossFit Burn : 18.1 Standards Briefing

My judge did a great job of pushing my pace, to the point that I completed one more round than I had hoped for.  In the background though, I could hear Paul’s judge letting him know I was off the rower and he had to get a move on. His judge obviously did a very good job because he beat me by 6 reps.

IMG_3007Looking forward to 18.2 announcement tomorrow. Good luck to all at T2 CrossFit. Bring it on.


Was it that boring?

Thank you for reading.

From Paul:


Working on the starboard engine gearbox etc

Now we have settled into somewhat of a routine at our base in New Bern NC, it is time to get into the bigger jobs we had left for this time.

The engines had been given the once-over in Stuart, FL however we knew there was other work required.  This week the Port engine got the ‘works’ (or part 1 of the works).

The damper plate between the engine and the gearbox was original and should have been changed several years ago.  To do this the prop shaft has to be uncoupled and pushed back out of the boat about 5”to make room for pulling the gearbox.  To get access to the gearbox, I removed the exhaust, the hydronic controls, wiring and finally drained the gearbox oil using an oil pump. The gearbox is held on with 6 bolts and once they were undone, we manhandled the box back the few inches needed. Certainly dropping the gearbox off was quick. Some may say too quick.  The bell housing was next (15 bolts) and behind that can be found the damper coupling.

IMG_7320The old unit was tired but came out easily and the new unit was bolted to the flywheel and the splined gear greased.  With the bell housing replaced next came the fun bit – getting the round non uniform metal gear box off the bottom of the boat and aligned so as to mesh in gear and butt up to the engine.  Joanna and I tried lifting it – nope!  We rigged up some coal miner levers with 2×4’s and with webbing straps, long bolts, significantly modified sumo deadlifting in the 4’ high space, managed to wiggle the gearbox into mesh and snugged it down. Seven hours into the Sunday job and feeling pleased with progress we took the rest of the day off.


Now you see me – now you don’t. Just after taking this pic, Ebba fell over the front of the dinghy.

After a round of Tylenol, hot showers and a good night sleep, I got back on the next step of the project: to replace the water, oil and transmission heat exchangers, the raw water pump and associated hoses.  Although not technically difficult, it was a physical day and after coupling everything back up, refilling the gearbox with oil and the engine with coolant, the engine was started and run with everything working.  We have also realigned the engine with the prop getting run out down to a tolerance I am now happy with, so hopefully no more wiggle on the prop shaft.

IMG_7321We have the same work to do on Starboard engine. That should be easier in some respects in that I have learned a couple of tricks during the first rebuild. However, the majority of the plumbing is on the starboard hull side of the engine which means access is more challenging. After that the oil and filters are to change and fuel filters to check/change and we should be ready for the next phase…In a couple of weeks we plan a quick trip back to Pittsburgh and I want to get the fuel injectors overhauled whilst we are there.  We did this job before and although it is not that difficult to do it is challenging due to the confined space of the engine room.  This is the part II and last big job we should need to do I hope for a while.

We can then focus on the interior refurbishment and lighting upgrades.

From Joanna:


How to pass the time while waiting for the draw bridge to close – stick you head through the bridge railing and watch squirrels.

What more can I say. Well actually, I can say that I was rather slow with publishing this and we have now completed both engines. Did the second engine in 3 hrs. Learned lessons from the first. Built a ‘proper’ hoist system to lift the gearbox this time so not so many sumo deadlifts. The injectors still need to be done. And yes, redoing the plumbing on the starboard engine was a squeeze. Thank goodness for abs.

IMG_7314The dogs and I try to stay out of the way as much as possible and to this end, we have found a new place to walk/run. There is a National Forest 12 miles down the road so we go there. It is wonderful. I imagine it will get very crowded when the weather turns warmer (yes, it is cold again today) but for now, it is just perfect.


A wind sculpture – inspired by the lotus flower

Thanks for reading.


Questionable as to whether or not there is any

We are adding to our list of things we would rather not experience again whilst cruising on the boat: (1) hurricanes; (2) snagging a crab pot with the propeller; and the new one, (3) visiting Swan Point Marina, Snead Ferry NC.

But let me back up. (I wrote this on Tuesday, 6 February 2018, ie yesterday.)

Ursa Major GA to NC 1-2-2018-100-2b

Can’t help looking back when the view is this good

We try plan the tides/current so that we get a push rather than fight the current and for the most part, we have managed this OK. Have come to the conclusion that so long as there is not interference from inlets and rivers, flood tides flow north and ebb tides flow south on the Intracoastal Waterway. I am open to discussion on this.

With this in mind, we timed our trip up Cape Fear River perfectly and got a good 3.5kt push up to Snow’s Cut. Logic and looking at the charts would suggest that the current would continue flowing with us through this very narrow cut but no, as you enter the channel, boom (not literally) the current goes from being your friend to being your not-so-friend – a complete reversal to a 3.5kt punch on the nose. However, we followed all the advice shared by previous sailors and navigated without incident. You don’t want to meet another vessel coming in the opposite direction in Snow’s Cut; it isn’t really wide enough to pass.



The rest of that day was a race to get to our destination before the gale force winds kicked in and the rain came. We made it to Bridge Tender Marina, Wrightsville Beach in time but with the current in full flood, sucking us towards the swing bridge about 200 yards away from the dock, docking was rather tricky. Paul had to move the boat sideways while maintaining station with our space on the dock, not hit the boat in front and certainly not clip the bridge with the stern. And the wind was blowing upwards of 20 mph by this time; all adding to the excitement.

Ursa Major GA to NC 1-2-2018-100a

Me, watching where we are going

I paid for our dock for the night which was the most expensive so far on this part of our trip, then was told that the only facilities were restrooms in the restaurant next door which didn’t open until 6pm (actually it didn’t open at all) and closes at 10pm. The dock was OK but for that price with no facilities, probably won’t be visiting that one again.


The dogs watching the dolphins

The redeeming features of this place were: the beach was just 1 mile away and dogs are allowed on the beach between November – February so guess where we went for a walk before the rain. Got back just as it started. And, there was a Starbucks and a West Marine and a Harris Teeter a half mile away. To these, we walked in the pouring, nay, torrential rain. What one will do for coffee! The dogs were not impressed but at least it washed off most of the sand they had collected earlier.


This is as close as we could get on the ‘deep’ side of the dock

We watched the first half of the Super Bowl using Paul’s iPad while the boat shook with the wind gusts and the rain pelted down. Now the thing about the rain is that when we bought the boat, the interior of the cabins got soaked from leaks somewhere. Whilst on our way to the boatyard after Hurricane Irma and since we have been back on board, we have ‘sealed’ the windows to see if they were the source of the leaks. Touch wood, this storm was a good test and there were no leaks.


While waiting for the tide, Capt Jack Sparrow and the Black Pearl came by

To get to last night’s (cough) marina, we had to pass through 3 swing bridges – all three opening on the hour though the second one also opened on the half hour. The distance between 1 and 2 was just too long for us to make the half hour opening so we had to wait 28 minutes until the hour opening. After that, fortunately with the aid of the current, we beetled our way down to the third bridge and made it with 13 minutes to spare. Phew. Stressful. After that it was an easy cruise to Swan Point (cough) Marina.

I had made a reservation earlier and was advised to call the dock master’s phone on our approach. I called on Monday morning on our way to confirm that there would be sufficient water etc for us and was again advised to call the dock master. This really should have raised red flags but we ignored them – how bad can it be? Hmm.

Well I called the dock master on his cell phone and got no reply. Left a message. Called on the radio – no response. Nothing for it but to dock ourselves. We turned into the entrance and promptly slowed – running in the mud. The dock sticking out towards us was listing to the right so we decided to go on the higher side. After disturbing lots and lots of mud and silt from the bottom, we finally settled starboard side to. There was no-one around. No-one. But what there was, was very loud country music blaring out of a tub in the back corner and lots of derelict boats. Just weird. Ghost ‘town’.

IMG_7275Went for a walk. What a god forsaken hole. Then a short plump guy turns up, says he is the dock master and adamantly  suggests that we move the boat to the downside of the dock. Why? Because there is more water there. Hmmm. How much more? Oh, a good 6”.  That will be important at low tide. It will stop you leaning over. (How bad can this really get?) You want me move the boat now? Well, I would because in a few short minutes you will be stuck fast on the bottom. Needless to say, Paul was fuming by this time.

The idea was to back out, turn around and back into the dock. Nope, not going to happen. I remained on the dock during the maneuver and at one point, thought he wasn’t going to make it back to the dock in any direction. But thank goodness for Lehman engines. He came back in bow first. About 30 min later we were hard and fast on the bottom and as wavelets came in the boat flopped from one side of her keel to the other. We never got closer than 2.5 feet to the dock; just sat there. Even at high tide during the night, we still didn’t move closer.


Wrightsville Beach

The internet didn’t appear as an option never mind using the password. I didn’t check out the facilities. The docks rocked and/or tilted as you walked on them. There was nowhere really for the dogs to run. There was one road in/out; every other one was a Dead End. We couldn’t get out of there fast enough though we did have to wait until 2 hours before high tide to have any hope. The dock master said that our best bet was to back out and put our stern towards the wall and then we would be able to turn and go out forwards. Every time Paul tried to put the stern towards the wall, we stopped. In the end we backed out all the way to the channel and then gunned it. Absolutely a place to be avoided at all costs.

Ursa Major GA to NC 1-2-2018-100-2

Camp Lejeune’s targets

Had a glorious cruise today though as if Mother Nature was trying her best to erase last night’s memories. We went through Onslow Beach Swing Bridge then heard on the radio later that it was broken and would be closed to boat traffic for at least 2 hours. It wasn’t us. We passed through Camp Lejeune firing range to the sound of live fire and jets overhead. Made it to Spooners Creek Marina just as the current was switching against us. Perfect timing. The marina is lovely – plenty of water. There is a place for the dogs to run. There is a Lowes, Wally Mart, Starbucks and West Marine all within walking distance. What was that place yesterday? Oh I can’t remember.

Thank you for reading.


IMG_0107Yes, today, Saturday, 3 February 2018, we crossed the border from South to North Carolina. There was no big fanfare and to be honest, until Paul looked at the chart we weren’t sure. Unlike on the highways, there are no big signs that state, “Welcome to North Carolina” “Radar detectors are illegal”.

IMG_7249We have been to Georgetown SC; I thought this was the place Anna and David used to visit for sailing whilst at Old Dominion University but I was wrong. This Georgetown is a quaint, very historic town and as it turns out, has a great place for the dogs to run. Not sure if they are supposed to but it was so cold there was no-one else around to complain. The beach we found was oyster shell free and the water was clean. There is a lovely shop called “Sweeties” which sells homemade fudge (not too sweet) and handmade sea salt dark chocolate covered caramels which are almost half as big again as those you get from Whole Foods. Needless to say, fudge and caramels are all gone.

IMG_7240Thursday was windy and cold but dry fortunately. We planned the tides correctly and the current cooperated, ie it pushed us on our way. It did mean leaving at dawn though which was OK. Osprey Marina was our stopover place. In the middle of nowhere and really quiet except for the frog chorus. It is really quite tiny which made maneuvering tricky. We needed to fuel up and pump out.

IMG_7235 2

That bit was relatively easy – it was a straight shot in to that dock with a port (left) side tie. However, even if we weren’t docking for the night we still had to turn around. Yep, this boat turns on a sixpence/dime. Paul is getting remarkably good at moving the boat in close quarters. The only ‘problem’ with this marina was that from where we were docked to where the showers were located was about a quarter mile walk. Needed to really plan bathroom breaks.

IMG_7253Had four low swing bridges to pass through on Friday on our way to Myrtle Beach Yacht Club, North Myrtle Beach. We missed the really popular bit of MB; maybe next time. Again this marina was a challenge. The wind was blowing quite hard out of the marina, so to us it was a head wind. We squeezed our way between the different docks full of boats all the way to the most inshore bit and then had to do a sideways skid to park. Paul got the boat sideways and skidding but then a wind gust hit and we stopped. Hmmm. We eventually managed to crab sideways enough to reach the dock. Always a challenge.


After assessing the food supply in the fridge, I decided an Uber ride to the nearest Publix was in order. I had thought I might shop on Saturday (today) but I had called today’s marina and they said their nearest stores were at least 5 miles away. Unfortunately there is a distinct lack of Starbucks in either place. (Of course, we could just go to the Tiki Bar.)


The black blob in the water is a deer swimming across the ICW

We negotiated Pine Island Cut, more commonly referred to as Rock Pile. This cut is quite narrow with rock ledge edges, not the soft muddy sand we have had all the way up so far. The notes about one of the particular hazards, a rock pile, stated that “… never mind the fact that it is a no-wake zone, the pontoon boat came zooming past us and stopped … very abruptly and then proceeded to sink.” OK, let’s avoid that one.


Oyster beds

As I have already mentioned, today  we crossed state lines, at Little River Inlet. At the time we were fighting squirrly currents so didn’t notice. I called St James Marina as we approached on the radio – no response – and telephone (left a message). We decided, if all else fails, we would just pick an appropriate spot and ask for forgiveness later. Just as we were turning into the marina entrance channel, the radio chirped and the dock master gave us instructions. We are actually on the end of the T-dock right as you come into the marina so if someone forgets to turn the corner, we will be t-boned. Hope it doesn’t happen. Great wooded trail for the dogs.

On our predawn walk this morning, the sky was amazing. Over on the eastern horizon, the first loom of light was a deep blood red color; quite intense.

img_2903.jpgimg_2902.jpgFinally today, the people at St James Marina and condos are super friendly. As Paul was finishing off securing the boat, a gentleman came up and tried to present him with a buff folder. Paul’s first reaction was not to accept it as, for some reason, he thought it might have been a subpoena but then the gentleman explained that he had taken a couple of pictures of the boat as we came down the cut, printed them off and was now giving them to us.

Tomorrow, we will be passing Cape Fear. I think there is a movie set at Cape Fear starring Robert De Niro. Scared me silly; I didn’t watch the ending.

Thanks for reading.


Wappoo Creek Draw Bridge

We read all the reports, reviews, advice etc about not traversing Elliott’s Cut at half tide because of the rate of current flow. But we did it anyway; with a following current.

After a very careful ‘leaving the dock’ from St John’s Yacht Harbor (just south of Charleston SC), careful because of the current, wind and the fact there was a boat in front of us and behind us, we punched our way against the current up the short section of the Stono River to Elliott’s Cut.


So tiring, cruising, I’ll just lie here and stick my head in the toy basket.

There was no turning back once we made the turn. We were sucked in and swept along at 12.3kt (13.5+mph) with each stony bank seemingly not much further way from us than our boat is long. We thought, as the Cut spat us out into Wappoo Creek, we would slow down considerably. Not so much. We were still going a good 10+mph with a low, closed swing bridge ahead. Obviously we weren’t the first people to be in this predicament because the bridge captain was watching for us and timed the bridge opening perfectly. Through we ‘sailed’ and out towards Charleston. That should have been our excitement for the day. Ha!! Famous last words.



The two rivers that merge at Charleston, Cooper River and Ashley River, are very busy with commercial traffic. First we dodged a tug towing a dredging barge.


Outbound and more inbound

Next was an inbound and then an outbound container ship, the inbound calling us on the radio to make sure we had seen him and the other ship. We assured the captain that we had. Then we had to sprint across their channel, close behind the outbound ship as there were two more lining up to come in. Phew. Survived that peril. No more according to the charts, just a little bit of shoaling.

The tide was falling rapidly and with the big blue blood moon last night/this morning, the tides are in ‘spring’ phase – big springs, meaning super low tide. Hmmm.

IMG_7195Chugging along, punching the tide, Ben Sawyer swing bridge opened on cue. The navigation aids were counting down. I was on the helm. Things were getting shallow but no problems. Until I realized that the sailboat I had been keeping an eye on, it was in the channel facing towards us, wasn’t getting any closer. “Paul, take the helm I need a pee.” On my return to the bridge, the yacht was still in place. I hailed him on the radio to find out his predicament. IMG_7196He didn’t answer. We found out all on our own as we gracefully slid to a halt in the silt and mud about 400m south of him. To be brief, the low low tide combined with the silting and non-dredging for years meant that the 12ft depth we should have had was less than 5ft. We need 5.5ft minimum and it turns out that the sailboat needed 5.75ft. Several tries and 45min later we managed to plough our way through and continue on. OMG, I can’t take much more. But lunch was quiet.

Once again I had the helm. As I tried to turn the boat to starboard (right) she wouldn’t respond. I had the wheel hard over but still no joy. “PAUL, if I ever needed you to take the helm, it’s now!” He did and it seemed to sort itself out. Damn.

Finally, after all the delays and excitement, we could see our turn-off creek, dusk was falling early because of the low grey clouds (Paul is already on the helm) when all of a sudden and I mean sudden, the boat took off to port (left). Turning the wheel made no difference. The depth sounder had registered 5.5ft (we should hit bottom) then back to what it was before. The port engine stopped and we were heading for the shore not knowing what had just happened.

Again, all of a sudden, the boat lurched as if let free from something, the wheel responded, Paul gingerly restarted the port engine and added revs and brought the boat back on her heading. There didn’t appear to be any lasting side effects and we managed to squeeze into our dock space without any more excitement. Except that we had the current with us and the wind against us but Paul is becoming quite the expert. All we can surmise is that we caught a crab pot that was well anchored, enough to pull our 37 tons around, but then the cable cutters on the prop shaft managed to do their stuff and set us free.

That was yesterday. Today the wind is howling again and it is cold so we decided to stay put at Leland Oil Company, McClellanville SC for a second night. Have been told we need to visit the fresh seafood retail warehouse – on our way and the coffee shop and the restaurant. Probably manage all three.

Thanks for reading.


Written Friday, 16 September from home.


Watching for the next wave

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.


This is where they ran. Was covered with water at the beginning of the season

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.


Long tether

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.


Shorter tether

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.


Hard to take a selfie when bouncing along at 20kt

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!