Archives for posts with tag: pudelpointers

unnamed-3These last two and a half weeks have been a bit up and down for me emotionally. It’s been exciting taking on the new boat as a project but it is so over-whelming the amount of work that is needed to understand the boat and make her safe to move any distance. Also I miss terribly my friends back in Pittsburgh and at T², Anna competing at the CrossFit Games and then moving house and not being there to help or at least get in the way. I feel rather helpless/hopeless with regards to projects on the boat because by the time Paul has explained what he wants doing, it would have been quicker for him to do it himself. It’s way too hot during the day to take the dogs walking; Bella still won’t pee on the boat so it is a quick sprint ashore and back every couple of hours. Anyway, enough of my moping.

On the lighter side of life, stripping excess and redundant wires from the spaghetti network continues apace. Paul has managed, we think, to fix the main leaks in the cabin by chopping out lumps from the roof and backfilling them with West Systems. Unfortunately like most jobs on the boat so far, what should have been a simple cut-and-fill, turned into a major job because where the core was wood, it was rotten so all that had to be dug out before refilling.

I say the main leaks because it poured with rain two nights ago and there were still a few trickles running down from the toe rail area. We can’t get our heads around taking off the toe rail, resealing the gap between the hull and the deck and replacing the toe rail so Paul took off the stanchions, re-bedded them and re-bolted with new non-rusted bolts. Fingers crossed. It did, actually, pour with rain last night but I was too tired to stay awake to check.

unnamed-5unnamed-4I have found a great place to take the dogs for a walk that is not the beach, but unfortunately there is no shade so it only works if it is cloudy or raining. Each time we go, we find more trails to follow. The first time we went, Ebba and Bella met a new friend though the relationship didn’t last too long. Bella decided to try a local delicacy; not sure what these are – any guidance would be appreciated. They didn’t make her ill so she either didn’t eat sufficient of them or they are not poisonous at least to dogs. Fortunately they still haven’t managed to catch a lizard.

unnamedunnamed-1We threw out the old stove/oven with its 30 years of grease and replaced it with a lovely shiny new one. At least when this one gets greasy, I’ll know where the grease came from.

A few nights ago, I spent a sleepless night having waking nightmares about being trapped on the boat by fire. What would be our escape route? How would we get the dogs out? etc. I told Paul about it the following day so we went out and bought all new fire extinguishers and scattered them liberally around the boat. We talked about the most likely areas where a fire would start (aft: engine room and/or galley) and what to do if, heaven forbid, it ever happened.

Next day, Paul was working in the pilot house pulling wires and accidentally pulled a wire across the bow thruster joystick and got the bow thruster all revved up. It went on for a couple of minutes before I realized that perhaps it wasn’t supposed to be on. (I thought he was testing something. He wasn’t.)

About 5 minutes later, he yells, “Can you smell smoke?” Yes I could. Oh shit!!!! Waking nightmare. And it wasn’t coming from where we had assumed, i.e. aft. It was coming from forward. There were clouds of smoke; no smoke without fire, right? F..K F..K F..K!

Turns out that there was, but no longer, a plastic hose resting on the motor housing for the bow thruster and said housing gets very very hot when the bow thruster is in use; hot enough to melt plastic hosing. Fortunately, this time there was smoke without fire. The boat just smelled of burned plastic but that I can live with. We went and got a few more smoke alarms too.

unnamed-2I have been to CrossFit Jensen Beach twice for a fix and both times it was shoulder work. Fried!!!! It was fun really.

And finally, it always seems to come down to the heads/toilets – the most used and least maintained piece of vital equipment on a boat. One of the toilets got blocked twice this week so Paul gave me the glorious task of investigating the problem (I was happy to do this). I did my job diligently and came to the conclusion that the blockage was at a two-way valve which was superfluous to requirements anyway but still part of the system. So we decided to take out that plumbing system plus the, I think, original system which had been left in when the ‘new’ system had been installed and replace it all with one hose to the tank. Simple right? Haha. No. It never is. Paul ended up having a shitty shower as he removed the existing hose from the holding tank. And little bits of calcified shit broke away as we removed the rest of the hosing in the system.

unnamed-6We knew when we bought the boat that the seacock in this particularly bit of plumbing was seized but with a little bit of gentle persuasion, Paul managed to get it to close. Good. Removed all the hoses and installed the new one. Just as we were tightening up the last few jubilee clips, Paul noticed a slight trickle of water coming into the boat from the shut-off seacock. As we watched it, the trickle increased to a steady stream and then a pulsing stream as the boat rocked up and down on the small waves that work their way into the marina. Oh good. Now what? The boat is going to sink? Somewhere on the boat there is a bag of wooden plugs just for this purpose – to shove into leaking seacocks but it is the bag that is always pushed around until you don’t know where it is. The plug that was next to the seacock was way too big. Eventually found it and banged in the correct sized plug. No leak. Phew. Crises over, until the next one.

Final final thought: have you ever noticed that the dogs always seem to be right where you need to be?  Love my dogs.

Thanks for reading. Safe boating with dogs.

Joanna

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Joanna

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

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It is now a few hours after completing the 2017 Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon so I decided to put down some thoughts.

I signed up back in October with the long term goal of easing back into marathon training but with injury and weather, my plans went a little awry. However, with the help of Coach Anna Tunnicliffe Tobias and my CrossFit training (#bradletes), I re-adjusted my 3 goals and met 2 of them. So thank you.

The race itself went according to my plan. I started at a good pace, the one I had originally hoped for but I knew I wasn’t going to be able to maintain it. My strategy was to run to the 16 mile mark and then switch over to walk/run for specific time intervals; which I did. I did managed to run all the way up the hill from the Birmingham Bridge into Oakland about which I was very pleased. There were support runners running up and back down the hill to help encourage us participants to make it to the top. Can’t imagine how many times they ran that hill. Ugh! God bless them.

That hill was one of the milestones in my head that I had to beat in order to be able to finish the run. As it went well, I ran through Oakland, Shadyside, Homewood etc with more confidence, knowing that if I stuck to my plan, I would finish.

The next milestone for me was the relay exchange at mile 22. I forget where it is located but I remember last year, when I ran the relay, watching the ‘full’ runners coming through there with their heads down and really struggling. I needed to run through there with my head high in order for me to make it.

I did. All was good with the world. Though I do have to admit, I was struggling just a little by then. Conscious thought: left foot, right foot, 1,2,3,4……. All the way to 100 and then start again.

I love the downhill finish into Pittsburgh. Knowing that there is considerable loss in elevation after the incline as we turn on to Liberty Ave is a great motivator to get up the hill. And let’s face it, by the time you get to that point, it is less distance to keep going than turning around and going back the way you just came.

The neighbourhoods did their thing and came out to cheer for us. It was cold but they stuck with it, even the little kids. Always tried to ‘high five’ them if I could. They get so excited, it makes me smile and smiling is good running therapy.

Homewood/N Braddock area was amazing. They were so full of energy and encouragement, it was impossible not to smile, wave to them, say thank you for turning out in the cold, offering their own water and chopped orange stations. Other areas did that too but the vibes that came from these people were wonderful. Thank you.

The other group I have to really give a ‘shout out’ too were the small group of supporters just before the 22 mile mark. They were offering chopped oranges but then things got real. They had popsicles. Such a good way to hydrate when the last thing you really want to do is drink. By that time, lifting one’s water bottle to one’s lips is quite an effort.

A few of ‘funnies’ that happened on the way.

The weather was such that when running with the wind and the sun was shining, it was really warm. So much so that I had to take off my long sleeved shirt. I had made it a T2 shirt by applying a car sticker to the front of it. So when I took it off, I tied it around my waist with the T2 sticker showing; runners coming up behind me could see it. I had just crested the Birmingham Bridge/Oakland hill when a girl (running the relay) ‘sprinted’ past me and commented, “A bit longer than a WOD but you can do it.” Again, made me smile.

A little further down the road I heard, “Hey, Jo” and a big smile from Libby Jones (one of our members) as she ran past me. Thanks Libby, I picked up my pace for a little bit.

One of my favourite running tunes is “Chariots of Fire” and blow me, as I ran down Highland towards Bryant, there it was playing full blast. And further down, I heard “Flash Gordon”(?) by Queen, another of my running songs.

I passed the 26mile marker and decided to look at my watch to see my elapsed time. I had, probably, just over half a mile to go, and my watch said 4:25: and some seconds. I was so close to my 2nd goal. Could I keep going to the finish? Running along Smithfield to the Boulevard of the Allies seemed to take an eternity. It just didn’t seem to get any closer until, boom, it was there. I turned the corner and there was the finish line. I tried so hard to push just that little bit harder. I crossed the line with 4:30 on the clock, which was all I wanted. Then I got emotional. But I always do. I walked down the finish chute, collected my finisher’s medal (what a weight), collected Dole fruit cups, a banana, a bottle of water and thanked as many volunteers as I could – many of them had been there since very early this morning.

I collected my bag of dry clothes, changed shoes (have two blisters) and then hit up Starbucks. Oh my goodness, coffee and banana nut bread (absolutely not Paleo) never tasted so good.

Caught the T back home – nearly got on the wrong train – and listened to a couple of guys complaining about how the marathon really wrecked their day because they had to take the T rather than drive into and out of town. Ho hum. It’s not like they didn’t get any warning.

And then Paul was there to give me a huge hug when I got out of the car. Thank you Paul for being patient with me by humoring me and my whims. Love you. Also got licked to death by Ebba and Bella.

I wasn’t fast enough to qualify for Boston but I hadn’t even thought about it until I got home. But that’s OK. Wasn’t a goal.

I had something to prove to myself with this race. I can still do it; maybe not as fast as I used to be able but I am a little older than I was back then. I don’t have to beat myself up by running countless miles just to run 26.2 miles. With my strength training, CrossFit training and cross-training along with limited running, I can do it.

And yes, I am wearing my Skins USA recovery tights! Feeling better already.

Thanks for reading. And I know it’s not really Boating with Dogs but we will be soon.

Joanna

Written Friday, 16 September from home.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Written Wednesday 7 September 2016

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At anchor off Kelleys Island’s State Park campground

Today was the first day of the second part of our ‘holiday’ for this year. We had to take a break from cruising because we had a wedding to attend. And it was a beautiful wedding too. Congratulations to Anna and Brad.

But I digress. Really, yesterday was the first day – very simple, all we had to do was pack the truck with everything except the kitchen sink this time, and head north. That kinda changed though as I had a brilliant idea on my return from my super early workout at T²CrossFit, and as I parked my car in the garage next to AbFab and accumulated junk, “Why don’t we take the RIB with us given that the weather forecast was deteriorating for extended cruising?” “Brilliant”, says Paul and then all hell breaks loose.

You see, it’s just not that simple. It should be but it isn’t – hooking up the trailer and pulling it and the boat out of the garage wasn’t going to happen. Recall I mentioned accumulated junk? Hmmm. There is a lot of it and it is all around and in front of the trailer, along with other stuff that isn’t junk but still needed to be moved.

I still had my packing plan for food etc and had to get that done before I could give a hand with AbFab so Paul had to manage on his own. The dogs tried but even they eventually gave up and came in. Their tender, young ears couldn’t take any more of it.

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Queen of her castle (rock) Puppy Ebba

The boat has been in the garage for a while without being used so needless to say, when Paul tried to lift the engine off the ground in order to move the boat out of the garage, the engine didn’t move. No power in the battery. Plug the battery into the charger; one hour later, no power. This brilliant idea was not necessarily as shiny an idea as it was initially. Fortunately the local Auto Zone had a replacement that fitted perfectly and had charge in it. Zip, up comes the engine, out goes the boat on the trailer…. and then the roofer calls to see if he can come around to look at the roof. The dogs, in the meantime, collapse in an exasperated heap in the house.

There is plenty more but I will spare you the details – they don’t add much more to the picture that I hope I have already painted. Except, the reason I didn’t pack the kitchen sink this time was because my plan was to go shopping when we got to Sandusky; Paul would entertain the dogs while I shopped.

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Zoom, zoom around Sandusky Bay

Upon arrival in Sandusky, our first call was the launch ramp. After reversing the trailer into the water with Paul on board, my next job was to unhook the boat and push it on its way with Paul at the helm. This was going fine when I heard a little doggy squeak right next to my ear. Looked up and there was Ebba on the back cover of the truck. She had climbed out the cab’s little rear window. It was a bit of a squeeze for her but in her frantic excitement of not being left behind, she completely ignored the seat headrest digging into her chest and belly as she wormed her way out. The only way down was for her to squeeze back through; there was no way I was going to lift her down. Both dogs finally were safely aboard with Paul and they set off to meet me at the dock. Oh they were soooooo happy. All three of them.

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Fun times running, playing chase

This was really when I had planned on going to the grocery store but fortunately I didn’t because we had a great afternoon. I left everything in the truck. Paul yelled to grab bathing suits for him and me and climb aboard. My bathing suit (aka sports bra and shorts) was in the truck! So was Paul’s but who cared. The dogs wanted to go swimming and Paul wanted to blast around the Bay. So we did, all of it.

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Not so much room on AbFab as on San Graal

The dogs swam and swam then ran and ran and chased and chased the birds.

We were all so tired when we eventually got back to the dock to say Hi to San Graal. Which we did by giving her a bath. I would hate to see her if we left her for 3 weeks instead of 2. The spiders, webs, dead flies and insect poop were all just disgusting.

That done, the truck unloaded, the onboard fridges packed with the food that I did bring, there was now no way I was going to the grocery store. I’d go tomorrow.

Ha! That didn’t happen either.

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Being responsible : Paul carrying full poop bag back to the boat.

After a walk/run, breakfast and lazy half a morning, the plan was to pack a picnic lunch with tea in our hot mugs, zoom to the north side of Kelleys Island and anchor off the beach and swim, walk, whatever. Which we did. On the way across, at first Ebba and Bella were really excited, barking at and trying to swat the waves. Eventually though, Bella decided that bouncing off one wave to the next was not such a good idea and lay down. Ebba kept swatting though even she succumbed eventually and lay down. I think Ebba, at least, also felt a little queasy but fortunately she wasn’t sick. The beach and swim made up for it.

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Making sure the anchor is set, “Yes, my foot is on it.”

We had our picnic, then rather than heading straight back to the marina, we decided to visit Put-In-Bay. The thought processes behind this were very practical actually. Between Kelleys Island and South Bass Island, the waves would be less because we were in the lee of South Bass Island. And after leaving Put-In-Bay, there is a little dog-leg to the south west around the south west end of the island and then ‘surf the waves all the way home’.

By this time, the temperature on shore ‘felt like 101F’. Why would we go back to the marina and swelter there? So we didn’t. We anchored off the east side of Sandy Point, where we had been yesterday, and let the dogs go again. Today, there was no-one else on the beach so we just let the dogs run and swim, just whatever they wanted to do. Now, needless to say, they are tired.

Not sure what tomorrow will bring. Supposed to be as hot and windier. Guess we’ll just have to go boating with our dogs!

IMG_1609Today we made it home (for the boat). After another early start, left the dock at 06:25, watched the sunrise over the Detroit River Channel and then chugged our way across Lake Erie. The reason we left so early again was to try to beat the forecasted storms and high winds. Even at 09:00am the winds were blowing 12-16mph  (7-8mph more than was forecasted). We had a rather wet ride across the lake. Not because it rained, but because the trajectory of the waves was such that when they hit the boat, spray went everywhere.IMG_1594

This last week has rather been a hurry up and wait event; again because of the wind direction and strength. We ended up having to take advantage of the days when the wind was favorable to take big chunks of mileage out of our trip home. So we have had 10hr, 8hr and 6hr days. The dogs have been real troopers. I just wish I had the same bladder control as they do. (Maybe I wouldn’t pee when I jump rope if I had their bladder strength.)

They are funny though. As soon as I go down to the deck and pick up a rope, they are there on the foredeck with their heads stuck through the rail trying to decide which side we will be tying up, ready to make a quick break for it to the nearest grassy plot.

I forgot to included these next two photos last time.

IMG_1459We were motoring through the islands in the North Channel and came across a lady (in a boat) towing 3 Optimist dinghies, spars, kids, sails and all stowed in the dinghies. In this area, there are no roads; it is all rocky islands so I am not sure to where they were going. But they looked as though they were having fun.

IMG_1446This next picture is really quite bizarre. Three guys on a raft holding a boat supported on stands. I think the distribution of weight on the raft was pretty critical. One backward step and the engine would be underwater.

The majority of the harbors we visited were OK with the dogs. The staff and other boaters were very tolerant and patient especially since Ebba figured out that she could jump off the boat and not be followed by Bella. Bella usually ratted her out though by barking from the foredeck.

IMG_1477At DeTour Village Marina, to walk the dogs, I took them around the other side of the harbour and walked out on the break wall. The dogs had a good time climbing over the rocks and swimming after the ducks.

IMG_1478Whilst they were doing that, I was studying the flora. Peas. Or maybe beans. I haven’t seen peas/beans growing in a ‘hedgerow’ for years. Actually not since we left the UK. And here they were, growing so thickly they were forming a hedge. And the pods were forming too. If we went back in probably 3 weeks, the pods would be ready for plucking.IMG_1469

IMG_1550During our trip we did turn the odometer over at 10,000nm since we have had the boat.

IMG_1554The dogs were duly impressed.

IMG_1611Back in the marina, we were moving stuff to clean and this jumped out. Well not exactly jumped but it did make me jump. And scream a little.  Not sure when it climbed aboard but it has now moved house.

IMG_1612To finish off, it was a beautiful sunset.

Three weeks; 1045 statute miles; 20 different harbors /marinas /anchorages; way too many pounds of fudge; only one dinner of fish and chips; one portion of sweet potato fries (specially sent out for and cooked by the chef at Grosse Isle YC); lost count of the miles I walked with the dogs; lots of swims in water so cold I wouldn’t normally have immersed more than my big toe but the dogs insisted; and finally, countless laughs and frustrations from boating with dogs.

Thanks for reading.

Joanna

San Graal

T²CrossFit