'Til the butter melts

Pursuing the cruising dream in 32' of sailing ketch

Life Lessons Taught by a Puppy – May 27, 2020

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We’ve met a bunch of interesting and delightful folks during our cruising travails, and Tara & Brian, from s/v Scout, are two of them. At the moment these two are caretaking a lighthouse off the coast of New England AND raising a new puppy!

The Bakers Bulletin

When we decided to adopt a puppy, our discussion was more about making sure she would be friendly to everyone she met.  I have worked in veterinary medicine for many years and I thought I had a fairly good idea how to make this happen.  That was until I read an article over the weekend about a well-adjusted dog. The article was about the importance of a 20 minute sniff fest for the puppy vs. a 60-minute power walk to burn off energy.  The general conclusion is as a society we are constantly multi-tasking and on the go, go, go and this is the worst thing to carry over to a new puppy.  Puppies & dogs need to stop and smell everything around them to understand their world, and yours. When they are not given the opportunity to stop and sniff everything, they can become anxious in their surroundings which…

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Pressing on

The process of cruising is one of continuous adjustment and adaptation. We plan, we depart, and then stuff happens, be it weather, mechanical issues, fatigue, friendly distraction, or global pandemic.

As I write, we’re tied up in a marina in Cape May, New Jersey, watching as tropical storm Arthur – the first named storm of the 2020 season, and rather earlier than expected – works his way back out into the Atlantic ocean, loosing strength as he goes. The threat was mild – only winds in the range of 40-50 knots, but it seemed prudent to take shelter, as the Cape May anchorage is quite open to wind and chop.
In the event, winds peaked out near 35 knots (about 40 mph), so we’d have been fine out at anchor, but we were certainly much more comfortable here.

We have managed to put a few miles behind us in the last couple weeks, and we’ve left the dreaded Delaware Bay behind us, escaping with nary a scratch.
Dreaded, because the Delaware is famous for creating rough conditions any time the wind opposes it’s very significant currents – and that’s most of the time. This one Nicki and I planned and executed very well, though I say it myself. We staged for the 49 mile passage just 3 miles south of the entrance to the Delaware & Chesapeake Canal, got darn little sleep because there was a search and rescue operation (sadly not successful – why do young men insist on not wearing a life jacket in adverse conditions?) going on around us until 2am, complete with helicopters and spotlights on us throughout. By 5:30 am we were awake, by 6:00 we were underway, and we arrived at anchor in Cape May at 3:30pm, tired, but satisfied. The Bay was almost smooth, the current was with us for all but the last hour or so, and there was even a touch of wind to help us along.

And now? We wait.
Our next leg requires a bump “outside”, into the Atlantic ocean, going around the length of the NJ coastline from here to Sandy Hook and the mouth of the Hudson River south of New York City. That passage requires reasonable weather, winds from the west, and settled seas – something we’re not going to see for a bit as Arthur continues to churn his way slowly out to sea. Though we hope for sooner, the current forecast shows nothing for us for over a week. Sure, we’re on a boat, but with 90% of shore-side services and even walking trails closed or severely limited, we’re finding that being on a boat isn’t quite the dream we’d hoped.

And then, of course, there’s “Pandemic Hair”

According to my calculations, we have just 467 miles left to Maine, and this weekend I got a note from the fellow who services our mooring in Rockland Harbor, letting me know that’s ready for us, whenever we arrive.

As far as we’re concerned, that event couldn’t come too soon.