Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Dinghy Poker Run

A Poker Run is a social event where people visit multiple stops (restaurants, bars, campgrounds, etc.) in one day to obtain a card for their poker hand. At the end of the event, everyone gathers together and the team with the best poker hand wins a prize. Events are organized by motorcycle groups, snowmobile clubs, and even horse riders.

On the water, people use their boats to visit marinas and waterfront restaurants in a poker run. The Rock the Bay Poker Run is a popular event for cigarette boats on the Chesapeake Bay. Those of us without a cigarette boat would never be able to keep up but that doesn't mean we miss all the fun. Instead we have the Middle River Dinghy Poker Run.

The rules appear to be simple:
  1. Dress up like a pirate. (Optional, but apparently highly suggested.)
  2. Fill your dinghy to capacity with friends (and lifejackets - safety first).
  3. Bring anything you can find to get others wet -- water guns, buckets, an old laundry detergent container with the bottom cut out (my personal favorite because of the helpful handle).
  4. Converge on Red Eye Yacht Club.
  5. Set off with everyone for the first stop on the Run.
  6. Get as wet as humanly possible between Red Eye and the first stop.
  7. Get willing participants on spectator boats as wet as possible.
  8. Return at the end of the day exhausted.
We did not officially participate in the Poker Run but we were anchored in Sue Creek which is a major thoroughfare for the event. Many of our crew partook of the opportunity to splash and be splashed.
The first dinghy makes an approach for our raft up.
Streams of water from fireboats can be seen in the background.
Prepare to get soaked.
Watch out for SUPs that trap your dinghy in a wet zone.
And at the end of the day, if you don't want to ride your dinghy all the way back to your home marina, perhaps you can find a friendly boater to transport a few.

What fun events happen in your boating world?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Life on the Docks

When I was in college my social life was rather organic. Yes, there were times when things were specifically planned in advance. In reality, many gatherings were spur of the moment. I would need a break from a paper I was writing and walk into the common room to see who was around. Party invitations would happen on the way to class. And beautiful sunny days were always an excuse to hang out in the quad.

Life at the marina is quite similar. I tend to see the docks as an extension of my living room (or salon in boat speak). Doug and I frequently walk the docks with a glass of wine in hand after dinner. We may run into people to talk to or we may have a quiet stroll. There are many inviting places to sit along the main promenade and people fade in and out of conversations.
So, it was no surprise to receive an invitation to watch a movie Wednesday evening. One boat had purchased a large inflatable screen and another had projection equipment. Sounds like a perfectly acceptable reason to host a gathering.

The screen was set up on the docks:
Apologies for the picture quality.
The screen fit perfectly in between two pylons which also served to anchor the screen in place.

And after a short rain delay, ten of us watched 180 Degrees South. While not a movie I would have chosen myself, I'm very glad to have seen it. The documentary also provided me with a new favorite quote:
"If I don't get on that boat, I know exactly what I'm coming home to.
If I do, my future is unwritten."

Cheers! To a future unwritten!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

No Pests Here

When we lived in a house on land, we would often wake up to the remains of a dismembered cricket that the cats had left for us on the kitchen floor. Baltimore Kittens (aka rats) would freely roam the alleys of the city without a fear in the world. During the 2010 Baltimore Snowpocalypse, a couple mice met their demise at the paws of my cat, Latte. The poor things had probably sought shelter from the storm and instead caused me to scream when I was surprised by one of them on the bathroom floor at midnight.

But the worst critter story was a spider that kept me out of the basement for days. I went downstairs to clean out the cat's litter and instead found a spider capable of carrying off a small child. This thing was mean and furry and I didn't care if it was "more scared of me than I was of him." I was not going back in the basement until it was gone. (Note: I'm a huge animals rights advocate but a spider entering my home is a capital offense.) Small problem -- Doug was out of town, hence the reason I didn't go into the basement for days. When Doug did return, we fogged the basement and sat outside with the cats for a few hours while the fog worked its magic. When Doug went back inside he found the spider. AND IT WAS STILL MOVING! I'm telling you this was some crazy escaped science experiment. Luckily, it was moving slow and Doug was able to do away with the heinous creature.

How does all of this relate to living on a boat? Well, I can count on one hand the number of critters we've had to deal with since moving aboard. There have been a couple dead stinkbugs attached to the canvas. I recently saved a dragonfly from Latte's curiosity. And just the other night Doug had to revive his spider demolition skills. But our critter count has drastically declined since living on the water. I guess you could count the barnacles as a pest but they don't jump out and startle me during normal everyday activities.

I know I have probably just jinxed myself. Other boaters have posted tips on preventing and getting rid of pests. Maybe the combination of my urban environment and this year's extra cold winter have produced the perfect balance of nature and an unfavorable living environment for pests. Or perhaps we've just been lucky. Whatever the cause, I love this fringe benefit of life on the water.

For those of you with pest issues (and for my future reference which I'm sure I will need at some point), here are a few posts from the handy Boat Galley on pests:

How to Get Rid of Ants
How to Store Food on a Boat, Part 3: Avoiding Critters
Preparing the Galley to Leave the Boat

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

June Neighbors

We had one new neighbor in the month of June:
Plan "B"
I haven't had a chance to ask yet but I wonder if there was/is a Plan "C."

I'm predicting a full dock by the end of the week for the big fireworks display. Keep tuned for the July neighbors post at the end of the month.