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What’s in a boat name? Enough for a story

Ace and I have been three days aboard the good ship …

She seems a sturdy vessel, sleek and leak free, and with four different sleeping nooks to choose from. Ace and I have tried them all and decided we both prefer the big one in the front (Bow? Wow!). So we share it, getting gently rocked to sleep as we listen to a lullaby of sloshing water, flapping mast lines and assorted mystery creaks.

It was our first time sleeping on a boat, and while we don’t know much about boats, Ace and I both know lots about sleep — and take great pride in our increasing ability to do it anywhere, even aboard a sailboat, bobbing dockside at …

Nick’s — the bar, the restaurant, the marina — is located on the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River in South Baltimore, and it’s where my friend Arnie called home for seven years.

When Arnie, who has since moved into an apartment, volunteered his 30-foot sailboat (it’s for sale by the way) we – always on the lookout for free lodgings as we continue our cross-country travels — jumped at the opportunity. I had only a few qualms. Even though most of the boat adventures in my life have resulted in seasickness or other forms of disaster, I figured what could happen, after all, when one was tied up safely to a pier?

Even after seeing this boat (left), at the next pier down, a victim of last winter’s blizzard, I wasn’t really fearful, merely slightly …

But not so much that I would require …

Getting Ace off and on the boat was difficult at first, but, after two days, he has become a pro. He still has issues climbing up the ladder-like stairs from the cabin to the deck (though down is no problem), and whimpers until I grab his collar to give him support. But he’s agile enough to negotiate most of the boats slants and angles and seems to love laying on the deck. On our first night, we hauled in what we needed from the car, got settled in and heated up a can of ravioli, which we ate straight from the pot, while sitting on the boat’s deck … 

to watch the …

Two days in, I’m loving life as a temporary liveaboard. Mainly because it’s so …

I guess most marinas are informal, but Nick’s is especially so, and it’s home to an interesting cast of characters who, for various reasons — divorce, financial straits, or just a love of being on the water, full-time — call it home.

The love of boats, like the love of dogs, is a complex and multi-faceted thing and, perhaps, with both, psychological factors come into play. Dogs can fill our need to love and be loved, unconditionally. Boats, especially when they serve as one’s home, provide a snug and secure environment — almost womb-like, though I don’t really remember that experience. We name them both — dogs and boats – pamper them both, become obsessed with both, show off and love to tell stories about both. Whether your a boat person or a dog person, or both, your love for them can only be described as …

Maybe we just need, on top of work and spouse and children, something to be commited to, to find meaning in, to go overboard about, preferably something we can give a name.

I think that’s pretty common — not an …

We like, no matter how busy we are, to fill our live’s up. Boats and dogs both work.

While I have no desire to hit the high seas, Ace and I have found our temporary boat highly liveable, with just one …

The bathroom is temporarily out of order. So, when nature calls, it means climbing off the boat, walking down the pier, scooting over to the bathhouse, finding the key, unlocking the door and coming back. It’s a minor inconvenience — a price well worth paying for the sunsets alone

On night two, I had some friends over, and we watched another dazzling sunset. The night was cool, the beer was cold, and, for appetizers, I broke out the Cheeze-Its (the white cheddar kind). We munched and drank and talked well into the night.

As the sun dropped behind the Hanover Street Bridge, then shone through its arches, turning the sky purple, orange and grey, I could only reach one conclusion:

(“Dog’s Country: Travels with Ace” is a regular feature of ohmidog!, and is in the process of becoming its own website, focusing on dogs and travel. Feel free to keep up with our progress — on the trip, and on the website at travelswithace.com)

Comments

Comment from Lakota, Sophie, Charlie, Cleo’s mom
Time September 13, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Loved this story!!

Comment from marilyn
Time September 13, 2010 at 10:03 pm

If Ace can get around a sailboat, he should have no trouble on a powerboat…you know almost all our boats have been named after dogs. Our last one, Sluggo, was named after Hot Shot’s son (you remember Hot Shot, don’t you?!)

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