Friday, February 27, 2009

Our Last Days at Marathon

Bob and Trish from PogoPelli took us out to locate some geocaches. This is new to us, people hide small containers with a log book and several trinkets inside and then list the lat-lon on a web site and others try to locate the cache and sign the log book and if they like one of the trinkets the will exchange for something they have. It was fun to search for them using a hand held GPS to get close. Both beaches were worth the visit just for the beach. The first one in near the end of Cocoa Plum Road. It is a nice beach where local people gather to let their dogs run on the beach and in the water. We have been there twice now and many of the same people were there both times. The second beach is in a residential neighborhood at Key Colony. It overlooks the water to the west so it would have beautiful sunsets. We may have to try it one evening.
Over the past few days we have spent some time each day working and cleaning on the boat. It is amazing how much cleaning a boat requires. Last night Robert and Kay from C-Life had just returned to their boat after driving to NC and back to attend a funeral. They brought back a bag of oysters from NC. Which they shared with many of us on the dock. It was a good time.
Today is Valentines Day. We will probably go out for dinner somewhere near the marina….We ended up going to No Name Pub over on Big Pine Key. It is a place similar to Cabbage Key “Hamburger In Paradise.” We saw two of the Key Deer, one was an eight point buck but not much larger than a large dog. They were not at all afraid of people because they have been protected for many years. During the afternoon we took the dingy and toured the harbor here at Boot Key and stuck our nose out into the gulf waters.
On Sunday we worked on cleaning the boat some more. The bimini was beginning to get some mold on the under side so we selected a mold and mildew treatment and set about to wash it. When I started to wash the seam split wide open so now we have to get the top restitched. On Monday morning I contacted a woman who had a card posted on the board at the marina. She will come by on Tuesday to look at it and give an estimate.
The woman looked over our bimini and agreed that the sunbrella is in good condition so she will restitch the entire top for us.
On Tuesday evening Muriel prepared jumbulia and we had Dave and Poly from the boat next to us and Bob and Trish from CocoPelli for dinner. It was fun.
Wednesday we worked around the boat some more. Muriel made some bread from a starter dough she had gotten from Margie on Wandern L&M. The bread is very good. I used some compound and the buffer on the front of the flybridge cowling and I intend to wax and buff it on Thursday. Wednesday was Muriel’s birthday so we went out for dinner to a nice restaurant at Key Colony where they have an early bird special. Muriel got a good laugh about going out for the early bird special on her birthday. We went with Blue Max and Greg and Barbara from Goncruzin. They arrived here about a week ago from Maryland. They will head north about the middle of March to do the loop.
The woman called late yesterday to say she would not have time to restitch the entire top but she did agree to restitch the part which split out.
I have gotten sorry just hanging around here. I have lost track of blogging. One day last week we went out with Greg and Barbara on GonCruzin to the Sombrero Reef to snorkel. When we got out to the reef we decided the water was so rough that is would be too difficult to get back on the boat after we were in the water so we returned to the dock and took the car down to Bahia Honda State Park and played around the beach there and snorkeling there a little.
booth at a boat equipment flea market for a friend who makes all sorts of tote bags from old sails. We went to the market on Saturday morning with Blue Max and Wander’n L&M. We enjoyed the show and make several purchases.
On Saturday evening we went over to the City Marina where several boaters gathered to share their music. This group picks and sings just about every week. We had a good time listening and visiting with the hand full of folks there. Sunday was the monthly pig roast at the grill here at the marina. We went with a group of loopers. The entertainer was one of the guys from Saturday day night.
On Monday the woman picked up our bimini at 9:00 to restitch it. She said she would have it back by lunch but it was late afternoon by the time she got it back. I was a little concerned about how difficult it would be to get it back on. I had market the pieces and their location on the bows. It was no problem to get it back on.
Our month of slip rent will expire on Wednesday so we will be on the move again if the winds let up enough to allow it. We are ready to move again, however, we have not done everything we intended while here. Muriel and Shelly may get back to Key West today. I will have to stay here because we have a diver coming to replace zincs on the bottom of the boat and clean the bottom. We have collected a lot of bottom growth by sitting here a month after setting in Everglades City for a month.
Bennie came and cleaned the bottom and replaced our zincs and I got some more waxing done. Then I rode the bicycle into town and found a man to come to the boat and check our house batteries. He reports that both batteries have lost about 40% of their capacity. He does not have replacements on hand and cannot get them before we leave. We can get by for a while.
There was a large pot-luck dinner on the dock last night. Quite a crowd showed up and it was fun visiting with everyone. Les and Judy from Voyager II came walking down the dock yesterday afternoon. I certainly did not expect to see them here. They completed their loop at Hudson, Fl. way up on the west coast of Florida. They said they hauled Voyager II and cleaned her bottom and got all the work done and then sat at home for about two months and said, “Why sit here, let’s go.” So they took off and intend to do the “down east loop” this summer. They are at a different marina but we invited them and they came over for the dinner. They had done quite a bit of work varnishing exterior wood while we were together up in the rivers but they say Voyager II looks still better now.
We took the dingy down to Burdine’s hoping to meet Les and Judy from Voyager II and eat lunch. They were gone but we ate lunch there. We did enjoy the dingy ride through the harbor and back. Yesterday was a busy day. We were in preparation mode, getting ready to leave Marathon after a month’s stay. I decided at the last minute to go ahead and put in two new batteries for the house batteries. I had not even completely finished that when Muriel found that the galley sink was leaking. It had a small hole in the bottom of the sink. I was able to seal it up with some J-B Weld. The last of the grocery shopping is done and we think we are ready to get underway, at last. It looks like the weather will co-operate for at least a couple of days. Double Trouble X 2 arrived yesterday. We first met them at the rendezvous in Charleston last spring and again in Chicago and at Joe Wheeler last fall. They started the loop from Demopolis, Al in December. We got to visit with them last night and we hope to see more of them along the way. We plan to get underway about 9:00 this morning.
Well, we got away from the dock at about 8:30 after farewells to new friends and old ones. It was a bit on the windy side but the direction of the wind made our travel up the inside of the keys OK. We arrived at Lignumvitae Key about 2:15 pm and picked up a mooring ball. This is the first time we have done this and Muriel did an excellent job of hooking the line and getting us secured.
I have tryed three times to get pictures loaded onto this blog and I have lost them each time. pictures this time.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Posting to get photos

The first photo is Shelly at Key West with a large Pithon snake around her neck. The next photo is some of the chickens which roam the streets of Key West. The next photo is a looper gathering which was held just a couple of days after we arrived here. The last two photos are a small park and beach on the Atlantic Ocean side of Vaca Key. We take the dingy from the boat through a small channel to the beach, that is our dingy on the beach in the last photo.

I have finally learned to reduce the resolution of photos so that I can get them onto the blog, I think.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Marathon Days

It would have been fun to have hung on the hook another day at Cudjoe Key but the forecast was changed this morning, calling for increased winds on Tuesday and we did not want to ride out a weather front there and we did not want to travel on into Marathon in 25 knot winds so we came on in today. We had some wind and waves but nothing bad and it settled some when we had to turn our beam to the waves so we had another very nice day. Marathon is like nowhere else we have been. This is without a doubt the most boater friendly place we have seen. We have still not decided how long we will stay. We will soon have to commit to a weekly or monthly rate.
We learned this morning that it will cost less for a month than for two weeks than for a month so we have signed in for a month. We walked around to see what is within easy walking distance. There is a Publix, Super K-Mart, Boater’s World, Wendy’s, a Home Depot, and various other small shops. We enjoyed 5:00 on the dock with several other boats and helped C-life get docked while Bella Luna was docking farther down the line.
On Wednesday I got the bikes off the boat and oiled them up but Muriel was reluctant to ride with her bad knee so I went for a ride by myself. I rode around in a residential area adjacent to the marina and then up and down highway 1. By the time I got back to the boat I had ridden about eight miles according to the odometer on the bike. After lunch we got the dingy down and went out to see some of the sights by water. We went out through a small channel to the ocean and stopped at a beach to walk around a little. We also stopped by to chat a little with PogoPelli, a sailboat we bet in Everglades City.
Thursday we messed about the boat in the morning and went out in the dingy in the afternoon to explore a little more and then walk on the beach again. Bill and Eileen found out that her nephew manages the country club across the street from the marina. Bill had been wanting to play golf and now he has a way to get on the course. We met him and he is a very nice guy and quite active around the community. I rode over to the hospital to see if it would be practicable for us to dingy to the city dock and walk to the hospital. The woman in the emergency room told be to remove the stitches myself and when I explained that they were not visible from the surface she gave me the name of a local doctor to call. Turns out that Josh, the nephew, knows the doctor and said that if Muriel has any problem getting an appointment let him know and he will contact the Dr.
While I was riding in that part of town I stopped at the inflatable boat shop and bought some glue to re-glue an attachment for the dingy davit stiff arm. One is coming loose. I also purchased a hydrofoil for the dingy motor to help get the dingy on plane quicker and with more load.
It is quite warm here again today. Someone said the high in Miami yesterday set a record for the date. The wind is beginning to pickup and a cold front should move through tonight. Highs will be reduced to the seventies instead the eighties.
Boy! The wind blew last night. Muriel and I were up between 12 and 1:00am to get the dingy back up because it was rattling so badly I could not sleep. Then about 3:30 I was back up to tighten the stern lines. This morning was cold and windy, but sunny. Bill and I went out to pickup a rent car he had arranged. He had arranged for an Impala size car and we ended up with a van because that was he had to offer. This makes very comfortable riding for the five of us. Bill has really scored since we came here to Marathon! We rode down the Keys a ways toward Key West and turned around thinking that we would wait for a warmer day to go there. We missed the farmer’s market and just caught the tail end of the flea market at the City Marina. Tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday. We plan to go to a club on the island where Eileen’s nephew will be doing a talk show and then back to either the boat or to the Grill for the game.
On Super Bowl Sunday we went for a ride around the local area to see some of the close-by Keys. This area is quite different from anywhere else we have been, maybe more laid back. We ended up at the bar where Josh was doing the live pre-game radio show. He had a table reserved for us, it felt like we were special! They had a lot of gifts for contestants for giving three out of five correct answers to Super Bowl trivia questions. The first thing we knew, Shelly was up there with the microphone to answer questions. With the help from the audience, she got the correct answers and won a tee shirt, which was what she wanted. After too many appetitizers and several pitchers of beer we had Eileen drive us back to the marina where we watched the game on Blue Max and cooked hot dogs with them.
On Monday we got Muriel’s stitches out and ran errands around the area. At 5:00 all the loopers in the area gathered at the Marathon City Marina for munchies and drinks to socialize and get a picture of the group. There were 64 people representing 30 odd boats. Everyone was surprised at the large number of people. Some had finished the loop several years ago and were still spending winters here in Marathon on their boats. Afterward we went to the boat next to us, Ole Salt, a couple who finished the loop several years ago, for dinner along with Bob and Trish from PogoPelli. During dinner we had quite a storm with winds up to 60 miles per hour. Larry from Wanderin L&M said his weather radar showed a possible tornado just outside on the Atlantic side.
Yesterday, Tuesday, we went to Key West for the day. It is just a pleasant drive, about 46 miles, from here. The weather was quite cool for here, high 60’s, and windy but we still had a good time. We rode a sightseeing train around the Old Town area and then had a late lunch at a Cuban cafĂ© and walked around the old harbor. By that time it was time for the sunset celebration at Mallory Square. There was also a very large cruise ship just leaving port. That was a sight to see it maneuver away from the pier. We enjoyed some of the performers and then decided it was cold enough to get into the car and head back to Marathon.
On Wednesday we went to the Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key. This is where the movie Flipper was made. They have several fenced pools on the Gulf side of the Key where they rehabilitate dolphins and train them to test the intelligence of dolphins. It was quite interesting to see the dolphins interact with the trainers. For a substantial fee visitors can get into the water and touch, ride and kiss the dolphins. It was cool and windy and we got pretty cold before we left the Center.
Thursday was just a laid back day. We hung around the boat most of the day. Bill and I went to get some bottom paint for his dingy and we picked up some more supplies at Home Depot for the shelf I am preparing to build for Shelly. When we returned to the boat we had a horrible odor which I traced to the holding tank being over filled and leaking from the vent line into the bilge. I removed and cleaned the vacuum breaker on the pumpout line and got the level down so that it stopped leaking into the bilge. Another trip to West Marine to get some citrus bilge cleaner and a new vacuum breaker. I also stopped by a shop to request a quote to reupholster the helm seat on the fly bridge. The man will come on Friday to give the estimate. After all that, I never got started on the shelf.
The man never showed up to look at the helm seat and I worked on laying out the shelf and decided the shape was too complicated for me to do a proper job with the tools I have on board here to I will not build it at this time. I will look for some type of wire frame organizer shelf to set in the space.
On Saturday morning we went to a farmer’s marked nearby. He had very nice looking produce so Muriel stocked up. Just down the street from there a garden club was having a sale so naturally Muriel had to wander through their “stuff.” After that we visited an art show (flea market) in the parking lot of a shopping area. Muriel and Shelly enjoyed looking and Shelly bought a tie-died cloth to use as a wall hanging in her room. She has wanted this since we left last May. The weather continues to be cool for here and windy.
Sunday, Muriel got up and did several loads of laundry. This took until past noon, so I took the opportunity to install a new anti-siphon device on the holding tank pump out and check out the engines so we are ready to go when the time comes. Along that line, we will have been here two weeks on Monday and we have paid for two more weeks. We hope this will give us enough time so that we can move slowly up the Florida east coast without getting too far north while it is still cold. After working in the engine room I decided to clean out some storage spaces in our room and ended up washing the inside with a Clorox mixture to prevent any mold or mildew. While I was at it, I pulled our bed apart to check the steering system and rudder post packing. I adjusted the stbd packing and the steering looked fine. Next I washed the floor in the salon and waxed and polished it. It still has many scratches but it looks much better.

Sorry for the lack of pictures, we have some we would love to post here but we have been unable to maintain a good enought connection to get them posted.