A Travellerspoint blog

Still in Marathon


Connie and Stan gave us a logbook to use to record the trip; and it is getting filled. Every few pages or so, there are quotes on travel. One that struck me, maybe because it was Helen Keller, my candidate for the most remarkable human being ever, is: Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

We finally decided to get the wind generator. As Carol said,"It's only money." The installation should start on 01/26/09, weather and other things permitting. If all goes well, maybe three days to install the unit and to rewire the solar panels, an effort to increase output by reducing the voltage drop though the old wires and corroding connectors. We were talking with Victoria, a friend who has a boat and who has cruised the south Pacific, and she reminded us of her definition of cruising: getting your boat worked on and repaired in exotic locations. Maybe Marathon is exotic after all.

The daunting thing is that to install the generator the three areas that have all of our storage, the rear cabin and the two lazarettes, will have to be completely emptied. My first thought was to wonder where it will all go; my second thought was not where it will go but where we will go when the areas are emptied. I just cannot imagine how we'll get it done, but we will because we have to.

This has been an interesting decision process, giving us a brief look into the lives of folks who never worked in a corporate office. The young man who will do the installation is a case in point.

He's probably in his mid thirties or so and lives with his wife and two children on their 56-ft. boat. At one time they had houses and cars but sold all that. His wife had been a teacher and is schooling the kids on the boat. He, more or less, "follows the fleet." The boats are south now and so is he; as the weather warms he'll work his way north as cruisers start to return to their home ports. Not withstanding the fact that we can't fix much of anything, this was not something that Carol and I would have considered in the late 60's and early 70's when we were setting out. Of course, the internet and cell phones, axiomatic to his enterprise, didn't exist then. http://www.transmarinepro.com/index.html

The other look, at a great remove, is the Canadian ex-pat who moved to Trinidad and decided to build a better mouse trap, in this case a wind generator. He now has, obviously, distribution in the US; my research on the internet indicated that boaters were very satisfied with his product. It's called the KISS wind generator for Keep It Simple Sailor. http://www.kissenergy.com/

On our last night in Key West, we met Amahl, our night visitor. This blue heron landed on our dingy and stayed there about 20 minutes through repeated flash exposures from the camera. Nothing camera shy about this bird. P1080062.jpg

On the way to Marathon from Key West we tried the new anchor. It must work pretty well; when it set, it set so hard that it seemed that the bow of the boat would come off. I finally found some information on anchoring technique; it confirmed what Mike had told me in Key West. As I was beginning to suspect, I have been doing just about everything just about exactly wrong.

That was an interesting anchorage. It took us about an hour to get from open water to where we anchored. In that time at the helm I never looked up; Carol was watching for other boats. All I looked at was the chartplotter and the depth sounder. There were only two navigation marks in two miles, or so, of shallow water and the book said that we would have to "sound" our way in. Did we ever! It worked OK, but I skipped 63 and 64 and went straight to 65.

We have a lot of printed resources on the boat, guides, charts, etc. So, when we're going someplace new, and every place is new to us, we have to prepare. You study the chart, drawn to scale, and the channel is 1/16-in. wide. And then comes reality! You're at the helm, looking over the bow at the navigation markers you just studied, and it slowly becomes clear that the chart was precisely right: the channel really is 1/16-in. wide and there's no way that you can possibly get the boat through there. That's when the flop sweat starts.

Yesterday, Friday, was a work day. We have developed an extensive checklist of things that we look at on a regular basis. These are things that we've picked up from reading manuals, books, talking to other people and having repairs done to the boat. Our theory, maybe more of a hope, is that if we pay attention to the basics such as fluids, filters, hoses, etc. then the chances of a motor failure go down; they're never zero, but a lower number seems better than a higher one.

I thought that we had a pretty good assortment of generic parts to maintain the boat, but the list keeps growing. I inspect the hoses for the cooling system. All of them have chaffing gear, really just another piece of hose over the active one. I noticed that one of the pieces of chaffing had just about worn through and the hose was next. After fixing that came the simple question: why don't we have lengths of replacement hose? And then, talking to Jay, came the issue of extra shear pins and, maybe, a propeller for the dingy motor. Some things are so obvious that they cannot be seen.

We've been doing some stuff with Sue & Jay. They asked us out to see a "surprise," which turned out to be very interesting. There is a store that sells bait & tackle, diving gear, has a marina, etc. The store also has a large salt water pond in front which is well stocked with native fish. At 4:00 pm the owner feeds the fish chunks of cut up wahoo and squid. In the pond were four tarpon, each at least 3-ft. long, some very big grouper, two nurse sharks, one moray eel and sundry smaller fish. It was fascinating to see the fish on the surface of the water competing for the food. None of the fish seemed very impressed with the nurse sharks which were 4/5-ft. long. Maybe the Jaws theme music would have added some suspense to the meal.

Today, Sunday, the four of us went to Key West to hear a singer Sue and Jay particularly enjoy. Lunch was at Margaritaville and the burgers were really good.P1180075.jpg That really was the table at which we ate, right in front of the stage. Some of the employees in the store were all atwitter because there had been a confirmed Jimmy Buffet sighting that morning.

Then on to the concert which was held in the garden of the oldest extant house in Key West, built in 1829. It has survived lots of hurricanes and several fires. The house is on Duval Street, the main tourist drag in Key West. The concert was actually in the garden behind the house and the garden was remarkable. You leave the noise and the traffic on Duval St. and enter an oasis of tranquility and greenery. This is the four of us again;P1180078_JPG.jpg the two cousins;P1180079_JPG.jpg and two red heads.P1180077_JPG.jpg

The singer, Fiona Molloy, concentrates on Irish music, she was born in Ireland after all, P1180082_JPG.jpgand also likes some American folk music. www.fionamolloy.com/home.html She sang for almost three solid hours: it was a great show and she has a wonderful voice. On a It's a Small World Note: we arrived well before the show started when Fiona was unloading and setting up. The four of us were near Fiona when she looked at Carol and said, "We met in the laundromat." Fiona and Carol had met and talked a couple of weeks earlier when we were in Key West and they were both washing clothes.

Posted by sailziveli 07:14

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You might consider a rope hammock or two for extra berths and a means to store stuff in.
What was your biggest catch so far and are you
now hooked on fishing?



by wk2

That reminds me of a quote I was given when I owned my sailboat..."Sailing is like standing in a cold shower ripping up $100 dollar bills"..Now the bills would be a little bit bigger. Anne

by SCfriends

I guess there are no UStorIts in the marina. Sounds like a business opportunity.
Keep having fun, I sure am reading about your adventures.

by dfry0

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