Monday, 15 February 2016

Florida Keys, Marathon

The weather here has finally changed, it is sunny and 75 degrees today with light winds.....however, we are not quite ready to leave yet.  The contraption that converts salt water to drinking water, called the water maker, is broken.  When we tried to get a service call they said they are extremely busy and they would get to us in about 6 weeks.  Who knows where we will be in 6 weeks!!  So Steve and the head office of HRO, the water maker company have been on the phone trouble shooting this unit.  We think we have it sorted out but it appears we need a couple of parts.  The parts should be here in a couple of days.  Hopefully the weather window holds until then. 

Steve decided to pull out his fishing rod and catch our dinner.  Well he did!!  The fish is some kind of Jack?  We had fish tacos for dinner!!

Notice the beard?  Well every year Steve goes on a fishing trip with his nephews and his Sisters husbands.  Every year he grows what he calls his fishing beard.  He says it brings him luck.  Apparently it works.  The beard is in honour of the annual fishing trip which occurs usually around the end of February or first weekend in March.  The beard will be gone after the fishing week end....even though he won't be there this year he will be thinking of his fishing buddies. 

Since we are at anchor, with no water maker, water is a problem as we have a limited 65 gallon capacity and we like to shower....daily.  We went to West Marine and purchased a 5 gallon water jug.  It is quite an ordeal to pull the anchor and untie from the mangroves and take the big boat to the dock to fill with water and then come back and reset everything.  It is much easier to take the jug in the dinghy and fill it and bring it back.
 When ever we go to shore we take the water jug. Works great!!  However, I now have a new name for our boat showers.  If you look at the previous post titled Mobile Alabama to Ennismore to Mobile ROAD TRIP, you will see the description and difference between a boat shower and a Hollywood shower.  A boat shower with no watermaker is called a grouchy shower, it goes like this.  Get in shower and wet hair, turn off water shampoo AND condition without rinsing, soap entire body, turn on water, rinse, exit shower grouchy.  Once we get the watermaker fixed I am having a greedy boat shower!

We have been in Marathon Florida now since January 10th.  Today is Feb 3rd.  The last few days have been absolutely gorgeous.  This is the kind of weather we expected here. 80 degrees and sunny with a nice breeze.  We received a call from the City Marina yesterday telling us that there is a mooring ball available for us if we would like to take it. After waiting for 3 1/2 weeks we're in!!  Being on a mooring ball is much more secure than at anchor.  No matter how hard the wind blows you know you aren't going to move.  You are attached to the bottom of the sea. 
 The mooring field holds over 200 boats. 
We had a beautiful sunset the first night at our mooring ball. 
The Florida Keys are very protective of their ocean and also their wildlife.  There are many Manatee zones where you have to travel at idle speed.  These animals swim very close to the surface and they are like barrels so very easy to hit and injure with you propellers.  Another Looper that frequents the Keys every year told us that if you run aground in places of the Florida Keys and you have to call Sea Tow to get you free, Sea Tow can not pull you off until the bottom where you ran aground has been assessed.  I'm not sure who does the assessing but what ever damage is done to the sea bottom you are responsible for.  The damage to the ocean floor can cost more than the damage to your boat. 

Since there are so many boats here you would think pumping out the sewage would be a problem.  It is legal to go 3 miles off shore and pump out in to the ocean.  The City of Marathon includes in Marine facilities a weekly pump out.  The pump outs are done by pump out boats which travel from boat to boat, otherwise there would  be huge line ups at the dock and it would an inconvenience to pull anchor or leave your mooring ball.  So in order to ensure people do not pump out their waste illegally this service is provided.   What a crappy job this would be.....pun intended.

Today is April's 32 birthday.  Today I am sad not to be able to hug her and wish her a Happy Birthday in person.  Her Dad and I had a nice conversation with her on the phone.  Sarah and Louie are going to see her tomorrow and take her a "real" DQ ice cream cake.  Last year I bought her an ice cream cake but it wasn't DQ.  I'm stilling hearing about that one.  I guess you not only never cheap out on toilet paper and ketchup but now we add ice cream cake to the list.  So glad my girls are so close. 

Today is Feb 5th.  It's a cool windy day but we're on a ball so no worries about leaving the boat because we know she isn't going to move.  We decided to do a happy hour tour.  It was so much fun.  Our happy hour tour had rules.  We had 3 different locations in mind and we had to order a drink and an appetizer at every bar....but, you couldn't order the same drink or appetizer more than once.
  First bar it was a vodka martini and sushi for me, a Coors Light and wings for Steve....such a creature of habit.  Second bar, it was a glass of white wine peel and eat shrimp for me, a Corona with Calamari for Steve.  The third bar only served wine and beer so I had a glass of red wine with home made salsa and chips, Steve tried to order a Coors Light until I reminded him of our rule so he changed that to a Miller Lite with hush puppies.  This ocean front bar is usually packed at happy hour but due to the cool temperatures we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

  Got back to the boat and later that night ate our left over hush puppies and salsa and chips, no dinner.

The following Sunday was Superbowl Sunday.  Now, we really aren't big football fans but when you make the game interesting you have to watch.  Steve asked me if I wanted to watch and I said meh, not really.  Then he said...."We will go out for dinner tomorrow....you pick a team you want to win and if that team wins you pick where ever you want to go for dinner.  If the other team wins, I get to pick."  OK let's watch the game.  The TV was on and I heard that Newman?....I think that's the quarter back's name on the other team.....talking.  I didn't like him much.  So I said "I'll take Denver"!!!!  Wooo hoo.  It was a great game and we went for Sushi the next day!!!!!
It was a beautiful day with calm winds so we decided to go for a dinghy ride around the Island. 
We stopped in to a few Marina's along the way and  found Corkscrew, a Looper that we met before we did the Gulf crossing, but no one was on board.   


It was about a 16 mile journey.  Such a tiny boat for such a big ocean.  It was flat calm.
We went under the bridge that took us to the ocean side of the island.  You can see by looking at the pillars how strong the current was under the bridge. 


Just as we passed under the bridge, Steve asked me if there was a shoal near by.  We had charts with us that I was viewing, and I said "no".  Then Steve said "well there are people standing up in the water right there."  So I said "yes".  Then I said let's go over there.  It was very cool to be in an ocean where you look one way and  see nothing but water yet to be doing what appears to be walking on water. 
 We are finding the salt water to be very hard on the boat.  Just sitting and not moving for any period of time, stuff starts to grow.  Steve is very particular about the boat.  He is always getting cracks from other boaters about the amount he cleans.  He is always on deck with a mop. The salt water has taken much of the green paint off the haul, close to the water and there is stuff starting to form above the bottom paint.  We had the boat pulled in Mobile Alabama where they put salt water bottom paint on the bottom of the boat to prevent growth there. 
 This is a shot of our exhaust.  If you look closely just under the water you can see there are barnacles growing there.
 Back to the watermaker.  Well the parts arrived and it still doesn't work.  Steve has been so patient with this company but enough is enough.  He called and said it's time to replace this unit. This is holding us up on our trip because we want to move.  However, the weather north is kinda cold so we are just as happy to stay here until it gets a little warmer.  The watermaker company assured us they would get us up and running but wanted to send out a technician to look at it first.  Two technicians came, one from California and one from Fort Lauderdale. After about 2 hours they couldn't fix the unit so they made a few calls.  They told Steve, we will send you the parts you need to get this up and running.  Steve said...."no, I would like you take the entire unit with you, replace the parts, test it and then we will pick it up in Fort Lauderdale."  The technicians made some calls and agreed to take the unit and we would pick it up when we pass through Fort Lauderdale.  Fort Lauderdale is about 3 - 4 days from here on the water....about 130 miles.  That would normally be an easy 3 days but not sure about speed limits and bridges for which we may have to wait.

Steve went to the Marina to pick them up and bring them to the boat.
Watermaker on its way out.

Today is Sarah's Birthday.  Her Cousin Chad and his girlfriend and April sent the day ice fishing in Chad's ice hut on Lake Simcoe.  Since today is not just Sarah's birthday but Family Day there is no fishing license required. 
We miss our girls everyday we are on this trip but even more so on special occasions......have I said that before?  We talked to Sarah today but no hugs.   So glad our girls are so close and always there for one another.

We replenished the boat today, laundry tomorrow and looks like we will have  a good weather window to leave Marathon on Tuesday Feb 16th.  We will fill our water tanks and we should be good until we get to Fort Lauderdale taking grouchy showers...."One Bay at a Time."



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