Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Week #25, 14-20JAN017, TRAVEL & CRUISING

       I attempt to do some chores on the boat. We have been transporting a box with a 2" sheet of Soundown noise barrier since we left Port Clinton. I am working on the area to install it under the floor deck, removing the old insulation and prepping the area for the insulation to attach to. It is a tight spot, over the engine starting battery and the water tank. I get the old insulation removed, and the new insulation area prepped. It is slow working in the confines of the bilge.
      On Sunday after church, we launch the dinghy and take a tour of the harbor. I am still astounded by the number of boats on the city's mooring balls (they have 226 reported) and the additional boats anchored near them. And then there is the number of marinas and the amount of slips that they posess.
We take the dinghy all the way to the Knight Channel. And we also go out Sister Creek to the Atlantic. There is a public beach here that is widely used. There are 14 boats anchored in this creek. I think that there are maybe 300 boats on mooring balls or anchored in the Marathon harbor from my attempted count.
      On Monday I get the sound insulation up in its new place. It is not easy as there is like five inches of vertical space over the water tank, and the insulation is 2" thick, with pins glued overhead that are 3" long for it to mount onto. There is maybe a 1/4" extra to slide the insulation through so it can be shoved up on the pins. Some of the pins bend or fall as the insulation is moved in, so another mounting method for these areas will be needed.
       On Tuesday we put the dinghy back on its davits. And I go pick up the rental car as we have to be in Tarpon Springs on Wednesday. We leave in time to meet the crew of "Somewhere In Time" in Punta Gordo for dinner. It is a wonderful re-union with planning for travel together again in the spring. We get to a hotel in Clearwater about 11. We run shopping errands in Tarpon Springs for items not available in Marathon. And we get to the dentist in the afternoon. The mold is a success this time. The next time we come back it will be for the permanent appliance. We get back to SummerTime in Marathon just a few ticks after midnight.
       We use Thursday to provision SummerTime again. And I run some errands to K-Mart and Home Depot for items not available at the grocery store. I get back from returning the rental car just in time to meet the fuel truck. A group of us have gone together to order fuel. In aggregate we take over a thousand gallons, so we get a 70cent discount per gallon. I only can take 56gal, smallest of the group, but a saving. We spend the afternoon preparing SummerTime to travel, as the engine has not been started since it was shut down on Arrival to Marathon on 17Dec.
Friday morning, we get up and complete our preparations to travel. I settle up with Sombrero Marina on a the extra days we stayed. They give us a Christmas present late, and we only pay for electricity and pump-outs. We get underway about 10:30 am. We are taking the inside, or Florida Bay, or waterway route back to the mainland to start up the east coast. It is a much better day than when we came to Marathon. All is not well though. SummerTime apparently has a lot of hitchhikers on the bottom after sitting a month. She will only do 10.1kt at best, and the prop keeps the Perkins from spinning higher than 2500rpm. As we pass Islamorada, we catch and pass a tug pushing a barge. First one we have seen since Tampa Bay. But he is only moving a construction crane on a barge. And we are re-joined by dolphins in our wake on this route.
The one pod has 6 in it, the biggest pod we have been able to see. The water is 9' deep, and very clear, so nothing is hiding. Sometimes you can see the dolphins shadow below them.
        We get to an anchorage in Card Sound about 5pm.  It is a nice anchorage, 9' deep, and protected on three sides from wind and waves. And quiet, there are no buildings nearby, and only one other boat in the anchorage with us. We prepare soup for dinner without running the generator. It is good to be moving again.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Weeks #23 & 24, 31DEC016 to 13JAN017, HANGING IN MARATHON

     We had a good visit with relatives and safe travels from 27Dec to our return to Marathon on 4Jan017. It is a long drive out of Florida when you start in The Keys. We got to Jacksonville the first day, and to our destination in SE NC by mid afternoon of the second day. We visited relatives in NC and Florida. And we attended an annual Christmas family reunion for the one side of the family. All us cousins catch up on what has been happening with our kids over the past year. And we started our drive back from Florida on a Monday morning to be in Tarpon Springs, FL by mid afternoon on Wednesday. We got that done. It was a follow-up dental visit for Barbara from the tooth extracted in early December. It was not a visit that went as planned. The mold for the permanent crown could not be made as the gum was not totally healed. We left Tarpon Springs with Barbara's jaw hurting again, and an appointment to come back to the Tarpon Springs dentist in two weeks. We got back to Marathon just before midnight on Wednesday the 4th.
      Barbara had rolled her left leg/knee some more while we were gone. She was in pain, so on Thursday morning we got in the rental car and went to Tavernier Key and the emergency room at Mariner's Baptist hospital. We were told it was the best ER in the keys. They diagnosed the left leg as having strained tendons at the knee and the attachments on the shin below the knee. The ER doctor ordered bed rest for 2 weeks and light use for 4-6 weeks. We went back to Marathon and did shopping and laundry before starting the rest periods.
      In the second week, I went to the nearby grocery stores as needed. And I worked on some of the small tasks to do on SummerTime as could be accomplished with an injured crew aboard. The weather is nice, and we are essentially grounded. But we do take the taxi on Thursday night to wing night at the Marathon Grill and Ale House. Wings are 35c each, so we eat well, sampling new flavors, and enjoy the company of other loopers and snowbirds on their boats. There are 8 of us at 2 tables. The wings cooked in "Old Bay" crab boil are the most flavorful. Not hot, but very tasty.


Sunday, January 29, 2017

WEEK #22, 24-30Dec2016 IDLE WEEK

      On Saturday, we take a day to do chores on SummerTime. I work on some of my worklist items, most notably the courtesy lights in the cockpit and adding one on the flybridge. I straighten out some of the wiring under the console in the process of adding a courtesy light to the flybridge. Barbara straightens out items in the interior. Mostly she is looking for items we packed onto SummerTime before leaving Port Clinton and have not been using. We plan on removing them from the boat and taking them to storage in NC. It is a productive day for both of us.
      On Sunday we get up, and Barbara prepares a nice, filling breakfast before we ready for church. We attend the Marathon First Baptist Church again, taking advantage of $5. taxis to and from church. The drivers were tipped well for working on Christmas Day, as well as Sunday. Barbara baked a Cornish hen for dinner, and we had a nice Sunday lunch and relaxed the rest of the day.
      For Monday, I work on the flybridge courtesy lights some more. And I straighten out more wiring under the console. Barbara packs as we are leaving the boat on Tuesday to visit relatives in NC over the holidays. It is a long and productive day for both of us.
      Tuesday morning I call the rental car agency for a pick up. They are pretty prompt, and I am back to SummerTime just a few minutes after what I thought was going to be the pick up time at the airport. We finish making the boat ready to leave, getting cushions in off of the flybridge, and checking all our lines. We leave about 10:15. It will be several days before we see SummerTime again. We drive east and north out of the Keys, and are amazed at the number of cars we meet coming into the keys. It is going to be crowded on those islands over the holiday period. Glad we are not going to be on the keys, though I will miss the warm weather.