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Swing Set

Dec 30, 201209:10 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

A Hostile Environment

(page 1 of 3)

On Friday morning, we called a taxi and made the trip up the Overseas Highway to the Marathon Veterinary Hospital to see Dr. Molly. She gave Holly the "all clear" on her ear infection. Holly's next vet visit will be for her next rabies shot on March 1st, so whatever we do, we will have that fact governing our travels.

We called the taxi for the trip back and had to wait for about 20 minutes. When the taxi arrived, we jumped in the back and away we went. A $5 taxi ride in the Keys does not always take you directly where you want to go; there may be other stops for other passengers, so we weren't surprised to take a detour to pick up another fare in a neighborhood just off the highway, where a young girl jumped in the front passenger seat. Holly took all of this in stride and didn't make a peep, even when the girl turned around to say hello. But when we turned into the drive to the City Marina, Holly saw someone on a bicycle and let loose with some extreme vocal protest that it nearly caused our aged driver to have a heart attack. I don't think using the term heart attack was too much of an exaggeration, the open pack of Lucky Strikes on his dashboard being a good indication of his current health status. We got out none too soon to suit the driver, luckily without being involved in an accident.

We walked past the marina office and checked out. We told them we wanted to fill up with water on our way out and was told there was a boat blocking the water station, but they were almost finished. I said we would watch for them to leave before we came in. Back at the boat, we hoisted up the dinghy and strapped it down for the ride down the Hawk Channel. I knew it was going to be bumpy, but if we didn't go that morning, we may find ourselves in Marathon for another week. By the time we got mostly untied from the mooring ball, I still could see the boat blocking the water station, so I called the marina on the radio. I was told we would be contacted as soon as the boat was out of the way, as they were "taking on water." I took that to mean "filling up with water" and not sinking. Fifteen minutes later, we cast off anyway. I called the Marathon Marina (not to be confused with the City Marina where we were) and told them we were coming in to get fuel and fill up with water. I then called the City Marina and let them know not to contact us, we were going to get our water when we got fuel. Adios, City Marina.

We pulled up to the fuel dock at Marathon Marina, where diesel was going for $3.99 per gallon, not too bad until you consider tax is not included. But you get free ice with a 15-gallon fill up. What a deal. I pumped about 121 gallons of fuel into our tanks and filled up. I then reminded the nice woman attending us that I needed water, too. No problem, she unrolled the hose and we started filling up the 120-gallon water tank. While Rosie was watching the water, I went into the hut to pay. The woman there asked if I knew the water wasn't free, but was 15 cents per gallon. This is after I pumped over $525 dollars worth of liquid gold into Swing Set's tanks. I remarked as to how I didn't know the water wasn't free, which was why I had called about getting fuel and mentioned the water when I did. Well, she let me have the water this time, but would charge us next time. At this point, I asked if the free water was going to take place of the free ice. She looked at me and said, "I like you!" I always said, you never get anything unless you ask for it. We pulled out having a good laugh, and she wished us well on our travels.

Once we got out into the Hawk Channel, the smallish waves were on our port beam were making our ride just a little unpleasant, but the 21 miles to our intended destination at Newfound Harbor was made in no time, partly due to the fact that I put Swing Set on plane for a while to "blow out the dust." After that, I settled back into our normal 8 to 9 miles per hour cruising speed, when Rosie remarked that a "big boat was coming up on our port stern." An 80-footer or so, hard to say, was clipping along at over 25 miles per hour, towing a center console fishing boat that was longer than our boat. I know a Marlow when I see one, and it was a beauty. We had been dodging crab pot markers the whole way, which in part was a reason for a slow speed, but this guy was just blasting them out of the way, making at least a 6-foot wave. When he went past, not too far away, I had just enough time to quickly turn to port and take the huge wake on the bow, nearly stuffing it as I did. I've said before that I don't get humble when I view the large homes of others, but seeing this fabulous boat running at speed made me feel just a little inadequate. Just a little.

Picnic Island is in Newfound Harbor, and a few boats were gathered around it in the shallows. We stayed off in deeper water and took in some of the sun. I was thinking about how fun this little island might be on a weekend and wished we would stay until Monday, but like I said, a cold front was moving in from the north and conditions were going to deteriorate by Saturday night.

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