Swing Set

Dec 22, 201208:36 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

More Notes From Marathon

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We are into our second week here in Boot Key Harbor, which is in Marathon, as most of you know. We have some relatively chilly weather occurring currently. The photo above was taken yesterday when the wind kicked up and our low was 66 degrees. This morning, it was 55 degrees and the wind blew hard all night. We should get up to the mid-70s today, and the wind should die down about midday.

We were going to take the dinghy over to Dockside last night, a bar/restaurant here in the harbor, but it was too windy to suit us, so we stayed in and used up some data transfer space and watched a movie on our Roku player.

The harbor keeps filling up, mostly with sailboats. We've made some inquiries to two Key West marinas that manage dinghy docks and mooring fields. We're currently intending to go to the Garrison Bight Mooring Field. We'd rather stay on anchor, but the anchorages around Key West are usually crowded, and as much as I have confidence in our anchoring abilities, other people may not be as responsible. The dinghy dock at Garrison Bight is close to shopping, a hardware store and the main part of Key West, for our partying pleasures.

Some sailors we spoke to have complained about the long dinghy ride from the mooring field to the dinghy dock at Garrison Bight, especially in a north wind, but we don't see a need to venture out if conditions aren't acceptable to us. The Garrison Bight mooring field looks sheltered enough from winds from other directions, so we'll see how it is for a week or so and then decide whether to stay in there longer or not.

The game changer here in southern Florida, particularly the Keys, is that access to the shore via a dinghy is somewhat restricted, so some type of arrangement usually needs to be made with a marina in the form of purchasing a pass for one's dinghy. The arrangement usually includes the permission to get free pump-outs and water fill ups. The free lunches that we found up on the rivers are not found down here. We do have a friend with some condos in Key West, and we're going to see if we can get a hook-up on a dock in Key West if we need it, and if it's reasonably priced. Docks in the Key West Bight go for $120 to $160 per night for a boat of our size, and about $2,000 per month. These costs are not in our budget, but staying on the hook or a mooring ball is still affordable. Fuel is not astronomical, either.

We'll be heading to Key West next weekend after Holly's veterinarian visit, if the weather permits.

Meanwhile, work on Swing Set continues. The other night, I was putting the dinghy up on the davits when one of the hooks on our four-point attachment gave way; an aluminum ferrel clamping around a cable just split down one side, letting the cable give way. The dink didn't drop far, or hit anything, and I left the dinghy afloat that night and then made a trip to Home Depot the next morning to get stainless cable clamps, the traditional type. I replaced the aluminum ferrel with a stainless steel one and then combined a cable clamp on all six vital points on our harness system. We shouldn't have any more problems.

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