Swing Set

Dec 2, 201308:50 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Stock Island Marina Village

During our last week or so in Key West Bight, at A & B Marina, the change of seasons was evident as the temperatures dropped into the brisk 60s at night, and generally were in the upper 70s during the day. Absolutely horrible. We had some wind, too. Gusts were in the mid-30 mph range, and not many boats were venturing out. Even the tour boats were staying in port for the most part, but there were a few unscrupulous operators happy to take their customers money and plop them into the ocean for a few minutes for "snorkeling." Load them up with rum and shoot the canon off a few times, and the tourists come back happy.

Last week, we went to the Tropic Cinema to see Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks, a story about the hijacking of the container ship Maersk Alabama off the coast of Somalia. The movie was riveting, and should get Mr. Hanks another Oscar. Although we didn't feel threatened at all during our Bahamas trip, I may revise our weapons arsenal and get something with a longer range. But, then again, maybe not. I can just imagine blasting away some poor fisherman approaching the boat to sell us some lobster or something. Going to the show is a nice diversion, something we didn't do when we lived in our condo with a nifty home entertainment system. But now that we're more or less settled in one area, we like it, especially when the theater is as nice as The Tropic.

Thanksgiving Day started out rather blustery, as Key West standards go. We began our day with a lumberjack breakfast and were lounging around reading our books when Chris from Eaton Bikes called and said our new Yuba bike was ready to be picked up!

We walked the bike over to the parking lot of a school near Eaton Bikes to practice riding. Because Rosie basically just perches herself on the seat behind me, I wasn't sure how the bike, or me, was going to handle the weight. I needn't have worried. We both took to the bike like ducks to water, and we cruised by Eaton Bikes, where most of the staff was waiting for us to go by on our inauguration ride. I shouted "We're on a NEW bike" as we rode past. They seemed to get a kick out of that. Probably thinking, "There goes a nut job."

We gave the bike a good trial, riding to the eastern end of Duval Street, where I took the picture of Rosie above, with more clothes on since last December in Marathon. Notice her helmet. We both have them. Yes, I know it looks dorky, but we believe in bicycle and motorcycle safety, and always have. We'd rather look dorky than suffer from brain damage from an accident. We're struggling with what we have as it is.

We got back to the boat, and Rosie started cooking our Thanksgiving dinner. Some boat neighbors invited us to a potluck dinner of sorts on the dock, but we had already bought all of our groceries and were looking forward to a nice quiet dinner alone. We had a cheap bottle of wine, roasted turkey breast, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, asparagus and cranberry sauce. Rosie did another great job of roasting our turkey in the convection oven. It only took 45 minutes to roast, and it tasted delicious! We didn't have dessert, and didn't want any. It was an early night for us.

On the day after Thanksgiving, we loaded up Holly in her new pet carrier, placed her in the huge basket mounted to the frame on the front of our bike and went on a long ride over to Stock Island Marina Village. They had us on their schedule as coming in on the middle of the month for some reason, so we're glad we popped in. We also picked a new slip, a bit further back into the harbor by one dock. I wanted the finger of the dock on our port side as we back in, and I wanted to be on the end slip, but not on the outside, so we picked what turned out to be D20. Look for us.

By the time we got back to A & B Marina, I had a severe cramp in my right calf muscle, and my ass felt like someone had been using it for a punching bag. Rosie said she felt fine. Sure, she only has to sit on the back and squawk like a parrot occasionally, I do all the pedaling. It's safer this way, though. Trust me. Rosie has the bridgework to prove it.

But our ride was a success. Holly rode with her head poked out of the opening in her carrier and got lots of comments as we made our way down Duval Street. At various stops, we also got inquiries about our bike, as unusual as it looks, and obviously designed for a passenger that is not required to pedal. The women seemed to like this part best. One guy took a picture, just of the Yuba name, so he could order one. I think we're going to like our new bike.

We had good weather, albeit with a slight breeze, for our four-mile cruise over to Stock Island on Sunday. In the picture above, we are entering Safe Harbor. The yacht off our bow is Platinum, said to be previously owned by Mick Jagger. The yacht has seen better days, but someone is working on her. I think it's now owned by Oprah Winfrey. May as well start that rumor.

 

Due to the northerly breeze, we got Swing Set snuggled in with just a bit of difficulty, but with the assistance of  a new dock neighbor, we did so without major incident. Swing Set fits just right in her slip. We have enough room behind her to drop the dinghy, hopefully with enough room to squeeze between us and a neighbor, when we get one. Otherwise, we'll put the boat in bow first. Using the dinghy is a priority.

You can see how I've mounted our bike on the aft railing on the flybridge. When we bought the bike, I ordered some aluminum brackets for holding ring buoys on a bow rail, with intentions of holding our aluminum bike, as it weighs less than 40 pounds. I don't like how the ring buoy holders work, and I'm already on my third generation of a bike mounting plan. I've ordered two new holders that are used for mounting Magma grills. They attach easier to the rails and are more solid. The rods are 1/2-inch stainless steel and are beefier than the aluminum ring buoy holders and won't bend. I'll cover them with vinyl tubing, so they won't mar the paint on our bike. I'll post pictures of that setup when I get it done.

We got settled in and visited the office to check in. There is a sailboat on our dock, and the owner has a large Labrador that was roaming free, and I asked about the policy on leashes at the marina. Might as well get any unpleasantness out of the way with the neighbors right off the bat. The policy is that dogs must be on a leash, plus there are two dog parks here for letting pets run, and Monroe County has a leash ordinance. The girl in the office said she would speak to the owner of the dog about keeping it on a leash, but as we passed him on our way back to Swing Set, the opportunity arose to discuss his dog.

Claude, (pronounced "Clode," like in "rode") is a very nice French Canadian fellow and he totally understood about the leash law. In fact, as far as he was concerned, the law in the total United States says that all pets be on a leash at all times, and he only had his dog Rosie (go figure) roaming on the dock because no one else was around. I told him that it did not matter to us as long as Rosie (his Rosie) stayed down by his boat. I just wanted to make sure he knew what the rules were. I also let him know that I knew that people didn't come to Key West to adhere to a bunch of rules, and that we could work it out. We are just concerned that Holly, not being the most social animal, wouldn't be on the receiving end of a dog bite because another dog was running free. Pets not on leashes have been our biggest bugaboo in Key West since we've been here. I've had "discussions" with dog owners two other times. They did not go well.

Back to the boat, we had a little lunch, and then dropped the dinghy in the water for a dinghy riiiiiiiide! We had a slight chop just off the southern side of Boca Chica Key for a five-mile ride to Geiger Key. We wanted to visit Geiger Key Marina, a little hole in the wall that is home to a pleasant tiki bar restaurant, fish camp and RV park. We spent a couple hours there, meeting some locals and getting some tips about the veterinarians in the nearby area. It was a very nice experience, and we can't wait to go again.

It was nearly four o'clock when we got back to Swing Set. One of the staff was making rounds on the docks. We met Mike and learned some things about the marina that we weren't aware of, one being that the cable wasn't working yet. That was a bit of a disappointment, but not the end of the world.

We had a great dinner of leftover Thanksgiving vittles and turned in early with our beloved books, and spent one of the most quiet nights we've had in a while.

There is a Navy airport nearby, and we've heard some loud jets a couple of times, but overall it's quiet here at Stock Island Marina Village. One thing we won't miss here is the loud music played all day in and around Key West Bight, especially the guy over at Schooner's Wharf. Having some music in the background during the day is not too bad, but this guy over at Schooner's plays every afternoon, and he is terrible. Imagine a fella that is still playing music two years after he has been pronounced dead, and you'll have an idea how this guys music sounds.

I've stalled around long enough. Rosie is out washing the boat, and I have chores to do too. We're also waiting to hear from Mark at Key West Diesel. Our generator should be coming in today, and we'll try to get it installed this week sometime. Once that is done, I have to address the issue of our port engine that is still overheating.

We have time, though. We don't need to get in a hurry, because this is a pretty good place to hang our hats for a while.

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