Swing Set

Feb 26, 201305:07 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Back in Marathon with a Laundry List

(page 1 of 2)

I'll get a couple of things out of the way first: The wind generator worked for a couple of days and then quit again, so we're going to embark on a plan to get it fixed. On a successful note, I put on my snorkel gear on and quickly found our grill that I had sent flying into Newfound Harbor by accident.

On Friday and Saturday, we spent some time visiting other boaters on Picnic Island. For the most part, the people we met were nice. Two couples from Canada waded over to meet Holly. We talked for a bit, and one of the things we talked about was Little Palm Island Resort. The one fella told us how they visited one time, and two shots and two appetizers came to a total of almost $300, and dinner was typically $500 and up. To spend the night there ran over $3,000. You can rent the whole place for $500,000 per night.

Most people would be telling you this in a way of bragging that they had spent this kind of money on something as fleeting as dinner. I'm telling you this so you can avoid the place. Some people have more money than sense.

As we were getting ready to head back to the boat, the Canadians, who had retired to their pontoon boat, invited us over for a beer. I normally trust my instincts, and my instincts were telling me to decline, but my instincts were also affected by the consumption of a few cold ones, so we went. Mistake No. 1.

Of course, they would have none of us sitting in the dinghy, so we were invited to come sit up on the deck of their boat. Mistake No. 2.

I knew they had been fishing. Fishing poles lined the rails and fish scales and whatever else was in the carpet. Holly thought she was in heaven. We tried to hold her in our laps, but she scrambled away at every chance and ignored us when we tried to rope her back in. Compared to fish guts, we are nothing to her.

Now, these folks were putting some good dents into their supply of rum and Budweiser, I must tell you. They had the idea that we must hate sleeping on the boat and offered us the comfort of a bedroom over at their house. Not that we would accept any such invitation, but they had no regard as to where we were to keep the boat, or the dog. A similar request was made to join them all in Key West over the weekend. They would drive us all over there and spend a night or two. Again, they didn't seem to think that leaving our boat at anchor in Newfound Harbor while we were all traipsing around Key West drunk as monkeys was of any concern.

Short of saying, "Are you people idiots?" we did all we could do to be polite and continue to ward off their invitations. Now, let's be honest. Had one of the women looked like Supermodel Kate Upton, there might have been some wiggle room. The term "far cry" would apply here.

No, but really, why do people think we must not enjoy sleeping on our own boat? If we wanted to sleep in a "bed," we would have sold our boat, kept our condo and saved a ton of money.

Our patience ran thin when we heard the one guy say, "Boy, your dog sure likes Doritos!" Even after explaining to all of them about how we don't give Holly "people food," here's this guy feeding Holly right out of the bag. We were gone in less than one minute.

The next day, we kept more to ourselves. Lots of people bring their dogs along when they visit Picnic Island, so there are many of them running around in the shallow water. The owners would walk up to see the source of the ferocious barking coming from our small dinghy, and when they would see Holly, they would want her to come and "play" with their dog. This is not gonna happen.

No offense to other pet owners, but there is no upside to letting Holly play with other dogs. Maybe there is an upside to her, but we've already established that she is fickle and has no taste. One bite from "oh, my little doggie is friendly" and it's over. Not only that, I can audibly hear the ticks and fleas on the other dogs making plans for the attack whenever they get within range of Holly. Our policy is to keep her away from other pets, and we're sticking to it. Call us bad parents.

The forecast called for a calm day on Sunday, and the wind was due to pick up from the south on Monday afternoon, so we decided to abstain from any more delights to be had at Picnic Island on Sunday and head east to Marathon in the morning. I was securing the dinghy when Linda, our new friend on Ramrod Key, came motoring up in her Boston Whaler. She wanted to meet us before we left, and knowing we where low on water, brought two six-gallon jugs of water for us to put into our tank. She had this handy gizmo that she stuck into the jerry can, shook it up and down a couple of times, and the water began siphoning from the jerry can into our water tank. I will be getting one of those things.

Linda has a very friendly Lab, called Mercy, and I felt like a jerk telling Linda about our policy of not letting Holly play with all the other reindeer, but I think she understood.

We cast off at high tide and headed into the Hawk Channel and made a left. The sun was shining, we had coffee and egg burritos at the helm, and after 12 days in Newfound Harbor, we were glad to be on our way. When we got to Bahia Honda Key, I let Swing Set loose at cruising speed, and we ran along at 25 mph for a half-hour or so until we reached Vaca Key. The channel is very close to the Gulf Stream in this area, and the water is very clear. We saw dolphins and big turtles, and we began seeing jellyfish, too. Made a mental note: jellyfish bad.

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