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Swing Set

Mar 2, 201309:44 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

A Slice of Life at Marathon City Marina

(page 1 of 3)

The last six days have just flown by here in Marathon. We had several goals when we arrived here, and we've accomplished a few and have high hopes for others.

The big thing was getting Holly's rabies shot. We knew getting the appointment wouldn't pose a problem, so calling the vet on Monday was not high on the list, but calling the wind generator repair people was. The promise of a Wednesday visit left us optimistic that this other big goal of getting the wind generator fixed so we would have it for travel to the Bahamas would be met before weeks end.

Wheels also began turning for a potential haul-out by month's end and getting new bottom paint on Swing Set's hull, something we could put off, but we need to wait a month after Holly's rabies shot before entering the Bahamas anyway, so this seems to be a good time to do it. Marathon Boat Yard could put us on their schedule. They sent a reasonable estimate, and upon their recommendation, we were able to secure lodging for a week across the street from the boatyard at the Blue Water Resort Motel. The people I have spoken with so far at Marathon Boat Yard are very nice. I'm looking forward to doing business with them.

On Tuesday, I changed the oil in the Westerbeke generator. I change this oil every 100 hours, and it's easy. Our onboard oil changer pulls the oil out, I switch filters, and then I dump a gallon of new oil in. I usually only ruin one pair of pants and a shirt in the process. I also used our new vacuum oil extractor and pulled the dirty fuel from the bowls of our Racor fuel filters and put new filters in. I have been using 2 micron filters in our Racors for years, but I learned that 40 micron is what I should have been using. The 2 micron elements work better, but they don't last as long. I have a case of them to use up before I need to buy any 40 micron filters.

I also painted our cockpit speaker grills and the housings for our port and starboard running lights. I have found the best thing to do with any new plastic, especially white, is to just go ahead and paint them with a plastic-compatible paint right away, otherwise the sun will break them down in no time, either turning them yellow or just causing them to disintegrate.

On Wednesday morning, I waited patiently for the phone to ring, hoping for the technician from Sea, Air, Land, Technology (SALT) would be arriving early enough to get our wind generator looked at. Rain was predicted for the afternoon, so I wanted to beat the weather. We had made several appointments, but we kept this day clear of all commitments, as the wind generator is on high priority. By 10 a.m., I called SALT. They barely knew who I was.

"We have you on our list, and a technician will call before he comes," we were told.

"My decks were cleared for today, but now we have other appointments scheduled, so we can't promise to be here when he calls."

"That's OK. If he can't come, there will be other things for him to do."

It might be OK for them, but I hope we don't regret not pulling the unit down and sending it away as soon as we got here.

A late afternoon visit from SALT was still possible, but by 3 p.m. we closed up shop and took the dinghy over to Lazydays for happy hour. A few cold Bud Lights later, along with happy hour-priced chicken wings and pepper poppers, and I couldn't even spell SALT, much less care if they came or not.

On Thursday, we had an optician appointment for Rosie at noon. In the morning, I touched up some corroded spots on our spotlight where the paint has started flaking off. No call from SALT.

By 11 a.m., we left the boat in the dinghy, parked it at the dinghy dock and then walked a short way down the Overseas Highway to the opticians. My "everyday" sunglasses are over 10 years old and are a little worse for wear, so I used my last prescription and ordered a new pair of sunglasses that are not polarized. I know polarized is better for the sun, but you can't view an iPad, or some instruments, with polarized lenses unless you tilt your head sideways. I could tilt the iPad, and tried that for a while, but just never got used to using it that way. Rosie ordered a new pair of glasses "for morningtime," whatever that is, along with a supply of contact lenses.

After a short visit to West Marine, just down the street, we crossed the highway and went to check out the Blue Water Resort Motel. We have stayed in worse places, but it would tax our memories to list them. I called the Marathon Boat Yard and asked about the chances of getting the work done on Swing Set within the week, allowing us to only stay at Blue Water Resort for four nights instead of seven. I made it well known that I intended to give the bed bugs as little time as possible to do their work.

Then to lunch! We walked over to a "Chicago Style" hot dog place, and I ordered the grandest hot dog combo on the menu. Rosie chose the close second. In a few minutes, we were served big Cokes, hot fries and two of the smallest hot dogs I have ever seen, albeit smothered in everything one could possibly put on a pint sized bun. I guess we are still in tourist country.

One thing about Marathon is that almost everything is on the one stretch of roadway, the Overseas Highway, so if your walk is long enough, you'll pass every business there is to pass. Hello...there's SALT!

We walked in and I asked to talk to Brad, the fella I've been negotiating with to get our wind generator fixed. I wanted to put a face with a voice. Brad was very apologetic and thanked us profusely for our patience. When I told him we needed our wind generator fixed by the time we get hauled out at Marathon Boat Yard on March 25, he said that a technician would be at our boat on the 24th. Now, that is funny. No, he assured us someone would be over by the middle of next week, and we even talked about the work being covered under warranty.

Their shop is very neat, and I liked what I saw when we were there. It wasn't a dump, and there was a full staff. They sell water makers, wind generators, air conditioning units and other things not normally seen at your typical marine supplier. I'm giving them the full benefit of the doubt, and will only pull out at the last minute. Sort of like a kamikaze pilot who suddenly has second thoughts. Envision your own metaphor.

My dad called while we were making our way back to the boat in the dinghy once we got back to the marina. He wondered if we were in Nassau yet, but I assured him we wouldn't leave the country without a phone call to him first. He was making dinner, and his description of how his mother and mine used to make stuffing for chicken was making me hungry. Cooking was always a big thing in our family, and it's always been a source of pleasure in a sometimes mundane day.

Chili and macaroni was our fare for dinner on Thursday night, with Fritos Scoops.Then, it was gin rummy until bedtime. Did I mention that my Chicago Dog earlier in the day had chili on it? Rosie may attest that it was less than a pleasant night for her.

Our big day, Friday, and Holly's visit to the vet. Rain was threatening as we left the boat. Rosie called a cab as we landed at the dinghy dock, and they showed up in less than five minutes. The cabs in Marathon are a set price: either $4 or $5, depending on who you call, no matter where you are going, as long as it's within the Marathon City limits.

We got to the Marathon Veterinary Hospital about a half hour early, so I called the Bahamas Agricultural Department to see what was taking so long for Holly's permit to immigrate into their country. We have spent nearly $20 so far in phone calls trying to get this permit. We mailed the application back in January and followed up with faxing it on February 5. I was passed over to the second person during our phone call, and then I was disconnected suddenly. I am not deterred so easily.

On the second call, I was finally speaking to someone with a command of the King's English, which my limited schooling here in the United States gave me a fighting chance to enable me to communicate with a fair amount of the inhabitants of this planet. (The required Russian language course that I was forced to undergo for two years in Junior High has been a bust.)

"Miss Borroughs" informed me that our permit was mailed on February 8 and "we should have gotten it." No kidding.

"But we didn't get it."

"Did we fax it to you?"

"I don't have a fax machine at my house, so...no. How about this? Just fax it to me now, as we are at our veterinarians office. Could you do that, please?" With molasses on it, I was thinking.

"I'll do it right away. Sorry for the delay," was the sweet sound I heard over the phone from Miss Borroughs.

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