Swing Set

Mar 12, 201309:13 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

How About a Boat Ride!

The annual Seafood Festival was held in Marathon last weekend. It's billed as the biggest event in the Keys, second only to Fantasy Fest, that's held in the fall in Key West. My experience in regard to any festival is that if the event is held behind fences and gates, and there is an admission charge, it can't be any fun.

Our friends from up north came in on Saturday, but after a long travel day, they decided to forgo the festival and rest up. Lucky them.

We walked over to the Seafood Festival at around 3 p.m., paid our $5 each to enter the "compound" and took it all in. In a matter of minutes, we saw all the vendor booths, asked someone passing by where they had gotten their beer and made a bee-line over to the one beer tent. One. If a festival of any type in St. Louis would only have one beer tent, the people would revolt and there would be hangings. This is a given.

Lobster and fish dinners where being served, and there were conch fritters and other fried delights. Each food vendor was complete with long lines of hungry festival-goers eager to buy a Styrofoam plate of fried food to eat standing up at a plywood table. The only thing I'm willing to eat standing up is a bratwurst, so that's what we bought. There may have been seafood in the bratwurst, who really knows?

There was live music, and we were able to snag a couple of seats and listen to a reggae band for a while. Then, some guy carrying two beers thought that he was able to climb the bleacher seats without tripping and spilling every drop of both beers. He was wrong. He was not able to accomplish this feat at all. My left leg wound up getting doused with the beer. I regret that he didn't spill it on my head, I may have had at least a chance of getting some in my mouth.

After the reggae group, a rock band struck up a Pink Floyd tune. One of their slow, sleepy tunes, but aren't they all? It was dark by then, so we decided to take our leave and get back to Holly and the boat. No pets were allowed at the festival.

We sprung our clocks forward on Saturday night, but I was still up early enough for a sunrise photo. Andrea and Marie were coming to the boat on Sunday, and we got ready. We met them at the entrance to the marina because the parking was sparse due to the festival. There was ample parking in the marina, but we had to prove to the officer entering the parking area that we were patrons of the harbor. When Andrea and Marie arrived in Maria's new Audi, we were waved right in.

We figured to have lots to talk about, since we haven't talked to Andrea since last May, so we took them out to the boat in the dinghy and stayed in the harbor and told lies all afternoon. I think we all had a fun time.

On Monday morning, the technician from SALT called me and I picked him up in the dinghy so he could install the new circuit board in our port wind generator. Chris, the tech from SALT, used to work in Belize on airplanes, and it turns out he knew the flight director for Tropic Air, a guy from Fenton that we also knew. The new board was installed, and the generator began working, but there is a minor bug that needs to be ironed out. I need to do some testing on the wind generator tonight. It has to be night because there is a tiny LED light that comes on when certain conditions are met and it has to be dark to see it.

Why didn't I do this testing on Sunday night? Because as soon as Chris had left, Andrea (on the left) and Marie (in the middle) showed up and we took Swing Set out for the afternoon to nearby Molasses Key.

 

Molasses Key sits just south of the Seven Mile Bridge, on the western end. You can't see it in the picture, but there is a nice sand beach. We anchored just off the beach, thinking there would be quite a number of beach-goers on such a nice, albeit windy day, but the only boaters that showed up were in a dinghy. There were about six men and women in this regular-sized dinghy, and they piled out and began to remove all of their clothing. I would have called the Florida Water Patrol, not because anyone was naked, but because a couple of the women hadn't seen the sharp end of a razor on any parts of their bodies, apparently ever.

It was late afternoon by the time we got back to the marina. I was going to drop off Andrea and Marie at the dock and fill up our water tank in the process, but the wind had picked up and I didn't like the looks of the situation. The wind would have blown us up tight against the concrete dock, a scenario that made me nervous, so we hooked back up to our mooring ball, dropped the dinghy and took our guests back to their car. Safe, not sorry.

Today was dental appointment day. On our walk to the dental office, we stopped by the Health Clinic and picked up our paperwork from my visit there last week. Then, we stopped into the optometrist's office to check on our new glasses. They had Rosie's contacts, but the glasses are due in tomorrow. We both had a good visit at the dentists, got our teeth cleaned, and I got my regular scolding about not flossing enough. Nothing new there.

After the dentists, we were headed to West Marine and a fella pushing a cart with all of his belongings in it asked me if I knew what time it was. Now, we used to live in a big city, and I know what the question is that is always after the question about "what time is it," and that question is always, "have you got any spare change"? Always.

So, I said I didn't, in fact, know what time it was.

"But you're wearin' a watch," this guy shouted at me, then started berating me in a threatening manner, warning me that I "didn't know who he was."

Well, he doesn't know who I am, either. I'm the guy with a watch. That doesn't hand out money to panhandlers. I let our government do my charity work, and I'm happy to let them.

We stopped in at a little restaurant on the Overseas Highway called The Stuffed Pig and had lunch. I bet the guy with the cart would have had some choice words for me had he seen us entering that place. Rosie overheard a waitress say that a couple, who had been eating outside, finished all of their food and then complained about how horrible it was, and then refused to pay. They were ordered to leave. Hasn't that waitress heard of the story of Br'er Rabbit? This is the kind of stuff that happens a lot around here...the land of washed-up hippies.

Back at the boat, Holly was glad to see us, and we were glad to be back, too. We were hoping for a "down day," and so were Andrea and Marie, so this is working out perfectly. I might just spend the rest of the afternoon thinking of ways to earn some extra spending money, short of asking strangers for it. One idea that comes to mind involves razors and Molasses Key.

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