May 27, 201411:34 AM
Swing Set: Cruising Full Time
This post isn't about that great Who song, it's about friends finding ways to come down to see us here in Key West, and us keeping our options open regarding finding ways to transport our small inventory of possessions.
You might have seen our solution as to how we transport our Yuba cargo bicycle on Swing Set on a previous post. We haven't had our Boda Boda onboard since we got here to Stock Island Marina Village, but we can get it stowed safely away in a matter of minutes.
Hurricane preparation has been weighing on my mind recently, not too heavily, I might add, but I like to have a plan. What has complicated our plan was the acquisition of our Yamaha Zuma scooter.
We have full coverage insurance on the Zuma, but leaving it locked on land in the event of a storm could leave it in danger of getting drowned by water covering the pier if the surge is too great. I don't like to see anything get ruined if I can help it, so I began to figure out a way to put the Zuma onboard Swing Set, whether we decide to stay put here or make tracks to avoid any storm.
You can see the two motorcycle ramps we purchased from Amazon a few weeks ago in the above photo. They each weigh 15 pounds and are foldable. They hold up to 750 pounds, and I can stow them in the bilge for a short period of time. I haven't tried out the system yet, but I'm fairly confident that I can get our 250-pound scooter on board by myself, or at least with Rosie's help. We try to be a self sufficient as we can, especially in the event of an emergency.
As equally important is having a place to tie down the Zuma once we get it into the cockpit, and the tape measurer was put into service multiple times before the ramps were ever ordered.
I installed a D ring at the transom, next to our movable transom seat, where our cockpit trashcan sits. The front wheel of the Zuma will rest against the sturdy transom, and I'll strap it down on each side using the D ring on one side and the cockpit seat bracket on the other. I can them squeeze the Zuma against the starboard side of the cockpit with the rear wheel just clearing the salon door. This leaves room to still open the hatch to the engine room. Our deck chairs, or at least one of them, will have to sit in the salon when the Zuma is on board.
This method is not pretty, but it gives us options, and the cost was about $170. We like having options, and part of living on a boat is at least the idea that we still have options. I've said it before that cruisers who rely on having a vehicle they need to play hopscotch with as they shuttle it from marina to marina are just asking for more trouble than it is worth.
Also mobile are our friends. Curt and Kathy, in the photo with us above, were in Naples and got a wild hair and took the Key West Express down and met us when we were at Dante's the weekend before last. We spent a worldwind two days with them before they blasted back to their home in Missouri to prepare for a wild weekend on their boat at Lake of the Ozarks for Memorial Day weekend.
We barely got two days of rest and the folks in the photo above swooped down upon us, again on the Key West Express, only this time from Englewood, Fla. We spent the day at Dante's and the night on Duval Street, before they flew out of town in a rental car, back to Englewood. Jill and Shelley, along with Rich, were lots of fun and hard to keep up with.
We still have one currently outstanding issue concerning projects on the boat, that being getting our SeaDek pads replaced on our cockpit steps. I keep getting promises from Castaway Customs that our pads are "on the way," but at some point, promises run out and words need to turn into actions. October will be two years since I started trying to get this done. Tyler at Castaway Customs was down here in March to measure for the pads. It would be hard to believe he would take the time to come by and do the measuring if he won't find the time to cut the pads and ship them. We remain patient. For now.
We're looking for a weather window to make another run to the Dry Tortugas, and we may have one this upcoming weekend, but economics are also playing a part. Our fuel tanks are a bit low, and not only do we need to fill them up to make the trip, we'll have to fill them back up when we return in order to be ready if we have to beat feet out of here to avoid a storm if we choose to.
I've figured that to move Swing Set, even at a slow 9 mph, costs about $1,000 per 150 miles, give or take. That's within our budget, but if you've been following us for the last few months, you know we've had some pretty big expenditures since our new generator purchase back in December. One thing we've been able to do is stay put and let our finances catch up to our budget if we get a little lopsided.
The other day, we finished up some swordfish steaks we obtained from some local commercial fishermen, some of the best eating we've had on board the boat, outside of the fresh lobster we acquired in the Bahamas. We were contemplating how we were going to get some more fresh seafood, at a reasonable price, when one of our boat neighbors came over with a big bag of fresh Mahi Mahi, (Dolphin, the fish, if you don't know), a gift to us for looking after some work on his boat while he was gone for a few weeks.
You might notice I keep using the word "acquire," because it would appear that us fishing for any of this fresh seafood seems to be out of the question. We like acquiring.
We deep fried the Mahi in a beer batter, using our Magna grill, keeping the grease and smell outside. Coupled with a salad and some macaroni and cheese, we had a feast last Sunday night when we got back from a day "at the beach" in our dinghy. Leftovers provided us with some great fish tacos at the end of our Memorial Day weekend last night.
Some other boat neighbors left yesterday to head up the coast for the summer, saying they'll miss us, but will return next winter. We might be here. It's hard to say.
Some other boat neighbors are heading out in a week or so to return to Fort Myers indefinitely. They've been fun, and we'll miss them, but they like Key West and we think they'll be back occasionally, having easy access to the Key West Express.
It's nice having good dock neighbors, but it's hell having bad ones. But unlike a house or condo, when we get boat neighbors we'd rather do without, we know that sooner or later, either they will leave, or we have the option to leave, if we want.
Like I told our neighbors who left yesterday, "Sometimes the best feeling one can have about neighbors, is ambivalence." If you've ever had a neighbor that you can't stand, you know what I mean.