Swing Set

Oct 25, 201209:02 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Life In Bimini Basin and Some Good News

Let's get the good news out of the way; we signed a sales contract on our condo back in St. Louis via DocuSign on the computer. We've had our condo for sale for over three years, and while this is good news, we are settling on a price $80,000 less than where we started at, and the price includes all of our furniture, electronics, dishes and pots and pans...you name it.

But the sale will be a big weight off our shoulders and will lessen our outlay every month, making our fixed income go farther. We have also been somewhat restricted in our travel due to not knowing when we might get an offer and have to be in a convenient area to close on the sale, something we will do here in Cape Coral in less than two weeks.

We consider ourselves very lucky, as Cape Coral as a destination was a goal for us even when we started planning our cruise. We were down here almost two years ago visiting Gary and Judy when, after viewing property after property, we came to the conclusion that we would only be able to afford retiring if we quit looking at condos and just lived on the boat full time. We still think we made the right choice.

As it is, the more material things you own, the more they own you. Our situation will make us as free as we can be, given our dependence on fuel, but now that we are below a latitude that will ensure decent temperatures, we can sit in a spot as long as we like without using diesel except for the generator. The size of our small world here dictates how much junk we can accumulate, mainly because we don't like clutter and there is a place for everything aboard Swing Set, but also because we still have to keep her afloat. Yes, we are still a slave to our boat, but we can still tell her where to go.

We've met some more of our neighbors here in Bimini Basin; one couple have a condo just yards away on the shore but choose to live aboard their small sailboat. Their condo was purchased for family visitors and a place to "go peacefully to live out old age," according to Larry, a seasoned sailor. We haven't met his wife, Linda, yet, although we have seen her with Larry in the dinghy when they take their dog to the park twice a day.

Melinda and Tony are "retired military." Not sure what military, let's guess Navy. Melinda is very personable, and we've talked to her a couple of times. They have a beautiful motor sailor, about 50 feet long, that was designed by Ed Monk Sr. It has a salty look that appeals to me. It holds 500 gallons of water and 750 gallons of diesel, and they have had it all over the world. They have been visiting Bimini Basin with different boats for over 15 years. One can but dream. See, I even have higher hopes.

Holly is getting to be a very good boat dog, albeit a noisy one. She barks at everybody and everything. The more I admonish her, the more she barks. She is quiet when it's just us alone, but no one will believe it. Her "luxating patellas" are not giving her an ounce of trouble, and her teeth extractions that she had back in Tampa are all healed up. In the photo, she is sporting the new haircut I gave her yesterday. She sits still as a stone when I trim her face and "other parts," which is very wise, but she doesn't like her feet messed with still. It is amazing to us how much joy this little dog gives us. Hard to believe she'll be 1 year old next week and is getting more freedom to roam on the boat when we are present. She will go to "her room" to do her duty when she is about the cabin, and when she is outdoors, will go to the swim platform if I have the transom door open.

 

We went fishing with Gary and Judy two days ago, but it was windy and we didn't catch much. We went to Fort Myers Beach and put the Grady-White at anchor just off the beach and took a stroll. The vacationers are starting to fill the beach chairs, and we got tired of seeing the young girls in bikinis. Very tired. We went to a very popular bar right on the beach, and the four of us made some new friends, but none of us are sure we wanted to. It was fun, anyway. The winds have been kicking up fairly good around here, and the ride back was a little bumpy. Hurricane Sandy will have some affect here, although it is staying well off the east coast, but has a large wind field. We'll stay here in this protected basin and won't leave the boat much except when necessary.

What's necessary tonight is celebrating the contract signing on our condo tonight at dinner with Gary and Judy. The real winds aren't supposed to pick up until tomorrow, so we feel confident leaving the boat long enough to have dinner and a few cocktails.

We have visited hardware stores, marine stores, liquor stores, grocery stores, drug stores, book stores, auto parts stores, the license office (twice), pawn shops, pet stores, and more than a couple of restaurants and bars here in Cape Coral, doing our best for the local economy. We're going to West Marine tomorrow to pick up two winches that I ordered to replace the rusting ones on our dinghy davit. I never did like the original ones, and now we have a good reason to replace them. The new ones are made by Fulton and have an enclosed anodized aluminum body. We have one caveat, that we need to replace the nylon strap that comes with them with a stainless-steel, 3/16" cable, something I'm pretty sure we can do. The ends of the davits are equipped with pulleys that only cable can travel through, thus the switch is non-negotiable without a major redo of the davits, and that is not going to happen. I'll post pictures when the work is done. Bet you can't wait.

Notice our new Florida registration numbers on the dinghy. Swing Set is also sporting a Florida registration, good for two years. I just got the numbers on the dinghy on Monday when two Cape Coral marine police came by when I was out visiting neighbors and asked about my life jackets, whether I had any. I said I did, and they were satisfied and started motoring away. "Wait a minute," I said. "Don't you want to see them?"

"OK, lets see them", they said. I proudly showed them the two jackets we keep in the cooler we use for a seat, and then they asked if I had a whistle. I showed them my whistle, and then they asked if my fuel tank was portable. I remarked that it was, and all they said was "OK."

"I've never been asked that one," I said. "What difference does it make?"

"If your tank is built in, you need a fire extinguisher," they answered.

Before they left, I said that we'd been traveling for almost six months and I'd yet to be asked anything by the water patrol and just wanted to be asked something. (This is not entirely true; if you remember, the officers in Mississippi asked about the dinghy registration.)

"Have you been drinking?" they asked, and laughed.

"Um, no, except for orange juice and water. But it's early," I said. They waved goodbye, and I noticed that they got on their radio. Most likely to check my numbers. I like to keep my state and municipal employees busy.

We have some business in the works regarding our bottom paint flaking off. I've been in contact with John Bloch of Bloch Marine, where we had our bottom painted in March before we left. John has been instrumental in getting us in touch with an Interlux representative, who has been out to inspect our boat. We have contacted a local marina and may be scheduling a haul out next week to inspect again and perhaps fix the damage. We aren't sure how much adjustment John will allow us on repainting, but he has agreed to at least pay for a haul out. Things don't always go smoothly when work is done at any marine yard, but John has always stood behind the work they do and, even though we aren't in local waters any longer, John has said that he wants to do something for us. I find this type of behavior rare these days. I'll keep you posted, of course.

So, we'll be busy for the next couple of weeks getting our condo sold and working on the boat, but we're in a good place for it. There must be a Title Company on every corner down here in Cape Coral.

When the humidity drops some, we'll continue waxing the boat, and once we get our new winches for the dinghy davit, we'll get them installed, too. There is always lots to do, but we don't let ourselves get overwhelmed. And by "overwhelmed" I mean "overworked." We save time to read a good book occasionally, and sometimes just do nothing at all.

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