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Swing Set

Oct 24, 201308:24 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Fantasy Island

We're spending most of our days right here at A&B Marina, and we're getting spoiled. In the picture above is our new Duck Club burgee brought down by some St. Louis friends, who arrived with several others for the Fantasy Fest activities here in Key West this week. We aren't Duck Club members anymore, but we like to fly a reminder of how enjoyable river life has been for us. Always a river rat.

Right now there are more than a dozen folks down from the St. Louis area, and nearly as many that we know from the Tampa area visiting, too. We can't say they're here just to see us, but it's certainly an added bonus for us to see them. There are others coming for Jimmy Buffett Days in a few days, and then a whole slew of folks will be here for the offshore boat races in November. It's nice to see folks we've known for a while.

Since we haven't been out much, I haven't posted much, because this blog is supposed to be about the boat and traveling with it, along with the trials and tribulations of living aboard. One of the regular blog readers suggested I just post pictures of Rosie every week and that would be enough. That's on my other blog if you can find it. That's a joke, Dad.

We sent in our deposit for a new generator, and we should have it installed by mid-November. Good thing we're at a dock and plugged in, it is extremely hot and humid.

Our water heater has been nice to have, and we're getting used to having hot water showers. The mechanic (electrician) had taken a water line apart when he installed the water heater, and last night the line came off of the pressure tank, causing us to lose our water. Luckily, we had turned off our water pumps when we left the boat last night, because the level in the tank was low and we had planned on filling up our water tank this morning.

I didn't want to crawl down in the engine room first thing this morning to repair some plumbing, but there was no other way around it. A person has to be at least a little handy to solve issues like this one, otherwise you're too dependent on others.

One thing we don't do is hook up to the dockside water directly into our plumbing system. If a line breaks in the boat, you could theoretically sink the vessel, although I think our several bilge pumps would keep up. I don't want to test it. We just fill up our water tank every few days with a hose.

One of the couples down from St. Louis is really interested in following our footsteps and making the plunge into living on their boat. The one question they had was how to go about finding out if they'll like it. My answer is always the same: Take a few two-week extended trips anywhere and see how you feel about it. For them, I suggested traveling up the Mississippi River, requiring lots of lock and dam experience. You can find out a whole lot about each other while locking through a dam on a boat. I'm surprised Rosie is still with me.

Rosie had dropped Holly's collar off the back of the boat in the Exumas. We lost her rabies tag, too, but what was more distressing to Rosie (and maybe Holly) was that one of Holly's neat little neckerchiefs went down with the collar. We had planned on getting some replacements at the dive shop here in Key West, where we had seen them last January, but they don't sell them anymore.

Rosie sent an email to Larry and Linda from Cape Coral, some nice folks we met while anchored in Bimini Basin when we were there last October, and asked if we could buy a couple more neckerchiefs for Holly. Linda had made the two she had and presented us with them before we left. Linda refused to take our money, but in a few days, a package came with five new neckerchiefs in it for Holly! She is sporting one of my favorites in the photo above.

Now she has one for each day of the week except for Sunday, when she goes naked. Going out in public naked is a good character builder and very humbling in most cases. (This may or may not be a joke.)

Because we are backed up to the floating dock, Mediterranean style, and our dinghy is hanging over the dock, we haven't been taking it out, and that's one reason I have so little to write about, but when we get to Stock Island in December, we'll be situated in a slip differently and plan on making full use of our dinghy again.

But yesterday, we wanted to take out the boat because the wind is due to pick up considerably for a week or so and we won't be able to get out. (It's not really about the getting out so much as it is about getting back into a narrow slip in the wind.) Anyhow, we took some friends along from up north and tried some snorkeling.

Outside of the bight, the waves were kicking up and the visibility wasn't very good. We really didn't have enough time to get to a better snorkeling spot, and I began to feel like our little outing was a bust. I climbed back in the boat and left Ryan and Aimee swimming close to the boat as I had asked them to do, when two dolphin came up so close to them that they could almost touch them. Soon after, another one joined the first two, and all three of the dolphins stuck around for nearly 45 minutes. Ryan was able to get some video of them. The whole experience made our day. Ryan and Aimee were happy, and Rosie and I were happy for them.

We made our way back to the marina, and in the short time we were gone, the marina had nearly filled up. As I was making our way past several big yachts, Rosie was on the foredeck and said something to me that I couldn't hear. I asked her what she had said, and when she repeated it, the comment turned out to be nothing important, so I told her to limit her verbal communications to me to only very important matters while I was engaged in slipping Swing Set into our skinny slip.

I was backing into our slip and was doing an excellent job, thank you very much, and had the boat just about snuggled in when Rosie said something else. I wasn't so cross about this last comment, as I was so proud of myself for the great docking job, so I asked her again what she had said.

"You're in the wrong slip," was her smug reply.

Aimee says, "I guess that was important enough to mention."

Sometimes I get what I deserve, but I doubt if I'll learn anything from it.

The title of this post is Fantasy Land, not only because of the hedonistic activities going on in Key West currently, but because living here is one big fantasy for us. The rent is high here at A&B, so staying here indefinitely would be a fantasy, and having so many bars and restaurants at our fingertips and affording them on a long-term basis is another one.

The greatest thing about our lifestyle is that if we tire of our location or the weather, we can always head out. It's the sense of freedom we have, even if we stay in one place for months at a time.

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