Sunday, February 20, 2011

Well, we have definitely found life in the slow lane.  And, surprisingly we love it. 

We are located on a mooring ball in Boot Key Harbor right in the middle of Marathon, FL, part of the Florida Keys.  This is quite an interesting place, this marina we are staying in.  It reminds me a lot of the intergalatic bar scene in the movie "Star Wars."  I know Kim has never seen that movie (and if she can help it, never will).  However about halfway through the film there is this snippet where the characters all convene in this bar for a drink.  The bar was filled with all kinds of aliens and species from all over the galaxy.  In the movie, everyone was non plussed about the fact that the person next to them might have four heads or six sets of eyes or whatever.  The bar was simply a meeting place for stargazed voyagers and beyond that, not much mattered.

Here in the Harbor, there is a lot of that same sentiment.  Boatwise, there is everything from multimillion dollar yachts to floating derelects.  Peoplewise there are sailors from every walk of life.  There are multimillionaires and those barely squeaking by on social security.  The great thing about this is that nobody cares.  Everyone down here is doing their own thing and supremely laid back.

Our day starts about 0730 when we get up and read the paper (on the internet) and have breakfast out on our back 'patio'.  I have noticed that since here, we are eating more 'fat' food than we did back in Ohio.  Pop tarts or leftover Key Lime pie seems to sneak into our meal plans anymore.  Good news is that we have lost weight since being here, so I guess we are okay on that front.

Promptly at 0900 there is a radio program broadcast over the marine radio channels.  It is a moderated - freewheeling account of the days happenings in and around Marathon.  New boaters in the marina introduce themselves and those getting ready to leave offer their goodbyes.  We are reminded that yoga classes are at 1000 or there is a pickup tennis league at 1100.  Today there was a briefing put on by some fellow boaters about making the trip to the Bahamas.  Anyone contimplating going was encouraged to attend and those who have been there, generously offered any tips that they might have.  Beyond that, there is the crap (I mean craft) group, basketball leagues, walkers and lots of parties.  A few weeks ago there was a Super Bowl party held at the main marina building where they had large screen projectors with the game on.  There must have been 200 people there, watching the game and enjoying a beer (or two).

So, we sit, glued to our chairs as we hear all about the day's events on the radio.  Additionally, part of the program highlights anyone who has anything to buy, sell or trade.  Someone looking for help rebuilding a pump (or whatever) can solicit help via this channel.  This radio program can also be a bit of a soap opera as some boaters are called out for making minor transgressions of the rules.  The highlight thus far was when an amourous young couple was asked to keep their... ummm.....'voices' down as their 'adventures' were making quite a racket at night.  As a matter of fact, the boaters in question were moored just down the way from Maya.  When I heard what was going on I thought they were watching porn on their TV and had the volume way up.  Anyway, this went on for quite a while that night and made great fodder for the radio show the next morning.

After the daily radio show (which last about 30 minutes) we generally putz around the boat.  There are always some project that need attention and for the next two hours or so, we look busy.  By then, its time for lunch.  See?  Isn't retirement grand!

After lunch we head to the beach.  There is the most perfect beach we have ever seen a short 10 minute dinghy ride from the harbor.  The sand is like powder and the views are spectacular.  There are lots of palm trees, which I like as I am not a sun lover.  Shade on a beach is great for me.  This beach is run by the city of Marathon and has first class facilities.  From volleyball to cookout shelters, you won't find a better place to enjoy the ocean anywhere.

We generally spend several hours enjoying the sun, sand and refreshments.  We are getting to know many of the regulars who also come to the beach everyday.  Everyone is so nice.

By 4 o'clock or so, we head back to the 'mothership'.  Once back on board Maya, we enjoy happy hour while getting ready for the evening's festivities.  Tonight for instance, we are headed out to the movies.  Sometimes we meet some other boaters for dinner or drinks or once in awhile we just go to Home Depot or Publix for supplies.

I hate to admit this, but by nine o'clock we are usually tuckered out.  There is no TV here in the harbor unless you have a satellite dish.  We have one but haven't hooked it up yet.  We really haven't missed TV so much and doubt if we ever will connect it.  So our ritual of watching the boob tube until we drift off has been replaced by reading a few chapters of a good book or straining our ears to hear the couple making all the noise on the mooring ball down the way.

Anyway, its all good.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The past several weeks have been just a whirlwind.  We have been working on the backlog of boat projects non-stop.  On top of that, we moved Maya from her temporary home in Stuart to her winter home in Marathon, FL.  What a wonderful trip it was.  More on that adventure later.

In the meantime, I wanted to share some photos of Maya's renovation.  We were able to, among other things, finally repaint her non-stick areas and she looks great!

Like any good paint job, the most work is put into the preparation of the surfaces.  We cleaned and scrubbed like there was no tomorrow.  Throw in a little acetone for the removal of any lingering oil or grease (and brain cells.... that stuff is strong) and we were ready to tape it off.  I think we must have used a mile of the blue painter's tape, but it was worth the effort.  Gone was the faded old blue decking, replaced with a lighter tan that was more in tune with our teak and bimini colors.

After a couple of weeks of boat projects, we were finally happy with Maya's condition.  Its been over two years since we bought her and we are now right where we want to be, the exception being the makeover of her fabrics, window treatments and furniture.  But hey, that is the admirals department.  My job is to keep the boat afloat.

So now, its off to the beach for some much needed R&R.