Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Calm Before the Storm

  Sunday was the last day of Fantasy Fest and things are back to normal here in Key West, if there is such a thing.
  While this blog is intended to be mostly about living aboard our boat, I'm going to give myself a little more latitude in my subject matter if for no other reason than attempting to maintain some interest in the blog. Heartland Boating may decide to remove us as a featured blog, but I can't write a blog about setting at the dock everyday. "Today we were at the dock. The boat is still floating." Yawn.
  I guess our everyday experiences while dockside can inspire folks who are contemplating this lifestyle by knowing that leaving family and friends back home will not mean an end to social activities. Quite the opposite will occur if you let it.
  Not only is our social circle beginning to include other boaters who we keep bumping into along the way, our connections with friends old and new through this blog and Facebook have allowed us to feel as though we never left our home port of St. Louis.
  Now, becoming "regulars" in and around Key West, we feel like we belong in a certain respect, at least at the marine supply stores and the bars.
  I titled this blog as the calm before the storm because we were to have a two days breather before another contingent of St. Louis area visitors is due to arrive on Halloween, this Thursday, and we need to rest up.
  There is still five of our friends here for the month, and we spent Monday evening with them at one of their rental houses, for a barbecue and some World Series watching, before declaring a moratorium on any social activity for Tuesday, as we wanted to realign our equilibrium. But it was not to be.
  Yesterday morning, Rosie washed the boat and I began waxing some parts of it that was in the shade, and I also waxed the bottom of the dinghy since it's hanging over the dock and I can reach the bottom of it by laying on my back on the dock. My real focus is the bow, and the bow of Swing Set is not in the shade until five o'clock, when the large yacht next to us blocks the late afternoon sun. We learned from some local experts here on the dock on how to more effectively care for the finish on our boat, and the lessons are paying off.
  We had a sirloin roast slow cooking in the crock pot, and were waiting in the cockpit for the "waxing hour" when we got a rare phone call. Some folks we had met along the way were in town until Thursday and they wanted to get together for happy hour.
  Normally I won't let a last minute invitation keep me from any boat maintenance mission, or any other mission, but these people went out of their way to contact us, so we didn't want to disappoint them. Not only that, but waxing overhead on the dinghy had gotten to my arms and they were sore. (I haven't held my arms that long over my head since our last gig at the Ice Capades.)
  Now, let me back up a little to last January: We were here in Key West looking for a slip for New Year's Eve and were at our wit's end. We knew that Fast Eddie from Fast Eddie's Bonaire in Alton, Illinois was in town as he had a condo in Key West. We called him and asked if he had any friends in the area with a dock slip we could use, but he didn't. We promised to look him up once we got situated, but once we finally got a slip at A & B last January, Eddie had gone back to St. Louis for a family emergency and we left town with not ever seeing him. Until yesterday.
  Now we have been here at A & B Marina for a month, and we walk past the Conch Republic Restaurant and Bar nearly everyday. We knew that "The Conch" was a favorite watering hole for Eddie, so we looked in to see him at what we had learned was his usual perch almost every time we had passed, but never saw him.
  So after I had put away my boat waxing equipment and we took showers and put on some nice duds, Rosie and I walked over to the Conch and got two seats at the bar right at happy hour. I looked down the bar and sure enough, there was Eddie, nursing a cold one. Not wanting to give up our premium seats, especially with two more folks due to show up, I saved our seats and Rosie walked over to see Ed.
  Coincidences are a phenomenon that I truly believe in, and we had one in meeting Eddie at the bar yesterday, because he had just left the local title office, having closed on the sale of his last condo here in Key West and was headed back to St. Louis in the morning. Had we not altered our plans, or had we chose another bar to meet up with our friends, we would have missed Eddie altogether, and probably would have spent half the spring still looking in to see him at The Conch every time we would pass.
  Rosie brought Eddie back over to where we were sitting and we spent the next ninety minutes talking about his bar (Eddie Junior is now owner) and some other things we have in common, and then Eddie revealed something to us that we weren't aware of.
  Some of you might not know about Fast Eddie's Bonaire in the Alton area, but I know that most of my blog readers do know about it, and they know how many customers Fast Eddies  has served over the years, and it would be fair to say that the number is in the millions. Keeping that in mind, Eddie went on to describe meeting us, or seeing us for the first time, and he described it to a "T", so I knew he remembered it well. That day was over twenty years ago, so we must have made quite an impression.
  Rosie and I were with some good friends, one of which had just taken his new Sea Ray up to the Alton Pool on the Mississippi and we had been up there for a day of boating. On the return trip, our friend Don suggested that we take the Illinois route, so as we were all piled into his van anyway, we had no objection.
  On that day, Eddie was tending bar and we all took seats front and center, and none of us were even vaguely familiar with Eddie at all, but like I said, he remembered us. Let's just say that we were all having a good time, and we gave new meaning to a new bar shot we had just heard of, called a "Buttery Nipple". I also claim to be the inventor of the "belly button shot", now know world wide. Prove I ain't.
  Over the years, we finally met Eddie, and we only frequented the Bonaire once or twice a year, but every time we were in there and saw him, he made it a point to buy us a beer or two. We eventually met his son when he started working there and kept up the practice. We didn't know until yesterday that we had made such an impression. It's good to be known for something.
  Today I have every intention on following up on my plan to wax the bow of our boat, and I'll still have to wait until five o'clock to do it, but afterwards, we'll be watching the sixth game of the World Series at The Lazy Gecko on Duvall Street. The Lazy Gecko is Boston Red Sox territory and we're both going to wear St. Louis Cardinal attire and enter the lion's den.
  Maybe I better not get my arms too tired waxing the boat, but even though we will "go in peace", I might need my limited arm strength for slugging Red Sox fans.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fantasy Land

  I may have to change the name on this blog to swingsetatthedock. 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, arriving 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 is over 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 that 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 Buffet 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 that 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 is 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 just 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 are 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 long extended trips anywhere and see how you feel about it. For them I suggested traveling up the Mississippi, 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 too) 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 we 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 too. The whole experience made our day. Ryan and Aimee were happy 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 too. 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.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Rainy Days Have Come

  It's been two weeks back in Key West and we've gotten re-acquainted. We've visited some of our favorite haunts from when we were here last January and we've discovered some new ones.
  A week ago we took Swing Set out for a Sunday cruise over to a marina we've been wanting to check out, Sunset Marina. Sunset is on the "back side" of Key West, and it's a long boat ride to get out to the ocean through some skinny water.
  The marina is typical of what you find in the Keys, full of questionable looking vessels in various states of repair, or disrepair, however you want to look at it.
  Although the condos adjacent to the marina look fairly nice, the opposite view is of the prison, or "correctional facility". The landfill we had been recently reminded about is within view too, but it doesn't appear to be operational anymore. There is grass now growing on the huge mound of dirt. I don't know where the trash from Key West is going now, but it's not going there.
  Sunset Marina also doesn't allow "liveaboards", at least officially, so all things considered, it's now off of our list of potential marinas where we might spend some extended time.

  The dinghy dock in Key West Bight is a busy place. Unfortunately, it's busy with dinghies owned by the folks anchored out in Key West Harbor and some of them haven't been used in a while, taking up space for those who actually need a place to land their dinghy if they are coming in to Key West Bight for the day, or the evening.
  Even in Marathon, have we seen such a sorry bunch of watercraft in one spot.

  Swing Set is sitting not quite alone at A&B Marina, but slips are filling up fast. By this time next week, every slip will be full. We'll still be here because the Dock Master informed us last Thursday of a recent cancellation, allowing us to stay here and not move over to The Galleon for five days, saving us some dough.
  We have, however found out about other boat owners who were given slips long after we were on "the list" but these were boat owners who have stayed at A&B more times than us and are higher on the pecking order. If we behave ourselves, maybe we can get priority next time too.

  We haven't let grass grow under our feet, even if that was possible. This was our sunrise last Thursday when we had arranged for "Mark", of Mark's Diesel of Key West, to come and inspect our generator because it wasn't starting.

  Let me just get to the point: Here's Mark, (in the bilges) with his helper "Bubba", pulling out our old generator because it was pronounced near to death.
  Had I not been dutifully changing our engine oil every 100 hours, the generator may not have lasted as long as it did, because sea water was getting into the crankcase.
  But adversely, had I been hiring someone else to change the engine oil, they would have probably noticed something amiss with the oil, or noticed salt residue on the backside of the engine.
  Doing my own work is not always about saving money, it's about being independent, but this time I paid for it. Doesn't mean I'm going to change my ways entirely. I wouldn't have been able to find anyone to do regular maintenance in The Bahamas anyway.
  We had picked up our new water heater at West Marine shortly after we got here in Key West, and our first day here I attempted to take out the old one but didn't get very far. Two exhaust lines stood in the way of extracting the old water heater, as well as installing the new one, so I hired an electrician referred to me by Mark the generator guy and he came this morning.
  I watched him work, and actually was able to help him out some. "Kevin" got our new water heater installed without incident in four hours and he had a hard time of it. I'd still be down in the engine room.
  I'd been waiting for an estimate to rebuild our generator, wanting some hard numbers to compare before deciding to rebuild or install new. I had gotten some good advice from our friend John, years ago the owner of Meramec Marina, and we were both waiting to see what a rebuild would consist of, and at what cost.
  Just as Kevin was finishing up with the water heater, I got a call from Mark of Mark's Diesel, and got a rebuild estimate. Without getting into specifics, I had just about decided on what to do, but ran things by John and sent him the estimate via email.
  For not much more money than a costly rebuild, we can get a brand new Westerbeke generator with a two year warranty. So that's what we're going to do, especially when the rebuild didn't include some key things that our friend John felt were necessary.

  Even before we got the estimate on the generator, I went out and bought a sheet of Starboard and made a bigger base for whatever generator we were going to put back in. The base is extended toward the bow by four inches. This would allow us to install the generator a bit further away from the back to allow better access to the water pump, but after watching Kevin wrestle with our water heater in the close quarters, I've decided to install the new generator in the same spot as the old one, but the bigger shelf will allow us to remove the mounting bolts and slide the generator forward when we have to access anything on the back side of it. The four hundred pound generator will slide easily on the slick Starboard. At least we'll be accomplishing something to make service easier in the future.
  There is one good thing though. One year ago at this time we were just getting out of debt from some service we had gotten done in St. Louis before we left. Our condo was still for sale and we hadn't built up any reserves.
  But now, we've been saving for this rainy day, and we'll be able to pay for a new generator and the installation of it without going into debt. Anytime you can solve a problem with a checkbook, you really don't have a problem.
  We have another change in our lives coming soon. No, nobody is pregnant, but we bought a new bicycle!
  I had been contemplating getting a bicycle for some time now, especially after seeing all the cyclists here in Key West, plus our move to Stock Island in December is going to require some type of transportation.
  Last week we walked over to Eaton Bikes on Saturday just to look around. We met Chris, a member of the staff over there, and he was very helpful.
  I asked about bikes that would haul two people, and he showed us a brochure of a Yuba Cargo bike, the Boda Boda model. The Boda Boda is all aluminum, and is about a foot longer than a regular bike. It has an integrated rack on the back big enough for an adult to comfortably sit on, and has cool running boards for the rider to rest their six inch high heels on, if that rider happens to be Rosie.
  When Chris mentioned the price, I balked, and we then asked about some of the refurbished tandem bikes that they were selling because Eaton is overturning their rental fleet. For $300 bucks we could get a tandem bike, and I figured for that price, we'd just leave it here in Key West when we left in the Spring if we couldn't sell it. (There's no way a tandem will fit onboard the boat.)
  Time for a test ride. It was the shortest test ride they had ever seen. I was on the front. Rosie mounted the rear seat. I pointed the bike toward the street and no sooner did I get my second foot on the pedal, Rosie started squawking. "Stop! Stop! No, No! This is NOT working!"
  Apparently Rosie didn't grasp the co-ordination involved with having to pedal when I did. We went a total of four feet.
  I told her to suck it up and don't be a baby and give it another try. (I learned my encouragement techniques at home.) We wound up riding a few blocks, but the result was the same; Rosie did not like the tandem bike.
  We consulted with Chris a bit more, and he herded us out the door with our fists full of big brochures. Before we had even gotten back to the boat I was considering each of us having our own bikes, but our history with Rosie riding her own bike has not been pleasant. I didn't want to be riding my bike and hers too, plus storing two bikes on the boat is not something we ever wanted to do. We won't even get into the subject of riding two bikes back from a pub late at night from downtown Key West to Stock Island.
  Back at our computer, we looked into the Yuba Boda Boda bike and liked what we saw online. The price Chris had quoted for it, even though it is half what I paid for my first brand new truck, was lower than some prices quoted online.
  Now this was before we found out our generator was toast, but I told Rosie that if we were going to get a bike, we were going to get a neat one, and the Boda Boda was what I wanted.
  "Let's go back and order this bike", I said, and we gathered up Holly and back to Eaton Bikes we went. I told Chris that I was an impulse buyer, and he said he liked impulse buyers.
  Here's the other thing: The Yuba comes in a "step over" model, and a "step through" model. The step over model would be considered the "boys bike". We wanted a white bike and it only comes in the "girls" version.
  Hey, we're in Key West and we see some crazy stuff, so who cares what model of bike we're gonna have? But I can't help but think of the movie "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World", when Jonathan Winters trades his broken down truck or something to Phil Silvers for a bike and finds out "This is a girl's bike!" You had to see it.
  New generator coming, new water heater installed, and a new bicycle coming! You'd think we were Rockerfellers. But no, we've just been saving for a rainy day.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Key West Again

  On our last day in Boot Key Harbor, last Sunday, we took the dinghy over to Sombrero Beach to try out our beach umbrella set up with the rod holder I installed near the bow of our Mercury dinghy, on the bulkhead of the anchor holder.
  Rosie and Holly sat in the shade while I completed the overdue job of cleaning the dinghy with the Formula 88 Degreaser that we bought at Home Depot. Outside of some subtle mold spots on the dinghy, it looks close to new.
  With my work completed, we took a slow cruise over to Sunset Grille for a late lunch. Even though it's the slow season, the pool was full of kids and adults, and we stayed for most of the afternoon, getting back to Swing Set before sunset.
  We left Boot Key Harbor at the break of dawn on Monday morning and had an uneventful cruise to Stock Island Marina Village.
  As we entered Safe Harbor, we were reminded of how industrial the area is. The Key West water treatment plant is on the starboard side as you enter the harbor, and a boat yard with the rusting hulks of vessels in various state of repair, or disrepair, is on the port side.
  But then we came up on Stock Island Marina Village and the view changed. New buildings and docks have been built, and the place was teeming with workers. I called the office on our radio and was directed to a dock right in front of their marina office.
  Rob Cate, the Dock Master, and Eric (I think I got that right) came out to assist us in tying up Swing Set. As soon as we plugged in to shore power, and changed out of our swim wear, we met Rob in the marina office and then he took us in his golf cart on an extended VIP tour of the facility.
  Folks, this place is going to be very nice. Everything is being done first rate. A new marina office with ship's store is out on the main peninsula, which has a cruiser's lounge on the second floor which will have a bar area and a lounge with big screen T.V., accessible by key card by boat owners at all hours.
  A new laundry facility is next door, and also has shower facilities for cruisers too.
  The floating docks are well built with concrete walks and composite edging, and they look beautiful too. (I'll post pictures when we come back in December.) We actually got our pick of where we want to keep Swing Set when we come back. We were able to choose a 50 foot slip as we are right on the cusp of a 40 foot slip because we are 41.5 feet overall. We have a hard time choosing when we have the run of the place, but we hope we chose right. We picked a slip on the end of a finger, reducing the amount of foot traffic passing our boat, plus reducing the drive coming in from the harbor entrance. I had one reservation about airborne debris from a neighboring boat yard, but Rob assured us that it wouldn't be an issue. If it is, we'll move I guess.
  We also got to see one of their floating condos. They have two, and another is on the way. These cozy little "houseboats" are very clean inside, and come with a kayak and have inviting decks attached too. We have family members visiting in January and they are staying in the "Red Grouper". We sent them an email telling them that they're going to love their accommodations.
  We saw the new dog park on the premises, a tiki hut for entertainment events, the community garden, the new pump house and generator facility, and the site for the soon to be built hotel, restaurant, and pool. We're very excited to be getting in on the ground floor of this marina.
  As I've said, Stock Island is quite a bit different from the downtown Key West experience. We took a walk later in the afternoon to check out the neighborhood, so to speak.
  A convenience market is not too far away, and the Rusty Anchor, a seafood restaurant, is very close. West Marine and a handful of other restaurants are within walking distance too.
  The Hogfish restaurant and bar are within walking distance too, but we'll most likely be taking the dinghy to that establishment when we go. There is also a "beach" gathering spot of sorts just a short distance away on Boca Chita Key, where we'll be able to take Swing Set, or the dinghy, over to socialize with other boaters.
  We decided to have dinner in the Rusty Anchor. It just happened to be happy hour. Go figure. Bud Lights were cheap, and appetizers were half price, but we also ordered sandwiches too. The owner came over to bust our table when we finished, and asked us how we liked everything. We told him we'd be back. I bet he's very happy about the new marina being built.
  The wind picked up during the night, and we got bumped around at the dock a bit, but it sure was nice having our air conditioning on. We slept later than we have in months!
  We took our time having coffee and breakfast in the morning, and then visited the marina office one more time to say goodbye and thank-you, promising to visit occasionally while we're in Key West Bight, to check on the progress at Stock Island Marina Village.
  They hope to be operational by the time Fantasy Fest rolls around, and by the looks of things, they will be. We asked to be invited back to their Grand Opening and Rob said we would. Can't wait.
  We cruised over to familiar Key West Bight and called Mark, the Dock Master at A&B Marina for our slip assignment. He asked if we needed help and was going to send someone to help us tie up, but I told him we'd call if we needed any.
  Generally, we like to tie up ourselves so we can take our time and not be rushed. Also, I like to secure our boat the way I want to do it, and if the person helping us is doing it differently, then I have to give orders. I don't like giving orders. (Rosie may not agree with this last statement, but, at the core, it's true.)
  We got into our slip just fine, plugged into shore power again, and then went to see Mark at the marina office. There were several packages waiting for us, and more on the way. We took them back to the boat, and then trekked over to The Galleon to confirm our slip for later in the month when we'll have to vacate our spot at A&B for five days, due to reservation conflicts at A&B.
  Suzy at The Galleon confirmed our slip reservation and we told her we'd see her in a few weeks, if not sooner. We returned to Swing Set and began to organize the items we had brought aboard earlier.
  On Wednesday morning we walked over to West Marine and picked up our new water heater. We also visited Key West Marine where I picked up two gallons of Barnacle Buster. I'm going to CIP our heat exchangers again because I don't think I did it long enough last time. We were still running a little hot coming down from Marathon.

  On Wednesday evening, after a light dinner, we went to The Tropic Cinema on Eaton Street to see a movie. We didn't like the movie, but we like going to The Tropic. It's mostly run by volunteers, and it's about the cleanest, neatest, theater we've ever been in. The popcorn is the best!

  On Wednesday night we got a hellacious storm, and in the morning, Front Street was flooded all the way to Duvall Street. This is a common occurrence in Key West, especially when it occurs like it did this time, at high tide. Everyone takes it in stride, and the water recedes after a few hours.

  Thursday was haircut day for Holly, and she got the shortest cut yet. She didn't behave as well for her haircut as she has done in the past, and we think it's because she hasn't had a cut in a while. I'm going to have to trim her more often so she is used to it. You don't think it's because she is just getting more spoiled as each day passes, do you?
  Some bad news: I checked the engine room when we went to leave Stock Island Marina Village and found a bit of oil debris in the bilge, obviously from the generator.
  To verify the oil source, I wanted to start the generator (after checking the oil level) and it wouldn't start. I saved further investigation until this morning, but in the meantime, had contacted a local Westerbeke mechanic, referred to me by Key West Engines, the folks who installed our turbo chargers last January.
  I replaced the Racor fuel filter, plus the primary fuel filter on the generator and tried to start it, and it wouldn't. I bled the fuel line several times with no better results, so I called the Westerbeke mechanic to get us on his schedule. If the generator won't start, we can't diagnose the oil leak, so first things first. I was hoping for a simple fix, of course, but we'll just have to see.
  We went to the Dog Island Bar yesterday afternoon to watch the Cardinals in their first game of the NLDS. A place called Dog Island and Holly was not allowed in! We checked a few other nearby places, but wound up taking Holly back to the boat and returned to Dog Island before first pitch. We didn't really want to go back to Dog Island, but other bars we checked on had golf on their T.V.'s. Golf?
  One place had NO customers, had golf on T.V., and we asked if he'd put it on. He took just a little too much time to formulate an answer, so I said "Never mind", and walked right out the door. He must have learned his business acumen in The Bahamas.
   We enjoyed the game, especially the outcome, but vowed to find a place where Holly was welcome for the second game this afternoon.
  It looks like Dante's will be the place. We like Dante's anyway, for the pool firstly, plus they have at least three outside bars. Holly has been there with us before, so we don't expect to be thrown out, at least on Holly's account. Maybe mine.
  In between all this fun to be had in Key West, we have a generator to get fixed, a water heater to install, heat exchangers to clean again and taken apart after cleaning to check for blockage. I'm going to be busy, but we want to have our boat running and working smoothly for when our friends start showing up here in a couple of weeks. Then we can play all we want.