Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy New Year 2014

  One of the boaters took a drone view of Stock Island Marina Village the other day. This is a very good shot and I'll use it to describe our surroundings.
  First of all, Swing Set is pictured just right of center, in the third row of boats from the bottom of the shot, on the right. Yes, that little speck is us.
  On the far left is Hawk Channel and the Atlantic Ocean. Cow Key Channel is at the top of the picture, and we take it to pass under A1A into Florida Bay, which can be see in the upper right.
  Down the center peninsula is first the dock office and ship's store. Right behind it is the showers. Almost dead center of the photo is the new laundry room.
  The peninsula on the far left is the original docks for what used to be Safe Harbor. They call it Coconut Row now. The docking is Mediterranean Style, which is docking backed up to a sea wall. Some "slips" have a small dock next to them, but all have a mooring ball to which you have to tie your bow to. The rent is cheaper on Coconut Row and it's a good place for cruisers on a limited budget. Like us, but we're splurging.
  Behind the new docks is where the new hotel, pool and restaurant is planned. We hope that this part of the project comes to fruition.
  Lastly, two boat yards are on the far right.

  We think Rosie was the second customer to use the new laundry facilities. The machines take a card that is assigned to you and a card machine in the laundry loads up your card when you stick it in the machine and you feed currency into it. This eliminates the need to save quarters. The washers and dryers read the card and how much money you have on it. Each load takes two bucks. Rosie typically has two washer loads and two dryer loads per week, so we spend about eight bucks per week. We think that's a good deal in order to have freshly washed bedding and towels. Oh, and clothes, when we wear them.

  Here's the three boatels that Stock Island Marina Village currently offers to guests. The middle one is brand new and when we took this photo, it hadn't been furnished yet. These are cozy little units and neat as a pin, as they say. They each sleep four, utilizing a sofa sleeper. They come with a kayak and a fine porch to really capture the Key West flavor for a minimum three nights stay. You can book them through the Stock Island Marina Village website. They fill up fast.

  But we don't spend all of our time at the marina. On one of our last calm days, we took the dinghy five miles up Hawk Channel to Geiger Key Marina. We stayed late into the afternoon and took this photo before heading back to Stock Island while we still had light. It's a good dinghy ride and the tiki hut bar is a fun place to spend a couple of hours.

  Christmas Day was the second anniversary of Holly being our pet. Here, she's outfitted in her Christmas attire. This was the highlight of our Christmas Day, but one of our dock neighbors gave us a little card and a small package of cookies. We spent the day relaxing and then made some nice steaks and watched a movie. Perfect.

  On the Saturday after Christmas we took our bike downtown to Dante's to spend the day at the pool. The first hour or so we sat in the light rain, but by noon the sun came out and the place filled up with patrons.
  Some new friends, Neal and Cindy, had just flown in from Tennessee and joined us late in the afternoon. It's nice to have some regular friends down here, even though they don't live here full time. Most likely better for them.
  We take the bike downtown once or twice a week, or at least to the shopping centers on North Roosevelt. We visit the library regularly, Strunk Ace Hardware, Home Depot, West Marine, and Key West Marine are also frequented on a regular basis. My legs are getting a workout and my muscles are getting harder. Either that, or rigor mortis is setting in.
  There is a bike path running down nearly the entire length of A1A and our bike route is mostly separated from any cars, but drivers down here are used to sharing the road with bicyclists. Many of the residents here only have bicycles for transportation. If you don't count the dinghy and Swing Set, I guess we are two of them.
  There is a shuttle that runs on a limited schedule from the marina and we took it downtown on New Year's Eve, but it only ran until 11:30, so we had to find a cab back home after all the famous Key West activities were over. There was not a cab to be had at one o'clock in the morning, so we joined a long queue to catch a city bus back over to Stock Island. The experience did not go well, but we did finally get back to the marina eventually.
  I am not going to go into detail about what happened on the city bus because the story would be an indictment on myself. I will say that I made a strong objection to the driver of the bus deviating from his route to drop off some bus riders to their personal residences. Bus company authorities were called to deal with me, to which I voiced yet another complaint. I suggested that the bus company representative call the police, to which he obliged.
  When several of the Key West police officers arrived, and before they escorted us off of the bus, I made an appeal to some of the other passengers to back up my story, or I knew I was going to jail for at least the evening.
  As I was telling one officer what had transpired, one lone woman was corroborating my story with another officer and I was vindicated. We were offered to have a cab called for us, but the police also could not get a cab, so one officer was assigned to give us a ride back to our boat, compliments of the Key West Police Department. Ask me if we'll be riding city transportation again anytime soon.

  On New Years Day, while I was contemplating my good fortune at an experience that could have gone horribly bad, I made us a big pot of Hungarian Goulash from my paternal grandmothers recipe. The dish is a stick to your ribs cold weather favorite of ours and even though the temperature reached 80 degrees, it was blustery and cloudy, so we dug into our goulash at dinner time as though we had a foot of snow out on the ground.
  Yesterday we took the dinghy out as the wind had let up some. Neal and Cindy invited us out on their 58 foot Sea Ray Sedan Bridge for a sunset cruise so we met them at A&B Marina after taking the Cow Key Channel over to Key West Bight.
  Mark Miller, the dock master there, let us leave our dinghy at the docks there while we went out with our friends and watched a beautiful sunset, which I don't have a picture of.
  I used our little Garmin that I had put a bracket for on the dinghy to get us home long after dark. I almost put us into "the bushes" once, as Rosie called them, when I was temporarily blinded by the bright GPS screen, but Rosie was on watch and we avoided a close encounter with some low lying mangroves.
  Today it's a chilling 69 degrees and the wind is howling at 30 miles per hour. The sky is threatening rain and we're going to hunker down and hibernate this afternoon. Everyone here at the dock is still happy that we all aren't sitting in a foot or more of snow up north somewhere.
  After an afternoon spent on the couch reading our books, the leftover goulash we have waiting for dinner will be a welcome dish, perfect for a frigid afternoon. Brrrrr!


  1. Mike, how did the install of the generator go.

  2. What was that T.V. show years ago when a character on the show was asked a question, and the answer always began, "I'm glad you asked that question, because..."
    Short version: The installation went well.
    Long version: Mark da Jong employs a colorful character by the name of Bubba. Bubba, by his own admission, "doesn't know anything". He is a welder that has lost his shop and Mark employs him to do "grunt work". The downside for the customer is that they are charged $125 per hour for this grunt work. When one is sitting and watching this work, it's hard to be patient when $60 is spent searching for a screw dropped into the bilge. Not only that, but I was able to avoid numerous visits back to the shop for tools that Bubba did not bring with him by having a good supply of my own.
    I was lucky that I was able to run some control wires and install the remote control panel myself, or the final bill could have easily been a thousand dollars more. The thing is, I like Bubba. He's seems to be a good guy and I'm glad he has found employment. If the labor on the install was a couple of hours more than it should have been, I can live with that.
    One thing, when Mark called and began to recite the items listed on the bill, he mentioned the removal of the old generator and I balked. I knew we had already paid for that work back in October, so he had us talk to his office assistant and an adjustment was made. What if we didn't catch that?
    All in all, I'll have Mark's Diesel of the Keys do additional work for us when we need it. He showed up when he said he would, and he came by regularly to check on Bubba's work, and then performed the final check out and start up. He was happy with my ideas and complimented me on the work I did myself, so I know I have someone who will respect my abilities when it comes to future projects.
    I was going to include this info in my original post, but it just slipped my mind. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Great aerial picture! What kind of drone was used?

  4. Happy New year Mike and Rosie. Hope its as much fun for you as last year.
    John Schmiemeier