Friday, November 28, 2014

Marathon Marina

 We are nearing two weeks here at Marathon Marina and we are impressed! Not only for the view, which is one reason we came here, but for some other things as well.
  The marina is not brand new, but it's clean. There are several restrooms and showers scattered around the premises and they are all kept in pristine condition.
  Bikes are only allowed in bike racks, none are on the docks, in fact, no personal items are cluttering the docks and pier fingers.
  Plenty of residents have dogs, but all are kept on leashes. Even the staff members who have dogs keep their dogs on leashes. This sets a good example for everyone else and pets aren't allowed to roam around and crap on everything.
  The workout room is small, but there are adequate windows. Rosie has been using it almost daily. I haven't gotten the urge yet.
  We have cable T.V. now, and since mail is easy to get, we've signed up for Netflix and we are getting DVD movies to watch.
  Packages and mail come right to the office and we don't have to go searching for them, and there is no extra charge to get either service.
  Electricity is included on our rent, which will be a big plus when summer comes when we have to run our A/C units. We might still be here then.

  I posted a picture of the pool in the last blog, but here is another. The water temperature is controlled, and on the day I took this shot, the air was a bit cool, but the pool water was welcomely warmer. There are seats along the edge of this walk-in pool and we are told that come January, it's a popular place to congregate at sunset. We're starting sooner.

  The Lazy Days Bar and Restaurant is just steps from our boat, as is the pool, and they have a great happy hour from 3-6 with half price drinks and cheap appetizers. We plan on going there only once a week. OK, maybe twice.
  The weather has been cool and a little windy, but we've gone out in the dinghy twice. We took a spin around from the oceanside through the Vaca Cut and toured a few of the little marinas in our area. We didn't see anything that appealed to us as much as where we are right now.

  Last Sunday we went to the Sunset Grille at the Seven Mile Bridge for Sunday Funday. They have a DJ at poolside, football was on the T.V.'s at the bar, and most of the seats were taken. We met the owner, and Holly made a few friends as they passed by. It's not Dante's, but we can take the dinghy there.
  One of our friends asked the other day whether or not our wind generators are used while we are at the dock, an interesting question we think.
  In the case of Marathon Marina, where our electric is included, it doesn't make much sense to use the wind generators at the dock, but at Stock Island Marina Village, I did consider it.
A person could flip on the wind generators at the dock when the wind kicks up, but if the wind drops off, you would have to turn the breakers back on for the shore power so that the battery chargers would do their job, much like when we would need to run our diesel generator while on the hook to keep the battery banks charged up. Remember, our wind generators only supplement our power needs, they don't provide them, unless the wind is really strong.
  While underway, we don't use the wind generators because the engine alternators keep up with our power needs. We keep them off to prevent a headwind from causing a "braking" situation for the wind generators. A constant braking cycle on them just shortens the life of the generator.
  A constant monitoring of our power systems would save us money, but we're not reduced to eating Beanie Weanies and pinching all our pennies just yet, so we pay for the luxury of staying at a marina for just that, the luxury. The small amount of electrical savings is just not worth the maintenance required, at least when electric is 18 cents per kilowatt hour. In the Bahamas where that cost is doubled, we would maybe think about running the wind generators at the dock, but remember again, our A/C units, cooktop, and water heater are not part of our inverter system, so we would have to run dockside power for these things anyway. Yes, we could run the diesel generator at the dock, but not only is this not advisable, it's rude behavior, adversely affecting the dock neighbors.

  The stern of Swing Set faces due west, as you can see in this photo. If the wind clocks around and comes in from a western quadrant, we can get some wave action, but the shoals out in the "flats" keep any significant waves from building too much, so far we've only had some gentle waves slapping against our hull which really has been soothing.
  One thing we haven't had to put up with is the constant jets screaming overhead landing at the Boca Chica Naval Base. Except for an occasional Medivac chopper coming into the nearby hospital, or a shrimper leaving Boot Key Harbor with straight mufflers, it's really quiet here.
  We don't have floating docks, and you can see in the photo that the finger piers are rather skinny, but the tidal swing is not very great. I installed a solar powered spotlight on the piling at our stern to light the way at night so we don't have to keep our cockpit lights on if we are out later than the sunset.
  Marathon Marina had a potluck Thanksgiving dinner yesterday and we took some oven roasted asparagus to share. The marina staff cooked five turkeys. We met some folks staying here, as well as some more members of the staff.
  How it happened, I'm not sure, but we wound up sharing our small table with an eight year old boy, and two girls, ten and twelve years old. Their parents must have thought we were safe enough to leave their children with, no telling what was going through their minds. We limited them to two beers each. Don't tell us we wouldn't have been responsible parents.
  A week from Monday we get Swing Set hauled for bottom paint. We've decided to go with Bluewater Bottom Paint, and Prop Speed on our running gear. One of the staff here that cleans boat bottoms recommended it to us yesterday, one of the benefits of attending the dinner. I also read some reviews about the Bluewater paint, and we weren't too impressed with the Interlux Micron Extra that was applied 18 months ago anyway. Let's try it.
  We have a room here in Marathon for four nights at Banana Bay while Swing Set is "on the hard". We aren't looking forward to that, but we hope all goes well. The marina wisely does not allow folks to stay on boats that are out of the water. If they did, people would just live on them in the "parking lot" like at Bobby's or DDD in Stock Island.
  We plan on waxing the hull down to the waterline after the sanding is done, much easier than doing it from the dock or the dinghy. Swing Set will be nearly perfect once it gets splashed back into the water.
  We won't have anything else to do on the boat except keep some wax on the topsides for the rest of the winter. Do you believe that?

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