Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The End Is Near

  The end of what is near? Not the end of beautiful sunsets here in the Keys, that's for sure, but recent events have had us looking to other horizons. We aren't going to change the description of this blog, but "cruising full time" hasn't been true for a while now, as we've been tethered to a dock pretty much full time since we came back from The Bahamas.

  We've gotten pretty comfortable here in Marathon, meeting new folks in town and some of those passing through on their boats. We even attended the Marathon Dolphins high school football game a few Friday nights ago. Rosie was a cheerleader in high school and went to lots of football games, but I've never attended one, even when I was in high school. So we went and had a pretty good time although the Marathon Dolphins stink.
  We also were recently invited to attend the wedding of a couple we met here at the marina shortly after we arrived. I don't know why we agreed to go, but it was a good time although we don't know how anyone would want to get married for the third time each, but I told Rosie afterward that if we meet anyone again who starts talking about getting married soon, I'm going to come right out and tell them to not bother with sending us an invitation. This one was like going to an organized auto crash. With fatalities.
  The weather has just recently turned cooler and the dog days of summer are behind us. We're able to begin waxing Swing Set again, a rewarding experience when the weather is pleasant, but a grueling ordeal when it's hot. But boat maintenance cannot be avoided in this climate and in the salt water, lest your boat just waste away little by little. Like I've said before, a person who has a boat in salt water spends their time "trying to keep it from dissolving like an Alka-Seltzer tablet". I cannot be attributed with this quote, but I can get credit for passing it on.

  This is not a photo from when we had our boat bottom painted ten months ago. This is a current picture, and I'm writing this blog while Swing Set is on the hard. Again. It's the fourth bottom painting job we've had since the spring of 2012. No, I'm not happy.
  This summer while under the boat removing some line from a lobster pot that got snagged on our starboard prop, I noticed that the Prop Speed we put on the running gear last December was GONE. Also, the bottom paint on the hull sides was wearing through to the fiberglass in one area.
  I talked to our guy that does our bottom cleaning once a month, and he agreed that our bottom paint, particularly the Prop Speed, was prematurely wearing and we would be due for new bottom paint sooner, rather than later.
  There is a long story here about this last bottom painting job, but the realization that we'd be going through this process possibly every 18 to 24 months didn't set well with me. In fact, it got me pretty much disillusioned with owning a boat that was kept in the salt water full time.
I called a boat broker and started the process of finding out what we had to do to get our boat sold. Then I came to my senses.
  The age of Swing Set is such that even if we sold it for top dollar, we'd have a hard time replacing it with anything that we would like as much, let alone something that would allow us to pocket some money for the difference.
  What we did decide was that as much as we like the Florida Keys, the rent here is just too high, even though Marathon is half the price of Key West. If we move north, we can cut our rent down to less than half again what we are paying now. The difference in our outlay can pay for the added maintenance that we haven't planned for.
  We have our eye on an area we want to move to, and we are looking forward to being closer to better beaches, and near to bigger towns where there is more to do, but a move won't happen for a few months yet. I'll keep you all in the loop.
  As far as bottom paint goes, this time we've sanded off any areas where the paint is not "healthy", and we've grinded all underwater metal to the bare surface, and coated all bare metal and fiberglass with two coats of Interlux Primocon so that the three coats of Interlux Micron 66 will stick to it. If this is the wrong thing to be doing, don't tell me. What's done is done.
  Meanwhile, Swing Set is due to hit the water again this Friday, and then we're heading to Key West for a month to take in the busiest time in Key West, starting with Fantasy Fest and ending with the World Championship Offshore Boat Races.
  Lots of folks come down that we know from the St. Louis area, so we get to visit with some old friends, maybe for the last time. If you think about it, everyone you see everyday is someone you may be seeing for the last time. Don't take anything for granted.
  We're approaching a half million hits on our blog, not a real big number, but I'm always surprised at how many people still enjoy reading it, even though I'm only posting about once a month. Just the other day a fella in West Marine recognized us and commented that he liked our blog.
  Maybe where we're going will give me more material to pass along.