Monday, May 2, 2016

We Needed a Holly-Day

  We've been really busy since the last blog post, but our focus has been more on our new digs than on Swing Set. We did have a couple of issues and I'll share them here for whoever it may apply to.
  The first thing was that even here in sunny Florida, pollen season manifests itself by way of a film of green "dirt" that builds up on the boat surface almost daily, making each visit to the boat a minor chore because we can't stand a dirty boat. The other boat owners in our marina who aren't bothered by filth, over time, will have a harder job of getting their boats clean because with the buildup of pollen comes mold that seems to attach to the gelcoat as a permanent fixture, requiring an acid to take it off. We wax too much and don't use acid unless absolutely necessary. But pollen season it over. When we visited Swing Set yesterday, it was as clean as it was when we left last Sunday. Happy.
  Another thing that had us stumped was that the sea gulls, and other birds of this region, like our swim platform, but they don't like it enough to refrain from crapping on it. I don't know what these birds eat, but their droppings are like concrete. Maybe that's what is in Super Glue. At any rate, the stuff is so hard to get off, hull cleaner hardly fazes it. I resorted to using Soft Scrub with bleach, and a green pad to remove it every time we came to the boat. I needed a solution, (a legal one), but one that didn't require placing netting over the stern every time we left. What's interesting is that the bow and the upper areas of Swing Set aren't as attractive to the avian life around our marina. I owe some of that to the wind generators on the radar arch, but those are an expensive deterrent.
  Now, when I say a "legal" method to discourage the birds in their desire to nest on the swim platform, I will admit that I considered getting a "soft pellet" pistol to ride herd over the feathered miscreants, and even browsed through a local Bass Pro Shop looking at "firearms", until Rosie sweetly reminded me of the water blaster I bought from Amazon while we were in Marathon, that had only been used one time to thwart the pelicans from a similar dastardly deed, and now sits in the bottom of one of the lockers on the flybridge. The seals are probably too dry to make the water cannon useful at this point. As usual, Rosie's reminder that I have a knack for "over engineering" some of my solutions made me give up using an offensive approach to a sea gull deterrent. I wanted a passive approach, one that required as little energy on our part as we could get by with.
  We were back in Missouri recently, and a visit with a good friend, one who spends lots of time in the country, came with the answer to our problem. Rubber snakes!
  When we returned to our home here in Florida, we visited a nearby big box store and bought two plastic snakes, rather realistic looking, but made of a substance that would hold up in a salt water environment. We spent all of two bucks. OK, $2.14 with tax. One snake was brown in color, and we bought a black and white one too. I wasn't sure what type of snakes the local birds were opposed to, so we took a diversified approach, placing one on each end of the swim platform and attaching them to our dinghy davit with some monofilament fishing line, which I have plenty of since I've pretty much given up on fishing,
  On our next visit to the boat, the end of the swim platform with the brown plastic snake was devoid of all bird droppings, but the one with the black and white snake had a couple of poop pools, still far less than we had been experiencing. We made another trip to the big box store to buy a similar brown snake but they were all out of the exact model that we had so much success with, but there was another brown striped one that we thought will do the trick, so when we went to the boat yesterday, I installed the new snake, and kept the black and white one posted at the stern access door for good measure. We'll see how it goes, but my solution is fairly passive, only requiring me to scoop up the three snakes and toss them into the stern trunk when I pull our shore power cords in when we go out for a ride. The monofilament is invisible, which is the nature of it in the first place, if you didn't know.
  We hadn't been out for a dinghy ride to the beach since we've been in the Dunedin area, and there are lots of beaches to choose from. We like "Three Rookers Bar" just north of the causeway where Marker 1 Marina is located, about three miles or so from our slip, so we went there yesterday and set up camp on the beach as is depicted on the opening photo. I took the shot early, but by mid-afternoon, the beach all around the island was packed with boats of all kinds since the weather is finally more suited to such activities. We are looking forward to an active summer around our local boating area. I think we're going to love it.
  One reason for our outing was for Holly, as I hinted at in the title to this post. We've been so busy at our condo, and at the pool where we now live, that Holly has been spending too much time alone. Yesterday was all about Holly.
  It doesn't take too much to amuse her, all that is required is some birds and little kids to bark at and she is happy as can be, although she chases off any would be friends that might be brave enough to approach us with a "can I pet your little puppy?" request. "Bark bark bark bark", and they usually make a muttering exit. But she sleeps good after an outing like yesterday, probably thinking she has done her duty as our much needed protector.
  Some friends have been posting pictures from Georgetown, and Elizabeth Harbour in the Exumas. The pictures of the crystal clear water have been making me yearn to visit there again soon, especially since fuel is about 1/3 the cost of what it was when we cruised through The Bahamas in 2013. However, the expense of our new home has put some extensive cruising on the back burner for the time being. But trust me, the lure of the open sea is too great to ignore for too long.