Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Prepping Passage

Our day started early on Saturday, March 19th, when we caught the 9:33 a.m. bus to the Big Pine Key Flea Market.

One never knows what treasures one will discover in such a place.  We scored a number of items including four original Sham-Wows for soaking up water, mirrors to see overtaking boats on the ICW, and other goodies too numerous to mention.

When we left the flea market, we discovered that a Radio Shack was hidden on a side street within walking distance.  This good fortune enabled us to replace our recently departed 350 watt inverter. The bus ride back to Marathon was uneventful.

After showering in the marina, we headed over to Dockside for one last happy hour with Tom and Doris and John and Marcia.

Dockside was much more organized; and we had great service, good food and good entertainment.

I thought the ladies looked especially fetching on this warm Florida Keys evening.

Of course, we men were, well, we were looking good too!

As you can see, even Lee the cook was sad to see us leaving the harbor soon and stopped to say goodbye.  After much beer and scotch, we said farewell to our friends, who we hope to see on the trip north.

Sunday morning Tom and Doris on "Our Time" left pretty early.

After a pretty heavy social week, we decided to take it easy and spent most of Sunday on the boat.  We did discover that Lucy has a strong desire to sample cherry turnovers.

Sue valiantly defended her pastry, and Lucy ultimately resigned herself to feeding from her cat food bowl.

Monday the 21st was filled with errands and shopping as we supplied our catamaran for her voyage north.  We walked about three miles in the morning, the last one heavily laden with groceries.  After lunch we snagged a marina shopping cart.  Tossing a twenty pound propane tank into it, we hiked to Home Depot, exchanged the tank and hiked back.  Projects and installations were then completed, leaving only the boat bottom on our to do list.

Tuesday morning after we said goodbye on the morning web on VHF Channel 68, Mike the diver stopped to clean the bottom.

The job took him almost two hours, but we have no slime or barnacles.  Passage will now sail at her designed speed unhindered by the forest she once sported.  As I write this, Sue is finishing up the laundry; and we will eat out one last time in Marathon.  Tomorrow we will leave at the crack of dawn and work up the keys towards our next destination, Fort Lauderdale. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Entertainment Gala

A week of musical and culinary celebration opened on Saturday, March 12th at the Marathon Seafood Festival.  Sue and I feasted on conch chowder, peel and eat shrimp and a mahi-mahi dinner, all of which was yummy.  We also grooved to two keys bands that we thoroughly enjoy.  John Bartus and Storm Watch performed first.

They played a combination of popular classic rock music and John's original compositions.

The local crowd really loved the music performed by this local Marathon band, as people danced in the grass in front of the stage and enthusiastically applauded each number. 

Next up was the band that I was waiting for:  Howard Livingston and the Marker 24 Band.

Howard has written innumerable songs about life in the lower keys.  A large and rowdy fan base soaked up the music and atmosphere of the event.  Even Sue sang some of the songs along with the band.  Howard put on a great show.

Sue and I dingied back to "Passage" full of seafood and musical memories.

On Monday the 14th Sue and I dingied over to "Our Time" to celebrate happy hour with Tom and Doris Johnson.  John and Marcia off "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia", who we had met in Fort Myers, were also there.  Naturally, a great time was had by all.

Tuesday the 15th of March Sue and I hopped on the bus and rode to Key West.  We hot-footed it directly to Sloppy Joe's.

We enjoyed a fabulous grilled Mahi-Mahi sandwich, as well as the music of, you guessed it, Brian Roberts.  Sloppy Joe's rocked more than usual because it is spring break time!  The bar was filled with college age spring breakers looking for a good time, and Brian provided the musical entertainment and tossed colorful bead necklaces to the women in the crowd.  Joined by his percussionist friend Ray, Brian put on a great show.

Wednesday brought the Legacy Harbour C dock reunion at The Dockside Bar and Grill, which recently reopened.  The crews of "Passage", "Our Time", "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia", "Lady Jane" and "Kokopelli" celebrated being together again for happy hour.

Live music and good food made it a great evening.  Unfortunately, we wiped out their supply of Amber Bock and finally motored home in the dark, full and happy.

The 17th was Saint Patrick's day, so Sue and I put on our green shirts and headed over to Dockside again, this time for Corned Beef and Cabbage and music by Joe Mama.  We were joined by Tom and Doris and John and Marcia, and we certainly got into the spirit of the day!

So did John and Marcia.

On the 18th we dragged ourselves out of bed at 6:00 a.m. so that Sue could walk over a mile to McDonald's by 8:00 a.m. to meet coaching legend and former teaching colleague Mike Milkovich for breakfast.  She hiked back with a backpack full of groceries.  After stowing these we motored to shore in the dingy and walked a mile to West Marine, then made several stops looking for a rear view mirror for "Passage", as well as a new portable inverter.  No luck on either of those, but we did enjoy a 5 dollar lunch at the Hurricane.  Although we were both a little tired from all the walking in the heat, we were revieved by showers and dingied over to "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia for happy hour with John and Marcia, Tom and Doris and their dock partners Dale and Debbie.  After the three hour celebration were returned to the mothership tired but happy.  Now we are prepping for our last weekend in Marathon.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

That's More Like It

Unlike the last two winters, the weather in Marathon has been wonderful, with highs in the low 80's and lows around 70.  Soon after we arrived, we enjoyed a happy hour aboard "Our Time" with Tom and Doris Johnson, whom we had met in Fort Myers.  On Monday the 28th of February ten Gemini Catamarans were represented at a Gemini luncheon at the Hurricane.

A good time was had by all seventeen people as we discussed sailing and living aboard our boats.  The day was crowned by "all you can eat Mexican" night at the Cabana Restaurant at Banana Bay.  Along with Gemini friends Les and Barb from "Revision" and John and Lynn from the Hunter 31 "She n I", we enjoyed a night of entertainment by John Bartus.  It was a great night, though "all I could eat" was more than I should eat.

After a few days of very strong winds, Bradd and Maeve Wilson arrived in the harbor aboard "Sampatecho".  We enjoyed two days visiting with our longtime friends from Port Colborne, savoring dinner on Friday at the Hurricane and hosting them on Saturday aboard "Passage".  We enjoyed happy hour  and grilled pork tenderloin on the new grill, which worked flawlessly in the wind.  Bradd and Maeve sailed for Cuba on Sunday.

On Monday, March 7th, a second  Gemini Catamaran luncheon was held at the Hurricane, once again with 10 boats in attendance, though not all the same vessels were represented.

That same evening we joined Tom and Doris Johnson for dinner and entertainment at the Sunset Grill.  We enjoyed a couple of drinks at the bar and and generally had a rowdy good time.

It is amazing how much fun four retired educators can have if they have the right attitude and a little beverage assist.

It also helped that the night's entertainer was Brian Roberts, whom many of you faithful readers will remember is Sue's favorite singer.

I am still not sure why Sue considers herself President of the Brian Roberts Senior Fan Club.  I just don't get it.  But I am working on figuring it out.

Any suggestions?  All kidding aside, Brian is a warm and friendly guy and a fabulous entertainer.  We had a great time, and stayed till well after the event for which the grill is named.

Also this week, Sue and I saw the original Musical Production ACT NOW!  This musical was written, along with a third collaborator, by Michael and Cheri Edwards on the Gemini "Believe", which  arrived in 2007 and has never left Marathon.  The show was very well written with many clever plot twists amid the song and dance.  We had a great time, although earlier in the day we were afraid we might not make the show when a storm front with 49 mile per hour winds and torrential rain swept through the harbor.  Although the wind really howled all afternoon, it quieted down so that we could leave the boat and attend the show.

This weekend is the Seafood Festival at the Park next to the marina.  We will enjoy fresh seafood and two days of live entertainment.  It will be great fun.