Marathon – Mooring City

Our goodbyes said to the Basavage family, we left Big Pine Key and made our way through the canals, clearing the local bridge by a good 4″.  We cruised back to the Hawk Channel in the Atlantic and it’s 3-foot seas.  A mere 45 miles, we rode the waves, dodging crab pots along the way to Marathon.  The good news – we lost no lower unit oil, and the dinghy remained stable through all the swells.

Boats in Marathon Mooring Field - Our Boat 2nd from Left.

Boats in Marathon Mooring Field – Our Boat 2nd from Left.

I can no longer talk about ‘shorts days’ or ‘jeans days’, as every day is a ‘shorts day’.  The highs have been in the upper 70’s to low 80’s, and we’re getting a little complacent with the weather.  Last night we slept through a good rain storm with our hatch open, and have been trying to dry out all day.  Our big concern is the winds whenever we are on the move.  We now have the option of going back out to the Atlantic (Hawk Channel), or taking the inside through the Gulf with the protection of its many islands.

White Heron Taking Off from Our Dinghy

White Heron Taking Off from Our Dinghy

We arrived at the City Harbor of Marathon, and were assigned mooring ball #N11. The mooring field is virtually a city unto itself, having 226 mooring balls, with boats from everywhere.  The only state that I haven’t seen represented is Hawaii.  It is also dinghy land – every boat has a dinghy – and they are everywhere.  The city marina has 2 large dinghy docks.  Welcomed by neighboring boats we tied up to our ball and got settled in.

Boot Key Harbor - Marathon Sunset

Boot Key Harbor – Marathon Sunset

Sunset is a big deal here; many folks blow their horns (conch shells) as the sun goes down.  We have been on the look-out for the comet, which should be visible shortly after sunset near the western horizon, but we haven’t spotted it yet.  I love the night skyline – lights from all the sailboats instead of city skyscrapers.

Boot Key Harbor - Marathon Mooring Field Skyline

Boot Key Harbor – Marathon Mooring Field Skyline

One of the Boot Key City Harbor Dinghy Docks - Marathon
One of the Boot Key City Harbor Dinghy Docks – Marathon

Our first full day here was St. Patrick’s Day, and we participated in the mooring field dinghy poker run.  It was fun, as we had to find 5 boats, each owner giving you a playing card to make up your poker hand.  Jim got 3 kings, a good hand, but didn’t win anything.  Everyone was decked out in green, and we met many of the other boaters at the party afterwards.

Many people spend months here, with quite a few live-a-boards.  Personally, it’s a little too much of community living – a week is long enough for me.  They have a daily forum on the marine radio, welcoming newcomers, goodbyes to departures, open comments, and a flea market where you advertise things for sale that you no longer need.  Thursday they have classes in the project room, currently teaching basket weaving using native Florida pine needles.

St. Patrick's Day - Mooring Field Party After Poker Run

St. Patrick’s Day – Mooring Field Party After Poker Run

Yesterday we spent a good portion of the day walking.  Jim dinghied over to the marina, then walked to West Marine and the Home Depot, purchasing a lock for the dinghy motor and some alcohol for the stove.  Later, we dinghied ashore again, and pushing a grocery cart down the sidewalk for a good mile or more, went to the Publix for restocking of food and wine.

After dinner and dishes, we again drove the dinghy back to the dock to take much-needed showers.  Every time you drive in you meet someone new from another state and have a good chat.  But I must say grocery shopping and showers have never been more difficult and time-consuming!

Today we drove the dinghy to the Chiki Tiki bar for happy hour and their famous French fries.  Afterward, we took the dinghy through the maze of neighboring canals, and finally located Don and Buffy’s house from the water.

View from Chiki Tiki Bar

View from Chiki Tiki Bar

In a few days our plan is to cruise to Key Largo, where we will meet up with son Michael and his girlfriend Tammy.  I’m looking forward to seeing them, and staying at a marina again where you don’t have to take the dinghy every time you want to go somewhere.  It sounds like a really nice resort – we’ve heard good things about it from a neighbor hailing from Omaha.

NC Boat Aground - Wrong Side of Red Marker - Being Towed Out by Miss Boo

NC Boat Aground – Wrong Side of Red Marker – Being Towed Out by Miss Boo

Possible thunderstorms are in the forecast again for this evening.  Jim is already asleep in the aft cabin, and I will definitely batten down the hatches before retiring…It’s a good idea to learn from one’s mistakes.

Continually we are asking each other what day, date or time it is.  We used to answer, “its river time”.  Now we simply say, “it doesn’t matter, we’re on ‘island time'”.

I’ll leave you with a quote that I like and find meaningful on our voyage.  Hope all’s well in your little corner of the world…

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living”.       – Miriam Beard

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2 Responses to Marathon – Mooring City

  1. Linda & Joe Miske says:

    I just got caught up on your adventure again. Pat, you made me feel like I was right there with you….love the pictures and the stories!!! Absolutely thrilled that you are having such a grand time on the seas. I look forward to the next blog. Seeing the pictures in Key West brings back memories….we want to go back…in fact we’d LOVE to be there with you right now. Love to both of you.
    Linda & Joe

    • rossmanpj says:

      If you know of some-one that can help on this issue please forward:

      Thank you

      We, Ariverderci have a Brovo III outdrive. We started the loop in Sept of 2012. We drove the boat from Lake City MN to Fort Myers beach without mechanical problems.
      We left the boat at Snook Bight Marina for service and indoor storage while we flew back to MN for the holidays and to get general business taken care of. Snook Bight an authorized Mercury dealer did all recommended service, including changing the lower unit grease, removing the lower unit to grease and inspect, install a new impeller etc. Upon arrival back to Fort Myers, Glen Harding the service manager told us that one lower unit seal looked questionable so they replaced it otherwise we were ready to go.
      We drove to Marco then to Good Land and then to the Little Snake river for a night. Upon leaving the Little Snake River we headed for Key West. About 1/2way across the alarm sounded so we turned the engine off right away, without delay. The Lower unit sight inspection bottle mounted on the engine was dry. We filled it to full and got back on our way at a slow pace.

      We stopped again for a short break, but this time we razed the trim and Tilt as not to catch any crab traps while adrift. We then lowered the drive and started the engine. As soon as we started the engine the alarm sounded again. We opened the engine cover and sure enough the sight bottle was empty. We filled it and putted our way to Key West.

      Upon arrival we slipped at Galleons on Key west. The Dock Master recommended a person to help and we called. He recommended that we get the boat towed to his shop as we did. He drove us to a riends to stay and called later the next day to say he thought there was an air bubble in the unit. There was some fluid on the floor in the bilge but we figured it was due to my spill when filling the bottle in rough seas.

      We picked up the boat and went to a Mooring Ball at Key west for two nights. The fluid level held.
      We then traveled to a fiends home on a channel on Big Pine key. We stayed for a few nights but noticed the sight/bottle was getting low again. I made a few calls and was told of Kirk at Slack Off Mobile Marine. I was told he was the only person on the Keys that would work on a Brovo III outdrive. We drove the boat to Sea Center Marine on Big Pine key where they pulled Ariverderci out and Kirk came and pressure tested the lower unit. He said it failed and he replaced an O ring and seal. We got a call two days later that the boat was fixed and that we could pick it up. We did not meet Kirk but by phone he said we were ready to go.

      We then went to Marathon, Boot Key harbor and stayed a week. The lower unit sight bottle was full when we left for Key Largo. We gave no thought to the lower unit.

      While at Key largo Sound on a Mooring Ball I thought I’d take a look at the lower unit from my Dinghy. I raised the engine with the tilt and trim with out the engine running to inspect the outside condition of the lower unit as the water was so clear. The lower unit looked pretty good as it also looked like Kirk from Slack Off may have even painted it when he had it out of the water. I then thought it was time to move items so I could open the engine cover to check the oil etc. and to my surprise that the Sight bottle was almost empty.

      Remember Snook Bight serviced the Lower unit. Mike in Key west inspected it for leaks, and kirk removed it, pressure tested it and replace a seal and a O ring.

      Now What Do I do?

      We are along way from Home.

      Jim and Pat Rossman

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