Archive for January, 2009

Entry for January 3, 2009

January 3, 2009

Sunset in Boot Key Harbor.  See all the boats lined up nice on the moorings?

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Entry for January 3, 2009

January 3, 2009

It’s hard for us to believe but we are back in a marina for a long-term stay.  We had pretty much settled down to life on a mooring – the privacy of our own space with overhead of being unplugged from electric, telephone, TV, etc. of the “real” world. 

Yesterday (Jan 1), we completed our two day sail back from Key West where we spent New Years Eve.  Key West was a zoo with tons of people and everyone in a party mood.  We actually didn’t stay in town until midnight and were asleep when the New Year arrived but we spent all day in town enjoying the good food, good drinks and good friends.  Hank, his daughter Melanie and her husband Gary drove down from Marathon and we met them for lunch.  Then we shopped and ended up at “Sunset Pier” for an awesome sunset over the Atlantic / Gulf of Mexico (they meet in Key West). 

The past couple weeks have been a little more busy than normal as we enjoyed Christmas and the holidays.  Both Laura and I missed our families and it was a very difficult decision to stay here and not drive or fly to Upstate NY to spend time with them.  But, we really couldn’t afford it as our charter business has yet to bring in any money this winter.

We do have some good news with the charter business which is why we are in a marina.  Soon after we arrived here in the beginning of December, we approached several local marinas on becoming partners with us for sailing charters.  We needed a partner to allow us to pick up and drop off charter guests plus have a local address for obtaining the business permits.  All of them turned us down for different reasons (didn’t want the extra work, didn’t want the additional liability, didn’t have the extra parking, ….) except for the Marathon Marina who was thinking about it.  After two weeks of checking back with them and receiving no answer, I finally walked into the office when the off-site manager was there.  I immediately felt better as he started talking because I could tell he felt the same way as we did – a partnership with us for sailing charters would be good for their business too!  What they offered us was a big discount on a marina slip for the next three months and local help with starting our business like advertising and ideas.  YEA!  In fact, the price we are paying for the marina is less than $100 / month more than the mooring was costing us and we receive many additional benefits like no wear and tear on our boat from running the engine every day and always discharging and charging our batteries, we can just step off the boat and walk for exercise, and we have a permanent place to work our charter business!  Plus, we have cable TV!!!  It was an easy decision.

We spent Christmas Eve with new friends Bob and Carol on Place-for-us, a 43’ Nordhaven trawler.  Our dinner was baked ham with Carol’s famous potato salad.  It was fun and we talked a lot about places we’d each been.  On Christmas Day we attended a pot-luck at the Dockside Restaurant with about 120 other boaters.  They had music (local guitar players) and tons of food.  They supplied turkey, ham (again!) and a roast pig that wasn’t ready until everyone was done eating.  All the boaters brought a dish and there was plenty to go around. 

The day after Christmas Laura cooked up our big meal – ham (again!) and scalloped potatoes with fresh green beans and a nice salad.  We had bought this ham for Christmas dinner before we knew about the pot-luck.  It was awesome and we ate lots of leftovers for the next several days.

We left for Key West on Dec 30th and had one of best sails ever for the first 30 miles.  The winds were 10-15 from behind us and the seas were very light as we slowly drifted west.  I found a local radio station that played slow, laid-back 40s and 50s music which fit perfectly with our downwind sail.  During our three days in Key West we checked out the local anchorages and city moorings for possible future charters.  I couldn’t believe how many charter boats there were in Key West!  Most of them were huge and held 100s of people for snorkeling or sunset cruises.  Key West was nice but very busy.  We were glad to leave after 3 days and head back to laid-back Marathon.

Laura leaves this Wednesday for 2 weeks out west visiting her family including the newest grandson Ryan who is less then 2 months old.  I have a few jobs on my list for when she is gone and a tentative date with Hank to take Second Wind for a trip around the western Keys to check out snorkeling spots and anchorages which we may use on future charters.  I’ll also be spending as much time as I can advertising our charters and booking trips for when she returns on Jan 21st.  Hopefully, we’ll be very busy with charters after that.

We wish our families and all of our friends the best year ever in 2009!!

The picture is our Christmas party on the deck at Dockside.