Monday, February 2, 2009

Ho hum, just another day in paradise!

Bob sent us this pic on the left of Tide Hiker entering Boot Key Harbor (Marathon).
And Rick sent us this pic on the right of Tide Hiker entering Sombrero Marina. We were real happy to
get out of the 4 foot seas in the Atlantic. Nice and calm in here. There are 4 other DeFever boats in Marathon: Rickshaw, from NC; Gypsies in the Palace, from ME; September Song, from GA; and, Adventures, from FL. Most of us have been here for two weeks and we are thoroughly enjoying this warm winter in the Florida Keys. My guess is that the average is 76 degrees, sunny with a mild breeze. We are “staging” for a cruise to the Dry Tortugas, followed by a leisurely trip up the west coast of Florida to the Ft Myers area for the 2009 Winter DeFever Cruisers Rendezvous—a meeting of folks in similar boats. This one will be attended by 49 boats and 130 people from all over the world. The festivities will include seminars, great food and beverages, individual boat tours, and most important—visiting with old friends and making new ones.

Our Marathon visit gave us plenty of time for some maintenance on this old bucket. For example, Norm waxed the deck house and more, secured the bow anchor snubber with a larger shackle, relocated the boat’s air horn and hailer from the bridge to the outside (thus ending the deafening echo off the inside of the bridge enclosure every time we blew the horn or ran the fog signals) and changed the oil on the main engines. Vicki and Lynnie rented a carpet cleaner and teamed up to clean the carpets in both Tide Hiker and Rickshaw. Vicki baked up a storm of meals for when we will be anchored, researched and bought the charts and cruise guides for the Bahamas, researched stabilized binoculars and is on the hunt for a good deal on a pair of Fuji stabilized 14x40, spent lots of time researching how to communicate and get weather info in the Bahamas (more about that in another blog), and used all her pent-up shopping energy at the stores within walking or biking distance.
But, we also played, partied and got some much needed rest from our vacation. Bob, who had a car for a week, very generously helped us get our provisioning done and Bob, Rick and Norm still had time to get a day of fishing in followed by dinner with everyone at a local Marathon watering hole. It must be noted here that Bob and Stephanie, aboard September Song, have been very generous. They have been life-savers by toting us around in their rental car and hosting boat tours and lunch. When the winds picked up, they also volunteered to host on their larger boat, 12 of we DeFever-ites, for a pot luck dinner originally planned as an outside event. Thanks Bob and Stephanie.
Another day included a car ride to Key West. There, we registered with the US Customs and Border Patrol for US reentry cards. This will make getting back into the US easier when we return from the Bahamas this summer. That took an hour so we could not leave without a leisurely walk through town and a nice lunch. Here are some shots of our escapade in Key West—always a hoot!!
I especially like this shot on the ritght taken by Bob of the rooster protesting in front of the chicken restaurant. If you did not know, roosters/chickens are allowed to run wild in Key West. See, give them a place to live and they think they have rights. There were half a dozen other protestors in the parking lot, but not in the picture.
When not fishing or visiting Key West, we are just hanging around the Marina. Norm got a chance to test the Doug and Tammy's (Gypsies) new kayak—the Hobie Cat Sport and immediately took a liking to it. In addition to rowing, it can be propelled by foot paddles making it a full body work out and a convenient way to maneuver when fishing and working on the hull. Unfortunately, he has to save up some cash for one—they’re not cheap.

Vicki and Norm are getting some good exercise while here. For example, running (jogging) and bike riding down to the “Stuffed Pig” for breakfast. And of course when two or more DeFever cruisers are together someone is having a party.

There is a tiki bar here at the marina and we watched the Steelers roll over the Cardinals while enjoying the remains of the “chili-off” held earlier. Our friend Colleen aboard Gypsies in the Palace cooked up a great recipe, but unfortunately did not win. She was wronged!!! Yep, she was wronged—in our judgement, hers was truly the best of the batch. Here's a shot of the Gypsies, John, Colleen, Doug and Tammy, with Vicki on the right. And we discovered that our dock master, Roy, is quite the crooner. Here he is singing and playing on Super-bowl Sunday festivities at the Tiki Bar.