We were offered a chance to take a trip to Dania Beach (near Fort Lauderdale) one day for the annual Dania Beach Nautical Flea Market. This attracts a lot of vendors who cater to the marine market, selling everything from anchors to zincs. We rode with Larry and Carolyn, from First Light, whom we had met at the Marathon Ham Lunch. They spend their winters in Marathon and make the trip every year.
It’s at least a 2-hour drive each way, so we left and returned in the dark, arriving at the Flea Market about mid-morning on opening day. After paying our entry fee, we got to work, scouring almost all of the rows of vendors, but making only a few small purchases. We don’t need much on Orion, and we don’t know what we’ll need for the next boat. So, we mostly tried to understand what the possibilities were, in case we wanted to come back next year.
By mid-afternoon, we were on our way back to Marathon, stopping for dinner and a little Wal-mart shopping before pulling into the marina after 9pm. It had been a long day, but the market was interesting. Depending on what we might be looking for, it might be worth a return trip.
One Friday evening, Dave was reading the local paper where he learned that a CPR class was scheduled at a nearby resort the next day. It was too late to do more than leave messages with the local Red Cross, so we decided to just show up the next day. After their initial shock at having 2 instructors walk in, we were quickly put to work and helped with some logistical problems (the DVD player was quirky and had no remote) and did some coaching to help the class go more smoothly. Although the scheduled instructor could have run the class without us, we like to think we made it go a little faster and helped give more individual instruction. After offering to help with other classes, we headed back to the marina, thinking that would likely be the only class we would teach while we were here.
Not so. On Wednesday, we received a call to help teach a class scheduled for Saturday in Key West. When we explained that we had no easy transportation to Key West (in time for the class to start), we were told not to worry. We could use the Red Cross vehicle, which they would drop off the day before. We even were allowed to keep it until Monday, which allowed us to do some grocery shopping without lugging the goods all the way back from Publix. It was a win-win for both the Red Cross and for us. They got to hold a scheduled class, we got to help out and enjoyed the use of the vehicle. Maybe this will be the beginning of a longer term relationship if we find ourselves back here next year.
We continue to explore other boat options while we can. We were invited aboard an American Mariner 24, that is notable for its headroom, being the tallest of the boats we’ve been on so far. We managed to get on a MacGregor 26 that was for sale on eBay, but located nearby. The headroom was disappointing, and we think we’ve ruled this one out. We’ve talked to other sailors about their experiences as well. Fran and Floyd from Prior Ties arrived in the harbor from the Bahamas and joined us on Orion to discuss their experiences with trailer-sailers. We also met another couple on a Telstar 31 trimaran, Ken and Judy on Try Oomph, who also gave Dave a tour and shared their insights. We even took advantage of the time with a car to stop at several boatyards and marinas to talk to people about boats that could meet our needs and that they might have for sale. The only boat we actually were able to get on board was a Morgan 25, which once again lacked the headroom we’re looking for. However, the conversations we’re having are allowing us to shape our expectations and refine our search.
So, when we’re not teaching CPR classes and looking for boats, what are we up to? Well, we’ve done some minor maintenance on the boat, changing the Racor fuel filters and equalizing the batteries. We’ve taken the dinghy to explore the myriad canals in the area, discovering that there are far more than we ever thought. We made a return trip to the beach with Dave and Renee on Lunar Sea. While they cleaned their dinghy, we spent some time on our outboard, which had become barnacle-encrusted in only a week in the water. (We leave it up at night now.) We managed to take in the United Methodist church’s fish fry, meet for wings at The Hurricane and sample the lobster reuben at Keys Fisheries, and we keep showing up for the Ham Lunch at Lazy Days on Wednesdays.
But now, we’re starting to get ready to move, so our attention has turned to getting weather, planning routes and getting topped off with fuel, water and food. It’s been a great stay, but it’s time to move on.