Although Cathy had made a good dent in re-finishing the woodwork down below on Orion Jr, there was still more to do. The most visible project to be done was the companionway stairs, which made a less than favorable first impression on visitors. Since we were going to be in one place for a while, we decided to take the time to re-finish the stairs. The only downside was the fact that the power sander and heat gun are sitting back in Hampton. So, with Dave’s help, we removed all hardware from the stairs, hauled it to shore, and hand-sanded all the nooks and crannies until it was ready to be varnished. Over the next few days, Cathy put 7 coats of varnish on the stairs, and now they gleam like the other wood down below. Doing a little bit at a time, maybe we’ll eventually get all of it done.
So we feel good about our bargains and the fact that we also were helping out some good causes.
We have reconnected with a number of folks that we haven’t seen in a while. We hadn’t been in the harbor more than a few hours before we hooked up with Mike and Sue on Indecision, whom we had met in Vero Beach as they made their first trip south. Over the next few weeks, we got together a few times, including a night of 25 cent wings at The Hurricane Grill before they headed out of the harbor in late February. Our neighbors when we picked up a mooring were Dick and Libby on Tarwathie, whom we met first on the hard in Deltaville a few years ago. Cathy’s been taking advantage of Libby’s patience in a pine needle basket class. We joined them for a delicious dinner one night on their boat and Dave helped them remove and install a new prop when they got short-hauled at the nearby boatyard. Rising Tide returned to the harbor on their way up the west coast of Florida, which gave us a chance to see them and share our experiences traveling the same route before they headed out again.
Not surprisingly, the controversy over the recent marina rate increases and pending changes in anchoring rules has not settled down at all in the couple of weeks since we attended the City Council Meeting. So, we made another trip to the council on the 28th, with boaters present in force. Dave spoke to a proposed modification in the rates, and others spoke to the anchoring changes. The results were disappointing. The council simply referred us to the Near Shore Waters Committee, which they had failed to mention at the prior meeting. However, they did mention that due to recent retirements, the committee no longer had a quorum and couldn’t meet until the council appointed replacements. Seems like a Catch-22 to us.
The issues are receiving much attention in the larger boating community, which may bring pressure to bear on the decision-makers. In the meantime, Dave continues to make the problem of rates as visible as possible. We are especially concerned about an elderly boater (90+) who resides on the dock and has no money to pay the increased rates now that a minimum footage is in place. He is thinking he will have to move, after spending over 50 years here, but he has no idea where he would go. Needless to say, this issue is not just going to go away any time soon.
Here are just a few snapshots of our time here to share: