It started slowly. We would talk to somebody about their plans. Ask if they were staying for the Seafood Festival – Marathon's BIG event. Encourage them to volunteer to work the festival. And then we (or actually Dave) ended up getting their information and signing them up to work. As the list grew, we realized that we could help by picking up the T-shirts that each would need to wear to gain entrance to the festival. We could now cover the 5 miles up the Chamber of Commerce on wheels, making the journey manageable. So Dave started making daily calls to the volunteer coordinators, asking what they needed and then announcing the info on the Cruisers Net.
In talking to the various volunteers we had recruited, they all seemed to have enjoyed themselves, and we noted there were a lot of cruisers in this year's gold volunteer shirts. They really make a difference in helping pull off this annual festival.
We've had a few "incidents" on Orion Jr and in the dinghy with a pinched fuel line failing to deliver in critical moments, causing the outboard to stall. Dave finally was able to order enough length of the fuel line that is strong enough to keep from collapsing and causing these problems. Within a few hours of its arrival, he had re-plumbed both Jr's fuel locker and the dinghy's fuel tanks. That should hopefully put an end to the fuel starvation due to a pinched hose. Cathy did a little more sewing – another shade for the cockpit, putting a pocket for our dinghy light on the PFD bag, and a couple of other re-stitches. However, most of our boat work is more routine: fetching water, cleaning the bottom of both Orion Jr and the dinghy once a week, etc.
There is still a lot of time spent researching the considerations for trailering the boat: raising and lowering the mast, covering it for trailering; supporting the mast while its down, etc. There will be more on those topics as we turn the research into solutions.
We were taking our bikes out of the rack, when Randy and Sherri were doing the same. That led to a conversation and get-together on their boat, Priorities, to exchange information. They could tell us about the Great Loop, we could tell them about the East Coast trip they were about to take to complete their first circuit back to Michigan. Since then, we joined them as "guides" to Sombrero Reef for a beautiful snorkel and enjoyed $1 tacos at Hurricanes and, of course, volunteered together at the Seafood Festival. And while Dave consulted with Randy on some of his boat systems, Sherri cut Cathy's hair. It's how it happens in crusing, and especially in Marathon.
We volunteered to help with a couple of dinners at church and got to know some other folks there, some of whom are former boaters that "took root" here in Marathon. There's also Roger and Dorothy who gave us a ride to Miami. We recruited them for the seafood festival and found ourselves breading fish together for several hours.
And the connections multiply. As many of the boaters are beginning to leave the harbor, we encourage those heading north to stop by Hampton. Despite their leaving ahead of us. We'll almost surely beat them there and can grab their dock lines when they arrive. It will be fun to catch up again with new friends that are fast becoming old friends.