The boat projects are rapidly coming to a close, but there is still a flurry of activity around the boat. Cathy finished the seasonal clean-up with the polishing of the stainless steel, protecting and polishing the enclosure panels, and waterproofing the canvas. She also pulled the sewing machine out for the last (?) time in Marathon to make some covers for the black foam that lines our Portabote, and has been degrading and flaking off with the constant UV exposure. Getting the measurements right proved more challenging, and it took more than one try to get them to fit. The dinghy PFD bag had been re-made a couple of years ago, but it also serves as a “mast support”, sitting on deck under the mast when the boat is on the trailer. This latter duty put more stress on the bag than originally anticipated, so the screen that serves as the bottom panel had to be replaced.
And then there is the cover for the dinghy all-around light. This one was a bit of a surprise. Dave was turning on the dinghy light for our return trip one night and it barely lit. Upon examination, we discovered some extensive corrosion inside the light. Obviously water was getting in and not getting back out. Since the light was relatively new and had been serving us well, with its bright LED bulb, Dave worked to make it serviceable again. Obviously the batteries now needed replacing. To prevent more water incursion, Dave put epoxy on the screw hole where the light attached to the pole. He also cleaned the contacts inside the light and coated them with the Carbon Conductive grease. (See more about that in the late march post.) And then Cathy made a cover for the light to minimize the chance of more water coming in. (Actually, she made 3 covers: one that was too small, one that simply disappeared somewhere in the project room, and one that actually made it onto the light. Three days later, the one that vanished magically re-appeared behind a table. Must be gremlins.) With the repairs, the light was back to its original brightness, and will hopefully stay that way with the protective cover.
That left the real work of shutting down the boat. Everything in reverse from February: sails down; freezer off; ice box emptied; gin pole; block and tackle, chafe protection, flags, etc. back on boat; anchors stowed. We also had the trailer bunk repaired that had broken on our last trip down the ramp. And we coated the trailer with Fluid Film to help stave off rust. In our on-going effort to reduce weight on the trailer, we made a modification to the gin pole to shorten it by about 5 inches, moving the fittings for the block and tackle back from the end. If successful, we can cut the pole to a length that will fit in the back of the truck, reducing the trailer weight by yet another few pounds.
What's left? Not much, just bring down the canvas, the solar panels and the mast. But rather than do that, we're taking off for Key West.
In a typical year, we make a single trip to Key West to check out the sights, eat some Key Lime Pie, and watch the fun at sunset on Mallory Square. However, our last trip there had introduced us to Capt. Ricky on the schooner, Spirit of Independence. While in conversation with Rick, we learned that he was unhappy with his website. Dave took that as a challenge and quickly developed a replacement using Weebly. Rick was happy with the changes and they were off and running. It made sense to travel back to see him and finalize the website before putting it live. We were invited to stay on board the schooner and take another sail. To give Rick more time to work on the website, Dave and Cathy took turns selling tickets for the sunset sails. One especially effective conversation yielded 12 passengers.
We were climbing into the dinghy in the pre-dawn darkness on Easter Sunday to make our way to Sombrero Beach for the ecumenical sunrise service. As we motored down Sisters Creek, we found we were not alone as we joined others in route. We took one of the few spaces left to beach the dinghy and quickly made our way to the service that was just beginning. With our fellow congregants in lawn chairs, blankets, park benches or just standing, we listened to the choirs, joined in the prayers and celebrated communion with a seabreeze and swaying palms as background. As Pastor Larry gave his message, the sun rose over us and we celebrated this most special day.
One humorous note. The newest member of the local clergy is Pastor Larry White, Jr of the Methodist Church, who was preaching the Easter sermon. However, Marathon already has a Pastor Larry White, who was officiating at the service. So, it was pretty funny, when Pastor Larry introduced – himself – sort of. Larry White, Jr said that they were indeed brothers (even though one is black and one is white), because although they had different mothers, they had the same Father.
We were able to get our neighbor up and even move him down below. And he started to recover and respond to questions. When EMS came, they said he checked out OK. Later, we learned he was a diabetic and had missed his shot of insulin. Now, when we see him each day, we both wave. It was a good thing we happened to be around.
We had come to look forward to hearing Miami play on Saturday nights at the Tiki hut and spending time with him and Shelly during their stay here. We joined them for a snorkeling trip on Yume, just before they headed out. But all good things must come to an end and we said goodbye as they headed out early Easter Monday. It was the first of a series of goodbyes: Dick and Libby on Tarwathie and Bob and Sandra on Carpe Diem, to name just a few. We also finally made it to Augie's church, where we had a chance to see him and Pastor Ishmael (from the Cuban Methodist church) before we headed out of town.
Cathy snapped a picture of this little guy sitting on one of the schooner's lines in Key West.