Aboard the Sailing Vessel

April 5, 2004

We enjoyed living aboard Shibumi tied up along the Isle of Venice in Ft. Lauderdale. But life is more enjoyable living aboard while moored in the middle of the bay in Boot Key Harbor.

Our view of the horizon is not blocked by buildings or trees. The sunrises and sunsets are vibrant.

The gentle sway of Shibumi on its mooring in the harbor is soothing as we sleep at night. The ultimate waterbed.

There is the free feeling of having elbow room with the nearest boat more than 100 feet away.

Our travel to and from land is via dinghy. Our Porta-bote has become the family automobile. It takes us to any one of the various dinghy docks around the bay... West Marine to the west... City Marina, the post office, resturants, and shopping to the north... and Dockside Marina/Grill with entertainment, grocery stores, and K-mart to the southeast.

We used our dinghy some while in Ft. Lauderdale, but we really gave it a work-out here in the Florida Keys.

This is a lifesytle that is quite easy to get use to.

Bob Williams on the left, and Dana discuss the Shibumi porject.

Reaching Marathon was a major goal for this trip. The reason was because we decided to have SALT, Inc. install our new refridgeration unit. Marathon, FL is SALT's home base.

Our existing refridgeration worked only when we were on shore power. That was fine when tied to the dock. But, as noted above, we preferred being away from the dock. So our refridgerator was nothing more than a fancy ice box when we were strictly on battery power. Our stop in Marathon was going to correct that, with SALT's installation of two Frigoboat systems.

Calling Bob Williams, one of the founders of SALT, was the first order of business after our arrival in Marathon. Bob and his crew went to work on the unit right away... It was a process that would take a few days to complete.

When we ran out of fuel last week in Hawkes Channel I dropped the copper washer for the vent screw on the fuel pump. That caused some diesel fuel to weep past the screw and drip slightly into the engine room. So, I bought a new washer and put it on. It fit perfectly.

It fit perfectly until I tightened the screw and broke it off right there in pump. That caused a steady stream of diesel fuel to issue forth from the pump onto the bulkhead of the engine room. It was 3:45 on Friday afternoon. Jill had dinghied ashore to use the laundromat. There I sit, in paradise, wedged in Shibumi's engine room with my finger "in the dike", trying to stem the flow of diesel fuel, again.

What did stupid sailors like me do before the age of cell phones? Well I don't know the answer to that, but the cell phone saved my week-end.

After a call to SALT, I was referred to John Moore, said to be the best Perkins Diesel mechanic in Marathon. John sent Kayle over with tools to liberate my broken bolt... it was actually an ice-pick that finally did the trick. We stopped the flow of diesel with twisted piece of paper towel and dinghied over to John Moore's shop. John machined a new bolt to replace the broken one... and by 5:30 in the evening all was well aboard Shibumi again.

John Moore measures the diameter of a prospective bolt to be used as a replacement for the one I broke.

Kayle looks for washers to fit the new bolt.

John Moore enjoys one of his many corn-cobb pipes as he fashions the new bolt.

As we dinghied around the harbor we saw boats of all sizes, shapes and descriptions.

My vote for the most interesting was the bare-foot fellow who traveled aboard motorized floats.

He told us that he drove to Key Largo from his home in Knoxville, TN. In Key Largo he sold his car and bought a set of floats that is powered by an eight horse-power outboard engine, has GPS navigation, and carries everything he owns.

He plans to continue on to Key West to spend some time, then reverse course and travel via the Intra-Coastal Waterway to South Carolina. From there he will navigate the rivers back to Knoxville.

He did not seem to be bothered by choppy water, bad weather, or high wind conditions. It made me feel a little timid knowing that we waited a week in Ft. Lauderdale for winds to die down before we took our 44-foot yatch away from the dock.

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