Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another busy week!

Who knew being retired would keep a person so busy?
This week we finally broke down, broke the bank and bought a new engine for the boat. It's a Tohatsu 9.8hp. It's the same size as the old engine, just newer. If you've never heard of Tohatsu, they are the folks who make virtually every small outboards in the world, even those with a different name on the cowl. The new engine has an alternator, so with a little bit of rewiring, we will have one more source of electricity to keep our batteries charged.
The night before last we got to see a Space Shuttle launch. Man! That thing puts on a heck of a show. We were able to see it from 100 miles away! About a half hour later, the International Space Station flew overhead and we were able to track it horizon to horizon.
Also this week was the 33rd annual Marathon Seafood Festival. Bev and I went for fun on Saturday, and again on Sunday to work the Fishermen's Hospital booth. On Saturday evening we introduced Sande and Donnie to our friend Howard Livingston who put on a great show just before sundown.
Sande and Donnie will be leaving Marathon this week, headed for the Chesapeake. We will miss them, but hope to catch up with them when we pass that way. Sande has been teaching Bev to make jewelry from some of the seashells we've collected. Sande makes jewelry from feathers shed by their macaw Pete. So far, Morgan hasn't shed any feathers, so we're stuck with using shells.
I've been doing a little work for another boater and earning a little extra, much needed cash. Yesterday I installed a wind generator on his boat and today I go back to finish up the wiring.
Our plans for the trip north are firming up. We will be leaving Marathon around the 4th or 5th of April, weather permitting. We will spend a week just cruising around the upper Keys and seeing the sights before entering the ICW for the long haul up the Florida coast.
The little bird pictured is a kestrel named "Sweetie." She was a rescue bird that had been hand raised in Cuba. When her owner came to the States, Sweetie had to be confiscated because it is illegal to keep kestrels as pets. She can't be released into the wild because she hasn't learned to hunt.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Pig races and saying goodbye to friends

Last weekend was Annual Pig Day here in Marathon and to celebrate, one of our favorite eateries, The Stuffed Pig, hosted a series of pig races. It was all in fun and raised a bit of money for a local charity.
Joining us at the races were our friends Laurie and Paul from "Verkennen." We first met them in Venice in 2007. They had been following this blog almost from the beginning. They caught up to us again here in Marathon, but now they are moving on. (There's a link to their blog in the links section on this blog.)
The weather here is finally starting to break a bit. We've had a series of cold fronts that have kept temperatures in the 60s with winds in the 20s & 30s for several weeks. Now it's finally getting into the 70s with lighter winds. We're hoping that April will bring favorable winds for us to start making our way north.
I've included a picture of one of our recent Saturday night jam sessions at the Tiki hut.
Also, it looks like we will need to buy a new engine. The old Yamaha is just about worn out. It's a 1991 and it's got a lot of hours on it. I think the valves and the rings have gone. We'll be doing a lot of motoring on the ICW as we head north and need reliable power. I'll be shopping this afternoon to see what kind of deal I can get. I am hoping to get a new 9.9 Yamaha High Thrust with electric tilt so I don't have to climb down into the engine well to raise and lower the engine. Wish me luck.