Messing about in Marathon

The plan is playing out as designed and even where it fell apart, it fixed itself as though the sea gods chose to grant a couple wishes, just because.

Ortolan at marathon BY

Ortolan at Marathon Boat Yard

Arrived Marathon Boat Yard on Sunday and squeezed into the allotted spot alongside the dock- with help from two workers/liveaboards who caught and tied lines. We trotted ourselves right up to City Marina (nearly a mile north on the Overseas Highway (the main road, A1A where you just need to know the Mile Marker #; Key West being MM 0) and put our name on the mooring ball wait list- #8. Figured 2- 3 days.
By Thursday we were still at MBY, and we had only moved up to #4 on the wait list. But being at a dock at the boat yard was a plus and heck they’d only charged us for 2 nights at half price, plus electric. The seal was replaced on Thursday (warranty repairs always take a while), and we’d gotten the Ok to stay until after the pump out boat came by Friday around 10:30, we needed it and if we left the boat yard and did not get a mooring, we’d be shit out of luck. Friday was quite the interesting day as the sea gods worked their magic, but we did have to prove ourselves worthy first.
Over our 5 day stay we’d walked over 12 miles in our daily trips to Publix, Home Depot and the City Marina. Mail and items recently ordered had to be retrieved from City Marina and the dinghy patch kit was being sent from a company in Florida.  By Friday, when a mooring did not appear to be forthcoming, we requested an extension from MBY again so that we could walk to City Marina and get the patch kit. Again, no problem to stay a few more hours.
Now things get messy- and smelly. Since day 1 we had a leaky thru-hull (the one for the starboard holding tank). Each time we emptied the holding tank outside the 3 mile limit, it would dribble more into the bilge. After several emails to the manufacturer, they sent us a whole bunch of replacement seals and advice on replacing the seal.  Friday is pump out holding tanks day at the boat yard, so we got right to seal replacing after the pump out. We had time available before the City Marina would get the day’s mail.
I guess I should be photographing our mishaps but at the time, I never think to do that; it’s all we can do to get things fixed.  Russ turned the lever and when he exclaimed “oh, shit!”, he really meant it.  Over a quart of remaining waste flooded into the bilge even though we had a pitcher under the opening, sort of. Spent the next 90 mins cleaning out the bilges.
Nothing was ruined; the only bilge areas with anything in them were the two forward ones- snorkel gear and a couple bags with my shoes- that I never wear. We raced to pull the stuff out once we realized that the mess was headed down that far. What an ordeal. So then, it’s time to walk the mile to City Marina. Off I go while Russ continues to dry the bilges and sets up a fan to finish the job. Darn good thing we did this at the dock so water would be available.
The patch kit has arrived- phew, I did not walk in vain. I check in at the desk (for the 5th time) to see if we’ve moved up on the list. Gosh almighty- if we aren’t NEXT in line. Just to be sure, I inquire that “maybe tomorrow?” we’d get the call. Then just for ha-ha’s I inquire “but not today though?” since it’s already 2pm and the calls would happen around noon. I get confirmation on these thoughts and head back to tell Russ the good news.
Getting ourselves off the dock was an event. All our fenders were strung horizontally with a special one on our port stern so we could pivot out. We released our bow and spring lines and after several attempts, suddenly, when we were both at the stern (of course) the bow was far enough off the dock- and my job to remove the stern line needed immediate attention.  The canal leading from the marina basin was only wide enough for us. We turned right and headed out of Boot Key Harbor toward a protected basin about 5 miles east. Several days of high winds (15-25) meant we needed protection yet being next on the list, did not want to venture far.  Next thing we know, the phone rings, “honey don’t answer it unless it’s important” I say, being at the helm at the time. More than important- why it’s the City Marina saying they have a mooring for us! How can that be? No matter, the gods like us today. We turn around and 30 mins later are snug on mooring ball #S8. Less than an hour later the wind has kicked up and continues for several days. I am happy, very happy.

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