Week five brings us to Key West and our month long stay at Stock Island Marina Village. The cruise from Faro Blanco in Marathon to Key West was a wonderful day on the water. We had following seas of three to four-foot waves that gave us a boost
from our usual 8 miles per hour to 9 ½ miles per hour. Our trip was pleasant, and we were able to share memories of the different keys and places we had previously visited. While reminiscing, we were constantly changing course to miss the innumerable crab-pots strewn along the way. Crabbing in Florida and the other seafood offerings as well as an economic mainstay for the state. In 2014 Florida ranked seventh among U.S. states for fresh seafood production with 99.2 million pounds harvested with a dockside value of $257.7 million. Florida however, ranked first by value with grouper, pompano, mullet, stone crab, pink shrimp, spiny lobsters, and Spanish mackerel. Florida fishermen caught 92% of the above species. When we speak with other cruisers about the number of crab-traps, we have to avoid I now see why. In 2015 Stone
Crabs and Blue Crabs brought in $36,498,363 million and $12,106,862 million respectively. In pounds, the Blue Crabs outpaced the Stone Crabs 6.6 million pounds to 2.8 million pounds respectively. I thought we had a lot of crab-traps in Pinellas but was amazed at the number here in the Keys. While Pinellas County caught 8.1 million pounds of combined crabs with a value of $23.6 million, Monroe County hauled in 12.6 million pounds with a value of $71.2 million dollars. I have a love-hate relationship with crap-traps; I hate having to constantly course correct to miss the crab-traps but love the dinners they can provide in the evening. https://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Marketing-and-Development/Education/For-Researchers/Florida-Seafood-and-Aquaculture-Overview-and-Statistics
Jean and I are enjoying our month-long visit in Key West very much. We go exploring every day. The Key West Botanical Gardens was a great visit for example, where we learned about the local area environment and its ecological history. Hurricane Irma made a complete mess of part of the site, but the staff has made many repairs and improvements.
Before we departed on the loop, Jean and I bought two compact and foldable bikes. I highly recommend to those considering the loop or any lengthy travel (RVer’s included) to bring bikes along. The bikes increase our range over walking by a factor of four as well as the time you can spend at various locations.
Jean and I noticed an odor in the aft stateroom that we could not locate, so we begin to take apart the bunks and closets and found a persistent leak under Jean’s bunk that brought a few gallons of standing water in every six hours or so. We decided to haul out and have the repairs done at Three D Boatyard a quarter mile from our
berth in Stock Island Marina Village. I thought that I could repair the leak once the transom dried out but found that the port trim tab bolts had rusted out and burrowed a hole in four places. Upon that discovery I had them remove all the trim tabs and glass over all the holes. We have never used the tabs nor do we cruise at a speed that the tabs assist us. When we took off the starboard tabs, we could push four of the attaching bolts through by hand. It was only a matter of time before I had the identical leaking problem on the starboard side as I had on the port side. We found a marine contractor that knew what he was doing and set about making the repairs. I have learned that fixing one problem will lead to many others that need correction also. As we sat on the hard (mariner speak for “out of the water” and on blocks and stabilizers), we saw that Makin Memories bottom was in desperate need of a paint job. The price quote was extremely reasonable, and we have at least 5000 miles to go yet, and we knew that at some point the bottom would need to be addressed but had delayed for the time being. Makin Memories now has a beautiful blue bottom.
Our marine contractor said they would be done today and we should splash (mariner speak for “dropped back in the water”) tomorrow at 10:30. I am looking forward to being back at the dock and then can begin the clean-up. Any time your boat is in the boatyard, she will become dirty, dusty, and just plain grimy. We have friends coming to visit this weekend and would like to have Makin Memories ship shape.