It was cloudy nearly all day yesterday and the winds never died down until late afternoon. Needless to say, it wasn’t a good boating day.
We decided to stay home and do a few projects. I decided to tackle the dirt and grime inside, and Al decided to put new wheel bearings on the boat trailer. When you regularly dunk your trailer tires into salt water, you have to really watch those wheel bearings. We’ve seen a lot of boat trailers on the side of the road with bad wheel bearings.
Here in Sunshine Key, we only have to trailer the boat a block or two to the water, but of course that’s still enough to lose a tire. In the past whenever Al would jack up the boat to do the bearings, he would always also use something else to block the boat, in case the jack failed. He has had jacks fail so he always took that safety precaution. When I noticed he was using nothing but the jack I questioned him. He said he had nothing else to brace the boat, so he was trusting the jack not to fail. I didn’t like it, but kept my mouth shut (mostly).
Fortunately, the jack held. Years ago when we first started boating, we had a good boat mechanic, who was killed when a boat he was working on fell on top of him.
Today is the beginning of the mass exodus. There are a LOT of snowbirds starting their annual northern migration today. The custom here is to honk your horn when you get up on the highway. I already heard the first air horn at about 6am. I expect to hear many more. The state of Florida is going to let out a big sign of relief when some of the weight is off! Another year that Florida didn’t sink into the ocean from all the weight.
We thought we’d have a few days with a fairly empty park, but it turns out there is an Airstream rally starting, and they expect 100 of them. Our new neighbors have a big triple axle Airstream. It’s huge.
We haven’t yet heard if our tenants at Venture Out have gotten their motor home repairs done yet, or not. They were supposed to be leaving today, but it will depend on whether their new alternator arrived yesterday as it was supposed to. I guess, we’ll know later today. We’re not in too big of a hurry to move over there and we’re paid through the 8th here at Sunshine Key. There are some things here at Sunshine Key that we like better than Venture Out. One thing was the fishing bridges, which are now closed, so that’s not an issue any longer.
The other thing we prefer here at Sunshine Key is the marina. It’s in a little cove that is completely blocked from the wind. The ramp is long and the water is plenty deep, even at low tide, so you have no problem pulling the boat out of the water. The docks are floating with rubber edges so you don’t have to worry about damaging the boat if you come in too fast.
The marina at Venture Out has short, solid concrete docks. The water is not as deep and we’re wondering if we’ll have trouble loading the boat during load tides. The only real advantage at Venture Out is they have non-ethanol marine fuel at their marina and they don’t here at Sunshine Key.
We refuse to use anything but ethanol free gas, so we currently have to take five gallon tanks down to a station in Big Pine Key that sells non-ethanol marine fuel. It will be much easier (although more expensive) to fill up at the marina.
Ethanol is bad for outboard boat engines and despite the fact that the non-ethanol costs $4.93 a gallon at the marina, it’s well worth the extra cost. Ethanol gas is very damaging to the rubber hoses and gaskets and internal parts in small engines. When we lived in Georgia and had the big Grasshopper zero turn mower, we had some problems with hoses kind of melting. Once we realized there was a gas station in town that sold non-ethanol gas, we started using that and never had any more problems. Of course, before we changed fuel, we ruined a new gas edger, damaged a gas pressure washer, and a few other things. You can use an additive to counter the ethanol, but we prefer to just not use it at all if we don’t have to.
We are hoping to go out in the boat today, but I guess no one told the wind gods that it’s April and the wind is supposed to die down!