Cudjoe Key, Florida (high 90, low 90)
It’s getting mighty hot here in the Keys.
Al and I had a discussion yesterday about when we are leaving the Keys. I find it hard to believe it’s not summer everywhere and when I see pictures of snow, it shocks me to realize it’s not July or August!
We want to get some more boating days before we leave, but I’m thinking we need to leave in about 2 more weeks, so that we can spend some time in Tampa with Mom before we head to the mountains.
So, the last post, I mentioned a disturbing email we received while in Key West at the parade.
This is what we learned:
A a boat was fueling up at our marina and put approximately 20 gallons of fuel in their rod holder, rather than their fuel tank.
Just wanted to let everyone know the situation is under control. The Fire Department and the Coast Guard are here and we are taking every precaution as directed by them. We are waiting for a licensed salvage operation to come and pump the fuel out of the bilge.
Until the boat is out of the water the Fire Department has asked that everyone stay away from the boat ramp, marina, salt water swim area, and TGIF area as a precaution, as well as to not interfere with the salvage operation.
The situation should be resolved shortly and there is NO CAUSE FOR ALARM. The Fire Department and Coast Guard are well equipped to handle this situation and are doing their best to resolve it as quickly as possible.
The salvage company will be here at 7am to pump out the fuel and remove the boat. All fuel is still contained within the boat. The authorities believe it is safer to perform a pump out during daylight hours. We have a guard standing watch at the boat ramp overnight to ensure no one goes near the area. Please stay clear until the salvage operation is complete.
UH OH. Somebody had a very bad day!
When we got back home at about 11pm (yes believe it or not, we actually stayed out past dark) the boat ramp was blocked off. We could see the boat still in the water and there was yellow crime scene tape all over the area.
We had planned on going out in the boat the next morning, but at 7am the salvage guy still hadn’t arrived.
Everyone else was there waiting.
We had a difficult time understanding how someone could pump 23 gallons of fuel into the rod holders. The fuel tank has a screw on lid, the rod holders are wide open. What we were told was that he took the fuel cap off, then the boat moved a little for some reason and when he put the fuel nozzle into the fuel tank, he accidently put it into the wrong hole. Alcohol involved? We wondered.
So 23 gallons of gasoline was all pumped into the bilge of the boat, which is between the floor and the hull. You have an automatic bilge pump that pumps water out of the bilge when necessary. We assume he turned off the bilge pump, but could that cause a spark? We noticed he left his GPS on overnight, so maybe he was told not to touch anything electrical.
It was a fire and an environmental hazard and the fire department was taking it very seriously.
We watched the action from a distance.
I felt sorry for the firemen in their suits. It was terribly hot, even at 8am.
The salvage guy was supposed to arrive at 7am, but he was late. Not only could no one use the marina, but no one could get boat fuel either, and several boats were turned away. People come from all over to buy our fuel and there are not a lot of other options by water.
Finally the salvage guy came and proceeded to start pumping out the fuel. The guy on the dock in the white t-shirt is boat owner/guilty party.
The salvage guys were very, very careful to not spill any more fuel into the water than necessary. What little leakage they had was cleaned up with a skimmer and absorbent towels. The fuel was pumped into those plastic jugs. At $3.59 a gallon, this guy wasted 23 gallons of fuel!
The fire crew was ready, just in case.
If you ever need a clean up crew. These guys are available. :)
I’m sure this was a very, very expensive lesson for this boat owner. The fire department, EMT, Coast Guard, and clean up people were all there for various periods of time. His boat liability insurance should have covered this bill, but we saw him giving the clean up guy his debit card. He will get a bill from the Coast Guard, Fire Department and EMT more than likely. This is a good lesson on why we all need to carry plenty of liability insurance. Can you imagine if that boat had caught fire by the fuel docks?
The clean up took about 4 hours and once they all left we were finally able to get our boat into the water. We headed offshore to Looe Key Reef and did some snorkeling on a shallow part of the reef.
Here are a few shots I took of a school of parrotfish.
Can you spot the little hogfish in the foreground towards the right side? That is our favorite fish to eat.
Here is another of a hogfish.
We snorkeled around for awhile then came up with the intention of moving to another spot. Once we climbed into the boat, we realized it was getting pretty choppy and it would take us longer to get back in, so we decided to head back home. We had a big night planned in Key West. That was the night for the Conch Republic Battle on the waterfront.
Stay tuned. It was a fun night full of toilet paper, water canons, and fun.