Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Day to Enjoy

Despite the fact that the wind has started to kick up a bit, from the southeast at 11 (from the northeast at 18 now and expected to increase even more), today is the kind of day that we live for.  It's comfortably cool.  It's fairly quiet in town.  No major events, no cruise ship in port.  It's a good day for a haircut.  And to see the large Navy landing ship tied up at the Truman Waterfront.  And to meet up with the other mentors with A Positive Step Monroe County.

It occurs to me that some who read this blog (o, faithful ones) might like to know something about the marina life style we have chosen, what it's like to live here, and how to go about doing it yourselves.




We moved onto Marlin Pier at Garrison Bight at the end of April 2011, so our one year anniversary will soon be upon us.  We bought the two-story, two-bedroom, two-bath, two-balcony Sundog from a friend, who just happened to casually mention to me that he was thinking about selling it in order to move back to his native New York.  We quickly scraped together the money we needed by draining our retirement fund.  When all was said and done, we paid Roger, the City of Key West, Monroe County Tax Collector, insurance agent, and the state of Florida a healthy chunk of what had been resting away in a safe but low-performing managed IRA account.

By doing that, we were able to effect a 60% reduction in our monthly rent payment on land, in exchange for which we get to rent a 40' X 16' slip on the newest and only floating dock built so far on Houseboat Row.  There are 30 slips here on Marlin (actually 29, since there are two wide boats side-by-side taking up three slips).  There are also three other docks with a total of 72 slip among them.  Those docks are older, and non-floating, which means that gangways there can pitch up or down at what is sometimes a precipitous angle.  The City plans to replace the other three docks over the next five years, with the first one being the longest, Tarpon Pier, and to make it floating and having finger piers between slips.That project was scheduled to begin in the spring of this year, but it's been moved out to the end of the year, after the end f hurricane season

About the only way to get in here (there's a waiting list) is to buy a boat that's already in a slip.  The city charges a transfer fee of $5,000 whenever ownership of a houseboat changes hands.  There are several houseboats for sale now, ranging in price from around $30,000 up to $300,000.

We've learned a lot about houseboat living in the short time we've lived here.  We're fortunate to be neighbors with people who have much more experience than us, and doubly fortunate that they're the kind of people who are always ready to pitch in and lend a hand when one is needed.

Now it's spitting rain, the Navy flag on our upper rear deck is whipping, and the boat is rocking pretty good.  But a bad day here at the bight is still better than a good day in many other places.

We'll have more to say on this topic in coming posts.

And, oh yeah, Moe's Barber Shop and Gun Shop closes at noon on Saturday, so I never did get that haircut.

B.



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