Riggs and I are hanging on mooring R-9 here in Boot Key Harbor, town of Marathon, Key of Vaca, State of FLA. With 226 boats on moorings, and maybe another 100 anchored, its an interesting cruiser's community here. At 9 am every morning, we flip on the VHF to channel 68 and join the 'cruisers net', a moderated radio conversation. It begins with announcements of recent arrivals and departures, then general announcements, then buy-sell- swap, and finally trivia. If you have something to say you announce your vessel name, the moderator recognizes you, and you have the floor.
In the announcements section I have been encouraging boaters with dogs to show up at the local park at 8 am for doggie play time, hosted by Riggs, and we're just starting to get a response, with 5 or 6 dogs and owners showing up today. The park requires leashes, but at 8 am nobody is there, and the dogs get along much better off the leash, so we flaunt the rules. At least so far.
Since Spray has no generator we live off battery power, an ever dwindling resource. Today was warm and calm so at 11 am we cast off the mooring and did a 2 hour cruise around Boot Key, in an effort to recharge the house battery, which started at 75% discharged and ended at about 50% discharged. We either need a higher-output alternator or a longer cruise.
One hour of our cruise was actually at anchor, with the engine running, so I could use some power tools (sander and vacuum) to do some work on Spray. Those tools would deplete the battery quickly if the engine was not running.
Below is a picture of Riggs and Mama Manatee that my brother took last week. A true meeting of the minds.