May 292013

Well, the holiday is over with and for all intent and purposes, we are into the summer season here in Key West.  The stormy weather has started with the daily thunderboomers and the media is all aflutter with the latest predictions of a very busy hurricane season, sponsored by Home Depot, Eveready Batteries, and anyone else who can profit by instilling fear and paranoia into the public.  As always, we are reminded that this could be the year of, “The Big One”.  And we may well get it.  Or not.  Nobody is really sure.  But go and spend money on hurricane supplies now to avoid the rush.  Just to be safe.

As for here in the marina, I am still trying to get some clarity on what is going to happen.  I did finally hear back from the landlords who made it safely back to north of the border.  They told me pretty much what I already know.  Labombard, (“Mr. Singh” as they call him), will be buying the marina property which includes the bait shop, boat storage, associated buildings, and most importantly, the bath house and laundry.  He will not own the docks.  At least not yet.  It is understood that the residents on the docks will continue to have access to parking and the bath house, just not necessarily where they are now.  I take this to mean he will be building new facilities elsewhere on the property.  Whether or not he chooses to leave the old bath house up while building the new one remains to be seen, but you never know.  As for the parking, that won’t affect me.  And there is always the possibility that he would go back on his promise and deny access to said bathhouse, laundry, and parking, just to get people to leave.  I know, it’s that paranoia coming out again.  I mean really, how likely is it that someone who is rich and powerful, has shown a disdain for underlings like us, and wants total control over everything, would actually break a promise?  Never happen.

I am pretty sure that I am safe and sound for the moment.  The landlords assure me that if any changes come about they will give me as much advanced notice as possible.  They are affected too.  In addition to handling the rent for my slip, they have their boat in another rental slip.  So, I am going with the assumption that I can stay here through the summer and possibly into the winter at least.  I would hope I would have a minimum of 30 to 90 days if they decide to kick me out.  Why kick out a paying tenant?  My boat may not meet any new standards they decide to impose, and if the new regime comes in with promises of tenants who will pay more rent, then my rent will go up to a point that I can no longer afford it, and I will have to leave.

One side note:  This “Mr. Singh” business indicates there is going to be a lot of fear and ass kissing on the part of the residents, owners and renters alike, lest we should incur the wrath of our new lord and master and he should deign to take away all that he has given.  Guess how I feel about that?  My days of placing lips to butts are long over.  Labombard’s money and power don’t impress me one bit.  And I suspect that attitude will only expedite my leaving the marina.  Whatever.  The sooner the better, as long as it’s on my terms.  I’m fed up with the whole scene here and I am ready to move on, which brings up the current options:

The other marina I looked at last week has the kind of atmosphere I am looking for in a marina.  Older, very keysy, more like it used to be around here.  But there are two issues.  The cost, over $800 a month, and the fact that my boat won’t pass muster in terms of how it looks, and the fact it needs a motor, and a few thousand dollars worth of other things.  I figger this scow is going to cost me a minimum of $3000 to get it up to spec to go into that marina.  Money I currently do not have.

I am avidly looking around for another boat.  Finding them but not quite the deal I want to make.  I’ve been trying to get an ad on Craigslist to see if anyone wants to trade, but apparently CL has some new policies including one called., “ghosting”.  If you run an ad on CL and it has certain key words, links, or other unknown alerts, the computer will ghost the ad.  They will say your ad is published, even give you the link which shows it.  But go on CL and the ad doesn’t show up anywhere.  What is so mind numbingly stupid is they don’t tell you that your ad has been ghosted, nor why, nor give you any clue as to how to unghost it.  I understand the reputation CL has for spammers and scammers, but for those of us trying to run legit ads, this is just plain idiotic.  Just another obstacle to get around.  You get used to this sort of thing after a while.  All you want to do is something simple and easy, and people seem to go out of their way to make it difficult.

Anyways, I have three other marinas, all in Marathon with cheaper slips that would be possible candidates.  One is way further north of the bustling downtown area of Marathon, the other two are sorta kinda run down, but cheap enough.  If I had a motor on this boat I could probably get into one of them without too much fuss.

I’m unsure if that van conversion that was advertised to trade for a boat is still available.  It is no longer parked where it has been.  Maybe sold, or moved, or towed away.  There are some affordable rv sites in Big Pine, all I need to do is find out if the van conversion will meet their standards.  Couple of issues, of course.  The sites are only rented until Dec.  Then the snowbirds come in, or you can pay the much higher rents to stay.  Also, it being in Big Pine, or the marinas in Marathon, could put a hurting on my income.  It looks like I may be able to put this captain license to some use and do some charter work.  It pays pretty decent, is only part time so it won’t interfere with the app business, but, I really need to be close by when the call comes in for a charter.  If I am up the road 30 or 50 miles, I need to hop a bus to get down here.  And I stand the chance of losing out on some business.

As for the app business, after a slow spring, it may be picking up again.  Got a few possibles, just need to close them and get some money.  I am also trying to work on a new venue, out of state, which has some potential.  I have a contact out west in an interesting market and if I can put something together, could pay off with some more app projects.  The hard part is convincing said contact of what I can do and then approaching said customers.  The upside is I can do all this without the need to travel out there.

I guess I shouldn’t complain too much, but I will.  I have been in worse spots before.  At least this time I don’t have any debt to concern me.  No property to lose.  The only liability I have is the boat, which is also an asset.  Something I could sell and get some working cash or find that elusive other boat.  It’s just a matter of timing and finding the right way to go.

So, in the meantime, here I sit.  It’s not time to panic yet, but I do need to keep looking for alternatives.  The ideal situation would be for me to just sell the boat outright, find some temporary, yet affordable studio, trailer, efficiency, whatever that I can rent out for the summer and possibly the winter, make a few million dollars, and then go find the boat I want.  Ideally.

Capt. Fritter

  3 Responses to “Living Aboard: The Current Situation…”

  1. yes.
    i’m for that last paragraph.
    i’m surprised in a boating community ~ and by that … the whole of the keys … that there aren’t small publications that just deal with listing boats for sale. we have them here for the real estate market. some ads are the … for sale by owner… and others are realtors. but they list the price and a picture and the location. do they have something like that down there just for boats? it would be helpful.
    but then i suppose that’s what craigs list is for. aaaaggghh.
    say! maybe there’s a new app for you. a boat listing service. and in the meantime you can find your ideal boat!
    ok. enough sunshine for today. taking my pollyanna spirit back to my landlocked closet.

  2. HAHAHAHAHA! alright charlie brown.
    i should have known you’d be on top of it. you’re an ass. but such a delightful one.
    yes. i can talk like a pirate too. not nice though. from a little 67 yr old lady. so pretend i said
    you’re an intelligent common sense pirate who’s staying ahead of the game. or in this case …
    the wicked enemy lalombard.