Oct 232013

With a decision looming by this weekend I took a quick ride over to the marina office at Garrison Bight to get some more information.  This is where the city manages the mooring field and the small marina in the bight itself.  The marina has live aboard slips.  The hard part is getting one.

The slips at Garrison Bight have a lot of advantages.  Location is great, right near the corner of Palm Ave. and North Roosevelt.  So you are centrally located to the shopping and Old Town.  There are showers, bathhouse, and laundry, and the docks look to be in good shape.  The price is also surprisingly cheap, just under $12 a foot, meaning I could move my little 23′ in there for about the same price as the mooring field.  However, as you may well expect, the demand for such a prized slip is huge.  Those who already live there can transfer the rights to their slip for whatever the market will bear, and the market will bear a lot.  Out of blind hope, however, I asked the manager what slip availability was like and this is what he told me.

Every once in a while, the city holds a lottery for any available slips.  To get in on the lottery, you fill out an application, pay a fee, (amount currently unknown), and if your name is drawn, you are awarded a slip.  Such a lottery is about to take place next month.  I will have to keep an eye out for the announcement and if I can, put my name in.  Applicants can range from a dozen to a hundred for about 4 or 5 slips.  So the odds are not too bad.

I would love to be in that area at one of those slips.  The bight, while a bit noisy, is protected from the winds, sits in shallow water, and as I mentioned earlier, is in an ideal location.

As for the mooring field, it is far more easier to get in there.  They have plenty of mooring balls, there are amenities such as showers, bath house, and laundry, and the dinghy dock is right up the street from the slips.  All for the same price, $300 a month.  Downside of course is a ¼ to ½ mile run from the dock to your boat.  In my case, it will be a paddle as I will have to use a kayak for a dinghy.  But seeing as how I do paddle for several miles on occasion for the kayak company, it doesn’t sound too bad.   The boat will need to be legal, meaning toilet with pump out, all the safety equipment and lights, and be secured with a proper mooring pendant.  Here is where the decisions need to be made.

To go out to the mooring field, I will need to spend some money…money that is currently in short supply.  At least $600 will be needed to finish up what I need.  I do have money coming in from a couple of web projects but one will be paid by the end of the month, the other not until later in Nov.  Meaning that even with the lower rent, I won’t be able to get all the I need for living on the hook.

If I stay another month here at the marina of doom, the rent is higher, and I may not be able to do any more to the boat until I get more income.  I can’t bank on the lottery for the slip, it will be just a gamble if I decide to enter the lottery and even then, it depends on what they want for an entry fee.  So, I will need to see how the finances roll out over the weekend before I decide.  Complicating matters is my landlords have returned to the marina.  They are nice folks and we get along fine, but I hate to leave them on such short notice.  I did indicate that I am not happy here at the marina so we will see what is what.

The whole situation is wearing me out.  I am glad I at least got the rigging done and got as far as I have with the Spirit.  But I am so damn close to getting the rest of it done but it is just out of reach.  I haven’t forgotten about the other marina and that will ultimately be where I end up, but only after I get the Spirit completely done.  At least out on the mooring field or in Garrison Bight, I won’t have to worry too much about cosmetics.

Or I could go back to my original plan, sell the boat, get a small rv or van I can convert, and go back to land living for awhile.  It may not be any cheaper and it has it’s own set of issues, but I wouldn’t be pouring money into the boat.  And I would be out of this damn marina once and for all.

Right now, it looks like I will end up here for a while longer.

Capt. Fritter

  2 Responses to “Living Aboard: Mooring Fields & Slips…”

  1. if you go back to landing living .. would you do stealth boondocking with the RV ? maybe use bahia honda ? or would you rent a RV lot ? My initial research several months back it was a bit higher than your current $600 rent, but maybe there are hidden gem parks with only the essential amenities for a lot less monthly cost?

    • There is no boon docking in the Keys. The closest affordable rv park to Key West is in Big Pine Key. Otherwise it’s back to Marathon or the upper Keys. The state parks are expensive and limited to 2 weeks max.
      As always, I keep all options open. Sometimes a deal comes by that is just what I am looking for…another boat, rv, some sweet deal on land.
      Always be looking for something else, just in case.
      C. F.