Mar 312014

It’s still a bit early to make any real opinions on the new marina but I’m going to anyways. The changes from the, “other place” are so remarkably different and more better that it does bear some comments. As with anyplace there are good as well as bad things to contend with, so I will start off with the bad, which ain’t much.

Lets start with money. The slip rent here is $500 a month compared to $600 before. However there is a trade off. With the rent there is also $36.50 in sales tax. It’s a corporate structure so hence, the sales tax. But the big difference is utilities. The water and electric are not metered but instead a blanket fee of $75 a month is charged. Considering how little electric I use, I lose out. But when you total it all out, my total rent increases by $12.50. Acceptable.

Pump outs are a different story. The weekly pump out was free in county waters, now I live in Key West, officially, and the days of free pump outs are over. They still come by once a week but now it costs $20 per visit. There is a portable pump out on the docks for emergencies but that costs $25. With my little 5 gallon tank, it could get expensive. I’m going to have to think on this one a bit, and use the bath house more often.

Internet continues to be an issue. I have two choices here. Comcast, one of the worst companies of all time, or Beacon, which specializes in marina wifi. I used Beacon before at the original marina where I had the apartment and it was sloooooow. It’s not free here and the pay options are not cheap. A quick attempt to get the login/sign up page was also very slooooooow in loading. I will try a short term 3 day trial to see if the connection is worth the money. If not, I will be back to square one. I cannot be spending that kind of money for wifi that is no better than dial up speed. This ain’t the fault of the marina, it’s just the way things are.

To complicate the wifi issues, Sprint is in the middle of upgrading the island to LTE. Right now the tower is at the airport and the connection here is weak. When it works it’s great. But it don’t always work. Hopefully Sprint will be expanding the system soon.

Next door to the marina is the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the county jail, juvenile detention, and the homeless shelter. As far as I know, there has been no trouble in the marina but a few people have said to keep your vehicles, scooters, and bikes locked up out in the parking lot. The homeless shelter is due to be moved soon up the street, thanks to the efforts of the HOA in the marina. It’s one of the few times a HOA did something good.

The marina and condo property is surrounded by mangroves and has a lot of foliage. I’m sort of out in the middle of the bay so the bugs should not be too bad although at dusk the no see um’s do come out. Some screens may be in the future.

Also being on the end of the tee and next door to the fuel dock, I bounce around a lot when a boat comes through, even at idle. It’s minor but nothing I can’t handle.

And should I want to hit the open water, it’s a bit of sail around the north side of Key West to get there. I don’t plan on much sailing right now.

None of these things is a deal killer and overall, it’s still way more better than where I came from. So, how about the good? Well, there is plenty of it starting with…

Quiet. It’s so much more quiet here than before. There appears to be a fork lift around here someplace but I have yet to hear it. I’m no longer under the flight paths of the fighter jets. And the neighbors seem to be relatively sedate. On Saturday a few did congregate for afternoon refreshments but there was no loud music and the conversation was a step above the burned out gibberish I used to have to listen too. But overall, the whole place is very peaceful. Best part, they are all live aboards. Nobody is renting out their boats to you noisy damn obnoxious tourists.

It’s clean. Very clean. The docks are clear and the place looks like it’s being well taken care of. At night there are nice bright lights so you can get around, and there is no dog shit to step in, even though everyone seems to have a dog.

The docks are floating which means they rise and sink with the tide. I just have to adjust my lines once and they are good. The cleats are strong and well anchored. I even get a dock box if I want to use it.

There is a marina store on site and rather close to me. They sell the usual stuff, drinks, snacks, ice, and bait. It’s nice to be able to grab a cold drink when you can’t get to the regular store. They also handle mail, fuel sales, provide free coffee in the morning, and the staff is friendly. A nice change of pace.

Behind the store is a large building which has storage units, and upstairs meeting rooms and the laundry and bath rooms. The laundry runs the same as before, just $2 a load. But the bath room, is something to behold.

Inside the bath room is real tile and rubber floors. It’s all clean and roomy. There are three showers and the water is hot and pressure is good. But best of all, it’s air conditioned inside. So you don’t have to take another shower to wipe off the sweat after getting out of the first shower. And it don’t cost an extra $125 a month.

I have neighbors in front of me on the tee, and on the inside slip. Met them all Saturday and everyone was friendly. I counted 6 dogs and 1 cat between them. I was quick to make friends with all the dogs so I can get back and forth without any trouble. Nobody appeared to be noisy and everyone looked extremely well fed. One lady said I was on the best dock in the marina. Sounds like there will be a few parties down the road. I may have to attend for a change.

Elsewhere there are fish cleaning stations, trash cans, and other niceties. You know, the sort of thing one would expect to find in a marina where people live on boats. The differences are amazing.

Some of the docks are owned individually, like the, “other place”. And on the north east side are 4 story condos and their own sets of slips. There is an HOA but I am unsure how much they will influence where I live. My slip is owned by the marina, I think.

One last nice thing is the location. There is a bus stop not 100 yards down the street from the entrance to the marina. And the walk to Publix is now about a mile and ½ which I can walk in 45 minutes. And I don’t have to trudge through the crack town to get there. But, the bus stop is also the evening staging area for the homeless shelter. All the urban outdoorsmen gather before dark to be marched off to the shelter for the night.

So overall, I am pleased with what I have seen so far. Things could change but I suspect this could be a long term solution for living here, as long as finances hold. I would hate to find out this place is ideal, only to have to move because I can’t afford it, but if I do, the mooring field is right around the corner. For now, I’m going to enjoy the new place and start getting things back in order again. I spent way too long fretting over what went down at the, “other place”. Time to move on.

Capt. Fritter

  6 Responses to “Living Aboard: First Impressions Of The New Marina…”

  1. It sounds like the peace of mind is worth the extra charges for sure. Do you have any plans on what to do with the flat-rate electric you are being charged?

  2. oh this sounds good capt.
    except for the utility charge.
    mine was 45.00 this month. my water and cable are included in my rent. i love that!
    although my tv reception is not the sharpest. but i watch so little tv it really doesn’t matter.
    like you said. enjoy those nice hot showers in your CLEAN bathhouse! it’s a good thing.
    does key west have a library that’s anywhere near you at all?
    most libraries now offer internet free. just a thought. i see people in there. they have their own password and everything.

    • The library is where all the urban outdoorsmen go for internet. And besides, the girlfriend of the neighbor who’s boat I almost smashed works there. I do have other alternatives.

      C. F.

  3. Sounds like you’ll enjoy the new place! One correction, though, is that this tourist here will be renting a boat here in May, but I’ll try to keep the noise down so you can get your beauty sleep! 😉