August 30: I have never been interested in living in a gated community. It always seemed a bit pretentious but here we are living in one-that is when we’re living on Sable our Catalina 385.
Our home port is Halifax Harbor Marina in Daytona Beach, Florida.
I appreciate knowing there is the limited access when we are not there . However, I don’t like it when we are there. It’s a pain in the —- to remember taking the gate key each time I need to walk up to the car or bath/laundry house. I wear my key on a lanyard around my neck because women’s clothes are designed for style and not deep pockets. I don’t wear my “necklace” on the boat so I hang it on the handrail next to the steps leading down into the boat each time I take it off. Hopefully, I’ll see it each time I start up the stairs to leave the boat. If not, since we are at the far end of the dock, and it is a 4 minute walk each way, I can get my exercise just going back for the key.
The last blog was about our living space, this is about our neighborhood. On a dock you live in close quarters to your neighbors. This is good and bad. Mostly good we find. And since most boaters are transients, you can hope a bad neighbor moves on. We are fortunate at this marina. We have a live-aboard sailor and his wife on one side of us and friendly power boaters ( who are often not onboard) on the other.
Two boats share a finger pier-that’s kind of like the walkway up to a house as opposed to the dock which is like a main sidewalk. We haven’t always had considerate neighbors, the last ones tied their lines on our cleat and kept a set of stairs (they couldn’t get on their boat without them) on the finger pier which limited us getting onto and off our boat. Sounds like minor things? Yes, but marina living means shared space and that can create annoyances I’m not talking about big issues like barking dogs (you’d be surprised at how many boaters have dogs onboard) or loud music. So we hope to keep this slip (dock space) and these neighbors.
Boating neighbors are as varied as any group you can find. This is not a homogeneous neighborhood like you find in most residential neighborhoods in America. I could write a book about sailing-neighbors, some of which found their way into our second novel, Night Watch. Currently our sailor-neighbor is retired military who traded his car (or was it a motorcycle?) for his lovely old sailboat which will be a life-long fix up project. Then in contrast, is the guy at the end of the dock with a boat so huge that won’t fit into a slip and has more square feet than most houses.
Arthur can usually be found sitting on the fly-bridge with a glass of wine, smoking a cigar at sunset. He has a good perch. But what makes Arthur really so interesting is his motorcycle. Seems he bought one from a police auction. It’s a beautiful Harley and decked out just like a police bike, blue flashing lights and all. However, he had to change the marking after he was pulled by local police for “imitating a police vehicle”. So with some white tape, he changed the side from Police to PoliTe. Did you ever realize there is just one letter different? (You’ll need to click on the picture to see the details.)Now that takes a sense of humor. Authur also volunteers at the local lighthouse. Cool huh? BTW, he’s looking for a mate (female) if anyone is interested in experiencing living on a trawler, you can leave a comment on this blog and I’ll forward your offer to Arthur next time we’re down.
Boaters, particularly sailors love to chat. It is almost impossible to be lonely living on a dock at a marina. And equally impossible to make a trip up or down the dock without a conversation. On land we might not have so much in common, but on the water there is always reason to talk about the weather. One weather forecaster in the Bahamas signs off with this: “Whether you go, or whether you stay, depends on the weather.” So, upcoming storms, wind direction, temperature and any water related events are all serious and frequent topics of conversation.
Then there is always discussion of boat repairs, marine stores, and reliable marine services are right up there with weather. Arthur is refinishing his teak, John is redoing his electrical wiring, Ed is changing the engine and transmission oil, and Gary and Pat are cleaning their bilge. Boats, new or old, sitting in salt-water are always under repair and borrowing and leading tools is another part of life here. Another good reason to stay on good terms with your neighbors.