Nettles Island

December’s 5th, twenty seventeen 06:18

Like most side trips off of the ICW this exit was stressful. As you all know during our travels we spend most of our time at anchor. Docking is done less than 6 times a season.  When you leave the ICW you will be following someone’s instructions and likely some private markers. In this case we had to make a hard right at Green 215… then turn left at red 4 then follow the sea wall to the marina.

We were always in 9 feet of water until we got to the marina then we had over 8 feet. Instructions were stay close to the T head then the second slip past algorithm.  “Pretty tight quarters” the devils on each shoulder whispered. The wind which had been docile up to that moment decided to kick in, just another factor in my ‘algorithm’ OMG. Fracas is maneuverable, but on a planetary scale. In close quarters consider landing a house on a postage stamp.

In order to get into narrow spaces you need to come close or graze everything. When Fracas comes in a crowd almost always gathers, this was no exception. The stress and terror at the helm was not outwardly visible as Fracas nimbly entered the slip. We didn’t hit or graze anything. We came close, like in a good game of hand grenades or old style lawn darts, close is ok.

We were greeted by the marina owner Ray and his son.  The other guys went back to work putting decking back on the dock system. We later learned that only the dock section Fracas is on was relatively unscathed during IRMA. They have managed to get the pump out system, water and electric working at all the slips. About half of the new decking is down and about half of that is nailed down. They are working hard to get everything back together. Several of the boats show the signs of IRMA (pictures tomorrow).

The marina office is part of a strip mall that Ray’s son reports is all family owned. There is a ‘beauty parlour parlor’, ladies clothing store, and a convenience store at the road end.  Ray got us all signed up and we are now part of the community. We decided to scope out the store. I was drawn to the marine hardware section. This section is about 6 feet wide and floor to roof. The typical stuff convenience store keepers think boaters need. But what to my wondering eyes do appear? Two brand new Beckson 5″ X 12″ opening ports, for $29.00 (orange tag).

We have always wanted to replace all the ports on Fracas with the stainless steel models from New Found Metals. The budget and Fracas priority needs always intervene and gobble up the boat bucks that would be required. This apparent find would replace the port above my head in our aft cabin with a brand new plastic original equipment Beckson. Above my head when I sleep. This particular port drips one drip every five or ten minutes after a rain. I picked up one of the ports and sent it to the cash with ML. I thought if there was a price glitch this particular Sam Drucker might give her the obviously crazy price (200 bucks West Marine).

After we got back to the boat with our treasure I said, “you have to go back and get the other one”. The other one didn’t have the orange tag and didn’t have any price on it. I suggested she take the package from the first one with the price to help negotiate. Sure enough, ML came back with the second port for the same $29.00. Now we have to figure out how they come apart, holy crap.

There is a nice young family on Algorithm in the slip two over from us. They have two kids 4 and 2. I first met the mom when I was standing staring at the 2 year old that was standing on the top of the hard dodger. No parent, no safety net and no harness in view anywhere. The windows in the hard dodger are tinted and suddenly out popped the mom “don’t worry, I am watching her”. My heart started beating again having momentarily slipped into grandfather….

more later


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