Sunday, May 04, 2014


Drifting away in the keys

SVETA's Socks 
Where do the days go? Time seems fly by so quickly, yet we have no time pressures to get things done or go anywhere. I've been spending most of my days sitting up in the cockpit just watching the tides rise and fall around the mangrove covered key. It's easy to get lost here and just drift through days, months and even years.

As you can see from the photo, I have spent some of my time finishing up the socks for Sveta at the orphanage in Kazakhstan. I liked how they turned out so I wrote up the pattern for other hand knitters and it is being tested by my fearless test-knitters right now. I'm so humbled by not only their willingness to wade through my rough draft, but also by their superior choices of colors and application of these colors to their projects.

All 7 pairs of socks that I knit for the kids who are aging-out of the orphanages have been shipped to the organization's director in the states and will be hand-carried to Kazakhstan in a couple of weeks along with everyone else's contributions. Now it's time to concentrate on the other 500 needed pairs for December.

Local Pawn shop
We've been observing the people around us here in the Florida Keys with special attention paid to those who are also on boats. This anchorage in Marathon is restricted TO liveaboards. Boats must be occupied - no wet storage is allowed. This is unusual in the world of boating, but it does take care of the problem of derelict and abandoned boats.

So who lives on these boats? Well, there are some folks like us who are in transit and just passing through, but there are also boaters who live aboard during "the season" here. After the winter months they put their boats in dry storage and return to their homes up north for the nice weather.
City of Marathon Marina club house
But a large number of the boats here are permanent homes. These people are taking advantage of the relative low cost of being on a mooring compared to the high cost of land housing. Some are working folks, some have families, others are living on pensions, some are simply free spirits while there are a few just plain bums with the usual issues - it's a mixed crowd.

Here's a photo of the inside of the community club house for us boaters. There's free wifi, two TV viewing mini-theaters (at the back of the room), a large library and a mail distribution area. With the laundry room, hot showers and room to park your car and bicycle, this would be a nice place to live if you are on a limited income ($200/mo). So while some of us are on adventures, most of the folks here are simply living - living simply.

City of Marathon Marina club house Library
We've seen kids get dropped off here by the local school bus, and there's a large gaggle of home-schooled boat kids who congregate together in the TV theatres to watch their assigned Discovery channel programs. Oh, and of course they use the electrical power outlets to power up their gaming systems. The local Monroe county library is within walking distance and the marina itself is located in a large city park with complete sporting fields set ups. Not a bad life at all.

So you can see that this really is an interesting place. We attended a potluck get together, have done a lot of walking, and enjoy listening to the songs of the single male mockingbirds at night. At night? Yep. Bachelor mocking birds sing at night. During the day we see manatees occasionally, hear and see ospreys and even had a red-winged blackbird hang out on the boat. Once in a while a dolphin will surface to get a breath of air and continue the hunt for local fishies.

We've toured around a bit in our dinghy. There are many mobile/manufactured homes lining the man made canals and cluttering the islands. There are also big beach houses along the larger channels. We passed these on our way out to Sombrero Beach recently.

The beaches of the keys on this side are all protected by the reefs just a few miles out. This breaks the swells from the Atlantic ocean and makes the waves tiny - perfect for babies, dogs, and old folks.
Sombrero Beach
Naturally, it being April and the day, and water, was warm, there were quite a few of all three types at the beach that day.

We parked our dinghy at the designated spot and wandered along the white sands of the crescent shaped beach. Walking barefoot on wet sand provides us with free (and enjoyable) foot scrubbing!

Dinghy/Kayak parking
Although it was hot in the sun, all we had to do was slip into the shade of a palm tree and the cool breeze off of the ocean would quickly dry our glistening foreheads. We spent our afternoon watching the kids chase little fish in the shallows and dogs fetching toys. So it happened again. Time simply drifted by.

Life is good.
Dog playing at Sombrero Beach

Wow, those socks are awesome. I can't get my head around the size of the socks you're knitting for the children. Do you knit various sizes? I find that project interesting.
We knit for ages of about 4-years old up to big teenagers. Some of the boys have 12" feet!! We also knit socks for the teenagers to take with them as gifts when they leave the orphanage. So we knit a lot of big, adult-sized socks.

Fla sounds so nice just now, had 5 inches snow in Williams Lake Saturday morning.
Love to read the details of your lovely life. Life IS good, my friend.
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