Boat Angels in Paradise

Days 268-275; March 20-26, 2016

Total Miles Traveled: 2617

Well, I am again sitting in the Marina Lounge as the bright and shiny new heat exchanger is being installed on Namaste. Captain Jim is working alongside mechanic Bob to keep a watchful eye on things while checking for any additional weak spots in the engine room. This has been an easy engine fix costing only about 1.5 boat units (1 boat unit = $1,000).

There is much to do here in Coconut Grove and the Dinner Key Marina including a Fresh Market right next door (equivalent to the Plum Market); the Fairchild Gardens for an afternoon including a walking Palm (not tree) tour; trolley, bus, Metrorail, Citibike, and Uber transportation; great restaurants (Jaguar, LeBouchon, Peacock Café) and fabulous places to walk and run Sammy. The other day we even met the Mayor of Miami as the marina is just behind the City Hall.  How did we know it was the mayor?  Well, his name and MAYOR was printed on the curb by the front door.  As we walked by he got out of a black Yukon smiling at us.  Are you the mayor?  Yep, I am, and proceeded to talk to us for a couple of minutes hearing a little about our trip.  On a less fun note, we got lost one evening riding the Trolley ending up at Mercy Hospital instead of the marina. It was the driver’s first day on the job, add this to her minimal English and our even more limited Spanish, creating a directional nightmare.  The tired and yet helpful hospital workers at the bus stop showed us the way to get home.

Because of the great Internet connection in addition to shopping, I have taken the final course for my social work continuing education requirement, renewed my license, and ordered navigation charts for heading north as well as for the Bahamas – all of which have been on my to do list since leaving home. Have I mentioned how happy I am with the great Internet here? In addition to the marina service I somehow have connected as a customer to free XFINITY service right from the boat!!! Jim is on Facebook and is following along on the iPad. Bad tech-news is that his iPhone 4 will not charge. A new charger is ordered from Amazon Prime so hopefully the easy fix works. Jo Ann’s phone is alive and well so call anytime!

Now an important message about boat angels! This term did not originate here but rather is common among cruisers in general and loopers in particular. These are the people who show up at the perfect time in the perfect place with the perfect information or skills to miraculously help things work out! There have been many, many along the way including our boat buddies Vicki and Ron the first 2,500 miles of this trip; marina dock masters and dock hands; as well as bridge tenders and lock masters. More recently we acknowledge the helpful and fun staff at Faro Blanco for countless favors; Clark who spent a full day helping Jim rewire and install new batteries followed by helping to diagnose the VHF speaker problem and find a fix; Steve and Judy (living on board for 13 years) for their overall recommendations but particularly way back in Mobile for suggesting Indian Town as the place to leave Namaste for the summer; Nancy for keeping Sammy while we traveled to Key West; our Ann Arbor contingent for a fabulous family visit in the Keys; Debbie and Tom for their most welcome visits in spite of the weather; the marina guard who found Jim’s Visa card; the Verizon folks at the end of *611 for their guidance on several occasions; new friends Carol and Bob for their music and hospitality here in Coconut Grove; and finally Brad at Sunburst Marine in Boyne City, Ernie at Irish in Charlevoix, and Bob, the expert Perkins engine mechanic fixing our heat exchanger who miraculously lives here in this marina! We are thankful to everyone who has played an important part in this journey – you are truly boat angels.

We have found a doggy spa and hotel for Sammy’s vacation while we travel this weekend to see Pat, Heather, Lexi, Ashleigh and Nate in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Sammy and the boat will be safe and we couldn’t be more excited to see and spend time with them – again a vacation from the vacation! There are not words to express our gratitude.

Quote of the day: Leonie playing with a ring, putting it on and off her finger. . .

Brooke: Are you going to get married?

Leonie: Yes.

Brooke: Who are you going to marry?

Leonie: Grandma and Grandpa!


Boat name of the day: “Over Ice”


Bad boat name of the day: Just saw another sailboat named Namaste – first one ever! Suppose it had to happen sooner or later.


Happy Birthday to: Sharron Bourget (belated), Rosemary Freitas and Bob Olson


Happy Easter Weekend to All!    



IMG_9622Bob and Carol performing on Pier #2 Dinner Key Marina

IMG_9629Night in the marina




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