Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I Wanna' Move to the Pocket

I want to move to Manatee Pocket.   We are here:

Manatee Pocket is where I work. It is just above the "B" bubble.  Look at the sandbars at the entrance. You can't see those from the water.  looks easy to get beached.  We are also concerned that it might not be deep enough for our 6 foot draft, but we recently were told that they dredged it to 10 feet.  If that's the case, yay for us.  You can anchor there though the authorities don't like it. Otherwise you have to find someone to rent a private dock from.

At Sunset on the US1 we are surrounded by millionaires on vacation. On their motor yachts they have the same amenities as a house. - Full size refrigerator, air conditioning, showers, micro waves, hair dryers etc... I can't even take a shower without walking through heels, ties, and smokey eyes fondling cocktails on the dock in front of the restaurant on my way to the showers.  I wheel my laundry through them too.  I haven't mentioned the restaurant at the end of D dock.  It is wildly popular. So much so that there is a valet service to park the cars in the marina's parking lot.  They have about half of the parking space they need.  Like the live music, valet parking used to only happen on weekends. Now that we are in The Season live music blasts 7 days a week and the valet is there 6 days a week.  When I return from work I have to wait in a line of cars, then wait for a valet to move a Porsche or Maserati so I can park my '98 Mazda truck. I have a marina sticker so they have to give me a space.  That's right, they move expensive cars move for me nearly every day. I'm the VIP in my dirty mini pick-up truck.

We could hear the live music on weekends in the mooring field perfectly clear. Back then it was guitar drum and base Pretty Woman, Wonderful Tonight, Sweet Home Alabama, Play That Funky Music White Boy.  Now it is a lot of the same but with keyboard, acoustic guitar, saxophone, and back up singers.  And a female to sing new radio songs like "This Time Baby."  It is our nightly cover band sound track.  10-20 trains come by all day and at all hours of the night. The bridge opens at least once an hour.  People escort their friend and dates to the restaurant via water in their sport fishers blaring their gangsta music to drown out their 400-1000hp engine/s. It's a hoppin' place.
But aside from the marina's odd situation, the number one reason I want to move to Manatee is that it is within a few miles of everywhere we need to go, including work.  We currently have to commute 30 min by car to do anything.  We have to take US1, the 6 lane divided highway that requires an absurd amount of time and gas money just to turn around. I dont even go to the grocery store on the way home from work because it is on the wrong side of the road.  It is endless miles (the entire east coast of FL) of strip malls repeating international chains, McDonalds, Home Depot, TJ MAX, Chilli's, Wal-Mart, Denny's, Burger King, Storage, etc..etc..Big signs rising higher and higher than the others. parking lots. Parking lots, None of the parking lots connect!! This landscape makes me very very depressed.
Manatee Pocket is a two lane road community. If our boat was in Manatee we could go everywhere we need to go on foot or by bike. I could go to the grocery store  without ever having to get on the highway. There is a vegetable stand down the road.  There are even a few independent restaurants there. The industrial district where AJ works and where we do most of our boat errands is also a bike ride away. It would put us in an environment more conducive to daily life not daily survival.  And it just might save my sanity.
Manatee Pocket:

I work on the narrow southern finger of the Pocket right at the bottom of the pic where you see the yellow highway. The view out the back of my office:
There is a straggly haired man who never wears a shirt, and whose shorts have seen better days that lives on one of those boats.  He has that crazy Florida - I've never worn a shirt or sunscreen - tan.  I want him to be my neighbor.
We just need an engine. We need an engine to anchor, we need an engine to move.   I think we are going to abandon the Mercedes. It is 43 years old and there is only one place in the world to get parts for it. It has not run in a year now. It is a pity we showed up during the rainy season because perhaps it could have been spared if it had ever stopped raining in Sept/Oct.  For the long haul we need a Yanmar, which has world wide parts support.  Instead of putting anymore time and money into the museum piece we are going to wait for the right used Yanmar and the right price to pop up on Craigslist or ebay. Yay tax return.  We need to prep the boat in such a way as to to make life cheap for years to come. Which means taking our time now to do everything right. The other thing we need to do on the dock before moving and before the rainy season returns is make the boat water tight. The chain plates, windows and cockpit leak. We have to re-grout all the teak in the cockpit, install new chain plates, remove the old ones and seal the deck where they were. Replace the windows - which means replacing the rotting wood panels around them or replacing that with fiberglass board so it doesn't rot again. Then we should not have constant leaking come rainy season. A dry boat would be nice.

And here is a new fellow hanging out below the gate, and blending into the rusty wall.

And this is my pic from my weekend in Ft. Lauderdale. 10-16 hours a day for five days is just too much time to spend with your boss.  I malfunctioned. But maintained. This was across from our hotel. Love. I took the pic because of the cars but then realized that the scene was so fresh and  lovely to me because it had a few things I have not seen in a while. Nostalgic construction and young men.  Doing young man things. Like making machines beautiful. I think I miss my demographic.


  1. You can never tell about those scraggly old Florida guys. In my years running boats in and around Florida I spent a lot of time and someone else's money at the Derektor-Gunnel yard in Fort Lauderdale. In fact I lived for almost two years on their work float dock in my little Kaiser 26. That was because over the years I got to know the late Bob Derektor quite well. If you didn't know who he was and saw him around the yard you'd have thought he lived under a bridge somewhere and came to the yard to scrape bottoms. He always had on a torn shirt and old khaki pants stained with bottom paint and held up by a piece of rope he'd found somewhere. But in fact he OWNED the yard in Fort Lauderdale and one in Mamaronek, New York. The man had, in his day, built America's Cup contenders.

    Bob was one of life's real characters. He'd fly into Fort Lauderdale airport and then take a shuttle bus to the Value Rent a Car lot which used to be about a quarter mile from the boat yard. He'd get off the shuttle and walk to the yard where his Mercedes Benz would be parked and then go to his home. They don't make them like Bob Derektor anymore, more's the pity.

  2. Hey Guys: Great Blog! Hang in There! Your hard work, sweat (lot's of it) and sacrifice will be worth it. Nothing worth having/living/experiencing is easily attained, but sure is sweet when you achieve it. As for the Manatee Pocket, move now! The "season" is now just getting underway. In another 3-6 weeks, it will be even crazier and more obnoxious. However, be aware that the State of Florida is trying to outlaw live-aboards in the most popular cruising grounds in the State, under the guise of a “pilot program”. There is a growing movement among boaters from all walks of life to resist these unwarranted limitations on the lawful use of federally controlled waterways. Just recently, the Manatee Pocket was exempted from the proposed “controlled” area in Stuart, but already efforts are underway by the property development groups to reverse this decision and close "the Pocket”. Check out www.marinersbarr.org for more info. It is obvious that you and AJ are bright, motivated and literate folks. All boaters need to become active in this issue to protect your rights. Municipal Governments are susceptible to the influence of moneyed interests in the community. They need to hear from equally vocal citizens who are productive members of the community….who happen to be boaters.

    ~ Best Wishes,
    Kapt Ken
    s/v Ocean Gypsy
    Perico Island (Bradenton), Florida

  3. Wow, thanks for the advice and encouragement. I am new to boating and just learning about the laws and regulations and the growing sentiment against live-aboards and anchorages. Thanks for the website! I'll stay informed!


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