More KW Catch-up

Brief Political Commentary

We have to stop raging.  It’s been going on since Thoreau’s time and before.  Raging doesn’t cure control.  The fastest way to end a game of Monopoly isn’t by buying the right properties and bankrupting the rest of the players (which is really a brutal game for a 9-year-olds.  LIFE is even more messed up!), but to stop playing.  We have to stop going along with the bi-partisan struggle that has existed before the U.S. was a country.  SEE Jeffersonians vs. Hamiltonians.  Same stuff in a different bag.  Passionate activists exaggerating flawless policy commitments are bound to make hypocrites out of themselves (I am definitely guilty).  Ghandi didn’t fight the British Empire.  He showed the people of India how to dry seawater on rocks to get salt.  He got them all making their own clothes and grow their own food.  They no longer needed to barter with England.  He stopped playing the game.  For example: it doesn’t make sense to pay sales tax on a private negotiation (selling boats on Craigslist are in no way facilitated by federal bureaucrats).  Gifts are not controlled by the law and there’s no definition for how long it takes to become friends.  One by one, senseless tangles in economic processes can be simplified as knowledge spreads.  It just takes a step back to see what makes sense.


I had a hole in the water, I bought a hole in the water

We bought the Pearson 30 because we wanted to move up in size and it was an incredible deal.  $1500.  It comes with a dinghy and motor (a working dinghy motor is at least this much), running diesel inboard, snuba setup, solar panel, extra sails, and stereo.  We anchor it a few hundred yards from the marina and get the Catalina ready for sale.

We spent most of the day cleaning the Silent Runner.  After the sun goes down and we turn off the headlamps, we sit around with the most pirate-like person I’ve met in all of my life.  Floyd may be taking off for Panama soon because he has fines in the U.S. he doesn’t want to pay.  He has done time in various countries for smuggling, is an artisan leather craftsman (a skill he developed at a Federal penetentery), construction and carpentry journeyman, and a distinct member of the Key West Sea Turtle Committee.  His gaunt figure and cane-aided limp is quickly forgontten by his attention commanding presence, powerful jaws, white handlebar moustache, and deep, resonating raspy voice.  Aboard his beamy Rapscallion, we share a little peace offering and ideas about distant lands and other ways to live.

Floyd to Bird

Floyd to Bird


I promise, this bird is even cooler than he looks. He acts like Bart Simpson and never makes a sound. His name is Bird.

After we return to the Silent Runner, we go through the usual repetitive pep-talks about ebay auctions and market prices on Craigslist for the boat.  The conversation at Floyd’s is still rotating the circular movement devices in Steve’s head.  He asks me out of the blue: “If we showed up at a hostel and we had a boat nearby, could we find backpackers to sail with us somewhere for $20?” Absolutely.  All we have to do is make it not make sense not to go.  Give them an offer they can’t refuse.  If it costs $10/day to eat in Granada and $5/night to stay at the cheapest hoste in the city.  We will offer a sailing trip for $10/day per person (pooling groceries and fishing make this possible) including a place to stay and meals.  Moving Hostel, Sailing Hostel,  The name and getting rich from the idea is not important.  Backpackers come in all sizes and standards, so anything extra than sustaining travel is cake.

Originally, we were trying to get the absolute most $ out of the boat instead of getting enough $ to make something happen.  We decided we need a month and a half of food per person = $700.  I know from experience, I can show up at a country I don’t know the language with $1000 and live there.  Total = $2700.   I know the SR can sell tomorrow for $4k.

We want to sell this week and sail in the regatta from St. Petersburg, FL to Isla Mujeres, an island off of Cancun, Mexico on the Pearson.  By leaving from Key West, we estimate having a 2 day head start.  We are leaving in 10 days.  The Ships Log has 44 entries outlining our progress from Savannah, GA to KW.  Typical entries are:

–       Sailing into a storm, heading north to escape 20-30 mph gusts.  No damage, heavy lightning

–       Big day! Built a net, caught bait fish and almost a shark.

–       Anchored in Cocoa Village.  REBELUTION is playing a concert right in front of us.

–       Femi and Steve explored a nearby island.  Found conch.  Tasted terrible.

The last log entry: MF 9/10/12 12:30 – Sascha left this morning.  Steve & I are going into town to find work.

Almost a full year since we arrived in KW.

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The auction ended and the reserve was not met.  Three days before the regatta, one of the bidders sent a message to buy it for $4500 including delivery to Fort Myers.  The weather window coincides with the regatta so we change plans.

Owning a boat is a unique thing because of the simple fact that on day one of buoyancy, the ocean , the ocean begins ceaselessly and assuredly to take her back,” I nod in agreement at the thought while calmly trying to stomach a few saltine crackers topped with whatever potted meat I can scrape out of the can.

The wind has not begun to subside and the 4-6ft seas occasionally toss the Silent Runner off her bearing.  With the aid of a fluorescent cabin light, I scribble these notes and the boat roars through another of Steve’s forecasted warnings, “Big wave!”  My stomach is a little on edge, but belly breathing and pride keep my nerves dry.  Delivering the boat that you are selling is a bad idea because anyone who’s spent time on the water knows it is not spent without some tragedy, no matter how small and inexpensive.  My 4-hour shift begins now.


Each time Steve and I regress aka live less and less affluent, the more we feel alive.  My sense of humor is at its peak.  At every new place I reach, I immediately begin to improve my life and luxuries.  Once I reach a certain point, I lose interest in the game.  It get’s stale and I get antsy.  I’ve often wondered who had a better ride: the tramp worn blue-collar working class drifters (the one’s whose skin is different because they don’t take enough showers for a decade or two), live paycheck to paycheck, but always make the best of the present situation – OR – the nicely dressed, clean, soft skinned man living in his comfortable 2-story house with a new F150 in the driveway.  Answer: it depends.  Depends on the person and their disposition, but I think more importantly, it depends if they are living the way they want to.


Checking the definition of “avail” inspires a small revelation about how I victimize myself.  I was about to write about how having time to myself is important.  Taking time is important.  The resource is available for everyone.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.  If you begin to resent a person more the longer you are away from them, that is an indicator that you don’t respect their morals.


There is an intuitive reckoning of another person’s approval when people speak to one another.  If a person disapproves on the inside, but approves verbally, there is a conflict of information.  Waves do not complement but cause interference.  If a person disapproves on the inside and verbally disapproves, it is much less instigational because truth resonates.  As a logically progressing species, valid information is a succulent fruit.  This is why I admire a person who, in the face of someone they don’t like, can say, “Don’t talk to me, I don’t like you.”






Flipping Boats

So the SR sold for $4500.  I gave Steve $1500 for buying the rigging.  I bought it two years ago for $6500.  A few days after the boat delivery and we move the Pearson into the marina, Steve finds a boat for sale in Marathon.  I don’t see the potential of the boat at first, but my brother’s round, sober eyes indicate value; this is what he wants.  Without hesitating to count my money in my head, I give him $2300.  I try my best to keep emotion out of the decision process.  It’s a good boat at an insanely low price.  We’d be stupid not to jump on this.  So we are broke again, but with a $3000 35-foot Morgan on the hook and living on a $1500 30-foot Pearson.

Big A approves on the pre-renovated Pearson

Big A approves our lifestyle on the pre-renovated Pearson

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If it runs and is clean, it will sell

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After 2 months of renovating

A friend of a friend at work agrees to buy the Pearson for $7k and I put in my 3 weeks notice at Island Dogs.  On the morning of finalizing the Pearson sale, Steve and I get into a strong verbal battle and say things that have been echoing in our heads for years.  Neither of us apologize.  After my brother helps move the Pearson to the new owner’s marina (just 250 yards as the crow flies) we paddle out to the bird guano covered Morgan.  3 hours of pressure washing the boat and only a little residue remains on the windows.

Before and after shots of inside.

An ugly exterior is like bug spray for pirates


After pressure washing the thick layer of mold off the entire inside

We can finally breath on the boat!

We can finally breath on the boat!


The bulkheads are painted David Bowie Blue and Steve scores memory foam being discarded from a KW strip club

Been busy.  In the last 4 weeks, we have pressure washed the boat inside and out, replaced the transmission linkage, refitted the windows, sealed the deck, installed various deck hardware, added a biminy, added dinghy davits (big steel arms on the back), mounted a solar panel, rewired the boat to 12V DC, bought new batteries, painted the bulkheads, ran new halyards, destroyed the perfectly good front sail (my $1000 F-up), bought a new front sail, straightened the anchor, mounted the autopilot, corked the walls, stocked the boat with food and safety supplies, got charts of the Caribbean, and made cute little curtains.  Today we will get a new VHF radio, finish the freshwater plumbing, get the gas stove working, and organize the contents of the boat.

It’s hard not to get distracted.  There is an opportunity to buy a $25k boat for $5k.  There is a massive flotilla party (thousands of people find anything to float themselves and a cooler) at Higgs Beach and all the friends we’ve been neglecting to work day after day, week after week on the boat.  Almost there.  Gotta go buy stuff and work in the scorching sun another day to try to get her done.  Rent ran out the 19th and we are pro-rating day by day with no more sources of income.  Every day we spend $100 on parts, rent, and food and our savings are rapidly depleting.  It’s time to go.

This is weird way to spend your 20’s.  My brother, girlfriend Julie, and I are reading books and floating around on a sailboat, learning to say right-on.

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Our biggest fear is not becoming the person we are afraid to tell people we know we can be.


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