Diva Di's Cruising Adventures

Days 18 to 20

31 March 2008 | Bimini
[photo: Diva Di at her first marina overnight]

Day 18: Sat 29 Mar 08

Up before the dawn, which comes late this time of year, Clyde and I enjoyed our early morning together. It turns out that the percolator must need a minimum amount of water in the pot to function. I'm guessing there needs to be a minimum hydrostatic pressure to allow the boiling water to lift up from the bottom through the tube and percolate through the coffee grinds. So, I wound up with boiling water, not coffee. I added a tea bag and still had a nice wake-up beverage.

With water costs at $0.50 a gallon (yikes!), the boat got but a very quick washing off of the salt. If we were to be underway again real soon, the wash-down could wait, but we might be stuck here for at least four days due to bad weather coming in. Are you getting the picture that weather dictates everything in the cruising life?

After morning boat chores, Diane took a book and went to the pool. It was a pretty nice pool by comparison to many of the other things here at this marina. I don't wish to say it is a junky place: the people are very nice, the wooden portions of the piers are brand new, and they do have Wi-Fi service for a nominal fee. Other than that, though, the bathrooms and showers suffer from lack of maintenance and most of the other gear in an around the marina is old and marginally functional. Of course, the rate is only $1 per foot of boat length, so that is incredibly cheap by US standards.

I joined Diane at the pool to begin reading a novel and not 20 minutes later our dock mate, Bob, invited us to walk to the beach just over the hill perhaps 10 minutes away. The water was incredible, but unlike many of the beaches we expect to be visiting soon, the beach itself was not very pristine. Bob said they had just done a big cleanup, so I'm glad we didn't see it beforehand.

Shortly after returning, we invited Bob to join us, John, and Marilyn for dinner aboard Diva Di to cook the lobsters we bought yesterday. I elected to cogitate about life with my eyes closed (a.k.a. taking a nap) while Diane read in the cockpit. I awoke to find less than 90 minutes until dinner, so I went to the marina office to get my Wi-Fi connection established. It was then I discovered two major issues with our one credit card: the automatic debit of our checking account had not occurred so we had been assessed both a late fee and finance charges. More importantly, Diane's account was closed due to recent high-risk activity and they would be sending us a new one in the mail. Oh, and just call them on the 800 number to discuss this.

Well, first, I have to figure out if we can do this via email because our phone rates are over $2 per minute and I am not going to be on hold for 20 minutes at that rate. Second, I don't know when the account was closed, but Diane made a lot of purchases in Key Largo on Thursday (today is Sat), so who knows what happened there. We even went to the trouble of informing our credit card companies that we would be traveling in FL and the Bahamas for this period, so why they closed the account remains a mystery at this time.

The weather forcing us to stay here a few days with a Wi-Fi connection and access to a phone will at least give us a chance to resolve this. If we had discovered this and were immediately leaving for one of the "out islands," there would be no way to take action for many more days.

Turing out attention to dinner and our guests, I must say that the grilled lobsters and accompaniments were quite good, and the sharing of stories was even better. That is one of the best things about cruising: the people you meet.

Day 19: Sun 30 Mar 08

We were able to use the local telephone at the marina to make a collect call to the credit card company. The nice representative explained our situation: the credit card number had been one of many compromised at a merchant on Islamorada (the most expensive restaurant we visited = go figure). Their policy is to take immediate action, which resulted in the situation we find ourselves in. The details are too much to share, but it appears all will be fine. The upside is that Diane no longer has a credit card .

Bob in the boat next to us asked us to go for a long walk north into town. I put on my brand new sneakers and we were off. I suppose we walked 4 miles until we turned west to the ocean side. The buildings we passed were almost all dilapidated by our standards. They use all sorts of materials for purposes they were not intended. Despite the glaring defects in roofs, windows, walls, etc., there did not seem to be many residences without a satellite dish. For all I know they watch American Idol (ugh!).

Almost all of the people we passed were very friendly. We usually initiated the greeting with a "Good morning; how are you?" and the reply was always polite. A few folks stopped in their vehicles (usually golf carts) to offer us a ride. We got the idea that some did it out of kindness and others seemed sure to have desired a suitable payment.

As far as we can tell, Bimini is not at all a tourist destination. There are many game fisherman that come in large, expensive sport fisherman boats, and a number of larger pleasure yachts (70 to 100 feet), but mostly it seems to be cruisers like us with boats from 34 to 44 feet who are here until the weather clears for moving on.

That there are any number of people trying to make a living with tourist type goods surprises me. It would be nice to purchase things here and there to help them out, but you don't have room for it aboard, and you need to budget your money to last the entire cruise.

Diane and I finally spent a relaxing hour or so at the pool reading. She gave me a "page=turner" to read and it has got my interest. We decided to dine alone tonight, so I grilled a flank steak with peppers and squash, and Diane made some Caribbean rice. It was very tasty.

After dinner, I added a few extra dock lines to accommodate the big blow we expect for the next few days. We are on the leeward side of the dock, which is good. The wind will blow our boat off the dock and the lines will keep us in place. Our neighbor to the east will be riding against the fenders all the time.

John and Marilyn came over for a dice game and some conversation after dark. By the time they left, the wind was approaching the "howling" phase. At least there are no bugs and the air temperature is cool to sleep. It was certainly quite warm today during the long walk, but nighttime is when you need comfortable temperatures to sleep well.
Vessel Name: Diva Di
Vessel Make/Model: PDQ MV34 Power Cat
Hailing Port: Punta Gorda, FL
Crew: Duane and Diane

Diva Di Crew

Who: Duane and Diane
Port: Punta Gorda, FL