A Month at The Mega Yacht Marina

So as Jason and the captain we hired arrived via our boat, I had the kids, the cat, our luggage and the car. When I got to the marina I was wowed. We were the littlest boat in the marina. In fact, some of the tenders of these mega yachts were as big as our boat. The delivery trip turned up that we had no proper dock lines or fenders. We had to borrow from the captain! These were just the first few of the many necessary items that would be purchased during this month to properly outfit the boat. We were very thankful to have our car with us as we took numerous trips to West Marine during this month. I think we are BFFs with the Fort Lauderdale West Marine by now. We were also taking frequent trips to the storage unit to slowly get our items on the boat. It was nice not to have to deal with moving in all at once. It gave us a chance to really scope out what kind of storage we had and where everything would be stowed, bit by bit.

The marina was a very nice one in a good location. The monthly rate seemed semi ridiculous, but we really didn’t have a choice. As I mentioned in the last post, the Miami boat show was about to start and many places were full or couldn’t have us for a whole month. On top of that, we couldn’t move the boat without a captain. So we just wanted one solid month to get moved aboard, outfitted, provisioned and take care of some routine maintenance items to ensure the boat was good to go. Things done: fuel lift pumps and Racor fuel filters installed, bled injectors, reran fuel lines, changed impellers, changed oil, serviced winches, had standing rigging replaced, purchased and retrieved dinghy, and set up our new Mantus bridle. The marina staff were very nice. However, there were no bathrooms/showers! These were located in the fitness center which was under renovation. They also didn’t have any laundry facilities. But it was nice to receive packages from Amazon all month long! Oh, and one other complaint was the holding hostage of dock carts. There were plenty of them, but it seemed that every time we returned with a large load, there was never a cart to be found. We’d usually have to steal one off the dock by some yacht, or go grab our own wagon out of our boat.

The marina was full of yachties all going about their various tasks on these charter yachts. Some crew were very pleasant and helpful, others just sort of minded their own business. In retrospect, I realize how very different of an experience this was to a normal transient dock atmosphere. Although there was some fun to be had. The yacht behind us with the young, nice crew decided they would “test” their audio system. They started blaring music and we thought it was kind of funny. What was funnier was the woman (who lived in the luxury apartments at the marina) who came marching down the dock and stormed right on to the boat to tell them to turn it off. I don’t think she even bothered to knock. She was fuming! She got off the boat and as she stomped by on the way to the marina office, turned to us and said that she didn’t know how we put up with this and that we should go complain too. We were just hysterical that someone could get so worked up over some loud music mid day (but yes, those speakers put out some serious sound).

The marina also didn’t have fuel or diesel, so you had to rely on service boats. We had no concerns about diesel but we needed regular pump outs since there were no marina bathrooms. We would call the pump out dude and he would come and service us. But then he had his boat break down while we were desperately in need of a pump out. So already feeling a little uncool in the mega yacht marina, we were afraid we would go full blown Cousin Eddie when we started smelling holding tank fumes. “Merry Christmas! Shitter’s full.”

We also had other mishaps during this month. First, we lost our dear Eli. Just when I thought he would acclimate, he slunk off into the night. We all joke that he hitched a ride to the Bahamas in one of the mega yachts. We have not seen or heard of him since, which stinks because we had him microchipped and we remained in the marina for another three weeks. Next, wheeled things and boats do not go together. Our brand new shop vac was getting a cleaning after sucking up some diesel in the bilge. Then the wind came and whoosh, off the deck she goes and into the water. I retrieved it and straight to the trash it went. The replacement didn’t get wheels installed. And then there were those pesky fuel filters. We had some on the boat from the previous owners and went to pick up some spares. Upon trying to install said fuel filters, something was wrong. Jason got new filters and everything was fine. So off to the trash went the spare filters. We would later learn that those filters were for the generator, not the engines and we threw out a bunch of perfectly good spares!

Before our time at the marina was up, we provisioned enough to have one month’s worth of food and supplies. We cleared out of the storage unit, loaded the car with items we decided we didn’t want on the boat and Jason made the long drive home to ditch the car. We started hearing about travel restrictions in the Bahamas due to coronavirus, so a lot of those mega yachts had lost charters and the perpetual activity of crew slowed substantially. We still weren’t able to get with our captain to get signed off and our leave date was fast approaching. What would we do?

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