The Historically Correct Stock Island Marina Village
The sound of the Detroit Diesel stirred my soul. There is something rhythmic and freeing about the droning that triggers the same emotion in me every time. Traveling at nine knots, the Crusader hull served its purpose yet another day as it made way past the historic Stock Island Seaport, Three D Boat Yard, Stock Island Marina Village and Robbie’s Marina loaded down with traps ready to be deployed out in Hawk Channel and the South Atlantic adjoining the Florida Keys. Lobster season was near and the soak period had arrived. Looking across the channel, my mind went into nostalgia mode with the memory of Captain Shep from the shrimp boat Captain Bud explaining his process for eliminating bycatch while shrimping in the Gulf of Mexico. He had figured out that the finfish went into hiding a couple of hours before sunrise and were mostly out of harms way just before the sun came up making his ratios of by catch well below the norm. Along the same shoreline I remembered another evening spent on the dock with fresh swordfish and the great company of woodworking artisans as our children walked on the weathered wood searching for sea life just over the edge. This is the center of the universe to me. This is Stock Island.
For years, there has been a waiting list to get into the existing liveaboard line-up at Stock Island Marina Village on Shrimp Road. Each vessel had an extension of activity that expanded past their transom onto the finger road that separated the south dockage from the north dockage. The historical Andy Griffiths charter fleet was preserved on the south side and Captain Yuri had his catamaran on the north side. It seemed as if all the historical players and connoisseurs took their space to live and to help preserve the Stock Island history. The neighborhood was authentic. Each of the residents were extended their own gardening plot on site to cultivate fresh fruits and vegetables which in turn continued the bonding of the like minded tenants. It was a community that was needed and embraced.
Fast forward to today, the new phase is nearly complete and ready for occupancy. Stock Island Marina Village is located on Shrimp Road and is now ready to open the next phase of this historical preservation project. The history that surrounds the village is inescapable. It’s all there in true uninterrupted authenticity. The new docks will hold vessels up to 300 feet in length and with the draft of a submarine, the channel is the deepest on the south side of Stock Island bar none. Within the plan there will be a mix of recreational, commercial, transient and residential dock spaces available in this vast new facility with fair prices that fit the times. At the fuel dock there is also an angler and tournament gathering hall ready to house special events. The sportfishing history of the Florida Keys and Stock Island is important and part of this historical preservation model. On the land side plans are being made for a nature park, small local business artisan spaces and a restaurant thus completing the village and preserving the Stock Island culture. The plan is solid.
It had to end even at nine knots. The Crusader turned west and out of earshot, the moment was over. A meeting I had the day prior was ironically with an out of area entrepreneur who had his ideas about our Florida Keys way of life. He mentioned his distaste for the loud diesel motors on the commercial vessels and asked why we don’t have an ordinance governing the noise. I answered simply “It’s not noise to us, it’s the sound of freedom”. He shook his head and said “That’d be the first thing I would change”. We’ve seen many changes on Stock Island that have taken many by surprise. The Historic Seaport of Stock Island and the Stock Island Marina Village project is an authentic evolution. And that . . . we welcome.
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