About the Photographer
Starting with an 8-foot hydroplane that he first bought when he was a young boy growing up in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Marv Market has always had a passion for boats and adventure on the water.
A retired building contractor now living in Fort Myers, Florida, you can find Marv these days preparing to take his latest boat; a sixty-foot Viking named Dee Light on a trip to the Bahamas in a matter of weeks. Along with his lovely first mate Betty Conley, a former registered nurse from Indianapolis, the intrepid duo are getting ready for their next nautical trip to the warm waters of the Caribbean.
A widower with grown children, the easy going Market has had a series of boats over the years and boating has always played a part in a Marv's lifestyle. Calling Dee Light home over the past several years as a live aboard, Market has enjoyed a number of spectacular trips including no less than five different voyages up and down the Mississippi to as far north as Minnesota.
Along the way there have been countless cruises throughout the Florida waterway system and also a memorable trip to Cuba. For a guy who has navigated the waters of the "Great American Loop" you would think getting ready for one more trip was usual business. However, Marv was pumped about getting ready for his next adventure and looking forward to once again being on the water.
JG: How long have you and Betty been boating together?
MM: Since March 2001.
JG: And you both have had a lifelong love of boating?
MM: Betty predominately in Indianapolis, so she enjoyed boating in Indiana and also on the Ohio River. Myself, born and raised in Wisconsin, so my boating was in the Wisconsin waters.
JG: When did you first get into boating?
MM: I first got involved as a child. My folks had a cottage in northern Wisconsin, north of Eau Claire where I was born and raised. My first boat that I bought with my own money when I was about eleven was an 8-foot hydroplane.
JG: I take it you've had a series of boats over the years.
MM: I had a number of boats when my folks had a cottage starting with the hydroplane. Starting in the early 70's when our kids were just starting to enjoy water skiing and stuff like that behind the boats it worked out real well until my folks sold the cottage. So here's Marv, without the benefit of the cottage and the kids wanting to do boating activities. So we bought a Runabout, a 17-foot Lund-America, it was a tri-hull fiberglass that I owned. The kids thoroughly enjoyed it; we actually had a 17-footer and a 19-footer. Then in the early 80's we bought our first boat that we could sleep on. The rational for buying that boat was that we were boating on the Mississippi with the three kids and my wife and a dog and we got stuck above a lock and had a two-hour wait. My wife said to me, 'let's get a boat that has a potty on it.' I'm sure many other boaters have experienced that. We ended up buying a 28-foot Carver, a 32-foot Carver, a 36-foot Carver, a 38-foot Carver and 47-foot Mainship and now the 60-foot Viking.
JG: What can you tell me about the Dee Light?
MM: It's a gorgeous boat. It is a '95 and I bought in February 2000, so it was five years old when we bought it. It has a very good hull design; it's a sport-fishing hull. As a result it gets up and goes the top speed is 32-knots, which we do not do very often but at least it has the capability. The other real important item for us is that it is extremely stable in any type of water.
JG: I know you have enjoyed a number of adventures over the last few years and I believe you have taken the Dee Light as far north as Stillwater, Minnesota. What was that like?
MM: The reason we have ventured up the river system as far north as Minnesota is that I was born and raised in western Wisconsin. The closest waterway to get back there is the Mississippi River system. So we boat up from Florida up to Wabasha, Minnesota, Lake City, Minnesota, to Stillwater and we spent the summer up there a number of times.
JG: How did you like cruising on the Mississippi and going all the way up to Minnesota?
MM: We thoroughly enjoyed it, we have ventured up there five times and five times down so we know the river system very well. It offers many different challenges in boating that cannot be duplicated in other waters. The lock and dam system on the Mississippi and the Tenn-Tom is unique to itself. Plus the winged dams that are predominant on the Mississippi River, we haven't experienced in other places. In the spring you have the high water with the runoffs. For example on the Ohio River, we have literally gone over the top of the lock and dam system a couple of different times.
JG: In terms of some of your other trips was that one of your highlights?
MM: Yes going back and forth to Minnesota has been a highlight, we've done that a number of times. Another highlight venturing in the other direction was when we took the boat to Cuba.
JG: I was going to ask you about that, you ended up at Marina Hemingway in Cuba?
MM: We had planned a trips some time ahead and we were set to go with two other couples and the timing in hindsight of our plans was not the best. We went in November 2001, right after 9-11. So security and everything was very edgy. Overall the trip is one that we would like to duplicate and do again another time. Our trip from Key West going to Cuba was extremely eventful in that we didn't anticipate the rough water that we were going to get the boat into. The Florida Straits traveled in that area north-northwest and that particular day that we traveled, the winds were from the north-northwest. It presented us the worst possible boating weather that we could have picked. The two forces going at 180 degrees from each other created huge waves that they call in that area, "sea cows." That's when the waves approach the sides of a multi-story cruise ship. It also generates whirlpools about the size of a football field.
JG: It sounds like the trip was daunting.
MM: It was (laughter). The result of avoiding the whirlpools and climbing up and down the sea cows; you climb up one side and then go down the other side like a surfboard and we over taxed our steering system. 34.7 miles to our waypoint we lost all form of steering and that presented another challenge to our trip. So we had to steer our last 35 miles with the engine.
JG: What did you do about repairs?
MM: Once we made it to Cuba and once we made it through security with the check-in process, we had a gorgeous time. Cuba is visited and used as a vacation destination by countries throughout the world, except for the USA. We were welcomed with open arms by the Cuban people. We felt very relaxed and very at ease in all of our travels and we had a less eventful trip coming back because the wind was coming from a different direction. They seas were only about 4-to 6-feet coming back.
JG: You have also spent a fair amount of time traveling the waters of Florida.
MM: Yes we've extensively traveled but especially the west side of Florida from the panhandle down to Key West. We have also traveled up from Key West on the eastside to the top of Florida but the bulk of our travels have been on the [Mexico] Gulf side.
JG: What are some the more enjoyable trips you've taken?
MM: In this area we have a number of real great destinations. There's the South Sea Plantation, which is on the island of Captiva, which just a fun destination. Obviously there's Key West. The waters in this area you look at the challenges they offer from the Gulf waters which is open, to the ICW [Intracoastal Waterway], which offers marked channels and is somewhat protected. There's the Lake Okeechobee area, which is a rather shallow lake but a large enough geographical lake that you are out of site on land when you are in the center of the lake. Of course the river system, which goes to the ICW to the lake, is excellent.
JG: What can you tell us about your newest adventure. You are just weeks away from heading off to the Bahamas.
MM: We have never taken the boat to the Bahamas, so it is going to be a new adventure for us. So our plans are once we have the boat ready is to do the Okeechobee Waterway again over to Stewart on the eastside of Florida, then make our way to West Palm Beach area. Then we will await the weather for a crossing from the East Coast of Florida to the West End at the Grand Bahamas through customs. Then from there we will explore the waters and the Bahamas Islands.
JG: Is Betty excited about going to the Bahamas?
MM: She is very excited. Two new things we are doing for the boat is that we have a water system, where we can produce our own water onboard and we are getting that ready to go. Water is not really plentiful in the islands. We are also putting an additional anchor on the boat, we are going to do a lot of anchoring "out", with a plow type anchor. Betty is excited because she is always ready for a new adventure.
JG: Sounds like you have a great first mate!
MM: Yes I do! We make a very good team. That was another challenge that we had for the two of us when we did the Great Loop, as well as our travels on the Mississippi. We have to work as a real good team to handle a sixty-foot boat, in the various conditions you have to handle them. She does an outstanding job.
JG: Now are you living year round on your boat in Fort Myers?
MM: It works out real well. We thoroughly enjoy it. I've been a live aboard since 1999 and Betty has been a live aboard since 2001. And we just absolutely enjoy it. We average about 16 to 19 nights a year on land (laughter). My mother says we are dirt-less!
JG: What is that you enjoy so much about boating?
MM: Boating presents a challenge everyday that is unique from day-to-day. One of the reasons that the challenge is unique is obviously the weather. Which changes every day, as well as the water conditions. You might be floating in the open water of the Gulf, or you might be living on a river system, or lake conditions. Living on the water is a unique experience itself and we hope to continue to live aboard and do our boating as long as we are physically able to do it. We want to enjoy our boating and enjoy the challenges it presents. Instead of postponing and doing our boating a few years from now, we've elected to do it now when we still physically can.
Over the years first starting with his hydroplane, Marv has enjoyed a lifetime of memories on the water. Perhaps in another age, Mr. Market would have spent his time skippering a "ship of the line."
These days, however, he is more than content to getting the Dee Light ready for yet another voyage.
If you would like to learn more about the Dee Light's adventures, be sure to check out Marv's website at deelightwebsite.com