Swing Set

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

April 2013


Swing Set Status Report From Nassau

It has been raining heavily here in Nassau all week, and we are tired of it and the place...ready to move on. On Wednesday, we walked to the Fresh Market, a modern grocery store just a short walk from the marina. It's set in a new plaza that looks similar to any shopping center short of a mall in the U.S. The only thing different is that there's a security cop about every 50 feet. In fact, most of the businesses here along East Bay Street require visitors to buzz in at the door before being allowed to enter. I don't see how this is a deterrent to robbery, because if I was a robber, I'd just piggyback my way in like everyone does anyway. Perhaps I missed my calling. At any rate, we did some shopping, and like in the U.S., large portions of meat are at...

Posted at 09:06 AM | Permalink | Comments


Problem Solving In Nassau

After our late night on Friday with Rick, MP and Danielle at Johnny's nightclub, and our trip to Paradise Beach on Saturday, Sunday was a "down day" for us. The wind was picking up, but we still entertained the idea of going exploring in the dinghy, but for one reason or another we just didn't go out. But, I hated the idea of sitting around all day and getting nothing accomplished in regard to our windlass and steering problems. So, I grabbed my toolbox and took it to the bow and started messing around with the windlass, checking on electrical connections and just looking at it. I had sent an email to my contact at Good Windlass for them to receive first thing after the holiday weekend, outlining just what was going on with the windlass. The idea came to me that...

Posted at 11:29 AM | Permalink | Comments


"The Whale" and on to Marsh Harbor

I'd said we had two options to get from Green Turtle Cay to Marsh Harbor. They were taking the Whale Cay Cut, or taking the Don't Rock Passage. The other option I didn't mention was a shallow, twisty passage just west of Whale Cay, and that's what I thought we would try, considering we'd be going at high tide. But I wasn't ready for what we found. On Sunday morning, we got up early and had a nice breakfast of a spinach, bacon and cheese omelet with a side of toasted Bahamian bread. Don't forget a couple cups of hot coffee. A sailboat in front of us had just pulled anchor, and I called him on the VHF. He'd just come through the Whale Cut at noon on the day before, and although he said it was "bumpy," he thought it wasn't too bad. I...

Posted at 09:08 AM | Permalink | Comments


A Couple of Stops and Then Green Turtle Cay

Seven or eight miles to the southeast from Allans-Pennsecola Cay was Crab Cay, or one of them. There are at least a couple of Crab Cays on the charts for this area. We took a slow cruise to this Crab Cay and anchored in a calm spot within view of the first beach lined with palm trees that we've seen occurring naturally since we've arrived in the Bahamas. Between Crab Cay and Great Abacos Island was a small inlet leading to the Sea of Abaco. In our anchorage, we had a view through the cut, where we could watch boats travel from the Sea of Abaco into the Little Bahama Bank. We took the dinghy out to explore but were soon battling a strong outgoing tide as we were making our way into a creek system leading into the island of Little Abacos, which is adjacent to Great...

Posted at 08:27 AM | Permalink | Comments


Allans-Pennsecola Cay

We didn't leave Fox Town on Sunday like we had planned. In the morning, there were plenty of rain clouds in the area and more were heading in our direction. Monday was looking better as far as the forecast went, so we decided to stay put. Even though we were only going to travel eight miles to the east, there's no sense on leaving an anchorage when you have a good hook set if you don't have to. By mid-afternoon the sun stuck its head out briefly. We put on our rain gear for insurance (it won't rain if you put on the raincoat), gathered our week's worth of trash, put Holly in her Sunday best and motored the nearly one mile across to Da Valley in Fox Town. The dock at Fox Town Shell, where the bar/restaurant Da Valley is located, sits on tall pilings that are...

Posted at 02:23 PM | Permalink | Comments


A Milestone

Today is April 20 and marks one year to the day that we have been living full time aboard Swing Set, and it's the one year anniversary of Rosie's retirement. When we reflect back on all that has transpired in the last year, we cannot hardly believe it. We've been at anchor here just across from Fox Town in the Little Abacos since last Wednesday. We had intentions of going into shore on Thursday, but didn't see any activity at the local restaurant, Da Valley, at all. We didn't see any point in sitting in a bar or restaurant by ourselves, so we figured we'd wait until the weekend, as the weather forecast has dictated that we'll be here at least until Sunday afternoon. The trouble with having windy conditions that warrant staying put is that those...

Posted at 08:19 AM | Permalink | Comments


Fox Town Little Abacos

There was quite a thunderstorm brewing on the morning we wanted to leave Port Lucaya Marina, but if I had the tides figured right, we needed to leave around noon to be at high tide when we got to the critical northern section of the Grand Lucayan Waterway. I'd decided that if we couldn't leave in time for a safe passage through the waterway, then we would stay another night and sit out the storm. We had good WiFi at the dock, so I'd checked all my weather tools, not only for the current storm, but for the outlook for the next several days. I didn't expect to have any Internet service until we reached the western end of Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands. The current storm was fizzling out, and it looked like we would meet our intended departure time of noon....

Posted at 08:43 AM | Permalink | Comments


Port Lucaya on Grand Bahama

We prepared ourselves and the boat on Saturday for a planned departure from Bimini Sands Marina on Sunday morning. I went to the dockmaster's office on Saturday to pay for the last night we were to be there and was told to wait until morning, someone would be in the office before 7 a.m. We roasted some chicken for our last Bimini meal and added some local seafood to the menu as well. Illegal local seafood. Hey, a guy was selling some "summer crabs" at the dock. If we didn't buy four of them, someone else would. By 7:20 Sunday morning, I was still waiting for Donnie to show up and burning daylight. The wind was due to pick up in the area we planned to travel to by late afternoon, and I wanted to be gone. I left a note on the counter telling them to charge our...

Posted at 09:37 AM | Permalink | Comments


A Slight Delay in Our Departure from Bimini Sands

Yesterday, I filled up the fuel tank in the dinghy, taking on a whopping 2.8 gallons at a cost of $18, in order to get ready for our intended departure to Port Lucaya on Saturday. When I started putting the dinghy up on the dinghy davits, I noticed some extra flex in the starboard davit. Upon closer inspection, I found two failed welds on the brace just at the most significant bend on the davit. This juncture takes the most stress, and I guess our crossing last weekend was too hard on it. My heart just sank at that moment, and I had to sit down and think. Had I noticed it last Monday, I could've had it fixed by now. Lesson learned to inspect the boat closer after a rough trip. I gave myself less than a minute to mope about it, and even had visions of scrapping our Bahamas...

Posted at 10:17 AM | Permalink | Comments


Bimini Sands Marina

The weather window we had last weekend came and was gone by Monday afternoon. We made some use of our time here in Bimini and were able to accomplish a few things. First up was a trip to BaTelCo in Alice Town in the dinghy. I tied up to a dock at the Bimini Big Game Club, and Rosie and Holly stayed with the dinghy because I wasn't sure if they would run us off or not. Plus, Holly would have run off customers at the BTC office anyway. Two nice women and a young intern staff the BaTelCo office in Alice Town. None of them know what they're doing. I asked the first woman if the sale was still on for the monthly data plan, the one where you can get 1 gig of data for $20 instead of $30. I was told the sale ended last Friday. Of course it did. I said I wanted to buy a...

Posted at 09:50 AM | Permalink | Comments


North and South Bimini

This photo is looking south from South Bimini Island, actually from the tiki hut at Mackies Sand Bar at the Bimini Sands Beach Club, but more about that later. My blogs may not contain as many pictures as I'd like to publish while we are here in the Bahamas. Our current data plan only allows 800MBs of data transfer per month, and while this is an upgrade from the plan we instituted last week, it's still falls way short of what I'd prefer. We'll save data transfer on our MiFi device for email, weather and an occasional blog, hopefully at least once per week. Less pictures, and smaller ones, will allow us to retain the data transfer for the services we really need. After finding out at BaTelCo that we couldn't put their SIM card in our iPad, another...

Posted at 09:36 AM | Permalink | Comments


Finally in the Bahamas

On Monday, April 1, we took a cab to the Marathon Veterinary Hospital so Holly could get her "physical" and health certificate for entering the Bahamas. Seventy-five dollars later, we were headed back to Boot Key Harbor, exactly one month to the day after her rabies shot. Her shot had to be administered no sooner than one month prior to her entry into the Bahamas, but we now also had, by law, 48 hours to check in at customs and immigration. We'd heard there is wiggle room in the 48 hour stipulation, but we hear lots of things. I'd filed a float plan with the Small Vessel Reporting Service, a feature administered by the U.S. Customs Service. This should allow us to enter back into the U.S. with just a phone call. I stated our last port as Marathon, knowing full...

Posted at 09:19 AM | Permalink | Comments