Swing Set

Dec 10, 201308:32 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

An Eventful Week

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At mid-week, Rosie and I took the dinghy out to explore some more. In the photo above, we are anchored just off of Boca Chica Key. Some local boaters gather there on the weekends, but even on the weekdays, Jet Ski tours stop there to give the riders a breather, or maybe just to eat up time, as they promise a two-hour ride.

We found a nice, quiet spot to anchor in the mangroves just between Stock Island and Boca Chica, and we know there are many more neat places to explore on the "bayside" of both of these keys, and around the keys just to our east, or as most people think, to our north, because A1A is considered to run north to south, but isn't so on our end.

We've been in contact with our generator guy. The generator is in, but the marina where we need to go to get it installed is full with boats along the seawall, where we have to use a big forklift to install the 400-pound generator. We are in no hurry, but we'd like to get the installation behind us, and get our expenses for the matter put to rest, as we have other work to do on the boat that will affect our budget.

Meanwhile, we're getting used to our surroundings little by little, organizing our dock space, and waxing, waxing, waxing the boat. The little chores never end.

One of the chores is grocery shopping, and we made our first trip to the grocery store on the bike. We kept filling up the grocery cart, and I kept saying that we were getting too much stuff, and once we got everything bagged up at the checkout, I knew we were in trouble. I stuffed two big bags into the basket over the front tire. (This basket is attached to a better place on the frame, not the handlebars.) We had our one pannier full, and Rosie had our knapsack on her back, stuffed to the gills. We for sure had exceeded the total weight limit for our Yuba bike, and I could barely steer it home. Next time, we're going to fill our bags while they are in the grocery cart, so we know where we stand right off.

Last Friday night, we took the dinghy over to Hogfish for a few beers. We barely putted into the harbor over there and were tying up when some guy comes up to the dinghy and tells me to go a little slower next time coming into the harbor. I laughed, because I thought he was kidding, as we were going slow enough to not have a wake. He said there was people sleeping and we were keeping them awake. It was 6:30 in the evening! I finally said, "Are you serious?" He said he was, but had a crazed look on his face, so I just said, "OK, thanks pal," and he left.

I do know this: A lot of the local fishermen around here have an axe to grind with the owners of the new marina where we are docked now, and it doesn't take too much sense to figure out that anyone coming in at night in a dinghy is from the new marina, so I think this fella just wanted to take his displeasure out on us. We left like church mice, and we'll be in stealth mode in the future as well, but if he wants to make an issue of our presence some other time, it may get ugly.

The Hogfish has a reputation as being a bit "shady" and being a "rough and tumble" kind of place. We've been there enough times to realize that it's true, but I have news for them. We're from Fenton, Mo., and we've been in Joe Clarks on a Friday night. Enough said.

On Saturday, we took the bike downtown to Dante's to use the pool and just hang out. We had a nice afternoon. The place was crowded, and the weather was great. We spent four hours there, and were going to stay and watch the SEC football championship game, but there was no way that was going to happen and I was going to pedal our bike back to Stock Island. We made the sensible decision to leave before the game and got back to the boat before dark.

Some folks we met last year in the Dry Tortugas had their boat at A & B Marina while we were there for the last two months, and they moved it over to Key West Harbor Club last month. Neal and Cindy called and said they were coming down and wanted to have dinner.

We met them on Sunday night over at the Key West Harbor Club. It's a very nice place. The rent over there is similar to the rent here, but there's nothing nearby to go to in the dinghy if the weather is bad, or on foot for that matter. We may just be rationalizing, but we think the members may be a bit stuffy for us over there. But Neal and Cindy aren't stuffy. We had a little dinner and then joined them on their 58-foot Sea Ray Sedan Bridge for a nightcap. We don't get on many boats of this caliber, and this one is a beauty. At 10 o'clock, we went back to Swing Set and threw rocks at it.

On Monday, I did some more waxing and we took Holly to the dog park here at the marina. They have two fenced in areas, one for large dogs, and one for small dogs. We're pretty sure which area Holly would pick, but we took her to the small dog area anyway. It was funny seeing her walk in the grass, because she doesn't get to go on grass much. We tried to get her to run around, but she mainly wanted to be picked up and held. Our buddy.

While at Dante's last Saturday, I was talking to a restaurant owner, and we were discussing ways to cook on the boat. We both like to prepare our steaks in a cast iron skillet, and he told me about a method he uses to make a demi-glaze sauce for his steaks.

I grilled our steaks while Rosie baked some potatoes and steamed some corn on the cob. Once the steaks were done, I put them in a glass plate with a lid, and then threw a stick of butter in the skillet. On top of the melting butter I poured some red wine, about a cup, and let it cook down and thicken. Once it got thick enough, and before it could burn, I poured it over the steaks for a mouth-watering topping. I've been cooking with beer too long!

This morning, I perfected our bike mounting system. I used the Magma Grill mounting rods that we bought last week, after I had covered them with clear hose, and clamped them to the rails on the aft end of our flybridge. You can see the finished product in the picture above. The rods from this angle are invisible and as sturdy as can be. The bike slips straight on them, and one holds up the front wheel at the rim, and one is placed at the top of the triangle formed by the center post and rear frame, just behind the crank. We think it will work great if we ever travel on our boat again.

We had lunch today over at the new location of the Shrimp Road Grill. The grill trailer has been moved over to the Tiki Hut. The hut is huge, and there are about eight big picnic tables to eat on, and ceiling fans provide a nice breeze. There's going to be a bandstand built and most of the walking areas are paved with multi-colored bricks. Oh, and the food is moderately priced and delicious!

Rosie is posing next to the Christmas tree under the Tike Hut. It will be the closest thing to our own Christmas tree that we'll have this year, but as I write this, Rosie is decorating the boat with little Christmas-type crap that she has smuggled aboard. This is something she likes to do, and I don't discourage her. I may even look around the salon when I get done with this blog and tell her how nice it all looks. Yes, I lie when I have to.

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