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Swing Set

Feb 10, 201309:12 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Just When You Think It Might Get Boring

(page 1 of 2)

On our first full day at anchor after leaving the security of A & B Marina, we had a fairly calm day, so I dropped the dinghy in the water and, while Rosie and Holly stayed aboard Swing Set and did girly things, I went in search of lobster. We were anchored in about 9 feet smack in the middle of a big, sand bottom, which was great for holding but not good for lobsters to hide in. They like rocks and crevices, so I had to venture out.

Venturing out means getting far away from the boat. Alone. In water that I've seen very big fish in, and at risk of tidal currents taking me away from the dinghy and my means to get back to the security of the "big boat." While I am still in the process of having the nerve to do this sort of thing without a great deal of reservation on my part, I am not quite there yet, to say the least. After about 90 minutes of peering below, and occasionally donning my mask for a closer look below the surface, I gave up and returned back to Swing Set lobsterless.

The wind was due to pick up during the weekend, and I had an anchorage picked out that was about four miles away, so we pulled up stakes and made a slow cruise east to Jewfish Basin and to an anchorage written about in Active Captain. I have been using the Garmin Bluechart mobile application that incorporates Active Captain right on the chart. It's a nice integration, and I also spent the extra $3.99 for the weather feature.

There are two potential entrances into Jewfish Basin, and I chose one with the widest channel. If you look at the basin on the chart, you would think that it was surrounded by islands and mangroves, perhaps guarded from the wind by nice tall palm trees, but no. What looks like land on the chart is just very shallow water, maybe a couple inches of sand at low tide. Wind exposure is still significant, but the worse winds were due to come from the east on Sunday, and we anchored just west of a land mass once inside the basin. The problem is that the landmass is surrounded by shallow water, and we couldn't get close enough to the island for it to be of much help in wind reduction, but it did help for those potential easterly waves that were also forecasted.

During the night, Swing Set swung around on her hook a whole 360 degrees; the wind had shifted that much. But we still held in about six feet of water, even though I didn't dive down on our anchor. The chart reported a mud bottom; I would describe it as more of a mud/sand bottom, but as it turned out, probably more mud than sand.

We kept seeing small boats entering the nearby mangroves, so we took a dinghy ride to see if there was a party going on at a sandbar somewhere. There was. We found six or seven boats anchored in shallow water, with about 25 or 30 folks of various ages standing around listening to music and tossing a football around. Some of the women had only half of their bikinis on. Perfect. The only thing the group was missing was a higher degree of hospitality. When we motored in and tossed out our anchor, the looks we were getting made us feel like we were from another planet. We're used to getting those kind of looks, so it's no big deal, but no sooner than we made a few words of small talk to a few of them, a fella comes over and says he needs to put his boat just about where ours was, because "the tide was going out." Of all the places for him to need to put his boat, wanting to place it right in the same spot as ours happened to be was not a way of making us feel welcome, so we mulled around a few minutes more and went in search of friendlier surroundings. Like back to our boat.

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