Swing Set

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

February 2013


Back in Marathon with a Laundry List

I'll get a couple of things out of the way first: The wind generator worked for a couple of days and then quit again, so we're going to embark on a plan to get it fixed. On a successful note, I put on my snorkel gear on and quickly found our grill that I had sent flying into Newfound Harbor by accident. On Friday and Saturday, we spent some time visiting other boaters on Picnic Island. For the most part, the people we met were nice. Two couples from Canada waded over to meet Holly. We talked for a bit, and one of the things we talked about was Little Palm Island Resort. The one fella told us how they visited one time, and two shots and two appetizers came to a total of almost $300, and dinner was typically $500 and up. To spend the night there ran over $3,000. You can...

Posted at 05:07 AM | Permalink | Comments


We Emerge Victorious, For Now

The wind and rain has let up finally. Three days ago, we pulled up anchor and tried to get into Dolphin Marina to get our water tanks topped off. I quit using the water maker because, without the port wind generator working, the power drain was too much on our house bank of batteries. Toward the largely unmarked northern end of the channel leading to the narrow secondary channel into the marina (which is marked) we began to stir up sand, so we turned around and got away unscathed, and decided to learn more about entering Dolphin Marina before we make another attempt. We also didn't go at high tide, which would have helped. If you read the comments on our previous posts, you already know that we cruised over to Little Palm Island to get water. Active Captain indicates...

Posted at 08:00 AM | Permalink | Comments


Prophets Come in Many Forms

Remember that fella we met in Key West at the Conch Republic Bar? The one who started his conversation with me by saying that our wind generators were noisy and were going to break? Yes. Him. It turns out I should probably go back and find him and anoint his holiness with adulation and praise, for he is apparently a prophet worthy of being the center of a new religion, because his prediction has come true. Our portside wind generator is broken. The portside wind generator started "braking" for no apparent reason when we left Key West 12 days ago, but I suspected it was because our house bank of batteries was just fully charged and the generators don't supply a charge when the voltage is at an acceptable level. Then, over the weekend, when winds were blowing...

Posted at 06:04 AM | Permalink | Comments


Back In Newfound Harbor and Defying Logic

The islands north of U.S. 1 in the lower keys are abundant, but the routes through them are shallow and meandering, and there are plenty of good anchorages to protect boaters from wind that may arise from just about any direction. Tarpon Belly Key We left Johnston Key after spending four nights there and moved just a few miles east to Tarpon Belly Key. The wind protection wasn't any better, but we wanted a change of scenery, and we found it. Tarpon Belly Key used to be the site of a shrimp farming operation many years ago that didn't pan out. Since I'm not a historian, nor a travel guide, I'll dispense with the facts about it and suggest you peruse the Internet if you want to find out more about it. One thing remarkable is that, due to its historical...

Posted at 08:27 AM | Permalink | Comments


Time for a Scenery Change

This is the fourth dawn breaking over Swing Set here in Jewfish Basin, and it looks like rain. We haven't had any significant rain since we were near Everglades City. When was that? On Sunday afternoon, we stayed on the boat. I had secured the dinghy, and we deployed one of our auxiliary anchors for a Bahamian Moor. This view to the East shows the whitecaps here in the basin. Out in the Gulf, the waves were much bigger. We have a rule to not leave the boat when the wind picks up, in order to be on hand for evasive action, and we will adhere to this rule even if it means missing out on social activities. We really dodged a bullet when our anchor dragged on Sunday morning. It was entirely my fault and could have been avoided had I put out enough scope, but I let...

Posted at 02:55 PM | Permalink | Comments


Just When You Think It Might Get Boring

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...

Posted at 09:12 AM | Permalink | Comments


Back On The Hook

After being in Key West and A & B Marina for one month, we left there this morning with mixed feelings. We really had a good time during our stay, met some nice people and got familiar with the town. We do hope to get back to Key West later this year, but it all depends on if we'll be able to get a slip in Key West Bight during what will be the busiest time of the year. I had a nice conversation with the harbormaster before we left, and although he didn't guarantee the availability of a slip for us, come this fall, he did indicate that we will have an inside track if we call him this summer. But sitting at a dock every day gets old, and we were anxious to get back on the anchor. Yesterday was a busy day for us. We called a cab and rode to the airport for our...

Posted at 09:03 AM | Permalink | Comments


The More We Learn the Less We Know

This photo has nothing to do with the subject of this blog. It's just a picture of a beautiful Hinckley yacht docked here at the A & B Marina in Key West. Some things are just what they are and have no other value and serve no purpose. One of those things is advice; that's why I seldom, or ever, give advice here on this forum. The blog is about our experiences. Others can draw from it what they will. But people still give lots of advice. And on other matters, I do too, even though I know it is of no use. I like it when people relate a story about their experiences, but I don't appreciate it when I'm told what I should do by others...especially if they don't know what they are talking about. Take for instance, our intention of going to the Bahamas....

Posted at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments