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Swing Set

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

January 2013

01/31/13

We Cruise To Boca Grande

The trip to the Bahamas is back on the front burner. The more I talk to people who have actually been there recently, the more comfortable I feel about going. We still have the logistical issues to consider, involving Holly's rabies shots and paperwork, but we'll deal with those issues as they arise and take it from there. I ordered two cruising guides from Amazon: Dozier's Waterway Guide to the Bahamas, along with Steve Dodge's Guide to Abaco. We used the Dozier's Guide for our trip down the West coast of Florida, and we are using it here in the Keys currently. (We joined Amazon Prime to take advantage of free two-day shipping, and free book and movie rentals.) But you don't need a cruising guide when you are tied to the dock. The winds have been...

Posted at 06:54 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/27/13

Another Unexpected Visit

One thing about being in such an attractive town is that people want to come visit, not only to see us, hopefully, but to have a mini-vacation. At times, a "vacation from a vacation." Neal and Monica hail from our old home town and were visiting a friend in Cape Coral when they jumped on the Key West Express and endured the three-plus hour boat ride to come see us for a quick, five-hour visit. Their daughter was here over New Year's, and we didn't get to see her, but Andi and her boyfriend bought Neal and Monica their Express tickets at a discount, so they decided to make the trip. The boat is huge. Equipped with four Detroit Diesels that propel it to 40-mph from Ft. Meyers. Neal and Monica stepped aboard Swing Set shortly after docking here in Key West...

Posted at 08:13 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/23/13

Holed Up In Key West

The end of last week was a whirlwind of activity. We spent Friday with Doug and Jeanne Harmon, first meeting early to go to El Siboney's Cuban Restaurant, where we had one of the best meals here in Key West. Very reasonable prices, and very good food. It's off the beaten path and worth the hunt to find it. Get the skirt steak. On Saturday, Doug and Leslie Woods called. They were in town for a couple of days with friends Joe and Christy Grygiel, all of them from back in Missouri and members of the Duck Club Yacht Club on the Mississippi River, where we used to be members. The four of them met at the boat, and even though, the sky was a little overcast, the wind was very light, so we offered to take them out for a cruise. They came prepared. Here we are out in Hawk...

Posted at 08:07 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/18/13

Lobster in the Freezer

Steve from Key West Engines had our turbochargers back on the engines at end of day on Tuesday. I asked him if he wanted to take the boat out to see how it ran, and he said that we could save about an hour of labor cost if we just went out the next morning ourselves. He was very confident that Swing Set would run like it was supposed to. I liked his confidence. Wednesday morning, January 16, was bright and sunny, a perfect day to test drive the boat. The picture above is of Triple Net, the 80-foot Hatteras that I mentioned in the last post. We took Swing Set out of the bight and past the cruise ship docks and opened her up. We were up to temperature, and I didn't baby her. I hit the throttles, and the engines took heed. The turbos kicked in at 1600 rpm, and Swing Set...

Posted at 05:46 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/15/13

Swing Set Gets An Organ Transplant

We had the engine room hatches open on the salon for Steve, the mechanic from Key West Engines, when he got to the boat on the morning of Thursday, January 10. He pulled off the turbochargers, the aftercoolers, and some other bits and pieces, the names of I know not. Even I could see that the turbochargers were showing signs of wear on the inside. Corrosion on the insides of the housings was evident, and some flaking was obvious. According to Steve, just the condensation on the inside of the housings will cause the corrosion over time. When the turbos don't work at full efficiency, the aftercoolers get gummed up and problems multiply. The diagnosis was for new turbocharger housings and a solvent bath for the aftercoolers, after which they were to receive a coat of paint....

Posted at 08:28 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/10/13

A & B Marina In Key West Bight

In this small harbor, there are four marinas to choose from. There is Conch Harbor, Key West City Marina, The Galleon and A & B Marina. All four are unique in their own way, but all are expensive. The bottom line for us was that A & B gave a discount for an extended stay, plus they don't displace you for another customer coming in later. Once you are in, you're in. All of the boats are docked stern to, or with the back of the boat adjacent to a pier. There are pilings at the bow with only lines running between the boats to keep them apart. We have all of our fenders out. Not so much to protect our boat, but to protect the boats on either side of us...I don't want to have to pay to get them fixed if we bump into them. We are in some nice company. I think...

Posted at 07:01 AM | Permalink | Comments

01/09/13

Key West To Dry Tortugas

Our story picks up again on New Years Day. When we left Key West, we had no cell service or Internet once we passed Marquesas Key, so I couldn't post anything until now, which is January 9. Yesterday marked eight months of travel. I have some catching up to do. We finished washing Swing Set at the dock at Oceanside Marina on January 1, filled up our tanks with water and left the harbor to see what the conditions were like in the Hawk Channel. It was bumpy, and the prospect of getting salt spray all over the boat just after we washed it was not appealing to us. I turned the boat around and made for the Key West Yacht Club, where we wanted to get a pump out and then look for an anchorage in the area just east of Stock Island. The Key West Yacht Club is very nice, but...

Posted at 06:03 AM | Permalink | Comments: 2

01/01/13

A Perfect New Years Eve, Almost

During another restless night on the hook, just west of Fleming Key, Rosie and I slept in the salon: I on the couch and Rosie on the dinette. Holly bunked with Rosie, but during the night, she snuck away and climbed up with me. I was oblivious to her climbing up with me on the couch, so any "anchor watch" I was engaged in was of no value. It didn't matter. Our auxiliary anchor (which is a Danforth) kept us in place, mainly because the wind blew at a constant rate from the north and east. The fact that I dove down on the anchor and shoved it in past the grass and into the sand was the only reason that this anchor held. Yes, James, these anchors do have their use, as long as your boat doesn't change direction over them. On New Years Eve morning, I called The...

Posted at 09:55 AM | Permalink | Comments