Swing Set

Jan 31, 201306:54 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

We Cruise To Boca Grande

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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 blowing in excess of 20 miles per hour for several days. We have been wanting to go out, not only for a cruise, but to try our hands at lobstering again. We have been on the hook in much higher winds, but being on the hook in the wind is not the issue. For one thing, snorkeling or diving in the wind doesn't work well. The bottom gets stirred up, and the water is "murky." Murky here means the water is still a beautiful blue, but you can't see through it. The other thing is the problem with parking in a crowded harbor when the wind is high. We went through that a couple of weeks ago, and I don't want a reenactment.

Here's a picture of A & B Marina from another angle. This is a view from the Conch Republic Bar and Restaurant. While we are here, we may as well do happy hour.

As usual, we met some nice people at the bar. First was a guy from South Africa that had a home here and in the Abacos, so we were able to get some good information about our upcoming visit from him. Then, he was joined by a friend that owned and operated one of the tour boats. His boat was a modest looking catamaran that took people out for kayaking and snorkeling. He boasted an income of $7,000 per day with his vessel. I wonder if the figure would be as high if he knew I worked for the IRS.

One of the captains for the tour boat operator came up, and we were introduced to him. He was informed that we were the ones who had the Sea Ray with the wind generators on top. Before he says, "Pleased to meet you," he says, "Those things are noisy are will break."

This is not a good way to start a conversation with me.

As I have mentioned before, everything on a boat is broken, you just don't know it yet. I don't get credit for the quote; I just picked it up somewhere. So, I mention this fact to him, and added that we were all going to die eventually, but there was no significance in pointing such things out when at first meeting new folks.

I don't know what the bug was that was up his butt, but I was able to work it loose and he turned out to be an OK guy. The tour boat owner invited us to come by, and he had lots of half-price drink tickets that he would give us. He turned out to be a nicer guy.

I look at the weather forecast on several websites every morning, and yesterday I found that we were to have a blustery morning, but it would give way to a calm afternoon. Our plan to take a cruise away from the dock was on! By 9 o'clock we were untethered from the dock and were headed out. Once we got past the reefs on the Northwest Channel and headed east to Lobsterland, and into the wind, spray from the waves began reaching us up on the flybridge. I also noticed the water was too stirred up for efficient snorkeling, so we turned around 180-degrees and headed west.

We had talked to a fella at the dock just that morning about an anchorage at Boca Grande, one of the keys just west of Key West. You thought Key West was the last key in the chain, didn't you? I had read about the two anchorages at Boca Grande when we went to the Dry Tortugas but didn't feel a need to stop there. As we were on a day trip, this seemed like a perfect place to find calm water and maybe look for some lobsters.

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