Swing Set

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

July 2013


Some Equipment Essentials

Swing Set Laying In Elizabeth Harbour From Stocking Island, Across From Georgetown, Great Exuma   As we go steaming into the second quarter of our second year as full-time cruisers, I thought I’d forgo the philosophy of my last post and focus on the nuts and bolts of our liveaboard existence and pass judgement of some of the operating and equipment systems on Swing Set, and what I think are essential, or perhaps, not so essential, items that are good  to have on a boat if you embark on an endeavor similar to ours. In no particular order, more likely as they come to mind: The Air-X wind generators are getting a thumbs up. Certainly, if coastal cruising will be a large part of your cruising ground, where ocean breezes abound, a wind generator or...

Posted at 08:16 AM | Permalink | Comments


Thinking About Friends and Family

We meet lots of people on our travels, and sometimes we wonder if we can develop a friendship with them or not. We have met some of the same people multiple times along the way, but so far, we’ve just enjoyed their company, or not, while we were with them, and let it go at that, with no further expectations. Take the woman we met at the library yesterday, Karen. Karen volunteers at the library on Mondays. She and her husband, Clive, have lived in Georgetown for 27 years. They came here when things were much simpler, and cheaper, before the big resorts came in and raised prices, and each little chicken shack restaurant raised them in kind, wanting to cash in on the quick buck, but making things difficult for the locals. Karen also blames the “outsiders” for...

Posted at 08:34 AM | Permalink | Comments


Georgetown Bar & Restaurant Guide

We’re settling into life here in Elizabeth Harbour. Although there are very few cruisers here at the moment, there are enough of them and other visitors to make things at least a little interesting. Hundreds of boats are here in the winter, we hear, because the weather is warm, but we have found adversely, that many of the home owners and regular cruisers come here in the summer, too, because the temperatures are milder than in other parts of the southern U.S. We have been enjoying temperatures in the high 70s at night and the low 80s during the day. A nice combination. Yes, summer is hurricane season. We are reminded of that fact occasionally, the latest being Topical Depression Dorian, which is currently fizzling out, if not diminishing altogether. Once we...

Posted at 09:37 AM | Permalink | Comments


Just Living LIfe

We cooked our Almaco Jack last Friday night, deep fried in Andy's Seasoning, and served it up with macaroni and cheese and a side salad. The meat of the fish tasted like tuna, but had a lighter color. The few bones were easily picked out, and we had enough from the fish for two meals. I'd call it a success, but don't want to add up what it really cost to catch and eat the thing. Livin' off da fat of da land! My blog posts look different, and there aren't pictures. There is a good reason. Last month, I used up our monthly data transfer allowance of 800 megabytes in less than five days. This prevented us from using our desktop computer for some very important personal business that we had to address with one of our insurance companies. I'm not going to let...

Posted at 10:53 AM | Permalink | Comments


Back to Elizabeth Harbour And Georgetown

Elizabeth Harbour was a welcome sight. As we motored into the inlet, my mind was filled with several things, like what kind of fish was it that we had in our cooler? How was I going to untangle the bird's nest I'd created of my new fishing reel? And, why did I waste all of our ice and most of our vodka on a damn fish? Clavon was happy to see us at the Exuma Yacht Club. While we were fueling up, I showed him our fish after making him promise not to laugh. A couple other boat owners came over to take a look. No one knew what I had caught. Two guesses were that I had in our possession, a bonita, or some kind of jack, whatever that is. I asked Clavon if it was good for eating, and his answer of "Not sure, mon," didn't give me much hope for us in eventually...

Posted at 10:47 AM | Permalink | Comments


Fish On...Yes, Really!

On Wednesday morning, we were lounging around having our second cup of coffee, discussing whether or not we wanted to spend another day in Calabash Bay. On one hand, we felt there were still some folks at the resort that we wanted to inflict ourselves upon, but on the other hand, I wanted to change out our raw water impeller and thought that changing it in Georgetown was a good idea, in case something unusual came up. We both were in agreement that we wanted to get back to the resources available to us in Elizabeth Harbour, so Rosie began to get the bridge and cabin prepared for departure, and I hauled up the dinghy and secured it to the davits. I had routed a course that would keep us in protected waters along the banks of Long Island, until we could turn due west where the wind...

Posted at 10:40 AM | Permalink | Comments


Decision Time

Rosie and I were definitely disappointed in Rum Cay and Port Nelson, and certainly in Sumner Point Marina. We had traveled over 35 miles in rough seas, believing the guidebooks about everything that Rum Cay had to offer. What if we traveled another 35 miles to Cockburn in San Salvador, only to be disappointed again? There are no anchorages around San Salvador unless the wind is coming from the east, which it usually is, but there are no guarantees. When we travel to any island, I usually have anchorages in mind for any weather situation, because you never know. At issue was also the current wind situation. Winds were continuing from the east, which would put us on a beam sea heading to San Salvador, something that is not pleasant at all. We made a decision to head back to Long...

Posted at 10:19 AM | Permalink | Comments


Rum Cay

On the northern tip of Long Island is Cape Santa Maria and Calabash Bay. We pulled into Calabash Bay, sheltered from the prevailing easterly winds, and lined with some nice homes, a first-rate resort and a fine white beach. We dropped the dinghy in and went exploring. A creek that leads inland caught my eye, and we entered a narrow spot in the reef that guards the entrance to a shallow bay that eventually narrows down to a creek that runs down to Joe Sound and then back into the southern end of Calabash Bay. Had the tide been up, we could have taken the dinghy around Galliot Cay, but we were only able to cruise around in the deeper water of the bay, but we saw sting rays and one nurse shark. We ran along the beach that fronts the Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort, where there...

Posted at 10:07 AM | Permalink | Comments


Three Productive Days In Stella Maris

We had lunch at the Driftwood Cafe on Thursday because all of our food was in coolers due to Rosie defrosting the refrigerator. I had my sought-after cheeseburger, made by hand with fresh ground beef. A side of fries and cole slaw rounded off the meal, and I must say it was very good. Rosie had a Ceasar salad with chicken. She said if was "real good." On Thursday afternoon, Joe brought Gerd to the boat to look at what I wanted to have welded. I had made a template for the stainless, and Joe found suitable material and had cut it. Gerd is German, like the owners, and used to be the marina manager here. He is a man of few words. Few, as in none. Nevertheless, it appeared that our welding was going to take place on Friday, barring rain. We visited Ian and the Driftwood...

Posted at 08:57 AM | Permalink | Comments


A Sigh Of Relief In Stella Maris

We have free WiFi! So, I'm backing up for a week and showing you this picture of the beach at Chat 'N' Chill on Stocking Island across from Georgetown, Exuma. The Chat 'N' Chill is such a fun place to go to, we found it hard to leave Georgetown because of it. We've been told that, "in season," the place is hopping with customers, and 300 or 400 boats line the shores of Elizabeth Harbour. We cannot wait to visit in the winter months. We think this place would be a great place to visit on vacation. Meanwhile, any reservations about our decision to travel to Long Island, with our initial disappointment in Salt Pond, plus the threat of Chantal hanging over our heads, has disappeared like Baptists at a raid on a strip club. Yesterday...

Posted at 08:48 AM | Permalink | Comments


Salt Pond Is A Dud

After our lengthy and bumpy crossing to Long Island yesterday, we didn't feel like exploring the town and thought we would wait until today. Wish we would have done it yesterday. But first, I'll back up. Leaving Elizabeth Harbour yesterday morning, the forward bilge pump came on, evident by it's warning light at the helm. Each pump has one. This was odd, and when odd things happen on a boat, it's best to find out the "root cause," because it means something isn't right. The forward pump coming on without the aft pump coming on means a problem. An unusual problem. Another thing that hasn't been right is the amount of water our watermaker has been making, or how much our tank has been holding overnight. I do believe in coincidences, and when...

Posted at 09:58 AM | Permalink | Comments


Long Island Waiting on Chantal

We have left Chicken Harbor, otherwise known as Elizabeth Harbour near Georgetown, Great Exuma. After looking at the forecast for what is currently Tropical Storm Chantal, we headed east from Georgetown to Salt Pond in Long Island. While the Exumas run more in a northwest to southeast direction, Long Island lays just east and runs more north and south. The Grand Bahama Bank sits in between, and the southern tip of the Exumas stabs Long Island almost directly in the center of that island, just about where the Tropic Of Cancer lies, and that is where we headed. When we left the anchorage this morning, we were hailed by another vessel, Island Girl, a sailboat. The captain said they'd be following behind us, also heading to Salt Pond. We also met another small sailboat on...

Posted at 08:52 AM | Permalink | Comments


Holding Pattern

For the most part, our week has been rather uneventful. After the Junkanoo last Saturday night, the winds clocked back around to come from the ESE, making us exposed to wind and waves blowing right up the length of Elizabeth Harbour, so we moved the boat back over to our original spot just off of Stocking Island. After spending another night bouncing around due to the more southerly, rather than easterly direction of the waves, we decided on Monday morning to make another move. Crab Cay Marina is a marina project that was begun in 2006. A beautiful stone bridge was built to allow traffic to go from Georgetown to Crab Cay; some roads were graded, and piles of construction materials were placed all around the natural harbor, which was also dredged to a nice depth for a marina....

Posted at 09:50 AM | Permalink | Comments