Swing Set

Mar 31, 201308:31 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Back in Business

(page 2 of 3)

We found Porky's. From 3 to 6 p.m. daily, they have half-price domestic beers and a "Happytizer" menu, at the bar only. With only one other diehard patron at the mostly outside bar, we saddled up in seats of our choice.

Porky's is a "dive bar." This is a good thing. The decor is eclectic, to say the least. But the menu is outstanding. Of course, BBQ is the specialty, but on this night, the special was beer-butt chicken, served whole, standing up at your table for you to carve and pick at. Side dishes are extra, so two people can mix and match what they want with the chicken. It really looked good to us, but we went with the happy hour fair of chicken wings and a pork slider sampler plate. We met some folks at the bar who finally made their way in, and Holly annoyed nearly everyone with her behavior. Usually it's me.

We left much after happy hour was over and walked back to our simple cottage in a light rain. The weather, and several beers, made our room seem like a cozy little hideaway, at least until the beer wore off around midnight, and then it was lumpy bed and creepy-crawly city once again.

We marched back across the highway early on Wednesday, expecting to dance around the painters working on the boat while trying to wax the hull, and we found the tape off of the waterline and the paint job completed!

I found Randy, mentioned a couple of minor issues that were promptly addressed, and then Rosie and I were given carte blanche permission to do the waxing. Any additional concerns were to be taken care of by Bobbie, at our request. We both worked for several hours, knocking off at 3 p.m., and managed to get the bottom half of the hull done, and wax applied to the top half, working off the ladder. I had to quit when I got so tired that falling off the ladder was a sure possibility, so that's when I knew it was time to head to the barn.

I wasn't happy with the waterline painted on the port side of the swim platform last time we got the bottom painted, and this bothered me all night. I wondered if I should tape, sand and paint this area myself, or if it was even allowed.

On Thursday morning, after a hearty breakfast, we again crossed the busy highway and went to work. I'd decided to adjust the paint on the swim platform without asking permission. I could always plead ignorance, an easy thing for me to do, usually.

While the paint was drying, I removed the wax from the top portion of the hull, and we were out of there just after noon.

Swing Set sits ready to go after new bottom paint and waxing. We also had a new hull zinc and new trim tab zincs installed; our shaft zincs were still in good shape. All running gear below the waterline was painted, except for the props. We're optimistic the paint will last longer than a few months this time. It may have been too cold up in Missouri when it was painted last March, who knows?

We were in the mood to celebrate! We walked back to Porky's for happy hour again on Thursday. We posted a RiverBill's sticker amongst all the other doodads and dollar bills stapled to the ceiling or walls. Look for it if you ever visit; the name Swing Set is printed on the sticker with a Sharpie. There may be prizes if you spot it.

It would have been a perfect visit, but a couple of bores took seats next to us and proceeded to brag about all the stuff they had, and all the stuff they knew they thought we needed to know. Sort of like this blog, but you have the option to not read it. Try as I might to ignore these people, they couldn't take a hint. Rosie remained nice and attentive, most likely the one reason the guy didn't want to leave us alone. When I don't like the company, I can't fake it.

We couldn't get away from our lodgings fast enough on Friday morning. Rosie shook out our clothing before packing it, hoping to leave any hitchhiking critters behind.

Our bill was ready at the boatyard, as well as a package of medicine that arrived in the mail late on the previous day. It's always an anxious moment when you get a bill. Mostly, you wonder how creative the person doing the billing can get when assessing costs. We were delighted to find that our bill was $600 lower than our original estimate! We thanked those in the office, promising to be back for further service work in the future. With the allowance made to our charges by Bloch Marine from our last bottom paint, this expense didn't hurt too much.

We declined the offer of a "courtesy boat wash," opting instead to do the job ourselves. Once Swing Set was pulled away from the sling, we tied up to a wall and was told to take our time, don't hurry, and stay as long as we needed to.

We both started washing, but when it came time to dry, I walked to a Mobil On The Run and picked up some fried chicken. Our experience at the Shell station in Mississippi made us savvy on the fact that some of the best fried chicken can be had at a gas station.

By the time I got back and loaded up the dinghy, Rosie was ready for us to head out. Our first stop was to be the Marathon Marina to top off our fuel. It's easy to get the Marathon City Marina, The Marathon Marina and the Marathon Boatyard, all confused. I wound up talking to all three one day when I called on the VHF radio to talk to one of them on our way out last December.

On Friday morning, the wind was blowing fairly hard. I had a bit of a challenge getting alongside the fuel dock at Marathon Marina, but did so in fine fashion, only to have my first mate and the dockhand join forces and sabotage me. Swing Set was brought alongside the dock into the current and wind, but my two helpers tied a line from the dock at midships, to a cleat forward on the bow. Once told to "shut 'er down. Captain," the wind and current proceeded to cause us to drift back away from my place at the dock, and thus away from the dock itself. I had to kindly ask the dock attendant to make fast a line at our midships to prevent our escape, which she was able to do just in time. As I was coming down from the helm, Rosie was bragging to the dock attendant about how "I don't know how he does it." Believe me, I don't know how either.

It gets worse. I get the fuel nozzle inserted into the port fuel filler and just start "pumping" and the dock attendant asks me if I "was getting anything." It took me a moment to ponder her question when I realized that no fuel was coming forth from the pump. I was then informed their power was out. Apparently, there was an accident on the highway and no one had any electricity. Just then, we could hear sirens, life in the Florida Keys.

We pulled away, a little disappointed because we wanted to be full when we left Boot Key on Monday, but I also knew I'd want to fuel up before crossing over to Bimini, so a plan to fuel up later on Monday became a necessity rather than an option.

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