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Swing Set

Nov 22, 201302:49 PM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

The Dust Settles

(page 1 of 2)

A week ago yesterday, the last of our Key West visiting friends got together at a local Cuban restaurant, El Siboney's, for one last time before they all left. In the photo above, there is Bob, Papa John, Pat, Rosie, Me, Carrie, Dave, Maureen, Darryll and Joe. We're not sure if everyone liked their dining experience, but Rosie and I like El Siboney's. Their prices are reasonable, and the place isn't fancy. It's located off the beaten path on Catherine Street, a few blocks north of Simonton.

We had another dinner with half of the group on Friday night. (Bob, Carrie and Dave left to drive back to Missouri on Friday morning.) It was supposed to be a pot luck affair to get rid of leftovers from the refrigerator, but we wound up being treated to fresh strip steaks, baked potatoes, pork and beans, peas and carrots. The only thing missing was string beans. Thankfully.

John and Pat drove by A&B Marina on Saturday morning on their way out of town and dropped off a case of Bud Light. As they drove away, Rosie was in tears, and I was itchin' to get the beer on ice.

It was a whirlwind month and a great time with great people. There's a good chance we'll do it again next year.

The downside was that Rosie and I ran ourselves down and both got sick. We spent the next few days taking cold medicine and laying low. We hadn't been sick at all since leaving St. Louis 18 months ago, but we also haven't been staying out so late or around so many people. It was bound to catch up with us.

We had recently gone to the local library and were able to get a membership for only $30. Our official Florida residence is in Clay County, so we couldn't use the Monroe County library for free. We have no problem paying an annual fee to join our local library, because they have not only a great selection of books, they also have a pretty good inventory of DVD movies. We spent the next several nights staying in to watch movies and turn in early with our books.

I finally read "To Have and To Have Not" by Ernest Hemingway and it was fun to recognize some of the places around Key West that Hemingway had written about so long ago. I wouldn't name the story as his best, but it just seems appropriate to read this book while living on a boat here.

Speaking of the boat, on Monday we took Swing Set out for a cruise. We had very little wind, so we went over to Stock Island to see how things were coming along over there. There was a big sign on the new office announcing that they were open. We backed Swing Set into the slip that we picked out to stay in come December 1, and we were glad we did. I decided that the slip next to it would be better suited for us due to the finger pier being on our port side instead our starboard side. I have better visibility from the helm on the port stern quarter, so having the finger pier on that side will make backing in easier. I always say it's the little things that you need to pay attention to.

I contacted the harbormaster and requested to be placed in the slip we picked, and he said that there shouldn't be a problem with it. As time goes on, I'll probably want to move again for some reason or another. That's the beauty of living on a boat.

Because we had some calm days, we decided to take the dinghy out for some exploring on Wednesday morning.

We took the dinghy out of Key West Bight, heading south around the cruise ship docks and Mallory Square, past Fort Zachary State Park to the Southernmost Point. You can see the famous landmark behind Rosie in the photo. Holly seemed very interested in it. Then, we ran east toward Boca Chica Key, with intentions of running to Geiger Key for lunch at Geiger Key Marina, a place recommended to us by some of our friends who went there twice for lunch.

I kept going around bends along the coast of Boca Chica, promising to only go around one more, when I told Rosie that I was getting uncomfortable going so far in the dinghy when we could visit Geiger Key once we move to Stock Island in a few days. I sometimes listen to my instincts. I should do it more often.

We motored back to a gathering spot of sorts for local boaters, just off of Boca Chica, on a shallow spot with nice soft sand, that, at low tide, there is a beach. There wasn't much activity on a Wednesday, but we did talk to some folks on a Jet Ski tour who said there are usually many more boaters at this spot on the weekends. It's just a little distance from our future location at Stock Island Marina Village, and we intend to make it a hangout. We've heard that clothing may be optional on this beach. We won't let that stop us.

We had a couple of beers and enjoyed the scenery for a bit, and then went into Safe Harbor past the new marina where we'll be staying, and then over to The Hogfish Bar. We wanted to visit The Hogfish with our friends when we took a ride in Swing Set a couple of weeks ago, but they don't have docking for transients, but we can always find a spot to dock the dinghy.

Holly is welcome at the seating "outside," which really isn't outside because it's under a roof. They have these barstools wide enough for three people to sit at, which we like because we can sit Holly between us while we eat. We spent last New Year's Eve at The Hogfish, and we like the atmosphere. I think we'll be visiting there a lot.

Just West of Safe Harbor is a channel that takes you over to the bay side of Key West, but along that channel is a canal that, on the charts, looks like it would go over to the bayside, too, only to a better spot, which is on the West side of Sigsbee Key, closer to Garrison Bight.

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