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Swing Set

Oct 16, 201209:30 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Longboat Key To Englewood

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We had intentions of heading south on Friday morning, but we noticed boaters congregating around a rather large low spot at the tip of Jewfish Key, and when the tide went out, a small island was visible which attracted more boaters. I figured this spot would be a busy one on the weekend, so we decided to stay and see how it went.

We took Holly out into the shallow water, four inches or so, and it was funny to see her try to walk/swim her way around, pawing at anything she would see crawling on the sand bottom. We met some other boaters, and they all confirmed that come the weekend there would be lots of boats lining the small island.

We had a good hook-in on Friday night when we listened to the Cardinal baseball broadcast and heard the Cardinals beat the Washington Nationals to advance to the NLDS to play the Giants on Sunday.

On Saturday, I was going to just turn our stern into the beach, let out more bow line and set a stern anchor, but we already had a lot of bow anchor line out and I didn't want to present a hazard to boat traffic near the island. More importantly, our anchor line is our lifeline, and we don't need anyone running over it. I pulled up the bow anchor, set it closer to the beach and then deployed the stern anchor in shallow water. With the tidal current pulling our bow out and the northern wind pushing our stern away from the beach, we were strung up between both anchor lines tighter than a banjo string.

With our anchor setup keeping the boat still, and the water being very clear, I decided to test out our Hookah Max snorkel system and address the barnacles growing on our running gear. The very small barnacles growing on the props brushed right off, and some others on the trim tab bodies scraped off with a little more effort. I used a wide, plastic paint scraper and removed some very short algae growth from the rest of the bottom. I found some more bottom paint missing from the hull where some more barnacles had taken root, but they easily scraped off too. Again, more on the missing bottom paint later. (I'm working on it.)

My underwater work didn't take long, and I was happy with the snorkel system, which is an onboard compressor supplying air through two 100-foot hoses, utilizing a regulator that clips to a belt on your waist. The compressor will pump air through both hoses down to 30 feet. I can see where I'm going to need some weights for the belt, and maybe a buoyancy compensator, but I'll go to a dive shop and see what I can get within our budget.

It was later that some neighboring boaters told me they had seen a bull shark swimming around, but it was small. If I can't see them, they aren't there, is how I'm approaching information like that.

We were chatting it up with some other boaters that walked over to "listen to our music" when a mid-sized express cruiser came in and was making a feeble attempt at anchoring very close to us. They abandoned their mission and wound up anchoring out further on the other side of our boat, where I couldn't really see them. Not long after, I noticed our stern slipping closer to the beach and went on deck to see if our bow anchor was still holding. It might have still been holding if the guy in the express cruiser hadn't hooked it and was trying to pull it up along with his own anchor, oblivious to what was happening.

I hollered over to his girlfriend/wife/sister/whatever on the front of his boat that they were pulling our anchor up. She looked at me and said, "I can hear you," as if the volume of my voice was the only social infraction going on at the moment. Heck, I was still using my "friendly voice" and without any adjectives, too!

We didn't have time for me to use reasoning, as our rudders where already making comfy with the beach, so I told the guy that I would let out more line if he would just pull up his anchor by hand and kindly slip his anchor off of our line without damaging it. So I did, and he did and the girl even thanked me, to which I replied, "No big deal." They sheepishly motored away, moved over by themselves and put their anchor down again, far enough away to avoid another mishap. We've all been there, some more than others.

With our bow anchor pulled up and the beach getting too crowded for us to comfortably set back into position, we hauled in the stern anchor and dropped our hook further away from the beach. We took the dinghy in later and visited some more folks until the sun started to set.

Even though the forecast for Sunday was still a windy one, we decided to travel back up to Passage Key, about nine miles north, where we had spent the Sunday a week earlier. The tide was up and Passage Key was not showing, but we knew where it was and were the first ones there. We bobbed around like a cork, wondering why we even made the trip, before some other boats started showing up. By mid-afternoon, the wind died down enough for us to drop the dinghy and go visiting. We met some people on the now-showing beach, and it turned out to be a rewarding day after all.

We had intentions of having dinner at a place in Cortez called the Bridgetender Bar, but we found out it was out of business, so we went across the bay to the Seafood Shack instead. I had baby back ribs (isn't that what everyone orders at a seafood restaurant?) and Rosie had fried grouper. We started with some clam chowder that was as good as I've ever had, and that includes Campbell's. We both really liked our dinners and were going to stay and watch the Cardinals play the Giants, but once we ate, we were out of gas.

We retired to Swing Set and tried to get the game on TV, but there was no reception. We tuned into KMOX on the internet and promptly fell asleep and almost missed the entire game, luckily waking up at the start of the exciting eighth inning. We stayed right there at the dock until sunrise, making off like bandits at the first sign of light. I say "no harm, no foul" if we don't plug in and spend a fair amount in the restaurant.

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