Swing Set

Sep 24, 201204:48 PM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Crystal River

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The restaurant "right next door" to the River Haven Marina turned out to be Fiddlers, and it was further away than we thought, but a nice fella who noticed Rosie washing the boat in her bikini earlier happened to be waiting for us in his golf cart as we made our way off of the boat dock to head for Fiddlers on foot.

Don is a local charter boat captain, and he was celebrating happy hour in fine fashion with a huge tumbler of whiskey on the rocks. I saw him pour one, and I can attest to his intentions. Don invited us to climb into the cart, and he took us to the liquor store next to Fiddlers, where we replenished our dwindling supply of beer, drove back to the marina and then back to Fiddlers, where he dropped us off and gave us his business card, which was two beer can coozies with his information on it. He said that if we needed anything while in Steinhatchie, we should give him a call. Judging by the weaving he was doing in the golf cart, I was hoping we weren't going to need an ambulance.

Don didn't want to let us go, well, Rosie anyway, but we bade him farewell and went into Fiddlers and got the last two seats at a crowed bar. We perused the menu and found tourist trap prices, so we each had an appetizer and a couple of beers before we walked back to the boat and rustled up some food for ourselves.

The next morning at daybreak, we got up and topped off our water tank. As we pulled out, there were plenty of fishermen already heading out, too. I had checked the wind and wave forecast, and by all indications, we were in store for a pleasant cruise down to Crystal River.

The route I charted took us right to the northern channel into Cedar Key, just in case the ride was rougher than we expected. Plus, the route was also the shortest around the most outer islands of Cedar Key, in the event that we wanted to keep going.

The ride was so pleasant we slipped right on past Cedar Key and kept going, although we had some skinny water to negotiate through, as little as five feet in some places. The more we use our Navionics App on the iPad, the more faith I have in it. I feel like it's more accurate than the Garmin unit we also use.

Once we got past Cedar Key, the water cleared up tremendously and I stopped the boat two times to take a dip. We had to skirt a long channel leading to a local nuclear power plant to reach the channel into Crystal River, but we got there with no mishaps after a nine-hour trip, staying at our normal 8 miles per hour or so.

The channel leading into our intended anchorage in Kings Bay is a circuitous one, with a speed limit of 25 miles per hour in the marked channel, and two areas with an idle-only limit as this is manatee waters.

This is a view of Pete's Pier from our anchorage in Kings Bay. We got the hook down and made a quick dinner of hot dogs and pork and beans...a fitting dinner for kings, or just hungry travelers. Pete's Pier is where we'll fill up our water tank while we are here. We don't plan on asking Pete, and we don't want you to tell him either.

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