Swing Set

Sep 12, 201201:45 PM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Orange Beach to Destin, Florida

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I zipped my lip, thanked her for all her help and made my way back to the boat, just seething. As soon as I got aboard, I called Middleton Marina and was connected to Sam, who was in charge of ordering our filters. I won't give you a play-by-play of the conversation, but once Sam found out that I knew the list price of the filters and was satisfied with paying that, what were we going to do about the extra 50-percent charge? Sam admitted to not ordering from Walker Airsep in California, but from Racor in Virginia. I allowed him an escape by suggesting that Racor gouged Middleton, so what were we going to do about it? Well, Sam said he would deal with Racor in Virginia, and he lowered our price to something resembling a fair price, and we closed the deal. He then emailed a new invoice and showed the credit on our VISA card. The ace in the hole is the VISA card. Always pay for something like this with a credit card, so you have someone backing you up if you are overcharged.

I tried to give everyone involved the benefit of the doubt, but never again will this happen. It keeps everyone honest if you question all the details, whether they like it or not. I called Nancy back and let her know what had transpired; letting her know that Sam over at Middleton treated us fairly in the end. She appreciated the call, and I think we left Orange Beach on good terms with everyone.

We headed east on the GIWW into a pretty stiff easterly wind. When we first entered Santa Rosa Sound, we were bucking two-foot waves, but once we passed Pensacola Beach, the wind had died down and the going got easier. We were looking at our Waterway Guide for an anchorage, but there was nothing promising for many more miles, so we just pointed our bow to the south, pulled off the channel and tossed an anchor in near the sand dunes that comprise Santa Rosa Island.

Look how pretty our sunset was as we grilled some chicken breasts on our Magma grill! The wind had all but died down, and we were looking forward to a quiet night.

I had to throw this last sunset picture in. This is actually the first "big water" sunset since our trip began over four months ago. Our tranquility lasted until almost midnight, the wind kicked up again, and in a big way. I had enough scope out, and I knew we had a good bite on the sand bottom, but Swing Set was bucking like a Hobby Horse. Yes, I said Hobby Horse. We both wound up sleeping in the salon, where it was quieter and the bow couldn't be felt rising and falling so much. Did I mention previously that I now understand the attraction of an aft cabin?

We managed to get a significant amount of sleep, if not an adequate amount, but after bouncing around during morning coffee, we yanked up the anchor and headed east again. It was an overcast and uncomfortable ride towards Fort Walton Beach and then on to Destin. We passed a westbound vessel, a beautiful Grand Banks trawler, and the captain stepped out of his pilot house and gave us a salute! Made my whole day, that did.

Once into Destin Harbor, we checked a couple of places for a replacement stern anchor but came up with nothing. We were tired from lack of sleep and a nearly four-hour stint at the helm, so after finding a good spot in a crowded Destin Harbor, we settled in with our books, hoping a nap would slip in there, too. It was still overcast and breezy, so the nap did come, for a few minutes at least.

After getting woke up from a nice afternoon nap by our resident monster barking at passing vessels, we uncoiled the water hose and gave Swing Set a rinse down. While Rosie mopped up the rinse water, I got out our new air filters and gave them a coating of filter oil, so they would be dry tomorrow. I'll put them on once the engines are nice and cool and see if they don't help our performance.

I'm not getting into detail on our engine performance here because I don't want advice from armchair mechanics. While we're at it, don't send any suggestions for places to visit here in Destin unless you want to supply your credit card number too. If we are still here tomorrow afternoon, we'll go to AJ's for old time sake and then head to Panama City on Friday.

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