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Swing Set

Sep 26, 201204:36 PM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

The Ho Hum Boating Life

(page 2 of 2)

With our laundry done at least for a month or so, we headed back to the boat and chilled out some. We took the dinghy back out later in the afternoon because I wanted to find the grocery store in order to stock up before we leave Crystal River. I made the mistake of going at low tide, and while we were admiring the crystal clear water in the canal we were traversing, I hit a rock. A big rock. I shut the motor down and got out in the very shallow water to survey the damage. There were some scrapes on one ear of the prop, and some paint wore off, but I decided then and there that we needed a spare prop for the Mercury just in case the damage was worse the next time.

The next day, I called one of the local marinas and was told they could order a prop and have it in a couple of days. I made a couple of calls to find out the going price on a 9- by 8-inch three-bladed prop for our Mercury before I called the marina back and ordered it. I know we don't need it, but I'd rather have it and not need it. You know the drill.

Most of the day yesterday was blustery and threatening rain, so we did some cleaning on the boat, and I cleaned out our sea strainers and fixed one of the small 12-volt fans in our stateroom that had been rattling. The sun came out in the afternoon, so we took the dingy over to the Three Sisters Spring for just the ride and a look see. We had been there on Sunday, but we didn't get out of the boat.

This is the entrance to the springs. All motorboats are prohibited, and the poles blocking the entrance ensure that only kayaks and canoes will be in the lagoon where the springs are. I left Rosie and Holly in the dinghy to swim in and see if it was worth coming back with our snorkel gear, and I found that it was. You can see how clear the water is in this picture, and it's not saltwater, but freshwater, and one gets the impression you could just gulp a big mouthful of the stuff.

Today, we waited until we were almost at high tide and set out on the dinghy again in search of a landing where we could leave the dinghy and be close to the Save-a-Lot grocery store. We left Holly to guard Swing Set and took along our snorkeling gear. There was lots of water heading down the canal we were in, and then we saw our first manatee of this trip. They are pretty innocuous looking creatures, and I can see why people get upset about the harm that comes to them, but I don't think I'd go out of my way to see another one.

We found a good place to tie up the dinghy for the trip to the store, which we will probably do tomorrow. It's going to be a very short walk for us. With that behind us, we motored back over to the Three Sisters Spring for some snorkeling.

I'm not sure if Rosie has snorkeled in the last 30 years, but she has brand-new equipment, and after some remedial instruction, she did fine, and we thoroughly explored the Three Sisters Springs. They aren't as deep as we found them to be advertised, and we only saw some very small fish and no manatees, but the water was a cool 72 degrees and crystal clear. It turned out to be a fun experience for us.

Once we got done with our swim, we went back to the boat and collected Holly and did some more exploring in the dinghy. I don't know how anyone can travel in a larger-type boat and not have a dinghy or kayak to explore the shallower waters. We really enjoy the dinghy and are glad we have it. Sometimes, just the ride is fun because we go faster in the dinghy than we do the big boat.

We are really enjoying our anchorage here in Crystal River but are getting anxious to head on down the coast. The next 70 to 80 miles will be open water until we hit the Intracoastal Waterway again just south of Tarpon Springs. The gulf is supposed to be flat come the weekend, according to my sources, those being the websites I am learning to use. Many people rely on the advice of others before venturing out, but I've decided to make these decisions myself, using multiple tools that are available to us. No one has our best interest in mind better than ourselves.

Thanks for all the kind comments coming our way, as always. We'll try to live up to the dream.

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