Swing Set

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

September 2012


Grocery Shopping 101

The propeller we had ordered for the dinghy outboard had to be special ordered and wouldn't come in until next Thursday, a week away. I told the marina to forget it, and they totally understood. I'm glad I called them to find out the status of the prop that was supposed to come in today. I fixed a loose piece of woodwork in our stateroom this morning and cleaned the mold off of the life ring hanging on the flybridge. You can't get too lax around here. We were waiting for high tide, and after lunch we took the dinghy down a canal to where we now knew the grocery store was located. We docked the dinghy at the end of the canal and tied it up against a concrete seawall, but we put our fenders out. Where we docked was so close to the strip mall where the Save-a-Lot was...

Posted at 04:05 PM | Permalink | Comments


The Ho Hum Boating Life

We're on our fifth day here in Crystal River and are just living the boating life, nothing special, but living aboard isn't going to be exciting everyday. It's just a different way of going through life. At times, I feel like a blog is a bit narcissistic, and I wonder if I should write about the normal stuff we do, but then I think that some of the things we do to get through a normal day would be of interest to those who are considering attempting this lifestyle some day. Let's see if anything we've done in the last couple of days will blow your skirt up. On Monday morning, I checked a couple of apps on the iPad to look for a laundromat and a grocery store. I found one of each, both located right smack on a small bridge that I could see from the boat. I...

Posted at 04:36 PM | Permalink | Comments


Crystal River

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...

Posted at 04:48 PM | Permalink | Comments


Crossed the Gulf Today

We were up at 6 a.m., and it was pitch black outside, but by the time I listened to the weather radio report and looked at the wind and wave predictions, got the anchor up, and got over to the East Pass, we had enough light to see where we were going. The photo above is one I took once we got past some larger waves and Rosie had enough nerve to ride on the bow. Riding on the bow is something I enjoy because the engine noise is nothing but a gentle hum and the only thing you hear is the waves on the bow. Our nine-hour ride over to Steinhatchie was as pleasant as can be. All three electronic devices pointing our way performed flawlessly. I had some tense moments yesterday when I couldn't enter any L/L coordinates into our old Raymarine chartplotter. I had entered them up...

Posted at 01:45 PM | Permalink | Comments


Apalachicola To Dog Island

Our route was only about 5 miles from Saul Creek to Apalachicola Marina. We had called, and the marina we were going to didn't have a restaurant, but we were told that there was a restaurant right next door, so we had coffee on the flybridge and planned to treat ourselves to a restaurant breakfast after getting fuel. Jeff, the harbormaster, was waiting for us when we pulled up to pilings along the waterway; the dockage for fuel is not protected, and the tidal current was substantial, but nothing a Mississippi River boater couldn't handle. We topped off the fuel tank in the dinghy, and Swing Set only took on 17.5 gallons, as we had filled up in Port St. Joe. I had asked the price of diesel, and when I was told it was $3.99 per gallon, I wished we had waited to fill up...

Posted at 01:54 PM | Permalink | Comments


Incommunicado Near Apalachicola

I was finishing up my last blog entry while we were still at the home of AGLCA harbor hosts, Carl and Greg Vernon. Greg had been paying attention to my blog posts and knew how much I like fried chicken, so Rosie went up to the house before me and learned that Carl was out getting some take out chicken from Popeye's for us to have that night, and they wouldn't take any payment, no way, no how. Before Carl had left to get the chicken, Greg had asked Rosie if she had gotten any rest, and Rosie said that she had played with Holly instead. When Rosie said it, they both looked at her kinda strange, and Greg said, "How do you play with Holly?" Now, I don't want this to sound unkind, because I don't mean to be, but some people are dog people and some are not....

Posted at 02:08 PM | Permalink | Comments


Destin To Panama City

Thursday morning in Destin Harbor, the sky was threatening rain, but we had things to do and secretly wouldn't have minded any rain as we figured it would help wash the salt off the boat from our trip from Orange Beach. The first order of business was to get our new air filters installed, but like everything else, nothing is straightforward and usually includes a detour or two. Preying on my mind was an issue of the Walker Airseps installed on the Caterpillars were done in such a fashion that the air filters were rubbing against engine components and holes had been trying to wear through the filter elements. I had initially intended to pop-rivet some guards on the Airsep housings that would protect the elements from damage when I installed the new ones, but once I took...

Posted at 11:42 AM | Permalink | Comments


Orange Beach to Destin, Florida

I called Nancy over at Sportsman Marina on Monday morning and got the bad news that the air filters were not ordered last Tuesday, but Middleton Marina fouled up and didn't order them until Thursday. Middleton Marina is a local Walker Airsep dealer, and the filters had to be ordered through them. UPS tracking had them scheduled to arrive early the next morning, so all we could do is spend another night in Orange Beach. There is a lesson to be learned here. It was a lesson already known by me, but I didn't follow my own rules. The lesson is to order anything yourself; don't rely on anyone else to do it. In the future, we will follow our rules and order items and have them shipped somewhere we are going to be later on. The trick is to find someone to accept the items,...

Posted at 01:45 PM | Permalink | Comments


Still in Orange Beach

Last Friday, we pulled up stakes in Ingram Bayou and went in search of a relatively shallow spot in order to clean the waterline stain on Swing Set and throw some wax on it. I could have picked a better spot due to the amount of passing traffic, but the bottom was sandy and had little slope, so I could walk around the whole boat without drowning myself. Nancy over at Sportsman's Marina called and said that the end caps for our rub rail were in, but the air filters weren't in yet. I told her that either way, we'd pick up the end caps at the gas dock the next morning and would check back on the filters. At a minimum, we will be in the area for a week waiting to get these small purchases delivered. This type of effort will certainly reduce impulse buying on our part. How...

Posted at 04:26 PM | Permalink | Comments


Orange Beach, Alabama

It has rained pretty steadily since we arrived in Orange Beach two days ago. A "remnant" of Hurricane Isaac is hanging around just off the Gulf Coast and is not only giving us lots of rain, it's threatening to develop into a tropical storm. This is the view from our anchorage in Ingram Bayou looking to the south, to Gulf Shores and the coast, which is over the key. On our first night in here, a nice breeze blew the whole time and we didn't turn on the air conditioning. The wind generators were validating themselves, and we were making power. The land is flat here, and the wind isn't blocked by trees, but if we wanted a little more wind protection for some reason, this bayou winds back some to the north. I spent the first part of the day on Tuesday...

Posted at 04:25 PM | Permalink | Comments


Lower Mobile Bay to the Intracoastal Waterway

We got an early start on Sunday morning at Dog River Marina. Engine oil was changed on both main engines as well as the generator. My earlier decision to buy two 5-gallon plastic buckets was a good one. The waste oil all fit in both buckets, plus two 1-gallon empty oil containers I had stowed in the engine room. Now, we have the four empty 2.5-gallon oil containers to use next time. If we keep buying oil in the 2.5-gallon jugs, we'll just keep trading them off. There are places to keep the empty jugs. We've decided to not haul around all of our oil anymore. It's weight we don't need to be carrying; we'll just get our oil when we need it, unless we plan on being somewhere where a trip to a big box store or auto parts is impossible. I cleaned the two...

Posted at 04:41 PM | Permalink | Comments


Last Lock on the Tenn-Tom To Mobile Bay

After three wet and soggy days sitting above the Coffeeville Lock and Dam, we were ready to get out of there last Friday morning. Isaac didn't bother us too bad, but we didn't sleep as well as we would have liked due to the boat swinging around at anchor in several directions. If I had any doubts about whether our anchors were going to hold, I found out that those fears were unjustified when we went to pull up our two anchors before we left. I let out the bow anchor line until I could get over the top of our stern anchor. Pulling straight up on it, the anchor wouldn't budge. I have my physical health to consider, so not much pulling by hand was going to be tolerated by my back. I lashed the stern anchor line around the rear quarter cleat and fired up the Cats. We may...

Posted at 09:13 AM | Permalink | Comments