Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ft. Walton Beach to Apalachicola

11/8 (Ft. Walton Beach to Panama City).  We left at 0645 with Glory Days and Gemini.  As they pulled away from the dock, we put our boat in reverse, tried to back out of the slip and got stuck due to low tide and winds from the north. We threw a line to the port stern, pulled our boat over, and pivoted while reversing and finally got out of the slip.  The trip today was uneventful...much improved wind conditions.  A few military jets flew over which provided us with entertainment.  We arrived at Panama City marina around 1400. Duke, always anxious to exit the boat after docking, missed the dock and fell 4 feet into the water.  He looked up in total panic and swam to the nearest piling which was thick with barnacles.  He held on to the barnacles for dear life until Ron lowered the dingy to provide him with access to the swim step.  It took all of Ron's strength to haul him out with just his collar, so from now on, we are making him wear his harness or life jacket. We went to dinner at The Place, a good burger joint. with the guys from Glory Days.

11/9/ Panama City to Apalachicola
We left at 0700 and followed Glory Days through narrow channels in very shallow bays with 1 foot of water just outside the channels.  Then we traveled through 25 miles of  straight manmade canals unitl we arrived at Apalachicola.
Eleven loopers got together for dinner at Papa Joe's Oyster Bar.  We met the Groggs, Stan and Barbara.  Stan is the dean of the medical school at Oklahoma State and Barbara is a nurse practitioner.  Interestingly, they never owned a boat before starting the loop. 
We will be here at Scipio Marina for 2 days and then move to the Moorings at Carabelle.  We will wait there for an acceptable weather window so that we can cross the gulf.  We get daily weather advice from Tom Conrad through the AGLCA website on when conditions are conducive to cross (waves 2 feet or less and winds 10 knots or less).  Originally we'd planned to go to Steinhatchee only 75 miles, but we've decided to bite the bullet and cross from Carabelle to Clearwater (175 miles) at 9 or 10 mph which will take 18 hours to cross.  We will definitely be crossing with other loopers.  We're not sure how we will manage Duke's bathroom issues yet.  So far we've been blessed with safe weather, good companions, and common sense...all of which we will need for a successful crossing. Please pray for a safe crossing for all.

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