Dec 2

There are nine Looper boats here at Baypoint, Panama City currently, but I think we will see many of them move on down to Port St Joe or Apalachicola today(locals call it simply Apalach) .  After 3 days of high winds and rough seas, today’s forecast is very good although it is on the chilly side (At least it’s not snowing like in North Alabama).  We are eager to start moving again, but are stuck here waiting on our Cruise Air part to arrive.  It could be Thursday before we once again start moving.  We are lucky that we have friends here and have been entertained everyday since we got back from Thanksgiving by the Gills, the Milams, and the Mullis.  The Kilgores are arriving today.

Have learned a new card game called “13” but apparently have not learned it well enough as Tom Mullis cleaned us all out!

 

 

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Dec 3

We are studying our charts and guidebooks now contemplating the decision we will have to make 100 miles further east.  The 18 hour all night open water crossover from Carrabelle to Tarpon Springs????  Or the Big Bend?  That sounds like an easy decision, but it isn’t.  Lots of pluses and minuses to both routes.  While I’m inclined to see if “Travis McGee is still in Cedar Key, just like John McDonald said”, the 2 biggest negatives for doing Big Bend (stops in Steinhatchee, Cedar Key, Crystal River) are skinny water and the fact that December usually averages 5 good Gulf travel days in the month of December for open water “hops”.   That means we could be held up for days in each of these ports.  If we get one really good travel window, we will probably do the Crossover which is an 18 hour trip for us!  We will find other boats who travel the same speed and “buddy boat” the over night excursion. 

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Dec 5

We left Panama City this morning under gray skies and with soggy lines.  We wanted to run along the beach on the outside but instead we’ll be winding through a cypress swamp to stay protected from weather.  At least we are on the move again.  Apalachicola here we come.   All that Captain School knowledge isn’t going to waste. It still surprises us when we realize we know the answer to a problem and just have to put it into use!  We look at each other and say “Hey, We know all the right stuff!”.  Seems so different in application sometimes.  Everyday is a learning process. 

Everyone knows Apalach is famous for it’s oysters.  But did you know that Dr John Gorrie invented a machine to make ice in the 1830’s?  He then used a fan to blow over the ice to make an airconditioned room for his malaria patients.  I’ve always been impressed by both ice and air conditioning, but frankly we can’t wait to get to the “Boss Oyster” Restaurant where they fix oysters 17 different ways!  YUM!!!!!!!!

 

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Dec 6

Had a great Saturday in Apalach!  The museum, the street fair, bicycled through several waterfront parks, the Veterans Memorial, the Botanical Garden Trail  and did the walking tour of historical homes (also by bike)!  Watched the ballgame with mostly Gator fans, but the sound of oysters being slurped all around us still brought a smile to our faces, even in the fourth quarter!!  There’s always next year!

Dec 7

Headed out with “Our Turn” this morning thinking that we might go through Government Cut to the outside Gulf and make an all day run to Steinhatchee.  They were in the lead and we got to the cut at Low Tide.  We had both topped off with fuel (heavy) and the considerable wave action in the cut caused them to bump the bottom at the shallowest stretch.  So we both turned back to the ICW and changed our destination to Carrabelle. The weather looks as if it is deteriorating now and we will be here watching for the next weather window for a smooth passage to Tarpon Springs (180 mile jump)

Unless, of course, we decide to go to Steinhatchee.  It’s great to always have options.

A DAY IN APALACH!

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Dec 8

Stuck in Carrabelle!  They have 2 hardware stores, 1 IGA, a coffee house, a couple of restaurants and a couple of bars.  If we are here as long as some think we will be (waiting on the weather window to crossover) we will give you a blow by blow description of each.  But tonight we still marveled as the sky turned pink at sundown, THERE DOESN’T SEEM TO BE ANY PLACE ON THE WATER THAT IS NOT BEAUTIFUL!  I think that may be why we are all drawn there.  We had a glass of wine while we cooked out on the grill on the bow of the boat and watched the sunset.

Dec 9

Hard to believe that the Gulf is so rough when the days have been so beautiful here.  I understand that is going to change tomorrow. Storms are coming and it could be the weekend before we have a decent weather window for our crossing.  More Looper boats are gathered here everyday in anticipation.  In the meantime, we have a lot of time for visiting, eating and drinking.  We are beginning to understand why one of the Loopers who just “crossed his wake” (completed the Loop) was heard to say “I’m rushing home now to join 2 new groups, Weight Watchers and AA”.  Oh my, we are fitting into this Looping group too well!!!!

A FEW DAYS IN CARRABELLE!

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Dec 10

Good thing they have a low crime rate because the Police Station here is the smallest in the world (see picture).  We pass it every afternoon on our way to Harry’s Bar for Happy Hour.  Patsy (the bartender) added our boat card to her “wall of fame”.   Robin (Patsy’s sister) says we should stop by the BP where she cooks  a really good meal (breakfast and grilled Grouper sandwiches are her specialties) , but we head down to “Our Turn”s boat for a bushel of oysters.  Ellen taught me how to shuck and we ate our weight in oysters both broiled and raw!!!!!  I’ve never been a fan of raw oysters before, but I have to admit, these were awesome and Ellen said I was her best shucking student ever!!!! Just in case you are ever stuck here yourself, You need to know that Harry’s Bar has Free Pool on Wednesdays and Thursdays!!

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