Nov 12 2008

Crossing Mobile Bay today was interesting!  Got up to a forecast of 14-16mph winds in Mobile with 4-6mph winds on the Eastern Shore.  2-4 foot Chop on the bay (Chop not to be confused with a swell).  We figured we were heading to more favorable conditions on the Eastern side of the Bay so we decided to get our feet wet (so to speak) and try out our sea legs!  First obstacle, getting off the dock at Turner Marine when the wind wanted us to stay put.  With a little help from our friends, we were finally on our way. 

Headed East to the main shipping channel, then south to catch the ICW.  South was a problem.  The 2-4 foot chop was hitting our beam just enough to tip over lamps and anything else that wasn’t nailed down.  Sofa slid across the salon and tried to go down

the stairs to the aft-cabin.  Luckily, it wouldn’t fit.  Well, Guess we’re not in Kansas anymore and this sure ain’t the Tennessee River!  Added non-skid furniture coasters to the Walmart shopping list and figured out that full power helped the roll until we could angle east and take the chop on the forward port quarter.  Then things settled down and dolphins escorted us across the bay.  All in all, a pretty nice day. 

Always keep in mind that your ship can handle a good bit more than your crew can.  And much of our trip will be in the “more sheltered” Intracoastal Waterway and behind barrier islands.

Thought for the Day:  The World is not much interested in the storms you encountered at sea.  The Question is—Did you bring the ship into port???????

The answer is YES.  Safe and Sound enjoying Homeport Marina at Lulu’s in Gulf Shores!!

Nov 14

Having a great time at Lulu’s Homeport Marina.  Birthday Party for Kevin at Lulu’s first night and cocktail party on the boat last night with Kevin, Debra, Tony and Linda Crawford, Scott and Pam Forbes, Philip Webb and Michael McDuffie.  Yesterday 3 dolphins chased some fish into the marina and put on quite a show right beside our boat. 

The largest of the three actually leaped out of the water with a big mullet in it’s mouth while we stood watching from the aft deck!  It was cool!

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Nov 15
Brought the boat down to the Wharf Marina yesterday.  The weather, which had been beautiful and warm, is cooling off and we have some heavy winds coming our way.  We may stay put for a few days until the fair weather rerturns.  There's lots going on here to stay entertained.  Blue Angels show in Pensacola all weekend.  The Songwriter's Festival is filling all the different venues with talented musicians and we have lots of friends and family here.  Kevin and Debra are still staying with us, saw Sandra Parker and Diane (who both used to be our neighbors when we had the condo on Orange Beach)@ Fishtales by the Marina, went to dinner with Gerald and Katie Poole where we also ran into Mickey and Sue Ann Scarborough. 
And thank you Max Thompson for letting us know about the Senior's pass to National Parks.  Lifetime entrance to all National Parks for $10 if you are 62 or over.  We picked ours up today.  Old does have it's priveleges and we will have
many chances to use it on this trip (like the Everglades)!

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Nov 16

Once again, temps have dropped but at least the winds have died down.  We decide to make the jump over to Pensacola, FL today so we kissed Kevin and Debra good bye and told them we would see them at Thanksgiving when we drive back to join our family for the holiday. 

It was a glorious day for cruising with the Air Show going on above us.  Boats were anchored out all over watching the action.  We see dolphins so constantly that I keep getting this mental picture of them running into each other under the surface of the water. 

It must be really crowded down there--like trying to get into the stadium at an Alabama-Auburn game.  Wiggle room only!

Docked in Pensacola and there are a few other Loopers here, as there have been everywhere so far (nice to have the Looper Network as well as the Verizon one)!

Did boat chores and walked around downtown a bit.  Cooked in and watched “Seabiscuit” on the aft-deck.  Relaxing Sunday night!  Sure seems like the weekends last longer now that we are “retired”. 

 

Nov 17th

I think we are finding our cruising “groove”!  Travel one day (to somewhere nice) and explore the 2nd day.  Today was spectacular!  We toured Pensacola on our bikes for 5 hours.  We rode from Palafox Pier Marina up to Gulf Breeze Bridge along the water, then back through town “historic district” and down to Joe Patti’s and back!  If you have never been to Joe Patti’s, you have missed the boat.  It is my most favorite, absolute best, top of the line, biggest fresh fish market ever!!!!! And it never even smells fishy!  How can that be?

We cycled home with scallops and Squid salad for dinner.  Don’t know how that could top the Broiled seafood sampler we split at lunch at the Fish House!!!!

So glad I’m on the tour (that would be the “Brad Salvage-Life is Good Tour”)!!!!

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Brad Navigates "The Narrows" in Ft Walton
Nov 18

Although breezy with 15-20 mph winds, the sky remains cloudless.  We left Pensacola and tracked toward Fort Walton Beach.  As we went through the “Narrows” there was a lot of skinny water and we had to make sure we stayed mid-channel.  There are still signs of the last hurricane that blew threw these parts where boat owners simply “abandoned their ship”.  And then there is the boater that is just having a forced leisurely afternoon due to poor planning!  

We are staying at the Fort Walton Yacht Club for the next few nights as the guest of Gary Pritchett, a friend from Birmingham.  We enjoyed their hospitality in the Club House this evening for Taco Tuesday.  This is a great place !  Thanks, Gary!

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Nov 19

Got up to another beautiful, cloudless day in paradise, albeit a little cooler than we preferred.  High only reached 68 today.  I was on my morning walk and Brad decided to get the bicycles down before I got back.  Being on a fixed dock, we are tied with mostly spring lines and it’s a little more difficult to cozy up to the dock.  Guess that’s why my bike ended up in the water!!!! Luckily, the water was crystal clear and we were able to fish it out of 15 ft water quite easily.  That would have been more difficult in river water.  Coastal towns are flat and very conducive to cycling.  We feel like kids again jumping on our bikes and touring these towns all day. Rode all through Ft Walton stopping at a little French Café on the water by the bridge, The Bay Café!  Had Salmon Bisque and Crabmeat Croissants!  Oh, la, la!  It was superb!  Watched the workers complete the Christmas decorations in the park, went by West Marine and the grocery on the way home.  Made Chicken and Dumplings for supper!  Think we will move 5 miles over to Destin for a few days!

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