3-15-2014: Anchored out in the beautiful, clear blue water by Manjack Cay, Abaco, Bahamas

Sunday, December 30, 2012

December 28, 29, and 30, 2012: Gulfport Municipal Marina, FL

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday:  After staying at Treasure Island for 4 days it was just took a short hop down to Gulfport Municipal Marina.  We plan on staying here for a few weeks.  It started out a beautiful, sunny day, a little cool in the 60's, and it was in the low 70's when we got here about 12:30.  Late in the afternoon it started to rain and it rained all night and was still raining on Saturday morning.  By noon the sun came out, but with the wind it was cool.  It is predicted to be the low 70's for the next few days 

We got to say good-bye to Les, who was the Dock Master at TI for the past 38 years.  He is a good man and very deserving of retirement.  In the past 2 years there have been a lot of changes at TI.  We were glad to see Les but will probably never go back there because of the cost increase.  We can stay at Gulfport for 2 weeks for less than the 4 days we stayed at TI.

Our friends from Blue Angle are also staying here.   We took a walk around the town of Gulfport on Saturday afternoon. It is a nice little town just off the GIWW.


CO's comments:  We woke up this morning and found ourselves touching the bottom.  Forecasted 2 foot tides are in reality 5 feet. tides.  Hopefully the winds will change and stop blowing the water out of the bay.


Our little Christmas Tree

Sunrise from our slip at Clearwater on 12/23/2012
Sunset from our slip at Treasure Island on 12/23/2012
Nose to nose with Blue Angle at the floating dock at Gulfport .
A lot of sail boats at this marina.
This sail boat is tilting to the port as he is on the bottom-12/30/2012.
Sun rise at Gulfport on 12/30/2012.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

A friend sent this to us and it is so funny we had to share it with every one.  Just click on the arrow in the lower left hand corner of the video.  Thanks to Nick and Aline.

Merry Christmas to you all

Sunday, December 23, 2012

December 23, 2012; Clearwater to Treasure Island, FL

Sunday;  After a week at Clearwater Municipal Marina we are moving down the GIWW to Treasure Island where we will spend Christmas.  We loved it there 2 years ago.  It is my understanding that due to a fire on the docks last year their insurance company will only allow people to stay on their boats for 3 days at a time.  That's too bad because it is a beautiful place to stay.

CO's comments:  I am ready to move again.

Sunset at Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach; 12-22-2012

Bobbie and Keith on 12-22-2012; Pier 60.  It was a windy and cool night but a beautiful sunset.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

December 15 and 16, Crossing the Gulf of Mexico

Saturday the 15th, Carrabelle, and Sunday the 16th, Clearwater, FL:

We got up early and got the boat ready for crossing the gulf. By 09:30 we went over to The Moorings Marina as they were the only place since Panama City, FL, that had a working pump-out. We attended the 10:00 meeting for crossing with Buddy, the local expert on the Gulf. There are 5 of us making the crossing: Queen Ann’s Revenge, One September, Good Karma, Gemini, and us.

Buddy had us set our first way point east of Carrabelle at Red 26, then our 2nd was south to the Tarpon Springs buoy. We set a 3rd way point for Clearwater. We got going by 11:30 because there was a storm coming in from the west and he wanted us to get ahead of it.

We made our first turn at 14:15 and by then the sun had come out. We had beautiful seas with smooth sailing all the way. At about sun down we had a great dolphin show by about 50 to 60 dolphins jumping and swimming in and around our boats, it was really something to see. The sunset was beautiful and early evening brought out just a sliver of a moon and it just shimmered over the top of the smooth seas, awesome. By 19:30 a dense fog set in and we could not see any ones lights and had to navigate by radar only. Keith said it was just like flying IFR (Instrument Flight Rules), something he did many times in his career.

Our new boat has a auto pilot which made it much easier to pilot the boat as compared to our Sea Ray.  Boy, what a difference it makes. It was very easy to steer and with smooth seas we had a great crossing.  At about 25 nautical miles before the Tarpon Springs buoy we broke away from the group and made our turn toward Clearwater. We got to our buoy about 20 minutes before day light so we waited and started in about 07:00. This area was the roughest part of the trip with seas about 1' which were not bad at all. The closer to shore we got the smoother it got. We saw our first crab pod in about 30 feet of water so we kept a valiant watch out for more but were surprised not to find many at all; about 75% less than in 2010. We got to our marina by 09:15. We put our boat back together, made some phone calls and e-mails, and went to bed. We went a total of 200 miles and it took 22.5 hours. We had a great trip thanks to Tom Conrad, Weather Musings, and to Buddy at Carrabelle.

Keith did not have a decent meal in 3 nights so we went to "Crabby Bill's" and he had their boiled seafood bucket (huge) and he ate it all.  I had their shrimp and it was very good but too much for me.


CO's comments:  Much better crossing than last time.  I made it a point not to drink any coffee.  I was able to get some sleep on the helm because of the ample resting space on the new boat which kept me close to the XO. 

Our chart plotter and helm during the middle of the night

Sun set on the Gulf of Mexico on 12-15-2012

Queen Ann's Revenge crossing the Gulf on 12-15-2012

Sun rise on 12-16-2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

December 13 and 14, 2012; Panama City to Carrabelle, FL

Thursday the 13th, Panama City, FL:
We couldn’t make up our minds if we were going to leave or not because the water was very low due to the wind and weather and we didn’t know if we could get out of the marina. So I went to the Post Office with Elvie about 09:30. When were done at the PO her car would not start; not even turn over. Anyway, we finally found out it needed a new starter. By the time we got back to the boat it was about 14:00 and we decided to go to the east side of Panama City and anchor out for the night.  We then could take advantage of the full day of day light on Friday. We left about 14:45 and went to the Lighthouse Marina and got about 400 gallons of diesel and then found out they did not have a pump-out so we left hoping to find one on the way tomorrow. After an hour at the gas dock we left for our anchorage and got there by 16:30 and were all settled in by 17:00 just as the sun set. 20 minutes later it was dark. We had a very quiet night and were in bed by 20:00 as we were getting up early in the morning.

CO's comments:  We anchored at Pearl Bayou and it was an excellant anchorage.  We found out about this anchorage from our friend Carl.


High tide on 12-12-2012; we had to step down to our 5 step ladder.

Low tide at Pirates Cove on 12-13-2012; there was no Island there when we arrived.

Keith at the helm on 12-14-2012

Friday the 14th, Carrabelle, FL: 
Got up by 05:30 and we were on our way by 06:15. We had a light drizzle all morning. It was only 48 degrees this morning and so cold I put on Susie’s winter jacket she gave me with down filling and a wind break plus long underwear. Couldn’t find a pump-out anywhere, not even Apalachicola. There was only one marina in town with a pump-out and it was out of order. That made up our minds to go all the way to Carrabelle for the night. A long day but we can sleep in and get ready for our crossing on Saturday and Sunday (hopefully).

We crossed Lake Wimico and it was very smooth. I was a little worried as 2 years ago when we crossed it was very wavy but all went good. When we went through Apalachicola we saw our first crab pods since the Tenn-Tom. Just out side of Apalachicola on the Bay we met a Tow that was a ground in the channel. We passed him on the two and only had about 1' of water under our props; very skinny water and we were glad to make the turn where the water got a little deeper. Guess the tow will have to wait for high tide. Apalachicola Bay and St. George Sound were just a little choppy but otherwise good. It was a very long day but we made it to Carrabelle. Keith had a good talk with Tom Conrad the other night and got some good advise from him.  We topped off with fuel and now we will wait for tomorrow to see if we can cross the gulf.


CO's comments:  The last time we were through Apalachicola I couldn't understand why any one would want to stay there.  This time, I still can't understand why any one would want to stay there.  Leaving there the last time the water was skinny and this time it was even skinner.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December 5, 2012, Back in Florida and on the boat

Since we left on November 11, 2012, we have traveled 5,292 miles by car in 24 days.  Boy, it is really good to be back on the boat.

We want to thank all our family and friends for putting up with us on our trip and saving us some motel expenses.  We stayed with our son Don and family and my sister Susie while in Wisconsin.  In Montana we stayed with Ed and Pam, our friends from Billings and our old neighbors, Travis and Roxy, had us out for a wonderful home cooked meal.  Our land is still the same only it is now covered with snow but the trees are still black.  We then went to Bozeman and stayed with Ronn, Keith's brother for 3 nights and Keith's sister Karen made us a delicious elk roast dinner one night.  When we returned to the boat yesterday, our friends  Roy and Elvie from Roy El, had dinner waiting for us.  We had a wonderful visit with family and friends but we are really glad to be back and 75 degree weather helps a lot.

Now we have a few things to fix on the boat and we are planning our gulf crossing.  We hope the weather holds for another week or so; time will tell.

CO's comments:  I forgot in one of my last comments to tell you that I had a first.  Just before the last bridge on the GIWW before entering the Lagoon to Pirates Cove Marina we came up behind a tow with 4 barges.  I asked him which side I should pass him on and that I would wait until he cleared the bridge.  He came back to me and said he would slow down so that I could pass him first before the bridge.  We have never before encountered a tow that would slow down just for us.

We got this picture from a friends Face book page.  This is what happens when you anchor for the night and don't check the tides; oops!

Monday, November 19, 2012

November 19, 2012, Wisconsin

Opening weekend of deer hunting was a good weekend.  Keith shot the biggest whitetail, our Grandson shot a buck, and there were a total of 5 deer taken to date.  I enjoyed 2 days with my sisters and nieces and then on Sunday, the 18th, I went out to the farm and helped cut up the deer. Monday morning it was good to sleep in as I am very sore from standing over the cutting tables for several hours.  Keith, Don and Jerry went out again to try for a few more deer.  Keith is trying to figure out how to mount a deer rack in the boat, we are still in discussions over that.

Derek and Gio; Derek shot the first deer of the season.

Gio (foreign exchange student staying at our son's for school year) with Keith's buck; his first experience observing hunting.

Assembly line in garage.  We were grinding the meat for hamburger.

CO's comments:  All-in-all it was a good hunt but no snow.  Thankfully the temperatures were not extremely cold.  I am ready to go back to the boat.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November 14, 2012, Wisconsin

We left Florida and 75 degrees on Saturday, November 10th and got to Wisconsin on Sunday the 11th to heavy rain and 30 degrees.  Boy what a difference.  It was 2 long days but we were glad we did it in 2 because we woke up to snow on Sunday morning and temperatures in the 20's.

Sun rise at Pirates Cove Marina on 11-10-2012.

Friday, November 9, 2012

November 6 - 9, 2012, Pirates Cove Marina, Panama City, FL

Tuesday:  We will have no more travel days until after Thanksgiving.  Today was just a lazy day.  Got caught up on a few things, went to Walmart, and brought Roy over to friends to pick up his car.  The tide here ranges from 1 1/2 to 2' so we did have to put our ladder out.

Wednesday:  Just another day.  Did my cleaning and got some sewing done.  I made a cover for the cooler on the back deck to protect it from the sun and salt water.  Started packing for our trip to Wisconsin and Montana.

Thursday:  Keith had an electrician here to look at our inverter as we are still having some problem with it.  He will be back tomorrow to get the port engine alternator.  He will bring it to an alternator shop as he thinks there is a bad diode.  When he comes back he will also set as many of my wall plugs up so they all will run off the inverter.  There is always something.  We went to eat at a seafood restaurant tonight with Roy and Elvie and Greg and Carl.  It was a nice evening.

Friday:  Packing and getting every thing ready so we can get an early start Saturday morning.

CO's comments:  We have had a few windy days since we got here.  I have been having fun watching people try to back into their slips.  3 out of 4 ended up sideways, had a heck of a time and needed all the help they could get.to get tied up.  The 4th boat, a older Chris Craft "go fast" pulled up, backed in, just like it was a smooth, calm, day with no problem at all.  You can sure tell the experienced boaters from the weekend boaters who don't have a clue what wind and current will do to their boat.

Kim Jo IV on Mobile Bay (taken by Roy El on 11-2-2012)

Dinner out in Panama City, FL, on 11-8-2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

November 4 and 5, 2012; Pirates Cove Marina, Panama City, FL

Waited for the fog to clear and got going by 06:45. Last night we changed back to standard time. I forgot all about it so we were up by 04:30. Had lots of time to get ready. After the fog cleared it turned into another beautiful sunny day with highs in the 80's.

We saw a lot of dolphins today. They would follow the boat jumping just as fast as we were going. We originally planned on stopping at Fort Walton Beach for a free tie-up but the city dock was damaged so we went about 6 miles further and anchored at Joe’s Bayou. We got to our anchorage by 14:40. Put out extra chain because it is supposed to get windy and rain later tonight.


Used the generator for the first time since it was fixed at Dog River. At first it didn’t work but after about 10 to 15 minutes it worked just fine. I guess we have to let it warm up before it produces enough voltage to run things.  We also can run our microwave on designated sockets on our inverter so I was happy about that.  Another smooth day on the water. We crossed Chotawatchee Bay which is 10 miles long and it just had a little chop. We made good time again today and got to our marina by 12:45.

The dolphins were jumping along side the boat again today. This time I was able to get a few pictures; they are so much fun to watch.


CO's comments:  All is good.  We backed into our slip and tied up for tidal waters as we will leave the boat here for a good month or so.  Not bragging but with the new boat, be it backing in, tying up sideways, or on the face dock, so far I haven't touched a piling.  This last time I did not even have to use the bow thruster.  Just like flying a Beach 18 on floats.

Dolphins following the boat on Chotawatchee Bay

Cruising the GIWW

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November 2 and 3, 2012, The Wharf Marina, Orange Beach, AL

Friday:  We ate at the Mobile Yacht Club last night as each of us received a $50 gift certificate from Dog River Marina and Boat Works.   We had a very nice meal and the Yacht club was within walking distance.

We waited for Roy El to get his bill and were on our way by 08:30. It was a beautiful day and Mobile Bay was smooth as glass. We turned off the shipping channel at Red Marker 60 and set our way point for the GIWW, Green Marker 119. We got to our marina, The Wharf, Orange Beach, AL, by 13:30. We were met by Roy and Elvie’s friend, Jerry, at the dock. Jerry and his wife have a condo at the marina. We had an enjoyable evening of docktails and dinner on the Roy El. 

Saturday: We stayed a second day in Orange Beach. Jerry drove us around the area and we did some shopping.


CO's comments:  Another marine.  I am having a good time.  Looking forward to meeting one more of Roy's marine friends tomorrow at Fort Walton Beach.  You would think Roy was a marine he has so many marine friends. 

The more I operate this motor yacht, the more I like it.  It seems to be much easier to handle and more maneuverable than the Sea Ray.  You would think a bigger boat would be harder.  It might be that after a few thousand miles that I am getting better.  Just like being a pilot, the more hours you fly, the more proficient you get.

Roy El on Mobile Bay leaving Dog River on 11-2-2012

View of the marina from Jerry's balcony; front boat unknown, then Kim Jo IV, and Roy El on other side of us

Kim Jo IV tied up at The Wharf Marina

Lunch at Lambert's.  A very unique restaurant.  Besides your meal, they serve hot rolls, which they throw to you, fried potatoes, fried okra, and a number of other items.  Very large portions and way too much to eat but good.

Jerry and Keith are fellow marines; can you tell which condo is Jerry's.

Keith has his USMC flag also.  Took this picture from up at the bar area and thought it looked cool with his flag flying.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 31, 2012, Still at Dog River Marina, Mobile, AL

Wednesday:  In the past few days the winds have died down some and it was in the 80's with lots of sun shine. The marina has been working on both Roy El and Kim Jo IV and they should finish  Roy El Thursday and they finished ours today. So, if all goes well, we should leave here Friday morning and head for Orange Beach, FL, to the Marina at the Wharf where Roy and Elvie have good friends. Actually, they have good friends almost every stop because they have been cruising for so many years.

We are very happy with the work that Dog River Marina and Boat Works did for us. Their people were very thorough, friendly, and took the time to explain things and they also got things done in a timely manner. We would definitely recommend having your boat work done here.  They have a loaner car and it is fairly close to a Super Walmart and Lowell's.  Also, there is a West Marine on the premises.  Today it has been 4 years since I retired.  Amazing how fast time goes.

CO's comments:  We found our why our generator didn't work. When the batteries were replaced, the interface was not reset for the new batteries.  Therefore, they were not being charged properly.  When one reached full charge, it shut off and the other 3 did not completely charge and we were not getting enough voltage to run any thing.  The whole system is now set and working properly. 

Got up this morning and the tide had changed and the XO could not get off the boat without help.  We are in tidal waters again.

Monday, October 29, 2012

October 27, 28, and 29, 2012

Saturday, October 27, 2012:
We were woke up at 04:05 by the boat rafted to us; he turned on his generator so by 04:20 we got up. It was a mess trying to leave at 05:45. It was still dark and the wind was blowing and the two boats rafting left first, the Roy El, and we were last. The 65 footer would not let anyone raft up to him because he said he was leaving by 05:30. When we left there was no one awake on their boat. All 4 boats were secured in the lock and this guy calls and asks the Lock Master to wait for him so we waited for over a half an hour. By then, a sail boat also entered the lock. So much for an early start. Then when the lock opened the 65 footer tried to pass the other boats and get out ahead of the group; very inconsiderate, someone should teach him "boat educate".

Anchored at Alabama River Cut-off, very windy and not much swing room. We tried anchoring first and the wind blew us into the trees on our starboard side. It scratched our railing and left a little tree on the back deck. We pulled up our anchor and went back out into the channel and waited for Roy El to get there. He went in an anchored as he is about 8 feet shorter than we are, then we pulled in an tied up to his starboard side. We had drinks on Roy El and we were on our own for dinner, we all had left overs. We have a problem with our generator, it says "Low Battery". It would run but did not produce enough voltage to run any thing. Frustrating. So, we ate and went to bed about 08:00. Very cold night, put on an extra blanket.

Sunday, October 28, 2012:
Got a later start and we were just going to go as far a Mile 12.0 and anchor in Briar Creek but after underway we decided to go for it and go all the way into Dog River Marina for a total of 69 miles. When we got into Mobile Bay the winds picked up but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  The worst part was turning off the shipping channel to the small channel into Dog River Marina. After that, the waves calmed some and we both got here with out incident. Thank goodness for small favors. We knew or had met just about everyone that was tied up at the marina. There were 12 people at Roy El’s for docktails and after Greg and Elvie made steaks for the 6 of us; Roy, Elvie, Greg, Carl, and Keith and me. It was Greg and Carl’s last night on the boat and we had a good evening.

Monday, October 29, 2012:  This was a non travel day.  We got caught up on things around the boat and talked with Dog River mechanic about what has to be done on the boat.  We went out to eat with Roy and Elvie and some friends that we had met 2 years ago at Bay Hill Marina on the Tennessee.  We had a very enjoyable evening and it was good to see Dave and Joy again.

CO's comments:  The boat that rafted to us on the outside Friday night stated that they would leave with us in at 06:30 the morning so I said OK to raft. Then at 04:30 he said he would just as soon wait until noon to leave. We all left by 06:00.

Typical river house on the Lower Tenn-Tom

Kim Jo IV tied up at Dog River Marina, Mobile, AL

Futuristic Navy ship docked in Mobile Bay

House across from the marina at Dog River

Several boats tied up at Dog River-either waiting on work to be done or waiting on calmer seas

Roy El at Dog River on 10-29-2012

White caps on the bay at the marina; sustained winds of 14 mph with gusts up to 20 mph.  Too windy to go out because Mobile Bay is so shallow.

Sun rise on 10-29-2012 on Mobile Bay

Friday, October 26, 2012

October 26, 2012, Bobby's Fish Camp. AL

Thursday, 10-25-2012:
We got going at our regular time and Keith and I pretty much have our departing down pat; all went well.  Before leaving we found out we had to wait on 3 tows in the Demopolis Lock. There were 4 boats in all in the lock and we did not get through the lock until 09:30. Because it took so long we changed our planned anchorage from Bashi Creek to Kemp's Landing. We ended up going a total of 43.2 miles and anchored by 13:40. We were first into the anchorage, which looked very small, and then Roy El tied up to our Port. Shortly after we got settled, "Pogo" came into to anchor so we told them they could raft onto us, so we were in the middle and Pogo was to our starboard. It was my night for dinner and we invited Pogo to join us. It was the first time we had 8 around our table, a little crowded but we made do. It was a very enjoyable evening.


Heron's in Demopolis Lock on 10-25-2012

Rafting in Kemp's Landing with Roy El and Pogo on 10-25-2012

Cooking Chili for 8 on grill on back of boat

Kemp's Landing, very cozy anchorage at Mile 173.5

Keith saw this "Restaurant" on the river, looked like it would be pretty hard to get to!

Friday, 10-26-2012:
It was another beautiful sunny day on the river with the highs in the 90's. We had a leisurely ride down river to Bobby’s Fish Camp. A total of 55.24 miles and we got here by 13:00. There was a 65' boat already here and the two of us so we filled the dock up. Bobby’s now has electric, both 30 and 50 amps. Keith saw an alligator about 1 ½ miles before docking at Bobby’s. On our way in, this guy hollered at us and held up a huge US Marine Corps flag and waved us in. He saw Keith USMC flag on our boat. After we docked we went over to meet him. His name was Bob Adams and he is a retired "Gunny" and recruiter from the marines and was an interesting old guy to talk with.

Went to Bobby’s for Cat Fish tonight. 2 more boats came into Bobby's so both Roy El and Kim Jo IV have boats rafted to then,


Sun rise on 10-26-2012 leaving our anchorage at Kemp's Landing

Roy El on 10-26-2012 in early morning fog

Rafting at Bobby's Fish Camp-5 boats in all

Bobby's Friday Night Catfish.

CO's comments:  Same thing at Bobby's as the last time we were here.  The XO had to use her Landing Loop to catch a kleet.  Once she had the kleet, I got off and secured the boat.  After we had things under control, some guys from the 65' boat came to help but by then all they did was get in the way and confuse things.  Today was the second marine that I had a chance to talk with in the last 3 days.  It brings back old memories.