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

Thursday, May 29, 2014

May 26 through 29, 2014

Monday the 26th:

After a day of rest we were on our way by 06:30 Eastern Time Zone.  We traveled 106 miles today in 10 hours.  It was a long day but beautiful day on the water.  Very warm and hazy with a little breeze in the mid 90's.  We must have seen 50 dolphins following our boat today.  It never ceases to amaze me how fast they can swim; 10 mph jumping the boats wake.  Even the young ones can keep up but they do not jump as high as the older ones.  East Bay and West Bay by Panama City both were calm and Choctawatchee Bay had a light chop.  We got to our anchorage by 15:40 Central Time.  We anchored in about 8 feet of water and  put out 50 feet of anchor rode out.


5-25-2014: Abandon sail boat by Port St. Joe, one of many we have seen on our trip.

5-25-2014: Restaurant at Port St. Joe Marina.

5-25-2014: Kim Jo IV on face dock at Port St. Joe Marina.

5-25-2014: Sun Set at Port St. Joe Marina.

5-26-2014: Shrimp boat on the canal to Port St. Joe Marina

5-26-2014: Sun Rise while starting up the 5 miles of canal to the GIWW from Port St. Joe..

Tuesday the 27th:

Our anchorage last night was nice after sun down but before that it was a very busy bayou with a lot of boaters and jet skier.  Everyone stayed as long as they could to make the most of the last day of the holiday weekend.  We got going again by 06:30 and had a beautiful day on the water with partly sunny skies and a nice breeze.  The rest of Choctawatchee Bay was very calm and so were the Narrows.  Santa Rosa Sound just had a light ripple and Pensacola Bay, the Big Lagoon, and Perdido Bay all had a light chop and this all made for a very pleasant day.  We got to our anchorage at Ingram Bayou by Orange Beach, AL, by 13:30 and had a quiet afternoon and evening.  While driving through the Pensacola area we got to watch the Blue Angles practice.  I got some pictures but they do not do them justice; they were awesome.  This is one of our favorite anchorages; always so peaceful and beautiful sun sets and sun rises.


5-27-2014: Blue Angles practicing by Pensacola, FL.

Wednesday and Thursday the 28th and 29th:

There was rain and thunder storms in the forecast for about 10:00 this morning so we were on our way by 05:50 to try and beat the storm.  To cut a little time off our day we changed our way point to R50 on the Mobile Shipping Channel which is just south of Gaillard Island.  We usually set way points just west of Mullet Point and then another one on R60 just north of Gaillard Island on the shipping channel.  It would have cut off ½ hour or so from our trip.  As we got closer to our point Keith noticed a lot of Tow traffic in the shipping channel in the area where we would have entered so we reset our point back to R60.  This route we had less time in the actual channel.  It took us 2 ½ hours to travel from the GIWW, R120, at about 10 mph to the fuel dock at Dog River Marina.  Mobile Bay started out with 2 foot waves with some white caps and about 2/3's the way through we ended up with 3 to 4 foot waves on our port side and we got rocked some.  It seems that has been our MO this whole season; we rocked and rolled across the Gulf of Mexico twice and the Gulf Stream twice.  This should be the end of rough water.  From now on we will be on the river system and it should go much smoother.  When we got to Dog River Marina we got fuel and a pump-out.  They have flooding here from the east wind blowing the water into the bay at high tide.  The parking lot is full of water.  The area to the laundry and shower building,  West Marine, and the marina offices all have a good 6 inches of water in the parking lots and you have to walk through to get inside.  Usually when we are here, all I need is a small single step, if anything, to get on or off the boat but today we have the 5 step ladder out.  The good news is, we made it here before the storm.  It did not start raining until 14:00.  We will be here for a few days and have some work done on the boat before heading north to Demopolis, AL


CO's comments:  Again, the weather forecast was incorrect as far as when the bad weather was going to arrive.  After looking at the forecast and radar we determined we could make it to Dog River Marina and we did.  I think the weather forecasters should open their doors and look outside and communicate with each other across the country like the use to. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

May 23 through 25, 2014

5-23 and 24, Friday and Saturday, Gulf of Mexico crossing:

We got going about 11:00 from Clearwater, FL.  All the wind and wave reports were for calm seas with 1 foot waves but right away the seas were 3 to 4 feet with 10 to 15 knot winds with occasional 5' footer and only 3 seconds between waves.  This kept up until about 03:00 on Saturday morning; it was a long day and night.  We are kind of getting use to high seas as we have had them so much lately.  Anyway, we made it safe and sound.

Early on, about 13:00, we kept hearing transmission on Channel 16 from the Coast Guard and Tow Boat US.  First we heard that a boat had capsized and sunk and there was one person in the water with only a hand held radio and he didn’t know his GPS location.  Then we heard the person had been attacked by a Bull Shark and he was bleeding; and then we heard he had lost his right leg from the knee down.  There were several boats involved in the search and a helicopter but they couldn’t find him.  About an hour or so later they called the search off after finding out it was a hoax!  Unbelievable someone would do such a thing.  It was a busy day and the start to the holiday weekend.  We heard several more calls for the Coast Guard and all we think were legitimate.  One 51 year old woman was missing after kayaking and they were still looking for her late into the night; we don’t know if she was found or not.  Another person was in the water after their jet ski sunk but the person was saved, and the last one we heard was on Saturday morning and their boat was taking on water and that was all we heard.  These were just the ones we heard; I am sure there were more.  Crazy things happen on the water especially on a holiday weekend and the Coast Guard and Tow Boat US are kept very busy. 

We got across the Gulf as far as Dog Island, just outside of Carrabelle, FL, by 06:30.  We were traveling about 10 mph most of the time but had to slow down some so we had day light by the time we got to Carrabelle.  From there we picked up the GIWW and kept going as far as Port St. Joe Marina on the Gulf, just 5 miles off the GIWW at about Mile 330.0.  We arrived at the Marina by 13:00 after putting 26 hours on the engines and traveling 245 miles.  We were both very tired and got about 3 hours of sleep before going out to eat at Dockside Restaurant here at the marina. We asked our waiter if we were in Central Time Zone yet and he said the Marina is still in Eastern Time Zone but where he lives is right on the border between both zones. He can actually hold his cell phone in one hand and get one zone and hold it in the other and get the second time zone. He said when he first started working at the restaurant he was an hour early because he evidently had his phone in the wrong hand!  After dinner it was an early to bed for a good nights sleep. We will stay at Port St. Joe until Monday AM before traveling on.


CO's comments:  After we docked at Port St. Joe I talked to a couple of sport fishermen and they said that the wind and wave forecasts have been way off for the last month.  He also said he never knew what to expect.  I think weather men today rely too much on technology and not enough on the old fashion art of weather forecasting.  As a professional pilot, they got it right more times in the 70's and 80's than they did in the 90's plus when all the new technology came out. 

5-23-2014: Sun Set on the Gulf of Mexico

5-24-2014: Sun Rise on the Gulf of Mexico.

5-24-2014: Good morning. Nice to see day light after a very long, dark, night.