We left Niceville last Sunday after having spent 5 days there. The local AGLCA harbor host are liveaboards who stay at that marina, so we got to experience the perks of getting to know them. A wonderful couple who introduced us to "little beers" during docktales, and brought us sight seeing in Destin. They made our stay there very memorable. The courtesy car we had access to also left us with a lasting impression...
We stopped and anchored near Panama City, in Pearl Bayoo next. The destruction caused by last years hurricane Micheal is still visible. Boats washed up on shore, broken trees, buildings still being repaired... It's sad to see.
Popular marinas are still operating, but are not to full strength yet. When we called for a slip in Apalachicola, they didn't have any available. So we only took on gas and carried on. We're glad it was still early enough in the day (and that we can go fast if required) that we had time to make it to Carrabelle where they had room for us.
We weren't sure we would make that crossing. The fog was very thick and didn't seem to be lifting. Our "go" hour had been set for 10:00 am, if we weren't gone yet, we would wait out the next weather window. At 9:30 the fog was still bad... at 9:40 like magic it lifted... We scrambled to prepare our ditch bag, secure the cabin (I had just put on another pot of coffee!), pump out and top up on gas... We were out in the channel leading out by 10:10... I was so stressed that I wanted to throw up! Papi thinks the crossing went really good, I say it was "just OK". It was pretty choppy (and white knuckles holding on) near both coast, and rolly in the middle. But, we made it over and found Roy's, a restaurant with "drinks"... which we really needed.
Steinhatchee has a couple marinas, but we decided to stop at Sea Hag Marina. There was a fishing tournament happening when we arrived... wow, talk about controlled chaos, it was crazy busy until about nightfall. There are three other Loopers here, they crossed over together on the same day as us - they all go the same speed as trawlers (so we didn't plan on crossing with them - we went for our optimal cruising speed to get a better fuel burn... the fear of running out of gas if sea conditions changed was real!). We got together a couple times (docktales and dinghy rides). We're enjoying it here too. (I know, I say/write that a lot... but it's true!)
We're getting closer to where we have friends and family vacationing, I just hope we get there before they all head back home. The weather (wind and fog) has played a huge role in setting our travel pace. We're staying longer in certain places and bypassing other places we though we would explore... It's true when they say you can't do a "detailed" plan while boating. At least we're going in the direction we want, which for now is south!
Tina & Papi
"In life, it's not where you go, it's who you travel with"