"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

March 30, 2011

Mar. 30 – Panama City, FL

Day 24 - Our First Rainy Day
Panama City Marina

We wake up to rain and wind this morning.  The weathermen had it right…it rained until after lunch, so we just hung out on the boat.  Stan worked on a few things in the engine room and I watched TV and caught up on emails and banking business.

After lunch the sun came out and we took the bikes for a ride around town.  We followed the bike trail through a few nice neighborhoods…which also followed the azalea trail.  Lots of nice scenery.  We stopped at a little fish market on the way back to the boat, bought some tuna dip to enjoy as an appetizer with our drinks tonight.  We fixed the squid that Stan caught last night…it was very good, we haven’t had much luck catching any today.  I guess we should have worked a little harder last night while they were around. 

View from the marina
 Little fish market we found
Night visitor 

March 29, 2011

Mar. 29 – Panama City, FL

Day 23 – Change of Plans

What a difference a day can make. We had planned to move the boat to Destin this morning and then spend the rest of the day playing in the clear blue water and white sand. Mother Nature had a different plan...winds from the north, cloudy skies and a high chance of rain for tomorrow made us decide to move on to Panama City.  We really didn't want to get stuck here for two or three more days.

The day started out cool and gray, but by lunch we had sunshine.  This part of Florida is covered in pine trees and it looks like you are in a small canyon going through the ICW.  By the time we got to Panama City the clouds were back.  The marina looks very nice and well protected from the wind. Marina personnel met us at the boat, helped us tie up and gave us an information packet for the area.  While we were out walking we met a couple fishing on the pier, they showed us how they fish for squid.  Stan caught quiet a few with their pole while we talked to them.  I think he will try to get a few tomorrow and we will fix them for dinner.  I'm not sure I will like them but I will give them a try.

We plan on staying here a few days.  A storm is coming in tonight and rain is forecast for tomorrow, we will wait and see what the weather is like in a few days and then make our plans.  Hopefully we will get to see a few things while we are here.  We have traveled over 836 miles since we left Port Lavaca.

Scenery along the way
 We had some company today
 Panama City Marina

March 28, 2011

Mar. 28 – Fort Walton Beach, FL

Day 22 – Beautiful Beach
The Boat Marina & Boatyard

We rented a car this morning and ran a few errands.  Stan had things he needed to get from West Marine and Lowes, and we needed a few groceries so we went to Wal-Mart.  They seem to have better prices than the Publix (Florida’s version of HEB).  After we finished our work…we drove to Destin.  We parked at Harbor Walk Village and had a nice lunch at Harry T’s.  The view from the deck over the harbor and channel to the Gulf of Mexico was breathtaking. The pictures I took don't do the water justice…they just don’t seem to capture the true color.   

After lunch we walked along the harbor and then went to the beach…I can truly say I have never seen a prettier beach, and I love the beaches in Kauai.  The color of the water is unbelievable and the sand is so white.  It was a beautiful site and we had a wonderful day. 

Our lunch view over the channel to the Gulf
 View from Harbor Walk Village
 Harbor Walk Village
 Stan on one of Destin's beaches
 Beautiful water
 Toes in the sand....very fine white sand

March 27, 2011

Mar. 27 – Fort Walton Beach, FL

Day 21 – Back on the Water

Back on the water, we had fun in Pensacola.  The Palafox Marina gave us a great price on our stay.  They only charged us $1.00 a foot per day and then gave us the third night free.  The best marina we have stayed in so far.  We bought diesel and had a pump out on our way out this morning.  We will be good for awhile now.

We traveled about 45 miles today to Fort Walton Beach.  Our dock this evening isn’t as fancy as the last one, but it will do.  We are renting a car the next couple of days so we can run some errands and see a few more of the sites around this area.  Cooking dinner on the grill and watching the weekend boaters.

Sand dunes along the barrier island...so white and tall
 Momma and baby dolphin
 A peacock at the marina we are at...they have all kinds of birds around

March 26, 2011

Mar 26 – Pensacola, FL

Day 20 – Just Hanging Out
Palafox Pier & Yacht Harbour Marina

We just took it easy this morning, then walked down the street to the Port City Market.  It's a little farmers market they have on Saturday mornings.  We bought a few things and had fun visiting with some of the vendors.  Later we rode our bikes around the downtown area.  We found the Florida Public Archaeology Network as we were out peddling around…there were having a small festival in the park.  Lots of info on Pensacola’s past.  We stopped at The Fish House for lunch, it was wonderful.  We will be eating very light for dinner.  At the moment we are just relaxing and catching up on internet stuff (using the free wifi at Jaco's) and trying to figure out were to go next.  The rest of the day we plan on just hanging out.  Cruising can be very stressful!

 A cute doctor's office we found this morning.

Mar 25 – Pensacola, FL

Day 19 – National Naval Aviation Museum
Palafox Pier & Yacht Harbour Marina

We took the public bus to the National Naval Aviation Museum this morning.  Not having a car means finding new ways to get around…we really don’t mind riding buses.  It’s kind of fun.  The museum is on the Naval Air Station Pensacola, it was our first time on a military base.  The base was pretty and reminded me of a large college campus.  We enjoyed the museum; it has hundreds of aircraft and thousands of aviation artifacts.  The Pensacola Lighthouse was near by, but we didn’t have time to tour it.  We did get a good view of it on our way to Pensacola yesterday.

We went back to Joe Patti’s for fresh fish for dinner and then went to Rosie O’Grady’s to listen to music.

National Naval Aviation Muesem
 The newest Blue Angel
 This is a propeller from an Aircraft Carrier
Pensacola Lighthouse
A little visitor on the dock

March 25, 2011

Mar. 24 – Pensacola, FL

Day 18 – Laundry and Blue Water
Palafox Pier & Yacht Harbour Marina
We are here…in Florida and the water is an emerald green.  Very pretty, I don’t think my pictures will actually show what the water looks like.  We had a short day on the water…we only traveled 24 miles and are docked in a marina in downtown Pensacola.   

The first thing on my agenda was laundry.  I sat in a little restaurant that over looks the marina while waiting for the wash.  Not bad…I had a chance to surf the web.  I updated things on the blog, read emails, and uploaded pictures to my picasa account.  When we finished all our work we took a walk through part of the historical section of Pensacola.


The dock master told Stan about a great fish market named Joe Patti's, so we rode our bikes over there to get fish for dinner. WOW what a place, it was huge. They had any kind of seafood you could think of. We bought a redfish fillet, half a pound of shrimp, two crabs and a loaf of fresh bread.  It made a great dinner...enjoying it on our deck in Florida made it even better.  
                                                                              
Our first look at Florida's pretty water
 Joe Patti's Seafood Market
 You name it and they had it
 Our celebration dinner -  Champagne and Wild Hibiscus Flowers from Kyle and Bryt
 Our view for a few days

March 23, 2011

Mar. 23 – Josephine, AL

Day 17 – Pirate’s Cove
Roberts Bayou – Anchorage

The wind picked up last night and we spent the night rocking quite a bit…so we got up and headed out pretty early.  We wanted to get across Mobile Bay before it got too rough.  The ride wasn’t bad, but we were glad to be it back in the ICW. 

Jimmy Buffett’s sister runs a restaurant and marina right on the ICW near Gulf Shores, Alabama.  You can tie your boat up right in front of the restaurant, walk in and have a cheeseburger in paradise!  Definitely a tourist place, but kind of fun…and the food was good.  

We made it to our anchorage in Roberts Bayou around two and had plenty of time to explore the area in the dinghy.  It is very pretty…our first time to be anchored in the woods.  We also had time to clean the hull of the boat.  The water in the ICW and the Mississippi Sound look like tea…so the hull of the boat has gotten very yellow since we left.  The Pearl is looking like her old self now.

Stan fished a little and we made homemade pizza for dinner.  This bayou is very dark so we can see a million stars.

There were lots of pretty homes along this section of the ICW
 The Pearl tied up at LuLu's
 LuLu's at Homeport Marina
 Pirate's Cove in Roberts Bayou
 The hull before cleaning.....
 and the hull after cleaning.
 Our backyard for the evening

Mar. 22 – Dauphin Island, AL

Day 16 – Greetings from Alabama
West end of Dauphin IslandAnchorage
We left our cute little town this morning and headed for Alabama.  We only went 35 miles today.  We are anchored on the end of Dauphin Island, which is a barrier island south of Mobile Bay.  The area we are in is very remote and quiet.  We dropped the anchor around noon, had lunch and then took the dinghy down and went beach combing.  The water is pretty clear, but it is the color of ice tea.  As we approached the beach I could see stingrays swimming in the water. 

We walked over to the gulf beach and looked for shells.  Most of what we found were like the ones we get at home, except they seemed thicker and the predominant colors were yellow and orange.

Gulf beach on Dauphin Island
 A little Sandpiper

March 21, 2011

Mar. 21 – Ocean Springs, MS

Day 15 - Shopping, Relaxing, and Visiting
Ocean Springs Small Craft Harbor

When you start cruising you begin to find out it’s a small world.  We had a visit this morning from Tom McIlwain, a friend of Lanny’s, our dock mate from home.  While talking to him he mentioned he knew a couple that owned a Monk in the past…come to find out, it was the couple that owned our boat a few years ago. 

We spent the morning cleaning the boat.  Stan washed the decks and I cleaned the cabin.  Even when you’re cruising you have to do the routine chores.  The rest of the day we spent looking through little shops, riding bikes and poking around town.  We had lunch at Leo’s Wood Fired Pizza.  We sat on the patio and enjoyed the day and the pizza.

We visited with a few other boat owners this afternoon and had another visit from Tom and his wife this evening.  Everyone was very helpful and gave us good ideas of places to visit on our way to Florida. With all the great ideas it may take us another two weeks before we get there!

A few homes along Front Street in Ocean Springs
 Ocean Springs beach
 View from our boat of the harbor