Left Two Georges Marina in Fort Walton Beach at 6:30 this AM with a new “deck hand”, USCG licensed Captain Dave Heilman replaced my ne’er do well brother who still hadn’t shaved by the time he left the boat. Looked like a homeless person. You may recognize my friend Dave as he and his bride Sue started this journey with Debbie and me. Debbie is still home nursing Jake. Shortly after 6 we start the engines, short tie the boat, short tieing involves a line that is afixed to the boat, making one wrap around a dock cleat and tieing off on the boat’s cleat so the boat can be untied from the dock without leaving the boat. And then we put on appropriate dress:
Damn, another 30 degree departure! At the time of this writing it is pretty warm on the flybridge but only 50 or so outside.
It seems I can only get one Sirius station on Whisky Business.
Sunrise over Choctawahatchee Bay as we were leaving the marina.
Coupla pretty shots along the Intracoastal Waterway.
Salty Dog makes a slow pass and then cranks it up to 26 mph. Fella is burning some serious fuel.
Getting close to Panama City. Ever wonder how all that stuff from China gets here? Each one of those “containers” is the size of a semi truck trailer. And there are a lot of them on this particular ship and it is small by container ship standards.
Take a look at the large spools in this port. Water is smooth as glass in West Bay.
This is an image of one of my chartplotters. Using the autopilot, I set a waypoint to the center of the channel. The autopilot then reads this line and using GPS it takes the boat to that exact spot. When we make the Gulf crossing next week (160 miles of open water in the Gulf of Mexico) this device will pay for itself.
Our staging point for the crossing is Carabelle, Florida, about 100 miles from our current stop in Panama City. Can’t quite get there tomorrow so we have selected an anchorage about 65 miles away. We could go further but we are traveling with Oar Knot, a single engine boat that can’t go faster than 9 mph. It is a much more pleasant journey when you have a “buddy boat”. Plan for departure is 6:30am. We are expecting a veritable heat wave with temps in the low 40’s tomorrow morning. Jeez, dark by 5, skipped lunch today and had Deb’s sloppy joe’s for dinner and ready for bed. AND IT’S ONLY 6 O’CLOCK!!!
Our anchorage tomorrow night is a small one, best for only one boat. Unless you are rafting up with another boat. Oar Knot only has a 35 lb anchor so Dave and I deployed my beast of an anchor, a 65 lb Manson Boss. This sucker will hold our combined 80,000 lbs of boats just fine.
There was a crossing opportunity today and we just could not get that far. Hopefully a window will open up for us on Tuesday or Wednesday. That will take 2 days and then another 2 days to get to Burnt Store Marina. Keep your fingers crossed for us.