Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December 16, 2013 ICW to Pensacola

This morning Dave was hearing a strange noise with our anchor rode, so he went out on the deck at 6:00am, barefoot as usual.  He was shocked to find ice on the deck.  Needless to say, he came back to bed to warm up. 

We left Wolf Bay about 9:15 am with a light north wind and 43 degrees.  We both put on our foul weather gear or foulies.  Dave's reaction: it feels pretty good out here in my super hero suit.  Mary's reaction:  I'm sure glad my suit still fits.  I guess that's the difference between boys and girls. 
We followed the Intracoastal waterway until about noon.  We stopped on the ICW in Big Lagoon.  It's that last body of water before you enter Pensacola Bay.  We wanted to position ourselves to exit out into the Gulf tomorrow morning at the west end of Pensacola Bay.  We went through some narrow channels today and were glad we didn't meet any barges.  There are red and green markers for you to follow through the ICW, which is supposed to be at least 12 feet deep.   Our keel is almost 5 feet below the water.  So it's best to stay within the markers.  Usually you can see several pairs of signs out ahead.  But today there were a few times you had to search for the next ones.  It reminded me of years ago when we were skiing in the Swiss Alps.  We had to follow the orange flags to avoid crevices in the glaciers.  It was snowing hard and we had to stop at each flag and look for the next one.  We were young and stupid, but loved it.  I'm not sure what our excuse is now.     

Today, we lowered our dinghy into the water, mounted the motor and took it for a spin.  We have a new 10.5 foot inflatable dinghy with an aluminum bottom and a 15 hp motor.  Dave said "boy it's a good thing we didn't have this in the water before we left because I wouldn't have gotten any work done."  We would have been exploring the coastline with our "convertible".  We decided to take the dinghy to one of our favorite restaurants on Pensacola Beach, Peg Leg Pete's.  It was 10 miles, but the bay was very smooth with no wind.  They have the best appetizer of grouper nuggets-bite size pieces of battered and fried grouper.  We also had a dozen raw oysters.  This was about 3:00 with no lunch.  We both had the mixed grill which was grouper, shrimp and scallops, all grilled and local, with rice pilaf and snap peas.  I had wanted to snorkel for scallops in the Gulf this summer, but we never made it over to the area near Panama City during the season.  We were celebrating our 36th wedding anniversary, which is tomorrow.  We plan to spend tomorrow out on the Gulf with no stops for about 24 hours.  Which we are actually looking forward to.  We made it back to our boat just after sunset.

We put the dinghy on our davits at the stern of the boat.  We took the motor off and put it back on its mount on the stern.  Then the dinghy is hooked to a pulley system to lift it out of the water.  Previously it was on our deck. 

Tomorrow we will tow the dinghy behind us in the water.  That way it will be ready as a lifeboat, if needed.  We also have a "ditch bag" that contains emergency systems to contact the coast guard, food and water, and medical supplies.  We will also give Brian Killion our float plan.  We give him our estimated time of arrival in Panama City, Fl.  And if we are late, he will call the Coast Guard.  The things you have to think of!!!

We made a to-do list for tonight that Dave is working on while I am typing away.  He'd much rather do that.  I think it will be another early night because of the cold.  And we will sail through the night tomorrow night.  Another first and adventure.        

 Photos- our superhero suits.  You can't tell, but I am wearing 
 a Santa hat.

Peg Leg Pete's with oysters and grouper nuggets.  

 Returning to our boat just after sunset. 

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