After sleeping in, we checked out weather forecast for the next passage over to the west coast of Florida. That will be 160-180 miles stretch, depending where we start and reach shore. Most people don't follow the shore line, or the Big Bend. It is shallow and takes much more time. The most common passage is between Apalachicola, Fl and Tarpon Springs, Fl. It will take us another day to get to Apalachicola. Again there is a short bridge on the ICW, so we would have to go out into the Gulf. Then we would plan 2 days to cross the Gulf. It looks like there is going to be some nasty weather over the weekend, including 10 foots waves and lightning. Then I don't want to be in the middle of the crossing over Christmas. So we made the decision to get a slip in a marina in Panama City for a week.
We can regroup, finish some little projects, and be sure to be able to go to church on Christmas. We decided to go to the Panama City Marina because it is walking distance to the historic downtown. It is also where friends of ours from Rapid City have a slip, Dr. Denny and Debi Mills. Right now they are in Marathon in the Florida Keys. We visited them here in Panama City last June. We had just made the decision to buy our boat. We spent about 3 hours picking their brains about cruising. They were very gracious. They have also sent us their itinerary for sailing south and have been a great source of information for us.
Leaving our anchorage