Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Pensacola to Panama City...Fun, Fun, FUN!!

Today is Tuesday and we have played in Panama City FL ALL day!!  We needed a non-travel day to explore and what a great downtown area in Panama City!

Monday was a full travel day with multiple geographic changes.  We started out in the ICW, crossed a bay, entered into “the grand canyon”  (22 miles of narrow river-like navigation), then crossed another bay and on and on and on…I thought the “bay” view would never end!  Pretty but it felt like we were going nowhere – kinda like driving across Kansas!

Very Pretty - after 5 hours, it felt like Kansas!
Some excitement as we exited the “grand canyon” - there was an unnamed highway bridge (very tall) and a tow named Kimberly Ann in line with the bridge – blocking the channel!  Charlie was driving & called them on the radio.  The tow captain came back with “come ‘round my stern, captain”.  WHAT?!?

Note the opening between the tow & bridge?!

You see, the tow was under power, holding a barge to the shore line while someone in a large piece of machinery was loading the barge.  There was “ample” room for us to pass through without the turbulence.  So Captain Charlie assessed the situation deciding we could idle toward the current, then full throttle toward the tow in order to use the turbulence to push us through.  Hmmm…ok, I put on my life jacket and grabbed the camera!!  A prayer from both of us and few snaps of the camera and we were through!!!  Whew…thank you Lord!
Note the turbulence from the tow & the bow of our boat (lower rt corner)

Other than that bit of excitement – it was an uneventful travel day!  We decided to anchor out instead of stay at the marina – we prefer the solitude.  So thanks to our Skipper Bob book, we found the Massalina Bayou anchorage!  A gated community – we had to call and request the bridge to “open on demand”. What a neat anchorage…complete with Bayou Joe’s!!

Nelson Bridge guarding Massalina Bayou

Come on in to Massalina Bayou
Speaking of Bayou Joe’s…W.O.W.!!  What a cool place, fantastic service and fabulous food – it is a MUST STOP!  I have no idea how to get there by land but it was just a dinghy ride away our boat, just inside the bridge (we tied the dinghy to their dock)!  And if you haven’t experienced the kindness and local knowledge of Laura (server at Bayou Joe’s) you have missed a treat.  This young lady has a bright future ahead – we were so impressed with her work ethic, personality and friendliness on Monday night – we met another looper couple there on Tuesday night!  Spread the word – eat at Bayou Joe’s and ask for Laura!!  Service with a heart-felt smile!!

Bayou Joe's!!
Earlier on Tuesday we took an “exhilarating” dinghy ride across the bay to shell island!! A 1-2 foot chop doesn’t sound like much…unless you’re in an inflatable 10’ boat with an 8hp motor!! Always ready for an adventure but not necessarily a cold salt spray!!  But we dried while searching for shell & the water was MUCH calmer on the return trip.  Fun times!!
What a RIDE!!

Can anyone hear me??  We SURVIVED!
I forgot to take off my life jacket!  Looks like I'm hiking in the desert! LOL!

No words...

I’ve completely glossed over the walking tour of downtown Panama City because there was SO MUCH history but load up the car/truck/scooter & head toward Panama City – it’s a great downtown!  Don’t miss the local museum, chamber of commerce or park areas…you need a couple days!!
The Lower Place at anchor in Massalina Bayou
So Wednesday morning we plan to depart our little community and head toward White City (anchorage) OR Apalachicola!  Apalachicola lies at the mouth of the Apalachicola River on the Apalachicola Bay (for those of you stalking us on Google Maps).  This is the area we will begin staging the boat for our crossing (see yesterday’s post for more details).  We are researching weather forecasts and looking for a 24 hour traveling opportunity.  We will keep you posted!!

Have a super day & God Bless!!

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