Sunday, April 29, 2018

Port St. Joe FL to Mobile AL

Parker FL - can you smell it?

After our very enjoyable surprise stop in Port St. Joe we continued our westward journey on Monday the 23rd. And SURPRISE!!  We found ourselves back in the central time zone and dropped the anchor in Smack Bayou a little after lunch.  We find ourselves using the afternoons to plan and calculate our “up river” voyage.  Based on the never-ending spring rains north of us; the river-crest and flood stage information is becoming more and more critical to our plan.

After a 9+ hour cruising day on the 24th we found our way back to Fort Walton city dock.  I know…never say never…I mentioned this place as a “no go” after our sleepless night in February.  But the dock was empty and it was a weekday so we tied up.  Apparently the 3rd visit was the charm…we actually got off the boat and walked the “strip”, had an early dinner at The Boardroom – I highly recommend the Rice Bowl and Charlie hit the jackpot on “Prime Rib Tuesday” – and walked a little more.

Wednesday the 25th it was time to re-calibrate the Auto Pilot.  After 2 hours of driving in circles, pressing buttons and talking to the very helpful Garmin support center we were headed west again!! Heavy seas and the possibility of a small power surge from thunderstorms could have created the issues since we also had to reboot the satellite TV – things happen!
Pensacola Beach - sorry we missed it!  We'll be back!
It was late in the day when we finally stopped at Ingram’s Anchorage (plan C).  Our first choice to anchor in Pensacola was nixed due to a dredging operation, high winds and a confused sea.  We motored on to Robert’s Bayou (plan B) and found it somewhat full – room for one more boat.  Our friends on Moni Jean were several hours behind us and planned to stop there. We pressed on to Ingram’s since we still had daylight in our favor…dropping the hook at 5:36 pm.  Moni Jean took the spot at Robert’s Bayou around dusk (7:30); they had a LONG day and we were happy to hear from them!
Charlie, Robin, Marilyn & Ed at the Flora-Bama Yacht Club!

We intended to stay at anchor Thursday based on the predicted weather (rain & gusting wind).  Well when it wasn’t raining by 10:00am Captain Bathrobe ordered the anchor pulled and we headed to Orange Beach!!  Homeport Marina, Lulu’s and the FloraBama compound were waiting for us!!  Oh and Ed and Marilyn – friends we met at Midway Marina a couple years ago!!  YAY!! Don’t you love to see a familiar face!!
Cool chairs!

Friday the 27th we were moving again (notice a theme here?)!  This time to Dog River Marina in Mobile – top off the fuel tanks and one night is free!!  So we stayed for the weekend.  There are several boats here with the same float plan…head NORTH on the rivers.

As I mentioned earlier flooding on rivers presents a little challenge – current, debris, lock operations – but we have been in touch with the first lock upstream.  Using the information provided on the Corp of Engineers website, the lock master’s knowledge and the local knowledge of marina staff we are heading to Fairhope tomorrow!!

A few boats are going to start up river on Monday and will share their experience with us.  We will continue to monitor the water levels/currents and if nothing changes (gets worse) Moni Jean and The Lower Place will begin our northerly approach on Wednesday (May 2).  Naturally it takes longer running upstream and most likely we will have shorter travel days to insure safer anchoring opportunities…so who knows how long it will take us!!  A best estimate is 5-7 actual travel days to reach our home marina of course we may spend an extra day somewhere due to circumstances beyond our control…OR there might be a cool farmers market screaming my name!!  So stay tuned!!
It won't be long until this is our typical "boat traffic"

God Bless!

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