October 12 – so much to be thankful for this Canadian Thanksgiving

Here we are……Pensacola, Florida.  Is this really possible?  Yes!

Peek-a-blue - This blue heron checks on us most mornings

Peek-a-blue – This blue heron checks on us most mornings

 

Then tries to sneak way

Then tries to sneak way

Today, Beth and I did a few odd jobs…Beth scrubbed the cockpit floor, I entertained a refrigeration tech…..Jordan Duprees…is that a southern name or what…and then scrubbed down the deck.  It really was time for some cleaning.

A little squid checking out our rudder

A little squid checking out our rudder

Yesterday, Beth and I took out our Alabama friends Aaron and Caroline for a sail.  They had just completed a sailing course, and were itching to get out for a sail.  So, out to the Gulf of Mexico we went..under power….no wind!  But wait, as we completed the passage out of Pensacola Bay into the Gulf, the winds picked up to 10 knots…the tide appeared to be coming in, and going out the channel to the Gulf gave us some 6 foot waves with a rather large fetch…motoring along at 7.2 knots, less than 2500 rpm on the Yanmar…..out of the channel, hoist the mainsail…lol….a few times, because this time the lanyard was caught up in the spreaders….geeeesh…is this ever going to be easy?…..Finally, Aaron and I had the main hoisted, threw out the genoa….and…………yes..no wind…no freakin’ wind!  How the heck?  Oh well….time for a rest, some water, some treats…..and lo and behold…up came the wind!  Really….slowly rising, and Moorahme responded like a new colt out of the pen!  As the wind rose…so did our SOG…speed over ground…just about matching wind speed to hull speed…no, I’m leading you astray……if the wind was at 10 knots…we were pushing almost 5 knots SOG..which is really impressive for a 40,000lb sailboat!  All the tanks loaded up, all of our gear….yes, I was happy!  Rock on!

Caroline and Aaron

Caroline and Aaron

Straight up

Straight up

We headed west for about 14 miles, passing into Alabama waters, at least 3 miles offshore….the Alabama shoreline is so impressive with the pure white sands, the ultra modern buildings built on the shoreline…..hard to describe.  We encountered acres, literally acres of baitfish jumping, breaking the surface, trying to elude the fish preying on them from below, and the gulls from above.  The breaking water sounded just like rain they were so plentiful…we’ve not ever witnessed so many!  Further along, we encountered tuna like fish chasing the bait fish, jumping right out of the water in their quest to fill their hungry bellies. The winds were pushing us along at a healthy 5 plus knots…aaah….sailing at it’s finest!  Bright sunshine, awesome company….a sailboat that craved wind and waves…holy crap…can it possibly get better than this?  YUP…it sure can!  How about dolphins swimming along, diving under the bow of Moorahme, sea turtles with heads the size of a football…..perfect winds…perfect company?

We turned around about 14 miles or so into Alabama, and headed back towards Pensacola.  The channel was much calmer, and actually pulled us along.  I saw a large Beneteau cruising along, entering Pensacola harbour via the ICW…the Intercoastal Waterway…he was quite a ways ahead of us….probably a mile or so….I rallied the crew…let’s see if we can catch that boat!  And, off we went, trimming sails, forecasting wind changes, trimming here and there, and yes…we are catching him!  We ARE!  This is so cool!  We trimmed, altered course, pushed and pulled, and finally pulled this big Beneteau into our reach…and passed him!  YES, we passed him!  A big Bene…….no, we weren’t racing….sailors don’t race…they just sort of trim sails and change course to adapt to the wind changes…….<grin> but we got him!  Our Moorahme is 32 years old….the new Bene..who knows…maybe 10 years old..but we got him!  And no left turns!<for you Nascar fans>  What a feeling!  Yes!  High fives all over! LOL!

So…close to the marina, douse the sails, and motor in.  Docking was a real show….I just couldn’t get it…..the short bus was about to pick me up if I couldn’t get Moorahme in to the dock with this one last attempt….but…success!  Yes, the daysail is finally over!  Dinner at Jaco’s to culminate a wonderful day spent with our sailboat, and new friends Aaron and Caroline.  I actually think that maybe Aaron is enjoying sailing!  Hopefully he brings a fishing pole next time we go out!<grin>

The day before, Friday, Keith, the former owner called and asked if I had the new inverter/charger installed…no, not yet!  I’ll be there in twenty minutes to get ‘er done Keith said.  Time to rock!  Out with the old, in with the new.  Keailli had a 400 watt inverter…not near sufficient to run any real electrical appliance, so we had purchased a new to us Xantrex 3000 watt invertor with a built in battery charger.  Now we could operate pretty much any appliance we would want, including Beth’s Mixmaster..and fully charge the boat batteries with the built in 3 stage 150 watt battery charger!  Keith, Beth and I worked about 6 hours on the installation, and I am very happy to report that it is working just fine!  Now, we can live “on the hook” that’s sailor lingo for having the anchor dropped and not living at a dock…we use the power from our batteries and charge them up with the on board 5kw generator…and once we head to the Caribbean, we will then make use of the water maker…and we will only have to go to shore to get rid of our garbage, obtain fuel and replenish our food supplies…..which means cheap living!  Not like at present, where we are paying $600 U.S. for the dock, plus hydro…..ouch!

We are really enjoying Pensacola….the weather is awesome, the sailing is awesome….there are great restaurants, nice wine shops to satisfy our lust of fine wines…and the Gulf is less than an hour away to sail to our hearts content.  In November, we will be heading over to Alabama, and there we will discover new anchorages, docks, things to do and see…..it just never ends!  We are blessed to be able to live this life…we have so much to be thankful for.

So….happy Thanksgiving to all of our Canadian friends and relatives!  We hope to see you all….or y’all as they say down this way….soon!

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