What a great combination eh? Glad we’re tied to a dock!
Piggly Wiggly…yes, say it again….Piggly Wiggly. Supermarket, grocery store, provisioning store. Call it what you want to, but there just isn’t a Piggly Wiggly where we come from.
Just enough left for breakfast in the a.m……no, no , just kidding!<grin> It is a very, very nice wine! $20 U.S. dollars, so about 990,000k in Canada. So just take my word for it, it really is nice…unless you are one of our U.S. blog followers….you can go and get it, but hurry, it’s that good.
I don’t know why I want to refer to this area as Orange Grove….but if I do, bare with me…..it’s an age thing I guess.
We have met a ton of boaters from Michigan, in fact, yesterday, a Viking 43 motor yacht from Harrisville Township pulled into the slip beside us. Dave and Michelle are awesome people, he retired from Chrysler 7 years ago, she retired in June from a car dealership. We headed out to Lulu’s, a restaurant bar just downstream, that is owned by Jimmy Buffet’s sister. It had pretty good food, and is very large.
I can only imagine how busy it must get in the “warmer months”, and every once in awhile Jimmy himself pops in and does an impromptu serenade for the patrons there. That didn’t happen yesterday, darn it.
I am happy to report that the Yamaha 9.9 pushes our hard bottomed dinghy right along. It is a bit of a bear to wrestle down off of the davits with the engine on the dink, but nothing that Beth and I can’t handle.
The Wharf Marina is a great spot to sit and just watch traffic go by on the GICW, or Gulf Intra Coastal Waterway. There are dolphins a plenty, and a lot of barges. Some are hauling coal, others are moving dredging apparatus up and down the waterway. It is really something to watch, these barges are huge, and how they negotiate the bends and twists is quite remarkable.
We are still without refrigeration, I’ll do some inquiring today to see if there is anyone around who is able to recharge our system…sigh….we’ve wasted a fair bit of cash on ice….ice here in Alabama is priced somewhat the same as our Canadian gourmet ice back home….$11 for a forty lb. bag. With the cool weather that we are expecting here for the next week, the ice will last quite some time in the freezer and refrigerator.
I ordered a new burner for the barbeque yesterday from Dickinson Barbeques in British Columbia. Should take about five days to get here, a big hole blew through in the center of the burner the last time I used it. I’ve applied some JB weld to hold it over until the arrival of the new burner….I have my fingers, dingers and gingers all crossed hoping the old burner makes it. It is going to hit the mid 60’s here today for a high, so I can see where we’ll be buying a roast of beef and trying out the galley oven very soon. The horseradish that we purchased at the Pepper Palace will be put to good use…..brings a tear to my eye and my nose runs just thinking about that horseradish! And once Beth is feeling better, we’ll try out the Bloody Mary mix we purchased there as well. I do believe that she is coming along now….she actually suggested today that we pick up a bottle of Bailey’s for our morning coffee.
Yesterday, our good friend Tony from Coastal Canvas picked us up, and of course Roxy was with him. They are such great friends, Roxy was very pleased to see us, and resume consumption of the chicken jerky dog treats that we had purchased at Sam’s club. She just loves those jerky strips! We headed off to Pensacola, and we finally met Tony’s wife Annette, a real sweetheart of a lady. Tony took me over to his friend’s 63 foot steel hulled Sparkman Stephens designed sailboat, a ketch rig built in 1958. Eddie and Trish have owned the boat for over 20 years, and it is 93,000 lbs of pretty boat. Huge pilothouse, you could easily put 50 people on this boat and still have a ton of room. She is powered by a Detroit diesel 671 naturally aspirated engine, everything on this one is big! They spend a lot of time diving in the Bahamas, and this boat is set up to do exactly that with an onboard air compressor and everything else needed for diving expeditions.
Eddie and Trish are great people, and they graciously invited us to their new home to watch the air show being held this weekend at the Pensacola Naval Air base. This is the Blue Angels Homecoming weekend, and what a show it is! There were parachutists, tons of bi-planes, old world war two planes, aerobatic planes…a full day of wonderful entertainment.
And then, shortly after two p.m., it was real show time…the F-16 borne Blue Angels came up. Their display is second to none, very fast, crisp and quick moving. Eddie and Trish’s house is located directly north of the runways, and we had front row seats without the crowds. In fact, so front row, that the Blue Angels fly directly over the house, no more than a hundred feet off of the ground…….I only wish that all of you could have attended to witness the bone shaking noise as six F-16’s pass right over your head close enough that it feels that you could jump up and touch them, they fly so close to the house.
This is one day that will stick in the old memory banks for some time!
After the show, it was hamburger/hotdog time, with salads galore and fun conversations…..being teased on how we talk….heck, it’s not us that talks funny is it?<grin>
We had a wonderful time, and just before dark there were a lot of the planes leaving the show area and heading back to their home hangars, so I pretty much had a decent fill of airplanes for the day…..something I just can’t get enough of.
I know that we are in Florida, and most of you think of Florida as hot, sunny, humid and all that, but let me tell you. It is very humid and damp in the Pensacola area, and when the sun goes down, and the temperature drops down to 11 Celsius, believe me, it is freakin’ cold! I mean bone chilling, go right through you type cold. Unreal! It has me thinking about heading south…..soon!
Our travel plans have been modified somewhat already, as Beth and I say, our plans are written in the sand at low tide. We had originally planned on leaving the boat in Pensacola and returning home for Christmas, and then after Christmas heading to the Ft. Myers area to visit with friends and family. The “locals” here have told us that the sooner we can leave this area, the better. There aren’t a lot of windows of opportunity to catch to sail south, the cold northern fronts cutting into quality sailing time. So, best to listen to the natives, right? We now plan on heading to Burnt River Marina in the Ft. Myers/Pine Island area sometime the first week of December when we have completed our visiting with Max and Donna, sailing friends from Cincinnati, Ohio, and HUGE Buckeye fans; and Dave and Joyce Llewelyn from Amherstburg; and last, but certainly not least, Jan and Jean from Colorado (Beth’s note: I’m pretty sure it’s Kansas), who we met earlier this year when we stayed in Brunswick, Georgia. We are hoping to do some cruising with Jan and Jean, they have a 45 foot Jenneau and know the Bahamas intimately.
Our friends Dave and Michelle on “Just Us”, a 43 foot Viking motor yacht departed early this a.m. to continue their travels on the “Loop”. They are from Harrison township in Michigan, and began their journey of traversing the loop in July when Michelle officially retired. They are FUN people, and we hope to catch up with them again soon. Safe travels to them!
Tony is dropping in today to install some additional canvas that is ready to go on. We are very pleased with his work and our boat is really looking much better with her new “clothes”. Beth and I are really looking forward to the completion of this project, as the full enclosure will warm up the cockpit on those days when it just really isn’t t-shirt and shorts weather. Those days are much more common place now, unlike when we first arrived in Pensacola and were enjoying the hot, I repeat, HOT weather. How quickly the weather changes. That’s the update for now…
Keep your stick on the ice.
(a note from Beth: we’re finally someplace with decent internet and it is so much easier to add pictures and post – so we’re doing some catching up)
We departed Pensacola yesterday, and headed over to the Wharf Marina in Orange Beach, Alabama yesterday. For various reasons, all of them good, it was time to get out of Florida and see some new to us sites. The trip was all done with the diesel pusher, and took about 4 hours.
For those of you not familiar with college football, Bear Bryant, a legendary college football coach, coached here for many, many years, and is one of the most respected college football coaches ever, and he ruled the Crimson Tide (That’s the University of Alabama football team for all y’all who aren’t sports fans).
There wasn’t an abundance of traffic on the Gulf side of the ICW, and we cruised along at a nice leisurely 6 to 6.5 knots, our 100 hp turbo yanmar barely breaking a sweat at 2300 rpms. Our raymarine chartplotter chip ran out of close in information just past the Florida-Alabama border, and we navigated with our I-Pad until Keith, the former owner returned my phone call about chart chips and told me to just back out to about the 3 mile point on the screen, and I would have chart information on the screen. Not as intensive as having a chart chip for Alabama, but sufficient to allow me to relax somewhat.
At times on this trip, there was only just over 3 feet of water under the keel, which makes me very nervous. That makes for a little better than 9 feet of water, but with a 6 foot draft….I get just a wee bit edgy. The center of the marked channel is the obvious choice for transit, and moving over when meeting traffic allows me to do so. It should be interesting for us in the Bahamas, as there will be a constant 1 or 2 feet of water under the keel for extended periods of travel….oh boy! Definitely not the north channel.
We passed under two bridges, both with a height of 73 feet. Our boat has a mast height of 65 feet plus instruments, so going under the bridges also had me a bit nervous. But, no issues at all, and we carried on as if we are normal. The houses along the ICW are incredible, as are the various yachts that we met, all BIG! Our 47 foot sailboat felt like a dinky toy when meeting some of those yachts. The ICW twists and turns along this stretch, and is just gorgeous, and very well marked. We finally met some dolphins just before Orange Beach, they are always such a treat to see. You should google Orange Beach, it is an amazing area, white sand beaches, beautiful hotels and an awesome vacation area.
The Wharf marina is a very nice marina facility, and Beverly and Ryan made us feel right at home when checking in. Ryan helped us into our slip, provided us with some great info and insights to the area. Beth was very pleased with our docking procedure, smooth as silk and totally uneventful. I’ll take the time today in the 75 degree sunshine to wash the boat down and remove the salt. Each docking procedure is making it easier to dock successfully, thank goodness. She is a big girl, and just a wee bit different to dock than Kewalo. This marina caters to “loopers”, and when you tell the staff that you are a looper, dock fees are significantly cheaper. I told Beverly that we were “loopy”, and that got us the reduced rate. So, with the 11% tax that is charged here in Alabama for hotel rooms, docks etc., our total dock fees for two weeks is $525. Not bad at all, much cheaper than a hotel room. By the way, if you can stay here for 6 months, the 11% tax fee is removed……hmmm, 6 x 30 or 31…nope, no can do. The customs and border folks wouldn’t like that…….Floating docks, laundry facilities, loopers all over, even from Canada….nice place to stay for awhile.
Tony from Coastal Canvas is going to bring our car over for us one day this week, good thing, as the closest grocery store is 3.4 miles away. A bit of a hike when hauling groceries on foot. There are quite a few nice restaurants very close by, and one of them, Ginny Lane offers a lunch special, good to 6 p.m., that comes with a free martini! YES! We will come to know this place very well methinks<grin> There is a ferris wheel just across the street, and all kinds of attractions on the wharf here in Orange Beach.
Sunday afternoon we sailed with Keith and Linda, the former owners. Their in depth knowledge of the waters around Pensacola, and their vast sailing abilities are remarkable. Linda is an avid racer, and delivers sailboats, while Keith no longer races but truly enjoys sailing. His ability to trim the sails was something to watch and learn from, his skills obvious to my constant observations. It is awesome to watch a truly skilled and experienced sailor trim a boat. We arrived back at Palafox in the dark, and I was able to dock our boat in backwards on the second attempt with some help from the crew.
In closing, a Hinckley 46 with a beautiful dark blue hull, gold trim, and woodwork that gleamed, was at Palafox. I had noticed a different wake when he arrived, and in talking with the owner, from Traverse City, Michigan, discovered that he had jet drives. Big, strong, Hamilton jet drives. He claimed that the drives gave him about a 10% better fuel economy, and made the boat as easy to handle as a jet ski, and only a 2.5 foot draft. I have no idea what it was worth…..but scary would be a good term. Awesome motor yacht! Should have grabbed a couple of pics in hindsight.
So, Orange Beach, here we are!
Keep you stick on the ice.
Moorahme, (which will be our boat’s name, once she is fully registered in Canada federally) is a 1982 Sparkman Stephens designed center cockpit cutter rigged 47 foot sailboat. She has a registered net tonnage of 20.37 tonnes I believe, give or take a pound or two. She has a 6′ draft, and her mast height is 65 feet plus instruments. She carries laminate sails, has a factory hard dodger and is currently being re-fitted with a full enclosure to keep us warm, dry and happy in the cockpit. She has 3 staterooms, although we mainly use the 3rd cabin as our “garage”, storing the tools, spare parts and spinnaker, two heads, currently only one has a shower set up, and there is a shower set up on the stern, as well as a fresh water wash down system near the bow. She carries a 100 hp Yanmar turbo with a nice folding prop, a 5kw generator, two Shell solar panels and a wind generator. She has a Spectra watermaker so that we can convert salt water to fresh water, a freezer and refrigerator, if we can ever get the system serviced, it needs a R-12 charge, so we have been using a lot of ice since we got here.
There is a 33 kilogram Rocna anchor, an oversized windlass and ample chain to anchor out most anywhere.
The stern arch carries not only the gps antennae, the solar panels and wind generator, but the dinghy (a 10 foot Avon hard bottom) with a 9.9 Yamaha two stroke outboard as well. There is an awesome swim platform off the stern, which makes access so much better for both Beth and I, but especially me with my gimp leg. She has a 20,000 btu air conditioning and heating unit, Lavac electric toilets. So….one would think that with all of these appointments, that we should be able to just sail away so to speak. Well, it doesn’t quite work like that. I ordered Racor diesel filters with a vacuum gauge today which should hopefully be installed on Friday of this week. We have also ordered the new enclosure, a Xantrex 3000 power invertor with a built in 150 amp 3 stage battery charger, the invertor converts the battery power to 110 type power. We replaced the worn out water pump, and ordered a spare today as well, and a spare electric poop pump…..once we do get out cruising, parts are not always easily found. I will also be ordering a spare alternator for the Yanmar engine, and a few other bits and pieces.
The point of all this is….when someone tells you that you will spend another 30% of your purchase priced getting your boat ready for you…they are telling you the truth. It will run pretty close to that. It really is not much different from purchasing a new home and installing hardware floors, updating the kitchen and bathroom, or paving the driveway. Really, a small price to pay for sunshine and warm weather.
Being in the sunshine and warm weather does not exempt you from illness. I have been fighting a losing battle, so far at least, with a miserable chest cold. It is very similar to the one I had this past January….the one where Beth and her sister Cheryl had to finally perform an exorcism to rid me of it…not saying they are witches or anything like that…but my cold was gone the next day<grin>
We are fortunate to have our car with us, it makes restocking the frige and obtaining parts needed right away so much easier. We will probably be purchasing bicycles when we become official cruisers, then we can pedal our asses all over the towns we will be visiting.
A fella asked me yesterday what I miss most while being on the boat…I had to say that family functions would be the number one issue. Although with today’s technology we are a phone call or e-mail away, attending the family functions is number one, getting together with our friends, whether hauling out a boat, enjoying a quiet dinner or night on town would be next. After that, I’m not sure….he said he was contemplating purchasing a sailboat and heading out. My response was don’t wait, do it now. Life is too short to wait, and can throw some twists and turns at you when you least expect them…so do it, and do it now. Don’t wait, we’re having way too much fun.
Keep your stick on the ice.