Orange Beach and The Blue Angels

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.

At Lulu's

At Lulu’s

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.

The front of the barge

The front of the barge

middle

middle

it just goes on

it just goes on

and on

and on

the end

the end

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. IMG_0702

Right over the house

Right over the house

Fat Albert

Fat Albert

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.

Blue Angels 2

Blue Angels 2

missed 'em

missed ’em

IMG_0721

Blue Angels4

Blue Angels4

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>

Tony Pontificating

Tony Pontificating

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.

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