Monthly Archives: December 2015

The window has opened…we’re spending New Year’s Eve in the Gulf of Mexico

IMG_4388 IMG_4386December 27-31

We left Apalachicola on Sunday with Dream Catcher and Isabella II,  these two boats went into Carbelle to stay at the Moorings marina.  We chose to anchor out in Shipping cove off Dog Island.  We spent four nights here.  Winds have been variable, Monday night was the worst—we put out more anchor chain and monitored our lat/long and depth most of the night as the wind swung us around.IMG_0573We dinghied  to the island a couple of times and walked on the sandy beach on the gulf side and the cove side, and picked up shells and looked at the sea lifeIMG_0554 IMG_0580 IMG_0579 IMG_0565 IMG_0562 IMG_0560  Yesterday we took a long walk with the Coleman’s from Davali, who had joined us in the cove on Tuesday.  We had supper on their sailboat last night- Chris had made Pork Vindaloo—it was amazing! We then had to return to our boat in the dark—and we had forgotten to put our anchor light on,   thank goodness Gwen had a good flashlight to show us the way.   We will be leaving this afternoon around 3:00 headed for Turtle cove Marina in Tarpon Springs, with 4 other boats, including Miss Hattie, Bucket List, Dream Catcher.  If all goes well it should be about a 22 hour crossing.  Davali, plan to leave this morning and are headed further south than us.

Christmas Apalachicola Style

IMG_0547December 24-26

 We decided to order in Chinese food and hosted the crews from Dream Catcher, Davali, and Isabella on our boat for supper and drinks on Christmas eve.  We opened up our table to twice its width, covered it with a plastic Christmas tablecloth  and easily seated the 8 of us.

On Christmas morning I created some snow in the boat- so it would feel more like home.


Christmas morning we called family and friends to check in and  wish them Merry Christmas,  We had called Jack at 7:30, and he had already opened all his present—Oh to be young again!

On Christmas day everyone came back for Christmas dinner, supplied by the trawler boats, as the sailboats don’t have ovens.  Both Pat and I cooked turkeys, made potatoes, yams, salads, and Pat made a superb Pumpkin Pie, while I brought out lemon loaf that Andy had baked, as well as light and dark Christmas cake, that my Mother had given me at the end of October.  This cake has traveled almost 2000 miles to be served at Christmas.  Thanks Mom!


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The Coleman’s came to dinner by Dingy, as there sailboat was anchored in the foggy river.




I realized later on Christmas day that I had broken a long standing tradition of mine.  For over 15 years on Christmas eve I would open up a 1000 piece puzzle box, with the goal of having it done by midnight on boxing day.  Years ago, when visiting my parents in Swan River, the puzzle tradition started at my sister’s house, where we would stay up late Christmas eve trying to get the border done, and continue on the following day, as well as Boxing day between curling in the family bonspiel or looking for the sales in town.  Nobody had heard of Boxing day here—we keep telling them it’s like their Black Friday.

Here was the Boxing Day sunrise.


Looked like it was going to be a beautiful day, but once again it is fogged in this afternoon.

We walked to Piggly Wiggly this morning, to get a few groceries, hopefully the 2.4 mile walk will help with some of the overeating from yesterday.  We stopped at this veteran’s park and I snapped these two pictures.




Andy is in the process of making Turkey soup; some of which we will likely freeze.   Our plan is to move to Carabelle tomorrow, and  possibly stay at a marina for a night and then anchor out.  There is a glimmer of a weather window on Tuesday evening, which we may take with the Coleman crew on Davali and Dream Catcher.

I plan to walk back into town this afternoon & if I see a puzzle- I’ll be buying it.  We’re going out tonight for Oysters and then to a bar to listen to the live entertainment.

Spending our first green Christmas together in Apalachicola

December 19– 23 Update– I’m sure some of you were starting to worry!!

This part of the Gulf coast is referred to as the Forgotten Coast.

forgotten coast

We spent two nights in Port St. Joe; had dock tails wilh Loopers from 4 other boats.  We checked out the town and pick up groceries and other supplies .


On Sunday we left Port St Joe at 10:00, following  two other looper boats Dream Catcher and Bucket List through  the 5 miles Gulf County canal and then through several creeks which make up the Intracoastal waterway.


You can see how close the crab pots are to the marked channel in this picture below.


We followed the channel through Lake Wimico into the Jackson River and finally the Apalachicola River.


We reached our destination- the Water Street hotel and Marina in Apalachicola at 2:00.

I walked into town and checked out some of the stores.  Since it was Sunday, the slow season and so close to Christmas, many were not open.  In one store with trinkets, They had a bin of jewellery made from broken brooches—one of the pieces had a maple leaf, with the word Winnipeg across it.  What’s the odds of seeing something like that 1500 miles away from home.  I asked and was told the jewelry was made by a group of women in Knoxville Tennessee.


That night we went to the Raw Oyster Bar for supper.  I had oysters with cheese and Jalapenos.  I’m not sure if I can eat them raw yet—but may before the week is out.  We are in the oyster capital of North America and we could be here awhile.  We’re waiting for a weather window, with very little wind, so that our 140 mile overnight crossing to Tarpon Springs will be a relatively smooth crossing.    It is now Wednesday, things don’t look good until  well after Christmas day.  So we wait—it started raining during the Monday night and is still drizzling Tuesday afternoon.  They are predicting high water in places in Alabama and Florida which may result in flash flooding.  It’s now Wednesday afternoon and we just had another shower.

We been playing Euchre the past couple evenings with Pat and Dick from Dream Catcher—so far the women are leading the matches.  We talked about a joint Christmas meal on Friday, with Turkey, so Andy and I walked to Piggly Wiggly and back ( 2.4 miles) to pick up a small Turkey today.  Oysters for Christmas just doesn’t seem right!  On our walk about town we thought about going to church.



If I don’t post again before Christmas, We want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!

Here we are in front of the  town tree in Apalachicola-  a net with crab trap markers.

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Finally, we’ve moved on…


December 14 to 19th

We had the fuel injector pump taken out first thing Monday morning and we jumped in our rental car and drove to Mobile Alabama; (a 3.5 hour drive).  (  Here’s Mobile’s downtown from  the road.)


We made a few wrong turns but arrived at the repair shop before 1:00.  We left the pump and returned to Panama City.  While we were away the starter and one alternator was removed for testing.

On Tuesday morning, it was decided that both alternators would be replaced, because they had been damaged by the overcharging.  A new starboard starter was also needed, it had already been repaired twice during this trip , so it was time to replace it.  At 10:00 we were informed that the injector would be ready by 3:00 so we drove back to Mobile to pick it up at Test Calibration.IMG_4330

They had said they would send it by bus,however with it being this close to Christmas there is no guarantee that it would make it back here for Wednesday.  On Wednesday morning it was noticed that there wasn’t enough parts to reassemble the injector pump so it couldn’t be installed until the next day.

The installation was completed Thursday afternoon and everything was operational by 3:30.


Hopefully this concludes the Electrical Saga. Andy has a t-shirt that states that B.O.A.T. stands for break out another thousand,  we did that plus for these repairs, but feel a lot more confident.

We are quite satisfied with the work done at Treasure Island.



You never want to stay a week at a marina because of breakdowns but the staff did everything in their power to make our stay as pleasant as possible. Special thanks to Tyler, Roland, John and Dave.  Andy just got off the phone with Roland who was following up on how are day had gone.

We left this morning  at 7:30 and travelled  through East Bay


and then along the Wetappo Creek for 17 miles,


we then turned into  the Gulf County Canal once we saw this sign.


and ended up in Port St. Joe at 1:30. we saw these fishing boats unloading  at a processing plant in Port St. Joe.


We  met up with  Pat and Dick from Dream Catcher, whom we hope to cross the Gulf with in a few days if there is  suitable  weather window.

The Electrical Saga continues in Panama City Beach


December 9th  to ?????

We left Niceville before noon and travelled across the remainder of Choctawhatchee Bay and then went through a narrow 20 mile cut called the “Grand Canyon”



and enter  West Bay.

We anchored for the night near Burnt Mill Creek  IMG_4315

When we went to shut down, the Starboard engine wouldn’t shut down, so we realized our electrical issues had not been resolved, and added to that we now seemed to have a fuel issue.  The anchorage was very tranquil, and there were at least 3 dolphins in the Bay, as well as Oyster beds, as indicated by the  floating markers.

In the morning, we ran the generator to charge up the batteries, and set off for Panama City.  We called a boat yard there that agreed to assess our boat and issues the next day, (Friday).    There is a list of systems that may have been affected by the short.  The xantrex regulator  alternators, battery starboard starter or key switch, as well as the fuel injector pump.  They will be looking into our issues in more detail on Monday and  we are hoping to have them all resolved this  week as the boatyard is closing for 2 weeks for Christmas. Otherwise we’ll be spending  our Christmas here.

We rented a car for the weekend, and will be checking out Panama City Beach, weather is in the  mid 70’s here.

I’ve included a picture of a Sea Ray that is parked beside us, for those of you who prefer this boat. IMG_4316

It’s a 2016 decorated for the Christmas boat parade, and asking price is 1.8 Million.  I had a tour, very nice with a washer/dryer, 3 state rooms 2 heads.  Didn’t see an ice-maker but it had 7 AC units.

Haven’t seen any Herons here, but lots of Brown and White Pelicans.



This posting is courtesy of McDonald’s wifi, as there is no internet at the boatyard.


Leaving North Light

December 9th

The mechanic just left, he disconnected our Xantrex alternator regulator as it is giving too high of an output.  We will have to use shore power or the generator to charge the  house batteries for now.


It seems odd to have Christmas decorations without snow.


Here’s one of the  many planes  flying by.

We will be leaving Niceville and travelling east to the other end of Choctawachee Bay today.


We can’t say enough good things about the people at the yacht club here in Niceville,  they have gone above and beyond being nice to us

Extended stay in Niceville

        Dec 6,7, 8

We traversed the 45 miles along the Santa Rosa Sound from Pensacola Beach to Choctawhatchee Bay,  going through Fort Walton and north of Destin.

It was a relatively uneventful trip; Santa Rosa island was south of us, and separated us from the Gulf of Mexico, so the winds were light.  The island consisted of sand dunes, and several beach areas with numerous hotels and holiday rental properties, and supporting infrastructure.



At one point, we saw a boat parked at a private dock that looked very similar to ours.


We also had a dolphin following us for a short time.


We crossed the bay, the water was like glass to our marina in Niceville.   Doesn’t that sound like a place you’d like to visit?  It is located near the Elgin Air force Base, so lots of planes flying around, but thankfully not at night- or at least I didn’t notice.


choctawachee bay IMG_4278

The marina is fairly new and is one of the nicest we’ve stayed at so far.

IMG_4289 There are several boats on the docks but we seem to be the  only ones staying here.  They have a huge dry-dock area, with many boats already in storage for the winter/off-season.  Laundry is free, there is a restaurant& bar –Tucker Duke’s,


an outdoor pool, which I plan to use before we leave.


Thee are some great statues, as well and artifacts in the main building.






One of the managers drove us to Walmart for groceries on Monday.  He said there was a family of dolphins that live in the bay—I haven’t seen them yet, but will be looking.

We are still having electrical/engine issues- they don’t seem to go away! But it is a 30 year old boat, so I guess they’re expected- have I mentioned this before?  When we arrived Sunday it seemed like the starter batteries were boiling—even the new battery  Andy investigated and  determined that the alternator on the Port engine is over charging and the alternator on the Starboard engine is squealing – so likely a bearing issue.  He pulled both alternators, and they will be taken for repair/rebuild Tuesday. One of the employees drove him to Fort Walton Beach to drop them off.  While he’s gone I’m updating the blog – so people know where we are and cleaning.

Kicking back in Pensacola Beach


December 3-5

We left our anchorage, passed by Pirates Cove marina  and  then proceeded to cross  Wolf and Perido  Bays and the Big Lagoon.  We saw some great looking beach houses.


The winds were picking up as we approached Pensacola Bay, which translates into bigger waves than the admiral likes. 




We saw several tug and fishing  boats coming in off the Gulf headed for Pensacola, but no other pleasure craft.  Crossing the Bay and getting  behind the protection of the Santa Rosa island seemed to take forever.  Finally at about 12:30 we reached Sabine Marina in Pensacola Beach, which we had called in the morning looking for a transient slip, because of the small craft warning.   Near the marine I saw this Pirate ship, which I’ve included for Jack.


   With the winds gusting; Andy had a difficult time getting us into our assigned dock, thank goodness, Mark, the harbor master was there to take our lines. 

Once Andy had finally stopped the boat, he went inside and could smell acid.  He checked the Port starter battery and found it to be cooked.  Not a good thing!  Mark was able to hook him up with a great mechanic, Patrick, who was able to direct him  to where he could get  a replacement from. The new battery was delivered about an hour later, and installed by the captain.   The winds continued to gust overnight and into the morning.  Here’s a view of the sky just before dusk. 


We decided we would stay in Pensacola Beach for another day or two, until the wave action subsided. 

On Friday morning, Andy called Patrick, and he stopped by the boat later to check on how we were doing, he gave the boat the once over and declared us sea-worthy.  We went  for a walk down the road and checked out the local eateries,  pubs and shops.  Here’s the view of Santa Rosa sound from the boardwalk.


On Saturday we went for another  3.5 mile walk down towards the beach and Fort Pickens.  In the evening we watched the Christmas Boat parade, which had about 20 entries.  I’ve attached some pictures,  they definitely have our Christmas in July boat parade beat.  There was fireworks afterwards.

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We will leave in the morning and are headed to Choctawhatchee Bay and have booked a slip at North Light Marina in Niceville.

Next State- Florida

Update Dec 1-3

We left Saunders Tuesday afternoon after having the clamps replaced on the Turbo boot, which may have been the cause of the Oil mist in the engine room.

We went about 10 miles and pulled into Robert Bayou mile 165, just past Pirate’s Cove Marina.  We were sheltered from the winds, but did swing a little during the night.   There was also a sailboat anchored in the bayou with us.

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We checked the engine for oil mist and there appeared to be none- so hopefully that’s the end of that issue.  We had planned to only stay one night, but when we realized we had internet courtesy of Pirate’s Cove we decided to just laze around Wednesday.  We had wanted to be somewhere with internet on Wednesday night, so we could hear the outcome of Duncan’s surgery.  Which we were told by Doreen had gone extremely well.

Our plan today is to continue heading East into Florida.