Port St. Joe, Florida
We arrived in Port St Joe, Florida, on Dec 4 and stayed until Dec 14. We intended to stay 2 nights. We were forced to wait for a good weather window to get to Apalachicola , 3 hours away. Tim had to practice patience...hourly.
And it rained. Almost every day. And cold. The locals kept telling us this was unusually cold for this time of year. But the cute, downtown district was a short walk from the marina so we had our choice of restaurants and a Piggly Wiggly grocery store.
And they had great shower facilities.
Saturday night the city of 4,000 put on a Christmas parade with floats, little Shriner cars and the high school marching band. We collected all the candy that landed by us and gave it to the little kids on either side. Although Tim did keep all the Dots.
Only in Florida would you see a boat covered in lights in the parade. It was delightful.
Tides are awesome. Tim has perfected the art of tying the boat to a fixed dock to compensate for tides.
Because the docks are fixed (not floating) the boat goes up and down with the tide.
That means sometimes I can step off the boat onto the dock and sometimes I have to crawl up on the dock or get a boost. It is still weird to wake up to the dock at eye level. In this photo you can see the boat is about 3 feet below the dock.
This is the cutest little town!
We stayed one night in the marina there and walked downtown for shopping and dinner.
We are now traveling (buddy boat) with Miss Norma, a Ranger 29 tugboat. The owners are delightful. And it’s fun to travel with another Ranger Tug.
I am writing this post from Carrabelle, Florida. The sun final came out and we traded our jackets for shorts.
We might be here awhile.
The next leg of the journey takes us out into the Gulf of Mexico. Yikes. Tim is watching 5 different weather forecasts and consulting with other Loopers on a weather window that would give us 7-10 hours of acceptable wind/wave conditions in the ocean.
We are at the Moorings Marina with our buddy boat, Miss Norma. We are having fun exploring the little town of Carrabelle. The marina has free breakfast every morning, good showers, and a captain's lounge with a big TV, tables and chairs and couches.
If we have to wait somewhere this is an OK place to be.
We don’t always stay in a marina.
Some nights we find a safe place to get off the river and “drop the hook” to anchor out for the night. The benefit is that it is very, very quiet and it’s free.
The downside is there is no electricity, showers or restaurants. Sometimes we don’t have a choice because the distance between marinas is too far to motor in daylight.
This photo is our morning view leaving the Sumpter Landing anchorage. The fog was beautiful and gone with the sun.
We have stayed at some wonderful marinas on the river system.
And some sketchy ones, too.
I judge a marina but the showers. First, do they have showers? Is there just one shower for men and women? Is it clean? Do I wear my shower sandals or my rain boots in the shower?
Marinas will advertise showers, laundry facilities, restaurants or a courtesy car for transient cruisers to borrow. More than one washer/dryer is huge. A restaurant on the marina site is really nice.
And courtesy cars are very interesting. We borrowed one truck that we were sure wouldn’t make it the 4 miles to the grocery store.
Docks- floating or fixed
Floating docks mean we don’t have to worry about tides.
The tide raises the dock as it raises the boat. Otherwise Tim has to arrange the lines attached to a fixed dock to compensate for up to a 3 foot drop in water level. And crawling up on the dock from the boat at low tide is hilarious.
We are definitely not in South Dakota!
National Naval Aviation Museum
We spent a whole day touring the National Naval Aviation Museum while we were at the Palafox Marina in Pensacola, Florida.
We watched a movie on D-day while were there:
You can see the trailer here: https://youtu.be/nwwDIvvV-NM
Eating our way around the Loop
The best marinas are attached to the town. Walking 2 blocks to restaurants, shopping and haircuts is a treat.
Panama City Marina was right in town.
The Wharf was in Orange Beach and there was a 12-screen movie theater!
Right now, we are in Port St. Joe which is on the edge of town. They have a restaurant in the marina but we can walk downtown where we have a choice of 10 or 12 local little restaurants.
Yes, I don’t cook on the boat as much as I thought I would!
Tim and I started our Great Loop Adventure on 9-11-2017 in Ottowa, Illinois. We put the boat on a trailer and drove 9 hours from our home in South Dakota to Heritage Harbor Marina in Ottowa to put her in the water. Tim's brother, Dan, drove the truck and trailer back to our house. Thanks Dan!