Friday, November 29, 2013


What a GREAT Thanksgiving....We layered our attire, soaked up the sun after days of clouds and rain, gravitated to the burn barrells for warmth, talked boats and places we'd been and survived a 55 degree Thanksgiving dinner with smiles and contentment.  I'll let the pictures tell the story.

Pre- dinner conversations by the burn barrells..

Carving the birds...

So much food

Let the feast begin....

A few samples...

Seeking the sun....
 Our Chef, James from C Quarters Marina who smoked a turkey and 2 hams and deep fried another Turkey, cooked up a big pan of squash and grilled sweet potatoes...
I wanted Gary to take notes

And we loved it...only the bones left....

The chef not only loves to cook he loves to work with wood. A very talented guy.

If the current forecast holds we will all be heading south Sunday around noon....The winds have died down, the seas are calming and our Great Loop weather guru says a Sunday to Monday crossing is looking very good!  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Life in Carrabelle

As we sit in Carrabelle on the day before Thanksgiving (freezing our butts off) it is a good time to reflect on what I am thankful for.  

  • I am thankful that we were able to do this trip which has enriched our lives in so many ways.
  • I am thankful for the wonderful people we have met and the friends we have made along the way.
  • I am VERY thankful for our family who have supported us and encouraged us in doing this.
  • I am thankful that although we cannot spend Thanksgiving with our family we are lucky enough to be able to spend it with new friends, a like minded group of people who love the water and have learned to embrace a simpler life.
Carrabelle is a very small town.  Really, you can pretty much see the entire commercial part of town in fifteen minutes on a slow walk!   Cammo clothing is everywhere, and the people are very friendly even though the town is like a lot of small towns on the water, pretty depressed. One of the cruisers wanted to go shopping on Black Friday...well good luck with that ....the closest "mall" is an hour away in Tallahassee.  
One odd thing, on the main intersection of town there are not one but four different real estate offices. You have to wonder how they support themselves.  Although we are seeing it in inclement weather...make that damned cold weather...and any snow birds are probably, like us, hibernating.

The people who work at this marina have gone out of their way to make us feel like one of them. They are including us in their Turkey potluck dinner for us for heavens sake.  One of only 2 marinas that we know of that are doing that. We don't have to eat turkey cooked on the lucky are we!!!

The IGA or as Angela and Daniel who are from Brazil called it the "EEGA"

House???   Nope, this is the Fisherman's Wife. One of 4 restaurants we've seen, of which one was in the BP gas station and one was closed for the season.  It's a good thing we don't eat out much.  

We couldn't figure out this sign.... these must be really HIDDEN because we sure haven't seen them.

This is the Carrabelle River taken from the bridge going to Appalachicola

Also taken from the bridge our boat is just behind the green marker sign.

The river at low tide behind our boat

Angela looking very content in a rocker on the porch at C Quarters  'the porch' seems to be the hub of information with locals stopping by all day to drink beer and swap stories.   

I had to laugh this morning when I got an email from my sister saying we probably spend a lot of time in the marina's "clubhouse" staying toasty warm.  THIS is it folks...the "clubhouse"

And the toasty warm part.....

We had quite an interesting talk with Chuck at the marina today.  Several of the guys wear these lanyards around their necks with an apparatus that they are puffing on all day.  I found out that they are actually "vaping"  which is a new way to quit smoking with an electronic type cigarette system
The lower portion of "the pen" is a battery and the clear cylinder holds flavored nicotene (yuck)...They say it is smoking nicotene without the carcinogens in tobacco. The battery heats the liquid in the cylinder and then they suck on the end and "smoke" the vapor. It smells like whatever 'flavor' they mix it with.  
It doesn't sound healthy to me but to each his own on kicking that habit.

And onto other habits......

This is the only bar in the downtown area.... cool old place reminiscent of "No Name Bar" on Deer Key 

Although the bar tender wasn't too glad to see the eight of us...she said " I go home in 10 minutes", we're like whoop dee do!

 from L to R ..Chris & Richard (former Michiganders) Daniel & Angela (from Brazil), Gary, Tom & Melissa (from N.C. and one of the boats we were with our first night into the Champlain Canal you may remember her 90 year old dad Hank the former marine whom we talked with in Port Edward N.Y. he looped with them from North Carolina to Chattanooga where he lives.

Yesterday, a miserable rainy day...stayed aboard all day.

One of the marina "mousers", isn't he a handsome one.

Guess I'm not going to get any fresh shrimp here either...looks like they're all taking time off....DARN!

The 'World's Smallest Police Station"...a phone booth actually served as a police station here in the 60's

 Funky little sandwich shop with lots of this guy....."It's Howdy Doody Time" started running endlessly through my head!

Main Street 

As you can see, Gary doesn't have to worry about me and Black Friday....    
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Late to the Party

LATE...that's it in a nutshell.  We've been travelling for 5 days and due to circumstances we didn't control but might have we missed the window to make the direct overnight crossing to Tarpon Springs or possibly a little bit south to Dunedin.  We were fashionably late and that just doesn't cut it when you are talking a 24-26 hour time frame.  Let's just say we continue to learn from our experiences which I guess is what this is all about.

SO...last night we anchored southeast of Carabelle (we got there at 3:00 and it didn't make any sense to go to a marina from dusk to dawn) off of St. George Island the barrier island on the Gulf. It was a beautiful night, calm as can be. This morning it was just as calm and we were mad at ourselves for being such chickens!  Every's too late, we won't have a buddy boat, we've been up since 6am can we stay awake until 3pm tomorrow, and yada, yada, yada.  Let's just say it was a huge decision making error and I'm not ashamed to say it...."we screwed up"!

There are so many decisions and so many factors when doing the loop.  After almost 11 months we are just plain TIRED of making decisions, hence here we sit at C Quarters Marina in Carabelle and probably will sit for at least a week while riding out the unsettled conditions and winds that are supposed to start tonight with the approaching cold front  (jeez, again already)!
X marks our anchor spot last night

We did get time to go for a quick hop to the beach. Our first time off the boat since Monday morning and Bob really had to tinkle! He heard "shore time" and he was in the dink in a flash.

And was rewarded with an "aaahhh" moment...  dirt beneath my paws at last!

The beautiful deserted beach of St. George Island

We ended up with only a decent sunset, those low lying clouds were again the culprit.  You think it's going to be spectacular and then they start showing up on the horizon but the colors of the clouds after are a show in themselves.

Twelve boats left yesterday at between 12 and 2 pm. Alas, the next crossing window is nowhere in sight.  Usually it is within 4-5 days but with the current weather forecast there doesn't look to be a possibility for the next 7-10 days. Hopefully that will change over the week. There are two other looper boats at C Quarters, both of whom we've met at other marinas. Chuck on  'Luv n Life' whom we started this journey with in Albany last July and crossed paths again in Petoskey and Daniel and Angela who are from Brazil and are doing the loop on their sailboat and, like us, missed yesterday's crossing. Chuck has been here for a week already with mechanical issues.

I guess those of us at C Quarters will be spending Thanksgiving being thankful we've all made it this far and were blessed with the opportunity to do this trip.  It will surely be one to remember.

 C Quarters Marina Carabelle

Monday, November 18, 2013


We, unfortunately haven't seen much of Mobile. We've been on the boat for only 10 of 24 days.  The marina has a courtesy car which they loan out in two hour increments but it is only available for the 8 hours a day the office is open.  That means four boaters can use the car in a day. Multiply that by the 4 to 8 transient boats that have been in here daily and you get.....a wait to use the car.  We booked it the day we came in for our trips to the airport to pick up the rental to drive to Florida each trip took the entire two hours.  We've been to Wal Mart twice, not that we love Wal Mart but it is the easiest one stop shopping for cruisers when you have limited time to shop.  We were able to procure the car for 3 hours the 2nd day we were here because we were the only transients and we drove to the USS Alabama Memorial Park.  I was able to get some pictures while I waited....

B52 'Calamity Jane' that flew over 100 missions in Vietnam

Blackbird Spy Plane

USS Drum

"Huey" from Vietnam War

This memorial was to the war dogs handled by Alabamians

The MIA bracelet from Vietnam

Vietnam Memorial

Korean War Memorial
 Unfortunately this place would have taken a day to see everything so he missed out on the Airplane Pavilion, the Submarine tour and had to make a mad dash through the ship.  I only got to see the park and take pictures because I didn't tour the ship. Maybe we'll return one day to do it right.

Coming into Mobile from the north on the Mobile River was very interesting. Our son, Kent, had interviewed for a job in Mobile a few years ago and we knew they did commercial ship building here but there is a LOT of action going on in this narrow river which spills into Mobile Bay.

A tug in 'drydock'

                                                       The NEW Navy "starwars" ships


Mobile Convention Center

Ship Hulls

Mobile is  one of the busiest commercial ports on the Gulf of Mexico

USS Shadwell, retired Navy Research Ship

And my very favorite....back to salt water and the Seagulls, those of you who have been following us for a while know I am afraid of birds...silly I know but none the less true, so why am I so drawn to taking pictures of them...crazy I know.

Back to actually seeing the Coast Guard not just hearing them from stations hundreds of miles away as on the river system.

So today begins the journey across the Panhandle of Florida.  We won't get to see much as we are looking at a possible weather window to cross the Gulf next weekend.  It takes five days to get from Mobile to Carabelle and we would like to get there by Saturday at the latest. It seems like the weather is pretty unsettled everywhere and we are hoping not to get stuck in the Panhandle for the winter!!

Docktails...Mobile....I think there are eight Looper boats here at Turners, two of which we started with in New York.  Some are leaving their boats here to go home for the holidays, some are having work done, and a few of us are continuing on.  It's an ever evolving and revolving group of people who have a common love....boating and adventure!