Gulf Shores, Alabama to Fort Walton Beach, Florida on the ICW

Guess which state I'm from Y'all!

Guess which state I’m from Y’all!

We checked the weather and it had improved since the night before so we left after breakfast at about 10A.  We departed through the bay and back towards the ICW.  Seas were choppy and about 1-2 feet in the beginning.  They rose in swells and there were times when they rose to 4-5 feet for a few minutes.  The problem was that I was running sideways for the most part, against the waves.  The bay is shallow out of the ICW course so I just had to take it like a man.  Aubrey and the kids went below.  I later learned that they all decided to take a nap for fear of sea sickness.

IMG_0261The boat rose and fell and I was really happy that she has a deep V and is a class A rated ship.  I was happy to have her big engines and I trotted along at an unhappy 15 knots with the bow high.  It was too rough to gain more speed and it doesn’t plane out until about 22 knots.  The waves became more manageable after about an hour and we finally got inland on the ICW, which was like cutting though butter at 25 knots.

IMG_0148Aubrey came up and we enjoyed the inland ICW in Alabama at Orange Beach and subsequent towns.  The pines rose from the water and there was such green in the underlying brush and grass.  We really love this area of the country and I am in awe of its beauty.  We even saw a bald eagle up close.  That was an amazing experience and Aubrey snapped off lots of shots as I doubled the boat back for a photo opportunity with the majestic bird.  She checked the pictures a bit later and found out that the lens fogged up when she brought it from the air-conditioned below deck to topside.  It was unfortunate but it was still a great thing to see up close.

IMG_0931We crossed into Florida at about 1P and the water immediately turned blue-green and it was really something to see against the white sands in the shallows.  Pensacola bay is beautiful.  We spied a Navy vessel at port and we went closer to take a look.  It was a cruise missile ship and it had a very interesting hull.  It was into port and being guarded by a Navy patrol boat.  They told us that there is a 500 yard no go zone around it as we got a bit too close.  Nice guys.  I apologized to force protection and they laughed and said, “don’t let the Coast Guard catch you” as they sped away.  It is really something seeing a ship of that size from a boat.  I’ve never done anything like it in my life.

We motored along in smooth waters through the ICW to Fort Walton Beach, where we sit now.  We docked at the Yacht basin and it isn’t a particularly nice dock but the gas was cheap (for Florida $3.75) and we didn’t hardly leave the boat because we were so tired.  We BBQ’s some steaks, baked potatoes and some squash-like substance that we bought at a roadside stand in Louisiana.  It was all very delicious.  I was happy to get into the AC tonight as it was the first time I felt it since early this morning.  My tan is really kicking at this point and my normally white (1000 spf) wife is getting coco brown.  The kids are doing great and they are sleeping now after a movie and full bellies.  I surely would wish I had their life if I were a kid again!

Tomorrow’s weather looks reasonably good with scattered thunderstorms and wind of 3-5 knots.  We will continue on to Apalachicola, FL in the morning (hopefully early)!

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