We loved New Orleans but it was time to move on along to non-gator waters. We got out at about 11:20 and set out East on the ICW. We had to wait for a risky railroad bridge to open up but thankfully the train backed up and they raised it. The cruse was refreshingly calm and beautiful. We ran through some low-lying areas that were really green but the water was also still green. We were set on seeing some blue water in far off places.
The ICW goes through parts of the Gulf and several bays as it continues East. We were as much as a mile and a half from the coast at times but thankfully the seas were calm. The boat ran really smoothly and there were no problems. It was a great day to be on the water.
We zipped past Biloxi and Mobile Bay and came into Dolphin Island. The seas got a little rough and rose to 2-3 feet. The ICW goes across at an angle and I looked at my charts to see that the waters could be deep enough coming into our marina. It went well until we closed on the entrance at an angle and I found that the charts list the depths at high tide. I found myself in 3 foot water and out boat carries a 3 foot draft. You can kind of hear different depths of water and I figured that we were about to get into some trouble. Luckily soft sand lines the area and it got no shallower than 36 inches so we coasted through it fine. The approach to the marina (the right way) only had a depth of 3.5 feet so that would explain the lack of boats inside.
Gulf Shores Yacht Club was a nice place but again, vacant of other boats despite the 100 or so spots available. Gas was expensive at $4.06 per gallon and the slip price was $70 for Miss Lone Star. Aubrey wasted no time once we docked to look into the wildlife situation. I was determined to gas up and get things squared away but I could hear some good ol’ boy daring her to catch a pelican on the dock. “Oh no,” I thought! She netted a few fish but the birds eluded her for the time being. I got some ice and we parked the boat in our slip. The kids were anxious to get to the white sand beach but we still had a lot of things to do so the opted for the bay beach that was next to the marina and we called it good. Aubrey caught a few hermit crabs and found a crab trap that had a lone oyster, so that was good.
We didn’t feel like cooking and Tacky Jack’s restaurant was next door. Onyx led the way and we got in with no wait because the hostess loved our dog and loved Veterans. A woman talked to me a bit as she left and the hostess said “that’s the woman who just bought your family dinner.” I couldn’t believe it! That was such a warm and kind gesture that is so unexpected it made me cry. We spoke to lots of warm and friendly people as we enjoyed the amazing views from the second story deck. The food was out of this world and we ate so much fish we could barely walk back to the boat.
The waves were brought that night and came across the bow. I slept better but Aubrey had a hard time with her slumber. I got up at 2:30A to readjust the lines because the tide came in and loosened up everything. I took Onyx for a walk and went back to sleep until 7A. We ate breakfast and got things scared away before walking to the beach.
The beach was grand but the water was not blue. The water was cold and the people were warm and friendly. Some kids were walking up the beach selling bracelets they made in benefit of the US Marines who died in Chattanooga, TN. We struck up a conversation with them and their mom, Valerie. Our talk spanned over two hours and before I knew it Aubrey had an invitation for us to dine with several families who were visiting from Tennessee. They were awesome and the kids played all afternoon with their children. We walked back to their beach house and they were kind enough to drive us back to our boat so we could shower before dinner. We hoped that we would meet friendly people but never expected anything like we received. We showered and Mickey picked us up so we could feast on a huge home cooked dinner and dessert. It was a perfect night and I think we made life-long friends in the process. We came back to the boat and slept like sleepy sailors.