Cruising

Inspiration or Where the Hell have I been?

Do I need inspiration to write a blog entry. Heck yes! Sometimes inspiration comes in strange ways. I knew it had been a while since my last entry but I didn’t realize it had been THAT long. Sorry

Inspirational Sunset picture of Carrabelle, FL.

Inspirational Sunset picture of Carrabelle, FL.

Oh yeah “Inspiration”, today’s entry came in the way of a message on Facebook relaying contact info for an old friend. That’s not exactly right the inspiration came from previous message that said people were wondering what was happening on our “adventure”.

Well since my last entry we had work completed on one of our engines and spent three weeks in Mobile Alabama.

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Mechanic Brent Davidson and myself. Note. I am still smiling after we received the invoice.

Engine repair 007

Everything had to be disconnected from the top of the engine, Turbo, filters, so it could be separated from the transmission and lifted.

Engine repair 008

Another view including “A frame and chain hoist used to lift the engine.

Then we moved on toward Florida, crossed Mobile bay and had our first sighting of dolphins. Moved into the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, (GIW), had lunch at Lulu’s Restaurant. (It’s owned by Jimmy Buffett’s sister).

Dearest and I @ Lulu's being photo bombed by Toots. We docked right outside the restaurant.

Dearest and I @ Lulu’s being photo bombed by Toots. We docked right outside the restaurant.

Lulu's bar and grill, almost outdoor seating

Lulu’s bar and grill, almost outdoor seating

Reconnected with some new friends in Panama City Florida. Connected with cousins that haven’t seen in 20+ years.

Cousins Bob and June Miller, met us in Panama City and we had a great lunch.

Cousins Bob and June Miller, met us in Panama City and we had a great lunch.

Spent Christmas day in Panama City with other Loopers. Then on the 26th we headed east on the GICW with a stop in Apalachicola for oysters

A line of Loopers traveling the ICW toward Apilachacola, in search of oysters.

A line of Loopers traveling the GICW toward Apalachicola, in search of oysters.

I have found in all the oysters that I have eaten, that is almost 3 dozen, that I like mine raw with cocktail sauce and crackers.  Grilled oysters taste like butter and whatever else the grill it with.

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What’s left of a 1/2 dozen of Apalachicola’s finest.

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Oyster fest in Apalachicola to support the local Fire Department.

After Apalachicola we headed toward Carrabelle, Florida for what was supposed to be just a short stop then on across the Gulf and on to Southern Florida.

Yep, we were only supposed to be in Carrabelle for a few days. Wind and waves held up our crossing, then a full moon and an extreme low tide left us aground in our slip. At 0700 I felt the boat lean, settle, and heard what sounded like gravel being poured. Then the bilge alarm went off. It wasn’t gravel it was the fibreglass tearing while the support block for the rudder failed catastrophically.

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Support block split where the bolts hold the shaft sleeve.

Our conversation went something like this:

Me: “Dearest your going to have to get out of bed.”
Cynthia: “Why! What’s going on? Why is the alarm sounding?”
Me: “The good news is we aren’t sinking.”
Cynthia: “What’s going on Byron? What’s happening?

Me: You have to get out of bed so we can see what is going on in the back of the boat.

Lots of water running into the boat

Lots of water running into the boat.

(Move the bed and open the compartments under)
Me: very calmly, “HOLY SHIT!!! WE’RE SINKING!!!”
Cynthia: “Calm down it cant’ be that bad.”
Cynthia (looking into the back rudder compartments)

“HOLY SHIT!! WE’RE SINKING!! DO SOMETHING”
Me: “We can’t sink we are already sitting on the bottom. But that’s a lot of water”
Well, we didn’t sink but we had to wait until the tide came back in to float the boat then move over to the shipyard to be hauled for repair. Turned out that both rudder blocks were damaged and had to be replaced.

Lots of water being pumped out of the boat

Lots of water being pumped out of the boat

Now two weeks later we are back in the water and we have rigged the lines in the slip so we can move the boat out while the tide is out and back into the dock when the tide is in.
We call it “The Carrabelle Slide.”

Our short stay in Carrabelle has lasted a month and now we are back to waiting for a weather window to head across the Gulf to our next destination.

Here are some pictures of what we saw while staying at the motel.

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World Headquarters of 2 Al’s Cafe, a nice breakfast restaurant. Dinning is next door.

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This black and white dog looked a lot like Toots, but was a different breed. Can’t remember the name.

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At the Oyster Fest, Cynthia had shrimps.

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St. George Island light house.

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Another view of the lighthouse with a replica of the Keepers home.

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The original police station was a payphone, they have since upgraded to a regular station house. But keep the phone both just in case of budget cuts.

Looks like we will be headed toward Tarpon Springs with a trip of about 150 miles across the Gulf of Mexico. Weather looks like it might cooperate later this week. We will let you know what happens next.

Until next time, you Northerners “Keep your tip up.”

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