GICW!

GICW    –     The Gulf Intra-coastal Waterway.

The GICW is from the Brownsville, TX along the Gulf of Mexico to Ft. Myers, FL.  Since we were not able to go to New Orleans, we have completed as of today, 218 miles along the GICW from Mobile, AL. to Carrabelle, FL.

After our delay in the Pensacola area due to depth finder problems, we departed Pensacola on Tues., Dec. 13, 2016 and cruised to Fort Walton Beach.  This stop brought us to the city marina.   A nice free tie up, but there were no services.

A character named Mark, on an extremely “ratty” old pontoon boat,  stopped by to let us know that he has purchased a Looper flag and will be doing the Loop within the next year or so.  He has a “project” boat though that is requiring lots of work and no doubt money!   We gave him our blessings and encouragement for doing this big adventure.  He has  a young  wife and two small children.  Love his enthusiasm!   May God bless him.

Next stop — Panama City, FL.   On this beautiful day we were SURROUNDED by our salt water mammal friends, the dolphins!   What playful guys they were both the day before and on this day.   TWO different ones made these flying leaps out of the water in front of the bow!!   OH HOW THEY MAKE US SMILE!!!         These two dolphin were riding our wake.   (watch video below)

 

NOTE — amateur video producer (yours truly).   Sorry for the poor quality, but try to enjoy it!!   Seems like the boat is flying,,,but in reality is only going about 9 miles an hour.   🙂

We have cruised thru – PENSACOLA BAY, SANTA ROSA BAY, CHOCTAWHATCHEE BAY, WEST BAY,APALACHICOLA BAY AND UP THE CARRABELLE RIVER!!   I may missed a Bay or two, ha!!!    These Bays are rather shallow, so thankful that the depth gauges are reading correctly now.

Some of the terrain is void of all human habitation.  Hank commented that this is what Florida might have looked like hundreds of years ago when the Seminole and other Indians were living here.  Vast cypress trees, and white white sand on the barrier island side.

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BEAUTIFUL CYPRESS FORESTS ALONG THE BAYS.
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CYPRESS ROOTS

When we departed Sun Harbor Marina in Panama City we saw, but the camera was not at the ready  😦 , this LARGE marine hover craft heading down the Bay as fast as it could go.  Then about 30 minutes later the FLY BOYS were out making runs at this beach area on the other side of the barrier Islands we were cruising past.   IF you are NOT aware, this whole region of Florida is home to several of our military bases and training groups.  One of which is the Blue Angels!   So altho’ there was the above quiet beauty that we experienced, we also were subjected to loud jet noise for part of one day!   Quite impressive though, and my heart swells with patriotic pride when watching them.

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WELL “HELLO” THERE FLY BOY/GIRL –  LOVED WATCHING YOUR TOP GUN MANEUVERS!!!!
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FULL MOON – DECEMBER 14, 2016

OH — not to worry, there still are those ODD things we see while cruising along on Salt Lick.   THIS being one of them!!

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DERELICT SHRIMP BOAT  — NOW NEW HOME TO BALD EAGLES!!!!!                                                   (THIS NEST WAS HUGE)

This evening (12/16/16)  we are docked in Carrabelle, Fl.   We enjoyed a great dinner of crab cakes and fried shrimp at a local place called “The Fisherman’s Wife”!   This is a very sleepy fishing village.   Shrimp, oysters, crab, and all the fresh salt water fish that the Gulf provides are harvested from here.

DECISION TIME:     This is where we will make a decision about our crossing of the Gulf.   This might involve an overnight passage to Tarpon Springs, or we might do a LONG day of cruising and head to Steinhatchee.   As with anything involved in this adventure…..WEATHER is the guiding force.     Will most likely depart here on Sunday.  Check back in a day or two for an update.

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