Friday, May 6, 2016

2016 Going East Adventure #3 - Pensacola to Panama City

Panama City
May 6-8

We had a great trip from Pensacola and settled into our slip at Panama City St. Andrews Marina.  Once of our favorite places.

Curtis and Diane were not able to take Sweet Tides through the ICW because of her mask so they had to go off shore.  They joined us at St. Andrews.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

2016 Going East Adventure #3 - Palafox at Pensacola

May 4 - 5, 2016
Palafox at Pensacola

We left The Wharf mid morning to make the short trip to Pensacola.  The weather was too windy to enjoy Ft. McCree anchorage so we went on to Palafox.

What a trip!  We had front row seats straight down the ICW for the "Blue Angels".  It was simply amazing.  They dashed and darted and dove all around us for well over an hour.  My little camera on my phone did not do it justice. Thank goodness Diane was able to capture so many wonderful photos.

When we arrived to Palafox Captain Ron was there to meet us.  He is always so attentive.  This time he wound our lines in a cool pattern.

He is always so helpful.  We got settled and then had a great lunch at Jakos.  Dog friendly so Lexi was able to join us there.

We go the bikes down and took a short ride around old downtown and then later joined the other for dinner.  A great burger at the Tin Cow.  We completed the day by an evening at Rosie O'Grady's Dueling Piano show.  We had such a good time.  These musicians are great.  And three songs we recorded because Jake and Teya loves them.  "Sailing Away", "Three Little Birds" and "Brick House"

Palafox always turns out to be one of the most fun stops on our journey.  We got up and had coffee and chilled.  We left on our bikes for an early lunch at the "trailer park".  With plenty of time to spare we were right next door to the Tour company office.  We had a really nice guy was our guide for the downtown historic tour.  We were so excited about doing a Segway Tour.  We have always wanted to do it but seems every time we try they are sold out.  But we lucked out.  After about 10 minutes of instruction and practice and we were pros.  It was SO easy.  Literally, if you can stand up you have the balance to do this.

We were gone about an hour look at and hearing about the history of Pensacola.  After that we headed over to Joe Patti on our bikes.  We had our ice cream and got a couple of lbs of shrimp and had them steam it.  We now have lunch tomorrow while underway tomorrow.... and dinner on the hook!  Being Curtis and Diane's first time at Joe Patti we captured their experience.

After that we headed over to the Blue Wahoo's baseball game at the stadium just behind the marina. We were with the Crowders and Eddingtons and were walking  to stadium when a little golf cart taxi guy flagged us down and we jumped on and were delighted to have a new mode of transportation in Pensacola.

The game was a hoot.  And "our" team really kicked booty!  They had a grand slam... and held the Biloxi Shuckers to just a few points.  We left in the middle of the 7th so we did not get to see the ending.

We came back and rested met for docktails before we headed out.  The Eddingtons and we are leaving in the morning.

We will miss having the Wallachs with us.  But they won't be coming with us... at least now.

Got back to the boat... and am writing this now.  About to hit the hay.  5:00 will come very early in the morning... but we want an early start tomorrow.  To say that is was a whirlwind visit to Pensacola would be a "YUGE" understatement  :-)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

2016 Going East Adventure #3 - April 24-May 3, 2016 - Biloxi and Orange Beach

April 23, 2014
Biloxi - Point Cadett Marina

We got up early, headed over to the marina for fuel and a pump-out, and then helped the others get out of their slip.  We had an 8:30 bridge call and it opened without a problem so we were on our way.

The trip through the sound was fine and we had really decent wave action.  The treck up the Biloxi Channel was a bit rolley,  but not too bad.  We settle in, walked Miss Lexi and met the others to go to dinner.  We had a very nice dinner at Red's in the Casino.  Early evening... then off to bed.

April 24, 2014
Orange Beach - The Wharf Marina

The morning was beautiful and we got a nice early start.  We made good time across the east part of the Mississippi Sound and on through Mobile Bay.  It was a bit choppy the last way until we were inside the land mass but we made our way to the marina without any major "wake" from the flurry of go-fast-boats that always speed through there... and on a Sunday, it was just terrible.  Coming in, we noticed these odd shaped concrete things that we found out were artificial reefs.  Cool.

We got up the next day and got our dinghy's down and had a fun ride down to Lulu's for our usual Cheeseburger in Paradise.  I looked for one of my favorite T-shirts, but the were out.  On the way back, Diane and I stopped for a geocache.

We left on Tuesday with the Eddingtons, who had rented a car, to head back for a quick trip home. I have to say, being in the back end of a Kia for 10 hours was not my idea of fun.  But getting to the kids was well worth it.  The kids are getting so big and are really starting to interact more and we had such a great time with them.

On Friday, we got up at the butt-crack of dawn and headed back to Orange Beach.  When we got to the boat, Al walked in to a water coming down through the a/c vent in the salon!  The floor was wet and we had a mess on our hands.  We got things cleaned up, pulled out the barrel fan and started trying to figure out what was going on.  Josh and Barb had rented a car and gone to Pensacola to nail down a slip for themselves so that they would have a place to stay while they went home for Daniel's graduation. Since they still had the car, and we had ours, we headed over to the Bar-b-que for dinner.  Al and I were dog tired being in the car, discouraged by the water issue and not so hungry, but they do have good food.  We shared a little pulled pork sandwich plate.  And then when done we went back to the boat and called it an early night.  The A/C in the back did not seem to have a problem so we were good for the night and decided we would get to bed and deal with our A/C problem in the morning.

Saturday we were up early and started dealing with the a/c.  We could not determine if it was just condensation or if there was an obstruction in the drain line... or maybe the new gulper shower pump did not sense the water and turn on to pump out the condensation.  Al use a water hose to blow out the drain line and we put tape down in our master floor drain to help with the pump air lock in case it might be that.

We went with the Eddingtons to pick up some insulation tape and ran a few more errands then went to the beach road to have some "she crab soup" at the Crab Trap.  We had been talking about it all weekend.... well, we got there and it was not available.... out of season.  Disappointed.  But we grabbed something any and headed to Flora-Bama.  A bar on the state line that we had heard so much about.  Really cool place.  Huge, rambling bulidings down to the beach.  There were several different bands set up in throughout, each playing and people milling about.  It was really nice because it was not very busy.  I imagine it would be a zoo when busy.  We played a Shuffle Board match.... which I lost for us because I was on the phone.  Then we headed back to the boat so we could go to the car show.  There was a huge event, well over 100 cars, at The Wharf and we strolled around for a while. When we got back to the boat we wrapped the duct work under the helm to try to stop some of the air leak and seal it to try to stop some of the condensation.  We headed over to Ginny Lane for dinner.

Sunday, we got up and Al called Greg Heck to ask about the water.  He confirmed that it was just the condensation.  The humidity here is awful.  98% and dripping... and not that terribly hot.  So we cleaned everything up and decided we would just make sure we have a pad down to catch any leak for a while.

Al added transmission fluid to the reservoir and pumped it up then we cleaned up the fly bridge and got things back to normal.  The girls went for groceries and then the guys went to West Marine and I got the boat cleaned up downstairs and groceries put away.  I did a few loads of laundry and then we just hung out on the boat the rest of the afternoon watching golf and napping.  

We went to dinner at Hot Spot with Josh and Barb.  Diane and Curtis went into Biloxi to have dinner with friends.  We had a nice dinner and when we got back Al worked on our A/C issue.  He disconnected the condensation lines to the gulper pump... left it open as an air vent and we will see how it works.

Tuesday we got the boat ready to leave and decided to spend the day on a dinghy run with the Eddingtons.  We first went to check out Barber Marina.  It is a really nice facility.  Pretty isolated but they do have a courtesy car.  But it is a good, safe, cheap $1/ft slip alternative.  We plan to go there on our way back.

We then stopped at Flippers for lunch.  A terrible marina... but wonderful restaurant.  We went on down and around to the gulf outlet but it was so rough we did not stay long and never got out of the dingy.  We then headed over to Orange Beach Marina to top off our gas tanks.  On the way back Diane and Curtis stopped for a geocache but were not able to find it.  The water on the way back was really rough.  But it was a really good day.

We rushed to get back and dressed for dinner and met Barb and Josh at the Mexican restaurant.  It was $2 Tuesday Tacos.  The were not anything to write home about.  Now... we are off tomorrow for Pensacola.

Monday, April 18, 2016

2016 Going East Adventure #3 - April 18-23, 2016 - Houma to Lafitte and then to New Orleans

April 18, 2016 - Lafitte, LA

We found a short weather window knowing that the trip would start out windy it would eventually die down some before we reached Lafitte for the night.  We decided that if we did not go now we would be caught in Houma for another week.  We had already been there so long that we dubbed ourselves "The Houma Homesteaders" and said we should just go ahead and register to vote.

We left Houma not really knowing where we would stay the night.  Boomtown had been our go to place, but they no longer allow anyone to tie off there.  Having ruled out Hero Canal, Jean Lafitte Fuel Dock in the Barataria Waterway, and the Cemetry anchorange we decided to just look at the Lake Salvador anchorage, the barge past the bridge and even the bulkhead at the boat dock.   Even though under normal water levels we would never be able to go there, it just might be possible.

We stayed at the boat dock bulkhead.  Got there at high tide as we were able to tie up without a problem.  And there was very little barge traffic over night so we did just fine overnight

 Our next concern was having enough water when we got up so that we could leave.

But the Cruising Gods shined this morning when we were still floating.  We were underway and headed to the Algiers lock by 6:30.

We had to wait until 8:30 for the Belle Chasse Bridge to open.  Once it was opened we had clear sailing.  We were instructed to stay to port in a holding area just before the lock, and we were next!  Yay...

Uh Oh.  Lock gate won't open to let the barge out that we were waiting for to clear out so we could go in.  

In the meantime, we hear that Industrial Lock was closed because of its gate...... So, we called them and they said we could tie up on the freedock wall behind the dolphin...... Hmmm.

Well, glad we got through  Belle Chasse... looks like that bridge has an issue.  So we are now stuck between the bridge and the lock.... great. ;-(

Good news, while sitting here waiting for Algiers Lock to re-open we heard that Industrial Lock was open again.

We made it through Algiers lock with ease.  All lined up like ducks in a row and had us tie on to the bollards on the concrete wall.  We were raised 8'.  When we entered the Mississippi we were sucked out into the river.  The current and wave action was just terrible.  We had about a 4 kt current so made about 4-5kts.  There was lots of ship traffic and we stayed to port until we got to 92.  We crossed as quickly as we could with a ship coming downstream at 14kts.  We made it across safely, but I can tell you I was elated when we finally made it to the calm waters of the Industrial Canal.  We held to port in a holding area just before the lock until everyone was there and a west bound barge cleared the lock.  We were then able to move right in and tie up to port in the lock.  They were dropping lines, but we just used ours.  We were against the wall and Last Trade rafted to us.  Again we moved 8'.  

We popped out the other side and headed for Seabrook Marina.  A lot of current getting into the slips, but there were deck hands ready to help and with some time and lots of ropes we were in the slip by 1:00.

We got settled and rested the afternoon.   Exhausted and spent from the stressful couple of days we called it an early night and chilled.

When got up on Wednesday, we rode our bikes over to Pontchartrain and caught the shuttle downtown.