October 28-Panama City to Apalachicola, FL
The morning was a chilly 44 degrees. We knew when we went to bed we would have to throw on an extra blanket. I heard the wind howling all night long and into the morning. It was blowing 10-15 mph out of the north and it was cold. I had to break out my socks and long sleeves for awhile until the sun warmed everything up. We had breakfast, checked email, and made our plans for today. We would head for Apalachicola since the trip would take us through waters protected pretty much from the wind and waves on the GIWW. Bob and I walked Murphy and took some pictures near the marina. One was of the 9-11 Memorial—a beautiful monument to the volunteers and people who died on that fateful day.
The other one was of a fighter jet from the Korean War. There is a naval base here in Panama City.
It was unfortunate that we couldn’t take the time to walk downtown and check out the shops, but we’ll save that for another trip. The Ship’s Store at the marina was a nicely equipped store with all kinds of items to catch your interest. We shopped a little before untying the lines at 10:00. We motored across St. Andrew’s Bay through 2-3’ waves on the stern, so the ride was pretty smooth. We did have to turn and go north for 2 miles with the waves on our bow, which made for a choppy ride through East Bay. Then we turned east into Wetappo Creek—a beautiful, winding river with numerous oxbows and lots of wildlife.
The water was calm and it started to warm up. There were a few homes along the creek, but it was mostly wilderness, with pine trees and an occasional sand dune.
We passed Gulf County Canal—a five mile long canal that was man-made to connect the creek with St. Joseph Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
We passed into the Eastern Time Zone at the White City Bridge.
We got a call from our friends, Pam and Don, who were on their way to Ft. Myers by car from Appleton, WI via Texas. They would be passing through Apalachicola at the same time we would be getting there, so we planned to meet up with them. A shrimp boat passed us going the other direction heading out of the canal to the Gulf.
Bob spotted an alligator sunning himself on the shore—the first one we’ve seen. We slowed down for some fishermen who were dressed in warm hats and coats, but they were catching fish.
We reached the end of Wetappo Creek and entered Lake Wimico where the lake water was calm.
We saw a bald eagle perched on a log and passed another shrimp boat. The channel through the lake was really narrow and shallow.
We saw the typical “South Seas Island” located there.
Once we crossed the lake, the Jackson River was wider than the canal, but had just as much wilderness.
The Jackson River connects with the Apalachicola River. Here the water changed from a dark brown color to light brown. From there, we entered Scipio Creek in Apalachicola, which took us to Scipio Creek Marina.
We arrived at 2:00 and tied up to the wall in front of the restaurant.
Apalachicola was primarily a fishing town, but now caters more to tourists. It contains beautiful old Victorian homes, assorted gift and antique shops, and restaurants. It has many services that visiting boaters need. We hosed off the boat and shortly thereafter our friends, Pam and Don arrived. We all went into Papa Joe’s Bar and Grill for some lunch.
Bob and Donny had raw oysters (Bob’s favorite) and the rest of us had some type of seafood. Yum!
It was great! Then we walked into town to check out the shops and the public marina. The town was getting ready for their big Seafood Festival this coming weekend.
We passed the Veteran’s Memorial Garden which was just dedicated this year.
The Franklin County Courthouse was a huge building named after Ben Franklin and was built in 1832.
The guys went to the Spoonbill Bar (where Pam and Donny were staying) for happy hour and the girls walked around Main Street.
We stopped at the Gibson Inn, which was built in 1907 at the height of Apalachicola’s reign as a shipping and lumber center.
We found out that Apalachicola is the third oldest town in Florida and at one time it rivaled New Orleans for being the largest shipper of cotton in the early part of the 1900’s. We met the guys at the Spoonbill Bar for a drink.
Afterwards we went to dinner just down the block at the Boss Oyster Restaurant.
We sat inside because it was getting cold by this time, but we had a great meal.
I found a picture of a boat at the restaurant that had the name of “Miss Cindy” and had to have my picture taken with it.
Pam drove me back to the boat in her car so I could feed and walk Murphy. The others walked back and joined me at the boat. By then, I had the heat on to warm up the boat. It would get down to 37 degrees tonight. We watched a little TV and turned in. We had an easy 60 mile trip today and enjoyed seeing Pam and Donny. They would be on their way to Ft. Myers tomorrow, where they live on their boat 6 months of the year. We’ll see them again soon. Cute boat name #44.
October 29- Apalachicola to Carrabelle, FL
It was a cool 37 degrees last night. We could see our breath this morning and we ran the heat in the boat last night. We cleaned up and had breakfast. Since the time change yesterday, it doesn’t get light until 8:00, so I was up to see a beautiful sunrise.
We left at 9:30 from the dock and crossed Apalachicola Bay to the GIWW. We would travel through St. George Sound to the Carrabelle River to reach the town of Carrabelle. The day was sunny without a cloud in the sky. The winds were light which made for an easy, smooth ride. We were driving into the sun which also made it nice and toasty on the bridge. We passed a shrimp boat returning from his morning run.
We slowed down as we passed quite a few boats harvesting oysters. They took this huge rake and scooped them off the bottom. Some boats had piles of oysters sitting on the bow of the boat. One guy would sort through them for the correct size and sometimes shuck them right there, depending on whether the oyster will be cooked or served raw.
The ride went quickly and we turned to enter the Carrabelle River at 10:45.
We pulled up to the fuel dock where we found Donny waiting for us to catch our lines. What a surprise!
Pam and Donny were on their drive to Ft. Myers and happened to be going by at the time we were coming in. We chatted while we were fueling up the boat and then they were on their way.
We took a spot at 11:00 in the Moorings Marina, where we would spend the night.
We settled in after a 30 mile trip and later took a walk into town.
Carrabelle is a sleepy, fishing village that suddenly decided to wake up and develop as a harbor for visiting boaters. It provides the necessities and is a good re-provisioning stop. Many boaters use Carrabelle as their “jumping off” point to cross the Gulf, so you can find many boats waiting here until the weather conditions are “right”. Many boaters use the expertise of Buddy, the weather guru, to help them decide when to cross the Gulf. We will consult with Buddy to help us make our decision about when we should cross.
Everything in town is within walking distance. The town was cute with an old clock in the town square.
The town has some nice restaurants, a huge grocery store, 2 hardware stores, a Dollar General, library, post office, and a couple of cute shops. We had to stop at the hardware store to make a spare key for the boat, because I accidentally threw the old one overboard. Oops! We walked from one end of town to the other, stopping at whatever looked interesting along the way.
The Fisherman’s Wife was a cute little take out restaurant along the river.
We also walked past the city hall
and the World’s Smallest Police Station. The story is when the town was just beginning, they only had one policeman. He would park his car next to the phone booth.and when people had an emergency or wanted to contact the police department, they would call the phone booth to get a hold of the police. They kept the phone booth as a tourist attraction.
Barb and I stopped at the grocery store for a couple of items and met the guys back at the boat. We saw a sign along the roadside that told how many days were left in hurricane season.
We stopped at a marina and saw this cute little weather sign. Check out the cloud.
Bernie and Bob programmed the GPS with our waypoints for the trip across the Gulf, Barb did some reading, and I worked on the blog. It was warm in the sun and out of the wind. At 3:00 we went to talk to Buddy about his predictions for crossing the Gulf.
Buddy showed Bob, Bernie, and I the websites he uses to predict the weather and help people decide whether or not to cross the Gulf. He was very informative and has been doing this for boaters for 18 years. He has quite a reputation for being the “go-to” guy when it comes to crossing the Gulf. Bob and Bernie will meet with him tomorrow morning at 6:30 to make the final decision after they see what the weather is doing. We sat around and had cocktails before dinner. As the sun got lower in the sky, we decided to make dinner and relax for an early rising tomorrow.
October 30-Carrabelle, FL
We all got up early at 6:00 to get ready to leave at sunrise if the weather conditions permit. Bob and Bernie went to a meeting with Buddy to discuss the weather conditions and the possibility of crossing the Gulf today. Barb and I went to shower and waited for the guys to return with the news.
It was on the river and had a nice porch overlooking the water. The sun was beginning to set and it was cooling off for the evening.
October 31 (Halloween)- Carrabelle, FL
Everyone got up about the same time today. We had breakfast and cleaned up. Bernie and Barb made arrangements to get a ride to Tallahassee with one of the guys at the marina.
November 1-Carrabelle, FL
Wow! It’s November 1st already. We slept until it got light at 8:30. That was a first for us. We got up, had breakfast, and checked emails. It was a leisurely morning. The temp overnight was 47 degrees and it took awhile to warm things up. Once we got going, Bob worked on refreshing the water softener and fixing the kitchen faucet. I started waxing the front of the bridge. It’s an acrobatic feat in itself, but we got 2/3 of it done.
Note: I forgot to tell you about Bob and the frog in Apalachicola. The morning we left there, Bob went into the bathroom to do his job and as he was standing there, taking care of business, a frog jumped out from under the lip of the toilet bowl. It scared the cr– out of him! He also realized that when he was sitting down on the seat earlier, the frog must have been there. Good thing he didn’t end up with a frog up his butt! (It only happens to Bob!)
November 2-Carrabelle, FL
We both woke up before it got light. I guess we were still on the old time…not Daylight Savings Time. The boat that came in yesterday began warming up its engines before the sun came up. The 4 of them would have a long 180 mile run ahead of them and maybe be able to get some smoother water before the wind came up. Bob talked to them before they left and the 2 women said that the forecast was for 4-6′ waves today. They said that was a lot better than 8-10 footers and that they should be home for dinner. They felt their little boat could handle it, even though they said they were concerned, at times, out in the big waves yesterday. The sky in the east was beginning to get lighter around 6:20 and they pulled out of the marina shortly after 6:30.
We worked on the Internet and did some reading as we waited for daylight. It was a pretty sunrise, but then clouds set in from the east. There is a slight chance of rain today, but the temps should be in the mid 70’s. A good day to do some waxing. Bob made us our usual Sunday bacon and eggs breakfast, since we haven’t had that in awhile. We relaxed a little, waiting for the temps to warm up. The wind came up with the sun this morning. Bob finished waxing the last side of the bridge, while I went inside the bridge to wax and clean up there. That area is done and looks fabulous! Now we’ll work on waxing the cockpit and the bow tomorrow. Another 36′ boat came in today headed for Bonita Springs, FL. They came from St. Joe’s, about 15 miles away on the GIWW. We wonder if they’ll leave tomorrow or wait for a better day. We gave Murphy his bath today, only to find live fleas living on his hind quarters when we brushed him.
November 3-Carrabelle, FL
It was very comfortable sleeping last night–not too chilly. We got up around 7:00 and lounged around until 9:00 having breakfast and checking email. We took a walk to the post office, hardware store, and grocery store. I mailed my card, bought some flea medicine for Murphy, and a few grocery items. Bob found fleas again on Murphy this morning, so our plan is to eradicate them from the boat and Murphy. Enough is enough! Back at the boat, we gave Murphy a bath with flea shampoo and let him dry and sleep in our bathroom. Meanwhile, we washed anything that could possibly harbor fleas (rugs, towels, clothes, pillows, bedding) and sprinkled flea powder on the rug and on the beds in the second stateroom where Murphy sometimes sleeps. We had to let the powder sit for 2 hours and then vacuum it up. While all that was happening inside, Bob waxed the bow and I waxed everything in the cockpit.
The day continued to be breezy, but sunny. We cleaned up and had dinner. Murphy was especially hungry after all that happened today. Even his toys had to be washed! It was a traumatic day for him. Bob and I were tired, too. We had put in a hard day’s work. We relaxed after dinner with some TV. As the sun set around 5:30, the sky turned a pale pink, and it got dark around 6:30. I took Murphy for his last walk of the night and spotted the orange sliver of the moon above us. Our plan is to leave on Wednesday if all things remain the same. We plan on taking a bike ride tomorrow to check out more of the town and see the voter turnout at City Hall. We already cast our absentee ballots about a month ago. Don’t forget to cast your ballot!
November 4-Carrabelle, FL
Today’s the day we’ll see who the next president of the United States will be. We both were awakened by the sounds of motors. The Sunseeker and Azimut, who came in yesterday, were leaving this morning. Since the captain of the Sunseeker was from Kentucky and had done all of his driving on rivers, he was unfamiliar with ocean waves. He would be following the Azimut. The female captain had asked him if he wanted to travel with her. We listened to them leave and got up ourselves. We had breakfast and got ready to work. Bob got up on the hardtop to wax, while I worked on cleaning the power cord in the cockpit.