Monday, January 30, 2006

Sailing the Ditch on Spirit Song, Chapter 3 Part 2

This is part of the log of Spirit Song during her episodic voyage with Robin and Neal McGill along the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway in 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2004.

Chapter III, Part 2: Mobile Bay to Pensacola, Florida, Days 9 – 14

March 24, 2002 (Sun.) – Day 10
Today was definitely a relaxing day. Last night Robin gave our 6 gallon fuel tank to Bob Pope, who is the restaurant/harbor owner to fill with gasoline as there is no fuel available at the marina. He did not return this morning until about 10:00 am. We then walked into Fairhope for something to eat and to purchase more ice. We walked through a residential neighborhood to admire all of the rhododendrons and other flowers which are at their peak of color. It was an absolutely beautiful day. About 5:00 pm we walked 1 ½ miles to a highly recommended Italian restaurant called Gambino’s. The fried shrimp was very good. Strangers on the street almost always greet us with a “Hello” or “Good morning” or a smile of greeting.

March 25, 2002 (Mon.) – Day 11
We were up by 7:30 am to a foggy morning. Visibility was about ½ mile. We ate breakfast on the boat and waited to see what the fog was going to do. By 8:30 it was evident that the fog was lifting and visibility was improving. We left the marina a little before 9:00 am and headed south. After a short time the wind was from a direction that allowed us to put up the sails and turn off the motor. We sailed for about 1 hour before we had to motor once again. At about 1:30 pm we rejoined the I.C.W. and entered a land cut. Our destination for the day was the Bear Point Marina, which is located at Orange Beach Alabama. We observed a number of dolphins throughout the day. The sun broke through the high fog later only a couple of times and we could that it was raining in the distance, but not where we were. We were able to enjoy much needed showers tonight at this marina. Because of spring break, there are many more people here than we anticipated. After sunset the fog came back in again. We will see ___ ____ __ ____ ____ ____ ____ ___ (end of page cut off)

March 26, 2002 (Tue.) – Day 12
Robin climbed out of his sleeping bag this morning at about 6:30 am to open the hatch and look at the weather. He saw moderately dense fog which meant that we would stay in the marina until conditions improved. Robin climbed back into his sleeping bag to wait for a while. It was very calm with no wave action. After a short time we could hear a few raindrops landing on the cabin roof. This was a very pleasant sound and became a little louder as the rain increased. After a while we could hear thunder in the distance that became louder and louder. It was lightning, thunder, and heavier rain. It was 9:00 am before we were up for the day. By this time the fog was no longer a concern. The wind was blowing very hard and it continued to rain for the rest of the morning. It finally stopped raining about noon. We decided to stay another night in the marina. We used the marina laundry room to wash and dry our soiled clothes. Visiting with other boat owners is always very interesting. We have noticed that the barge traffic here is only a fraction of the barge traffic we observed while traveling the ICW on the Texas Gulf coast.

March 27, 2002 (Wed.) – Day 13, Ash Wednesday
We had a somewhat rocky night last night due to a stiff breeze and the location of the slip we were assigned. It was a clear morning with a moderate wind. We squared away the boat, purchased ice for the ice chest and we were underway from the Bear Point Marina at a little past 10:00 am. We headed east on the I.C.W. and reached our destination for the day, which was Palafox Marina in Pensacola, Florida, at 4:30 pm. This was b far the most sailing we were able to do in one day. Of the 6-1/2 hours of travel today, we were able to sail about 5 hours. After entering Pensacola Bay we were able to observe 3 dolphins traveling in the same direction and at about the same speed as we were going. At one point they were within 30 feet of our boat. We observed the dolphins for about 20 minutes and it was fun to watch. Our course took us by the Naval Air Station and we saw numerous Navy prop and jet planes in the area.

March 28, 2002 (Thu.) – Day 14, Maundy Thursday
The weather was beautiful today and it would have been an excellent day for sailing. But we did not sail today because Robin and I both wanted to visit the Navy Air Museum here in Pensacola. It took 1-1/2 hours and two buses to get to the museum. The museum contained mostly Navy aircraft from its inception in 1911 to the present day. We saw an IMAX film titled, “The Magic of Flight,” which covered flight from the Wright brothers to the present day, featuring the Navy’s Blue Angels. It was a very well done museum and to be highly recommended to anyone interested in airplanes. We then took the 1-1/2 hour bus rides back to the marina and walked around looking at boats.


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