Swing Set

Sep 15, 201211:42 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Destin To Panama City

(page 2 of 2)

By sunrise on Friday morning, we were leaving Destin Harbor, headed for Panama City. It's a long run inside through Choctawatchee Bay, nearly as big as Mobile Bay. At the eastern end of that is a narrow canal the locals call the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon is mostly straight and boring. We thought that we'd see a gator or two, but no such luck. We did see a few dolphins, but nothing else. In fact, during the whole trip through Choctawatchee and the canal, we only saw one other boat.

We were headed to the home of Greg and Carl Vernon, who live in Panama City and are AGLCA Harbor Hosts. Greg had emailed us and said that she and her husband would be happy for us to stop by on our way through and help us re-provision, and we took her up on it. We called them once we entered West Bay, still nearly three hours away, and said we were coming. We got good directions to their home on Watson Bayou and found it easily after entering the coordinates to their home into our chartplotter.

You pass the Mercury testing facility on your way to Greg and Carl's, and that's as specific as I'll get as to where their home is. If they want you to stop by, they'll let you know. It's a fool who doesn't take them up on an invitation to visit them, as we would find out.

Greg and Carl met us on the dock as we pulled in, and they gave us a warm welcome. Once we got settled, they invited us to dinner and gave us some time to take showers and rest up after eight hours of travel. We walked up to their nice home at the appointed time of 5 p.m., and all we took with us was a plastic bag of cold Busch Lights. Greg was already cooking up something that smelled wonderful, and by 7 p.m., we sat down to dinner. I had sworn to keep quiet about it, but on the way to the table, the pan of lasagna got a little too hot for Greg to handle and she dropped it. Now, she didn't just drop it, she gave it a flip and a spin, a bit reminiscent of the summer Olympics, and that pan of lasagna did a somersault on the way to the floor and barely spilled a drop of red sauce on the hardwood. No harm, no foul, they say...and after asking us if we would still eat it after the mishap, I just gave her a "you gotta be kidding" look and said to bring that pan right on over so we could dig in. I know Greg was mortified, but I also knew she'd be telling this story for years, and for that alone, the accident was worth it.

We talked and traded boating stories until 10 o'clock, late for us on such a long day, and we then headed for the boat.

Today, we got up and gave Swing Set a much needed bath after the trip through mostly coffee-colored saltwater. While Rosie finished drying the boat, I went up to see if Carl would give me some tips on getting across the Gulf, and he certainly did. I planned a route and entered it on our Navionics app and will also put the coordinates on the Garmin. I feel a whole lot better about our plan, even though it may change depending on the weather.

Once we got through with that, Rosie went with Greg to get groceries and I went with Carl in search of an anchor. Rosie and Greg fared better in their expedition; Carl and I came up empty handed, but I now have some leads on what brand of anchor to focus on. They say progress is made in baby steps, so that being the case, we made progress.

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