Sep 19, 201202:08 PM
Swing Set: Cruising Full Time
Incommunicado Near Apalachicola
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I was finishing up my last blog entry while we were still at the home of AGLCA harbor hosts, Carl and Greg Vernon. Greg had been paying attention to my blog posts and knew how much I like fried chicken, so Rosie went up to the house before me and learned that Carl was out getting some take out chicken from Popeye's for us to have that night, and they wouldn't take any payment, no way, no how.
Before Carl had left to get the chicken, Greg had asked Rosie if she had gotten any rest, and Rosie said that she had played with Holly instead. When Rosie said it, they both looked at her kinda strange, and Greg said, "How do you play with Holly?" Now, I don't want this to sound unkind, because I don't mean to be, but some people are dog people and some are not. Carl and Greg fall into the latter category. Sure, they offered to have us bring Holly into the yard to do her business, and that was generous, but I could tell that they weren't pet people. Why I'm saying this is so that anyone who has a giant Great Dane or other large dog that they travel with doesn't make the mistake of thinking Carl and Greg are gonna get all mushy over their pet. When Rosie told me about it later, I thought it was funny. I could imagine Rosie going through the litany of how indeed she does play with Holly, when I would have just said, "How can you not play with Holly?" I'm still chuckling about it.
After dinner, we sat on their deck and Carl told some boating stories. After being reassured all day that with proper planning and forecast checking our crossing at this time of year should prove to be non-eventful, each story Carl told was filled with one calamity after another, and it became a bit unnerving for me. Telling horror stories about crossing the Gulf to people about to make the jump is like telling boogeyman and axe murderer stories to a child that is about to spend the night in a strange house. I wondered aloud as to why anyone would go through all the trouble of checking weather forecasts if it apparently didn't make a stick of difference in the end? Carl checked himself and again reassured us, saying that the tales he was telling took place during crossings later in the season when circumstances were different. Later on, I realized there isn't much entertainment value in telling vanilla tales; all the good stories are about mayhem and things gone wrong, but at this point in time, Rosie and I would rather not hear the horror stories.
Armed with a few new websites for forecasting wave and wind, along with a loose plan for crossing the Gulf, we left Carl and Greg on Sunday morning, exited the Panama City Pass into the Gulf and made way for Crooked Island. We were going to travel on the "outside" to Port St. Joe. It was an hour from their house to the pass, and another two hours down the coast to a cut through to St. Andrews Bay and to Crooked Island. The cut-through is not charted, but Carl gave us coordinates. Of course, things change, and my eyesight was the best tool for getting us over the bar...that, and our depth finder. I admit that it felt strange running into a cut when the chart reported land, but I guess it's something I'll have to get used to. It felt weird at first, but like strangling bunnies, it becomes common place over time. Please see the humor.
You can see Swing Set way in the background where Rosie and I took the dinghy over to the dune separating the Bay from the Gulf of Mexico. We walked some in the pure white sand before heading back to the boat.
By the time we got the dinghy back on the davits, five sailboats made their way into the harbor and made a nice backdrop for our sunset. We had a nice breeze for our dinner, and we were considering staying near Crooked Island for another full day, but I started looking at some of the wind and wave forecasts, and it appeared to me that if we didn't get to Port St. Joe by the next afternoon, we may be staying for the rest of the week right where we were.