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Saturday, March 12, 2011

March 12, 2011 --- Knot-So-Fast gets a taste of saltwater!

Glenda and I, accompanied by grand-daughter Abby (now 9 years old!) and Daisy the dog, put the Knot-So-Fast in the water about 8:30 this morning under the Hwy. 59 bridge in Gulf Shores. We then headed East on the ICW toward Florida. The air was cool, but the sun was bright and skies were clear.

Abby and Daisy relaxing on the back of the tug.

A "real" tug boat pushing 2 barges, the "Stephanie Kennelly" had passed while we were launching, and we caught up to her just before we got to the Wharf at Orange Beach. She was travelling about 5 mph and we were doing 6, but I knew that it would take me forever to pass him, since our top speed is only about 6.5 mph. I worried that if I had to stay behind him, we would be behind shedule by about an hour at the end of the day. I finally decided to call her on the radio, and I explained to the Captain that I would like to pass if he saw a suitable place, but that I could only do 6.5 mph, and I was content to stay behind him if I needed to. To my suprise the Captain told me come on around him on the "two whistle" side and he would slow down long enough for me to get around him! I have the utmost respect for the Captains who drive these HUGE tugs, pushing barges that are sometimes 100' wide and 500' long. To slow his rig and let our little 20' boat pass was incredibly kind of him. As we cleared the front of the two barges, I radio'd him and thanked him. He responded that our vessel was a "great looking" boat and wished us a safe journey. I remembered Glenda telling me that last night when saying her prayers, Abby asked God to "let us have a good trip and meet lots of nice people". Prayers answered :).

The "Margaret Kennelly"

When we crossed into Florida, the beaches and aqua-blue water were beautiful (so I'm told - I'm colorblind). We travelled along the ICW to Pensacola and then turned North for a few miles to the Oar House restaurant where we had a late lunch. After gobbling down our lunch we left and headed for Santa Rosa Yacht and Boat Club in Gulf Breeze, FL. The wind had picked up a little and Pensacola Bay had become a little choppy. We pushed the Knot-So-Fast at 6.5-7 mph the whole way, and arrived just before the closing time of 5:00 pm. The dock worker "Art", a retired school teacher from the midwest, met us at the slip and helped us tie up as two Florida Water Patrol officers pulled on the other side of the dock. Everyone here wanted to make sure we had everything we needed for the night.

Old Lighthouse at the Pensacola Naval Air Station
After a walk along the public fishing pier and hot shower, we are settling in for the night. Tomorrow the plan is to head East again to Ft. Walton.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you had a good day yesterday and arrived safe. Wishing another day of safe travels and BEAUTIFUL weather. Teresa