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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

3-19-03, Perdido Key to Gulf Shores

3-19-13, Tuesday

We all slept well last night – I’m sure the good hot shower and the great meal at the Sunset Grill contributed to that. When we rolled out of bed it was almost 8 o’clock. We took a walk, watched dolphins and pelicans and ate breakfast, and finally threw off the lines about 10:15 and headed West.
A beautiful morning, looking West from Holiday Harbor Marina

The wind was a little cool, but the sun was shining and the water calmer than our last 2 days in the more open waters of Pensacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound. We saw several dolphins as we made our way to Pirates Cove where we nosed up to the beach and took a break, hoping to find lunch. Although the restaurant was technically open, there was a lot of building/remodeling going on and very little cooking, so we decided to travel a little further to the Wharf for lunch.  Before leaving the area though, we took a short detour through the canal in Stone Quarry subdivision. This is where my “dream boat” is docked and I wanted Abby to see it. It’s a 34’ Redwing tug style cruiser, designed by Chesapeake Marine Design, and was built by a man who lives in Louisiana. A few weeks ago I contacted him and he took Glenda and I over for a tour of it. If I build our next boat, I’m pretty sure this is the one I’ll build, but that’s another story.
My next project ??????
At Holiday Harbor we noticed another Knot-So-Fast !

At the Wharf, we had a good lunch at the Compete Angler, which is the former Guy Harvey restaurant. We then filled up the gas tank, with 11.6 gallons and calculated our mileage at 12.04 miles per gallon – very good considering how hard we pushed the little engine over the last 3 days.

As we passed Homeport Marina (aka Lulu’s) we saw the Harry, the owner builder of the “Vicki Lynn” sitting on the bow in his slip alongside the ICW. I pulled up and we talked boats for a few minutes. Harry and his wife Vicki spent 7 years building the Vicki Lynn, which is a George Beuhler designed 47’ “Diesel Duck” trawler.  It’s a beautiful boat inside and out and we always enjoy seeing it when we pass by.

Abby wanted to spend another night on the boat, but after seeing the weather forecast which called for the winds to pick up tomorrow, we decided to cross the lower bay to our house on Ft. Morgan road where Glenda retrieved the truck and trailer and met Abby and I back in Gulf Shores to pull out the boat and end our trip.

Glenda says:

View from the Ferris Wheel at the Wharf. The Knot-So-Fast is a dot in the upper left of the photo.
We had an excellent night at Holiday Harbor.  We slept until almost 8:00, fixed ham and eggs for breakfast and then went for a nice long walk.  We did not leave the marina until after 10:00.  We went to Pirate Cove thinking we would eat lunch there but decided instead to wait until we got to the Wharf.  We took Abby to see the boat Tom is thinking about building before lunch.  We finally made it to the Wharf and had a delicious meal at the “Compleat Angler”.  Abby and I took the time to ride the Ferris wheel before we headed out.  Unfortunately we had neglected Daisy and she had an accident in the boat.  We had a nice trip from the Wharf all the way across the bay.  Tom dropped me at the house and headed back to the boat ramp.  It’s always a little sad when another trip comes to an end.  But I’m so thankful for this time we have to enjoy ourselves out on the water.   


Abby says:

This morning I woke up to Daisy tapping her nails on the floor, and I picked her up to lay in the bed with me. We laid there for a little while, until I got up to use the bathroom. That’s when G.G. and Papa woke up. When they got up, I took Daisy for a walk. We had some ham, eggs, and hot chocolate for breakfast, and then we were on our way! Later we went to Pirates Cove, and got off on the beach. We walked around, and then went to the Warf to get lunch. We ate at the Compleat Angler. It was really good. After that G.G. and I walked to the ferris wheel and went for a ride on it. We could see the boat from the top. When we came down, we got back in the boat and went to the beach house. We dropped G.G. off, and Papa and I went to the HWY. 59 Bridge. G.G. met us there, and we got the boat out of the water and went to our beach house. That was the end of our day!!

Daisy says:

Today I didn’t do much, but we went somewhere (Pirates Cove) and Abby grabbed me and jumped off the boat. She plopped me down in some sand, and we started walking. Then some dog, very rude dog if you ask me, he just ran up to me! I tried to walk away, but he was 10 times my size. He was nearly to me, when his person called him over. Then we got back on the boat, and went to the woof. (Warf) there everybody got out, except me. I stayed, but I really had to peepee….. I accidently did it in the boatL….oops. Nobody was too mad, and I was gladJ. There was also a dog there, who also scared me. Who am I kidding though? Every dog scares me! Anyway, I had an adventurous day!      

Monday, March 18, 2013

3-18-13, Engine Trouble!

Relaxing at Holiday Harbor - a great stop!

This morning I was awake at 4:20 and couldn’t go back to sleep. I got up about 5:00 and took care of the porta-pottie and checked the weather on the computer. The radar didn’t look too bad, but the forecast was for scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon and I didn’t want have to cross Santa Rosa Sound or Pensacola Bay in a storm. I made the decision to leave at daylight and get back to the protected, narrow section of the ICW at Perdido Key before any afternoon storms. We pulled out of the Boat Marina as soon as it was light enough to see. The winds were mild and a strong current was running West with us, and we made 7 mph for the first hour or so. The further West we went, the better the weather looked, so about lunchtime we decided to stop on the National Seashore beach for a break. I found a good spot on the chart where there were pavilions and a bathhouse. I nosed the tug up against the sandy beach and shut off the engine. I went to the bow and hooked the anchor up to set in on shore when the boat drifted back off the beach. When Glenda tried to restart the motor to pull us back to the beach, the motor wouldn’t start. I climbed back into the cab and checked to make sure the shifter was in neutral and the kill switch was plugged in. No use – the engine wouldn’t start. We were now drifting parallel to the shore about 50 feet from the beach, so I set out the anchor to stop us. I checked what I could on the engine without locating what the problem was. The emergency starting rope allowed me to get it cranked again, but now the gauges weren’t working. We made it to Holiday Harbor Marina without any further problems, and I left the engine running until we were tied up in our slip for the night.

After supper at the Sunset Grill (fantastic grilled shrimp) Glenda and Abby took a walk while I looked at the engine again. After checking the fuses for the 3rd time, I saw what looked like a small black mark on the base of one of the filaments. I had checked these twice already and they looked fine. The fuse didn’t look blown, but my spare did not have that black mark, so I swapped them and the gauges lit up and the engine cranked like new!

The owner of the Marina gave me another spare fuse to have in case it blew again. After the supper, getting the motor problem solved, and taking a hot shower, I feel like a new man!
View to the West from Holiday Harbor's Pier.

Knot-So-Fast at Holiday Harbor


Glenda says:

Tom was up before dawn this morning ready to go.  He insisted that the weather was calling for thunderstorms in the evening so we had to be back to Perdido before too late.  So despite the fact that he had promised to be more leisurely on this trip we were once again going to spend another long day tugging along rather than stopping to see any sites.  I did not complain.  I was very good.  He took Daisy for her morning walk, we let Abby sleep and headed back west.  The weather was nicer today than it was on Sunday but the wind was kicking up pretty good.  I did suggest while were passing National Seashore that we take a few minutes to look around.  Tom agreed and we headed to the shore.  We almost got anchored, when Tom said “turn the engine back on for just a minute”, but the engine would not come on.  No one panicked and 20 minutes later the hero of our story had hand cranked the engine with the starter rope.  Of course we never made it to shore and of course now we have to get to our permanent lodging before we can shut off the engine again since we have not figured out what is wrong.  So another long day on the water but we did get to see more dolphin.  When we got to Holiday Harbor Marina all was well.  The staff was wonderful, the Sunset Grille was tasty and fun, showers were hot and clean and we got a brief glimpse of the Blue Angels practicing.  Abby is already saying she wants to stay another night. 

Abby says:
Apparently the Heron can't read.

Today was another awesome day on the boat! On this trip we mostly travel in bays, so there’s not much to see, but this morning I got to sleep to 7:30. I know this doesn’t seem like sleeping in, but when you’re on a boat this is a long time! Anyway, I slept well and “long”. This morning I woke up to Papa saying there were dolphins. I got up, and sure enough there were dolphins. We watched them until they weren’t playing anymore. Later I took a nap with Daisy, and woke up to Papa telling me to get my flip-flops, and his too. When I asked “why”, G.G. said because we were stopping at a beach. I got excited, and stood up. Papa steered the boat right up on the shore. He hurried to the bow of the boat to throw the anchor off the boat. We drifted away fast, so G.G. had to nose the boat back on the shore, but the boat wouldn’t crank. We were there a good 15 minutes. I know that God knows best, and I kind of figured that the best for us would be that we made it to the marina on time. I was about positive that the motor would soon crank, and I was right. Soon we were back on our way. At the marina, we ate at their restaurant. We sat outside, and a great blue heron was looking at me maybe 5 feet away!!!!!!! (Papa said. I’m not exaggerating.) After dinner G.G., Daisy, and I all took a walk. We had fun. Can’t wait ‘till tomorrowJ

Daisy says:

Today I didn’t do much. Well I ate more than I normally do. Then we took a long walk and I wanted to go farther, but we had to turn around. It was a little cold today, now I’m warm in the boatJ  

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ft. Walton Sunday 3-17-13

Sunday 3-17-13

Last night was fairly peaceful except for a few boats that threw us a wake big enough to bang our tug against the dock. This had to be expected since we were directly alongside a narrow portion of the ICW. This morning we woke to a gorgeous sunrise and calm water. After breakfast we headed for Ft. Walton as the skies turned cloudy. The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful as we crossed Pensacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound. The sun made only brief appearances throughout the day. Luckily the only rain we ran into was a drizzle that only lasted about 15 minutes.
Daisy relased all day

Sunrise at Oyster Bay Marina

We passed several tow boats, most were pushing multiple barges

2 dogs playing on the beach

Pensacola Light House

Ft. Pickens

At the Boat Marina and Boat Yard, I was disappointed with the short finger piers and pilings which made it hard to get tied up in the wind. We did eventually get her secured, though, and went for supper at the Olive Garden, about ½ mile away.

The showers were another disappointment, but after all this is a working boatyard, and transient customers are not their main business.

We’ll look closely at the weather tomorrow before planning how and when we’ll head back to Gulf Shores.

 Glenda says:

Today we started the day with a nice breakfast of ham and eggs.  We enjoyed hot chocolate (I’m trying to cut back on the coffee) walked Daisy and headed out for the day.  Unfortunately it was cloudy and cool.  We did see a couple of dolphin playing and always a lot of loons.  I finished one of the 2 books I bought and Abby played on her iPad most of the day.  We arrived at the marina in Ft Walton around 5:00.  It was a little shabby to say the least.  Abby and I took Daisy out right away for a walk but we were met very quickly by a herd of guinea hens and pea-hens that seem to find us very fascinating.  I told Abby not to run but to walk quickly back to the boat.  Luckily Daisy was able to do her business on the run.  We found Keith, (he was taking care of things for the owner) he was very nice and gave us the courtesy “car” to go to eat at Olive Garden.  I was beginning to feel very wilted by that time but dinner was nice.  However inspection of the shower facilities when we returned gave me pause.  They were very questionable.  I was still going to brave it only to be informed by Keith that he had failed to get the pilot light for the hot water heater lit.  I must tell you I was very disturbed…however once again Keith came to the rescue and offered use of his own personal shower.  Needless to say Tom was not pleased when I agreed.  You know he is not the most trusting of people.  He escorted Abby and I into Keith’s apartment.  Keith escorted us into his shower and politely left his little apartment while Tom sat on his sofa and waited on us.  Well now we know what I will do to have a hot shower. 

Abby says:

Today I had a pretty good day. Again nothing too big really happened, and Daisy and I lay around again. Today though, it was cloudy and windy, so we mostly stayed inside. At the marina, we learned quickly they are fond of birds…they had everything but chickens. There were geese, ducks, guinea hens, pigeons, and even peacocks!!! As soon as we got there, we had to let Daisy go to the bathroom. We went around a corner only to be met by 3 peacocks! G.G. said to slowly turn and walk away. I didn’t want to walk though. I kept going though with Daisy to the boat. We got into the boat, and we turned and looked out the window. There we saw the 3 peacocks trying to find us. We all stayed quiet, and they went back where they came from. It was a little scary. Later we borrowed the courtesy car, and went to Olive Garden for dinner. When we were done G.G. and I inspected the showers… let’s just say not what I expected. Keith didn’t get the hot water running, and he felt so bad, that he offered us use of his personal shower. (Papa waited in the living room the whole time) After that experience, G.G. felt better, and I did too. Then we went back to the boat and walked Daisy again. This time the peacocks just stared at Daisy. We had an adventure today. I can only imagine tomorrowJ

Daisy says:

Today I lay in my bed all day. Then when we stopped, I saw these THINGS (peacocks) that looked at me like I was the weird one! Then there were some OTHER THINGS (guinea hens) that screamed at me. I am glad to be cozy back in my bed. I mean BARK!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

3-16-13, Gulf Shores to FL line

Glenda, Abby and I trailered the Knot-So-Fast to Gulf Shores this morning, and after waiting about 30 minutes at the (very crowded) boat ramp under the Hwy. 59 bridge, we launched into the ICW and docked 100 yards East at Tacky Jacks restaurant where my brother Clay, his wife Stephanie and son Owen, along with our son Nathan and daughter-in-law Nicole were waiting for us.
After a nice lunch and visit, we cast off headed for Ft. Walton, only to realize about a mile away that I'd forgotten to get the i-pad out of the truck! Clay was about to leave, taking the truck to our beach house when we called him. He met us back at the ramp and after a slow pass and grab manuever we had the i-pad and were on our way again.

The i-pad was important for the trip, as my Garmin nautical charts and navigation software, containing phone numbers and detailed information about marinas and anchorages, was all loaded on it. (The "Active Captain" app has already proven it worth it's weight in gold).

We pulled away from the launch just about 1/4 mile ahead of a tug, the St. Padro Pio, pushing barges loaded with coal. We stayed just ahead of him for the next 15 miles or so, but as we got closer to the "narrows" section of the ICW, he was gaining on us slightly, so I pulled out of the channel and stopped to let him get ahead of me. I didn't want to get caught in the narrows if he caught up and needed to pass us. We stayed behind, just far enough to avoid his turbulance, until we got to the Oyster Bar Marina and Restaurant where we docked for the night. We arrived at 5:20 and found a spot at the very end of the Eastern-most pier, as far as possible from the restaurant (just in case they had a band playing into the night).

Abby had to get up early this morning!

The first order of business after docking was to give Daisy a walk.

It was good to get docked with a little daylight left.

The Knot-So-Fast at the Oyster Bar Marina for the night.

Glenda says:
I am so glad to be back on the water!  We met Nathan, Nicole, Owen, Clay and Stephanie at Tacky Jacks for lunch.  We were a bit late.  The boat ramp under the bridge was very busy.  I parked the trailer and just walked up to Tacky Jacks and met Tom and Abby as they were tying up the boat.  Lunch was nice but I was anxious to be off.  Of course we had to make a quick turn around and catch Clay before he left with the truck because I left the ipad in the truck!  Finally we were on our way.  I sat on the back and enjoyed the sun and read my book.  We saw a couple of happy dophins, a hungry osprey and a large loon grooming himself.  Thats pretty good for a short day.  After a delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich for supper we are ready to settle in for the night. 

Abby says:
Today was our first day on this trip. We had lots of fun (as usual), but today I mostly sat with Daisy. We`d go outside, it`d get too hot, then we`d go inside, it`d get too cold, then we`d go back outside....
 Anyway, when we got to the marina we saw a loon who was cleaning herself. she was really pretty. I had a good day, and I`m looking forward to the next one:)

Daisy says:
Today me and Abby mostly laid around. Then at the marina, I saw a GIANT BIRD!!!!!! (heron) and I yelled (barked), you look funny! Can I smell you???!!! Abby told me NO though, and I don`t know why. I had an over all good day though. I mean woof!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Spring Break Trip, March 2013 (Change of plans)

We are preparing for a cruise on the ICW from Gulf Shores, Alabama to Ft. Walton, Florida and back. This is a repeat of a trip we took 2 years ago. On the earlier trip Glenda was sick the whole time and spent most of the days asleep.

Until last week we were planning to trailer the tug to Demopolis, AL and travel down the Tenn-Tom waterway to Mobile Bay, but after discussing the current conditions (flooding) of the river with Fred at Demopolis Yacht Basin, we took his advice and changed our plans. We may try to do another Tenn-Tom trip for later in the year. Cruising on a little boat forces you to be flexible ;).

Grand-daughter Abby and Daisy (the dog) will join Glenda and me on the slow trip to Ft. Walton, and as of now, the weather looks like it will be great!

We'll try to post to the Blog each day with some pictures and accounts of the trip.

When we finish the trip, ending at Gulf Shores, our daughter, son-in-law, and Abby's little sister Bailey will meet us there. If the weather is good, we may give Bailey a chance to spend a night on the tugboat, and see how she likes the sailor life!

to be continued ................