Today was relatively short, only 61 miles, and the weather was drizzly and cool most of the day. As we cruised by Pensacola and headed for Alabama waters, we passed the tow boat Marathon, pushing a barge loaded with huge spools of cable. We had seen Marathon before in the Gulf Shores area where we've fished for many years. Another familiar tow, Saint Padre Pio, was in the area, as we heard his Captain on the radio, but never saw him.
It felt good to see Ono Island and realize that Glenda and I had actually done it- we'd brought a 36' boat from Ft. Pierce, through the Okechobee Waterway, across the Gulf at the big bend, and through the ICW to Alabama! I felt very proud!
Then we got to Barber Marina in Elberta, and my ego popped like a nickel balloon at a kid's birthday party. I needed to back the boat into a slip. I had never backed this boat into a slip. I'd backed OUT of a slip, but that's easy. I always avoided backing any boat into a slip if I could, but today I had face my fears and do it. We puttered slowly through the marina until I found the perfect slip - one with empty slips on both sides of it. At least if I hit something, it wouldn't be another boat. I kicked the diesel in and out of gear, barely moving, until we were even with the slip, and then turned the wheel and gave just a little forward throttle to get the bow to swing around and line up with the slip. So far so good. Now reverse gear to stop the boat. Perfect. Then it happened. I looked in front of me and saw a young man and a girl about 10 or 12 years old, working on their boat in another slip. The man quickly turned his head when I looked at him, but the girl was grinning and watching intently - waiting for me to mess up. Novice boaters attract onlookers when they try to dock their boat. It's sort of like that "smell of fear" thing that Marlin Perkins talked about in the 60s on Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. I was thinking about that when I realized that Glenda was screaming at me as the right rear corner of the boat headed directly toward the corner of the dock. No real damage done - just a black mark on the boat from the rubber at the dock corner. I distinctly heard the giggle of a young girl, but I didn't look.
Tomorrow we will do some boat maintanence and grocery shopping, as well as visiting some friends, and Thursday we will cross Mobile Bay and enter the river system. I feel almost home.
Well here we are back in Alabama. We left Montevallo 2 weeks ago today. I've only looked at Fox News 2 or 3 times. 😛 Life on the boat seems to put life in a better perspective. We slept well at the Ft Walton dock last night. Just a couple of times I was awakened by the boat swaying because of the wake of a tug. We walked back down a couple of blocks to a Waffle House for breakfast. It started to rain just as we arrived and quit raining just as we finished our breakfast. Perfect timing! We got away from the dock before 8. The weather alerts were coming in for severe weather that was affecting Mobile and would be affecting all the Florida panhandle. We decided to tough it out. We watched the radar carefully all morning. It was amazing to me to see all the red and yellow headed toward us and then just before it got to us it would fall apart and weakened into just rain. We made it across all the larger bays with no problems. So the weather was the main topic of interest today but we still enjoyed the sights. I got a good shot of this navy jet out of Pensacola.
I took lots of photos of historic Ft Pickens and the beautiful lighthouse near the Pensacola air museum.
We had a little fun with Daisy after we arrived at the marina.
I drove a good bit today and feel a little bit more secure in home territory but I think Tom is dreaming if he thinks I'll ever learn to dock this thing.
The clear starry nights are amazing! I don't know how anybody can ever look up and still say there is no God.