We got back to Clearwater late Saturday night from the short roadtrip to Atlanta and spent Sunday making last minute preparations for the jump to Carrabelle. After checking the weather 3 ways to Sunday, we settled on a 10am departure Monday morning.
We estimated it would take 24-30 hours to get to Carrabelle, on the northern side of Florida’s armpit, so leaving at 10am put us in good position to arrive in daylight on Tuesday.
Our neighbors helped push us off the dock, which was good since the combination of wind, current, & prop walk almost got us into an Austin Powers-esque bind between docks. But we finally got clear of the marina & followed Clearwater’s famous pirate ship through the pass.
The overnight motorsail, Allison’s first, was extremely uneventful. We only saw one other boat the entire night, and he was a towboat pushing barges practically on a collision course with us. All safety systems were a go, however, as he saw us on radar, and I saw him on both radar and AIS (as well as visually identifying his lights), so there was never any danger.
As far as watch shifts were concerned, I took the first shift after sunset and Allison got a few hours of rest. We kept a loose 3 hours on, 3 hours off, rotation…she took over around midnight and we traded places again around 3am.
The most notable thing that happened all night was the constant presence of birds. We had about 5 small birds flying around during the evening, then at nightfall they each picked out a spot on the boat & went to sleep.
During the middle of the night, one of them swooped in towards my face and I instinctively swatted at him. He landed on the cooler right behind me, and that’s where he sat until sunrise. I was a little worried I’d hurt him, but once the sun came up, Freddy, as we’d dubbed him by then, flew off with his friends. No harm no foul.
Once we got to Carrabelle, just under 24 hours later, we’d intended on anchoring to get some rest, but decided to keep on going for as long as we could stay awake.
At this part of Florida, you can either go all the way around Cape San Blas or hop inside the ICW and ride the river past Apalchicola to St. Joe Bay. We would have gone all the way to Panama City, but there’s a bridge that’s too short for us to fit under, so we have to travel offshore from St. Joe to Pensacola.
We made it to St. Joe Bay just before sunset, so we dropped the hook and got some rest. Or tried to, anyway…
What does one do while anchored next to the beach in paradise? Well, for starters you spend half the night worried that the freshening east winds will blow the boat into said beach. Then you play the "I think it's about to rain, so we should close all the hatches" game a few times. After waking up to pee off the side of the boat (because the toilet is clogged again) you realize that another boat anchored beside you early this morning, and they're now watching you pee. After coffee you spend an hour upside down in the bilge elbow deep in human waste unclogging the head. Finally, after paying proper respect to the stereotypical sailors vocabulary and repairing the plumbing, you jump in the water to clean up and swim to shore. Once on shore, you walk the beach and take all the pretty boat-in-paradise pictures for the Instagram. Then you hitch a ride on a paddle board back to the boat, but not without first stopping and making friends with your new neighbors. This is #boatlife and I love it. #SailingBA