Dec 3 Day 55 -Wavin’ Alabama Goodbye

 We spent the night at Orange Beach Marina which was rated the #1 “big marina” (and it wasn’t that big) in Alabama or something like that.

Orange Beach was a nice marina getting into the whole Christmas spirit!


Nice place, nice people and lots of great boat watching. “We” had previously been impressed by those 80mph bass boats we saw on the river…. a 21’ boat with a 250hp motor. Something to get the good ‘ol boys to their favorite fishing hole at pace. Well things are dramatically different now! Those little things would get blasted to pieces out in the gulf, but wouldn’t you know “Billy Bob” has the saltwater equivalent and these things are spectacular.

Forget a single 250hp….this thing has four 350hp engines for a total of 1,400hp…WHAT!? This on basically a 40′ skiff. Yes, it goes 80+mph!


Of course you could skip the outboards and go with something like this….60′ with a 45mph cruise speed in 8′ waves….WHAT!? It goes over 50 if you want and it’s only used for fishing!!!


You don’t even want to know what these things cost and they are all over the place. Someone’s making some money in Alabama! We were told the boats here were nothing compared to Florida. Notice how tall the boathouses are to accommodate the towers.


We got up today with a plan to go about 25 miles to the Palafox Marina in Pensacola. It was sunny and there was remarkably little boat traffic for a Saturday. A thinking person might have asked…. why aren’t these enormous Hatteras and Vikings going out today?

I understand wanting to keep a fishing boat tied up in front of your beach house, but these were all over…..OK, OK enough on the boats already!


N did sort of wonder, but wrote it off to everyone wanting to watch the Alabama game on TV. We didn’t care as N had watched the Huskies beat Colorado the night before (he’s re-started some cautious trash talking with ‘bama fans, but they don’t seem the slightest bit concerned). Anyway, off we went in our little 30’ Bayliner for a peaceful cruise up the well protected Inter Coastal Waterway (ICW)…. NOT.

You can’t appreciate the water, but we were the only boats out. Look how sugary white the sand is. The gulf coast is known for these white sand beaches.


Whoa, we ran into some big water! I would say we got into 5’ waves at certain points. We had spray coming over the top of the fly bridge, but we slowed down (a bit!) and powered through. Our sister boat (it’s called Panacea so we’ll use that from now on) wanted to turnaround at one point and then later called the Pensacola Naval Station for permission to come onto one of their docks, but N coaxed Panacea on to the goal counting down the distance over the radio and all was good.

Take my word for it, it gets really confusing where to put these red and green channel markers. Of course the “red right returning” is good to remember, but it’s tough to know on this ICW whether you’re returning to one port or leaving another. Gotta really follow the chart carefully.


So, we’ve officially arrived in Florida!

…where B wasted no time meeting the locals!


Someone looks a bit less enthusiastic in this shot!


We’re still heading east before turning south, but will hang out in Pensacola for a few days as the weather is expected to take a turn for the worse. Indeed, we’re rockin’ at the dock as I write this.

2 thoughts on “Dec 3 Day 55 -Wavin’ Alabama Goodbye”

  1. Rockin’ on the dock with Elvis! Wish I were there. Five foot waves, not fun but you made it. Don’t take any chances! Be safe.


  2. So, Maldens, glad to see you back on your Quest! First off, Go Dawgs! I hope you got in a few jabs before you bid Bama adieu. It might be the only fun jabbing once Dec. 31 rolls around.

    Next, I enjoyed my own little bit of schadenfreude reading about those 5′ waves you encountered. Debbie and I ran into the same thing in our 30′ going from Bellingham-Seattle the day before Thanksgiving. Small craft warning? What small craft warning? 4′ seas and 30 MPH winds tossed green water over the bow for three hours. Nowhere to hide between Camano and Whidbey. Tried various speeds and trim settings. Luckily my first mate is seasoned and she didn’t blink too much as the galley drawers popped open and spilled silverware, knives, dishes all over. Sheesh. I hate it when the weather report is misleading. We ended up stopping in Edmonds, rented a slip, and Ubered home for Thanksgiving. 🙂

    Man, I can’t believe how big and fast those sport fishing boats are! To be able to go 45 in heavy seas must be something, especially on the wallet!

    So now I see you’re getting ready for the big open water crossing to Tampa. Why not just hug the shoreline? There must be a reason for that. Curious minds want to know.

    I’m off to Crystal tomorrow for day 5 of skiing. 18″ new last Sunday. I wish Nick was my wingman that day! 🙂

    Happy cruisin’, amigos!


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