Dec 4-6 Days 56-58 Tornado Skirtin’

Ok, ok, so yes, squishing 3 days into one post…but I DO have an excuse (or 2). First, nothing really very much happened back in Pensacola after that last post….I mean how can you outdo a picture of the back of a boat with FOUR engines! But we did spend another pleasant day and night there only to be rudely awakened at 6 am by contractors working on an empty condo within feet of our boat. In hindsight, though, we were glad as it resulted in getting an early jump on the day…which we were lucky to have because we were struggling most of the day, evening and night under a tornado alert (which gives rise to my second excuse for cramming 3 days into one post).   But I’m getting ahead of myself!

Hesitant to get stuck out in big water like earlier in the week and clearly having learned our lesson that even INSIDE the Intracoastal Waterway it gets intense, we decided to skip breakfast and leave Pensacola and zoom as quickly as we could since it seemed to be a clear weather window.  It was, in fact, generally clear and the water and winds were cooperative.  Some clouds were off in the distance and looked a bit unfriendly. But we were only going to go 60 miles.

Typical views on the ICW. Narrow sections are nice because there are lots of things to look at and reminds me of going down the rivers–other than the intenser development.

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I am constantly reminded that I am from the West Coast. Don’t worry not another political rant!  It’s just that I am so programmed to feel that if my back is to the shore, then North is to the right and South is to the left. It’s just automatic for me that if it’s late in the day, then the sun is west (or maybe a bit southwest).  And this panhandle thing of Florida is SO counter my internal compass.  Ok, so look at the top post at the feature pic. If that were on the west coast, you’d say that was about 4 pm in the Fall looking South-ish or maybe West-ish, right? Well it was 8:30 in the morning looking due East. Just seems weird to me.

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Ziggy has now scoped out a new spot to bird watch!

Anyway, we made our 60 mile journey without any problems.  Arrived at the super upscale (aka most expensive moorage yet) Baytowne Marina /Sandestin, Destin, Florida before noon and had just finished the gas up and pump out, when some raindrops started to fall.  We were feeling pretty lucky, if not smart, that we had made it just in time.

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During a 30 minute rain break, while walking the dog we explored a little trail off the marina parking lot and stumbled out and into a big funplex/restaurants development…EMPTY of any life. It was kinda Twilight Zone-ish.

Other than that 30 minute window, it didn’t stop raining for the following 16 hours.  I believe the 24 hour total was in excess of 5 inches. It was constant torrential. And with the rain, the winds picked up.

For some more water protection on the upper helm and the back “patio”, we added the isinglass (a first for us on this boat.)  Luckily N enjoys jigsaw puzzles and put his skills to use; unfortunately it was so wet, we basically had to strip down to swimsuits to get the job done, and probably scared the few boaters that were walking the dock.

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Even scarier for the entire marina was to awaken to this:

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Yes, during the evening we had to dig out a tarp and full assortment of bungee cords and little scrabbles of rope (not to mention the duct tape for all the seams of the windows)  because all that rain with powerful wind was dripping inside and onto our mattress! Gross! If anyone wondered before about our gas cans on the bow or the bedsheet off the back to screen the sun, this probably confirms that we certainly are part of the hillbilly crowd. BUT…it did work! The drips stopped!

N did stay up all but 3 hours of the night due to the “regular” high winds, rocking boat, and concern over the need to yank down the isinglass and tarp or leave them and, fortunately, the tornado threat remained only a threat and never materialized. And yes, apparently we will be pulling the windows off, getting rid of the icky stuff, and re-setting/sealing them at our next major stop!

The next day started and stayed crisp and clean and only slightly windy at the marina.

A few parting shots of our day which was mostly spent cleaning up water from everything (a good way to get rid of all that salt spray!) but interspersed with a grocery store trip in the golf cart (always fun but not very photogenic!) and a few other little walks and biking:

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No damage at the marina other than downed branches and this big sign
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And I thought they grew big grapefruits here!

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4 thoughts on “Dec 4-6 Days 56-58 Tornado Skirtin’”

  1. Ok this is the second time I’ve typed this because this thing requires a password and I keep loosing it and my pc does not remember it…OK now that I have that off my chest…. I went onto the Marine Traffic app and found your new port, I did not see any reports of derelict vessels with the name….Mar something. I did find two vessels in port if you want to check them out on a walk, one is Slow Motion the other is Checkers. Guess the Sound will seem like a piece of cake now that you’ve experienced big waters and hurricane winds. I guess the only thing we have to add is LOGS…..Alix

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    1. Whoa, that’s pretty cool and very big brotherish! Yes, we were docked right across from Checkers. Lucky for us she’s a HUGE boat, very nice and made a great windbreak for us on the storm night! Nobody aboard. Didn’t see Slow Motion.

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  2. Good to have you back online. I’ve become a compulsive OIBLTIBS blog checker. So . . . to your point about west coast directional orientation. Me too. I rode a motorcycle clockwise around the coast of Maui. For the entire trip I was headed north. No question about it. Land on the right. Ocean on the left. You’re headed north. When I arrived back at my starting point I was so disoriented it felt like I’d been smoking Maui Wowie.

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  3. 3 days in 1 works for me. Like the last comment I lived near Boston for 5 years and never got “used to” the ocean being on the wrong side… Feeling peaceful now after hurricanes and pretty pictures at the end of the day.

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