When we left the river system and entered Mobile Bay- It feels like the ocean! its a huge bay! Still had 14 miles to go to get to Grand Mariner Marina on the Dog River. We had made at their booth at the Fall AGLCA Rendezvous.
GRAND MARINER MARINA MOBILE AL.
A few looper boats were tied to the dock and others were across the bay at Dog River Marina. We filled up with fuel- with the promotion of free night with purchase of 100 gallons of fuel. We love a bargain
No “docktails” at this marina. The deck and table were commandeered by the local live-aboard community. … I think we found where the “Walmart midnight customers” go when not shopping at Walmart. This is an eclectic group of residents with a 70’s/ early 80’s influence. The décor and condition of the property is very 70s style;
It was a bit disconcerting to learn that the pump out station had been broken down for three months. It’s an inconvenience for transients, but what do the live aboard boaters do in the meantime? I probably do not want to know.
The owner and dock workers were very helpful- the marina is run by few young couples. There were toddlers fishing off the piers and lots of dogs roaming around.
Several other boaters were here for extended stays to have work done- fix a prop, order parts, adjust a drive shaft. We are thankful that no major repairs have been needed as of yet, knock on wood. A few in our group were not so lucky.
Boats need to be pulled and inspected “on the hard”. (this results in living in in the parking lot while your boat is waiting for repairs). I think some have been here for a while…
How many captains does it take to diagnose a shudder? “Is it the prop or the drive shaft? Maybe check the motor mounts… ”
Most boaters have a good supply of spare parts on board, but I’m sure not many can compete with how prepared Dave is to take care of any mishaps along the way. ( If you know Dave, you know what I’m talking about). When a random boater asked what he does for a living he might say “I am a mortician”- but when a friend has engine problems he steps up!
DINNER AT THE YACHT CLUB
We ventured over to the Dog River side of the river and had dinner with about 16 loopers at the Yacht Club. It was conveniently located next door to a West Marine store.
WEATHER FORECAST PROMISING – LETS CROSS MOBILE BAY
By leaving at 7:45 , we expected to make the crossing across from west to east across Mobile Bay before the winds started to crank up. (We stayed at a marina on the west side of Mobile.) Another good option would have been Fair Hope- located on the East side. Our choice meant that we now needed to cut across the bay to reach the Gulf Intercoastal water way that would lead us across the panhandle of Florida.
Barely left the marina , and wondered if our there would be room in the channel for passing? The ocean going boats are huge!
This one carried a life boat like Tom Hanks used !
Ocean going freighters and containerships were coming and going.
The forecast was 5 to 10 mph; building by midafternoon. The boating seminars at the rendezvous had emphasized that crossings are best undertaken when the wind is less than 15 miles per hour.
We have 40 miles to cover if we do not take the short cut. The short cut is diaganol in a south east direction of about 25 miles. The short cut turn off was just after the light house marker; we took the photo then decided that the winds would be right on our beam and make for an uncomfortable ride.
By the time we approached the short cut turn off; the winds were building from the north east and they would have been hitting our boat broadside. We preferred staying in the main shipping channel to avoid the extra rock and rolling.
The forecast seemed to be inaccurate; by midmorning the winds were building to 15 miles per hour. By noon, we were clocking close to 26 mph winds; and they soon steady at 30 miles per hour. (Any time we take a picture of the wind meter– you can bet its not good news.
We know the boat can handle the weather; (so it is not unsafe) but how much can the crew handle? It was rolling side to side as we went south, but crew remained in good spirits!
We met this boat as we crossed; a reminder that the election is fast approaching!
Another common sight were oil rigs of some sort- need to figure out what purpose these serve. We just kept in our channel..
GICW (GULF INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY)
Once we crossed the bay, we entered the Gulf IntraCoastal water way.
The GICW is the 1050 mile intra-coastal waterway from Carrabelle FL. to Brownsville Texas. We follow this waterway for 250 miles: from Gulf Shores Mile marker 150, to Carrabelle Florida mile marker 350