Sunday, December 30, 2012

Great Loop December 24th to 30th- Apalachicola

As we wake on this beautiful Sunday December 30th, Bill and I watch the sun rise over the Apalachicola bay, drink our morning coffee and think back on the last few days. I, Joy get irritated at myself for not blogging as I intended on Dec. 25th, but days go by so fast. Time slips away much happens.

This is a picture of the of the beach near the place we grounded (or touched bottom on 12 17)
This is the place we grounded (touched bottom) take a close look at the brownish white area under the water its right at the opening into the Grand Lagoon not far from the Gulf of Mexico, which is behind us in this picture. Well I have another story to share.. we touched again on the 27th. YES, 10 days later as we cruised across to Apalachicola we touched again. This time I was at the helm and following another boater/boat The Zone just singing and minding my own business and the depth dropped to 0.1 feet mud churned, my nerves jiggled. Ross, from the Zone calls on the radio and said, "don't follow me I'm off course". OOP's - so I veered  to starboard (to the right, away from The Zone, but we churned a lot mud. We got into deeper waters. Bill  went down below to check the engines. He quickly came back up to the bridge to see what was happening. We check the engines about every 1 or 2 hours when we are cruising for any problems or overheating. When I check I just lift the hatch to the engine room if anything is wrong by sight or smell I
and close the hatch. When Bill checks the engine he really goes down and checks for stuff like, puts a monitor on the engine for overheating and looks for leaks etc, etc.. So for him to come quickly back to the fly bridge he had to crawl out of the engine room shut the hatch and climb the stairs back to the bridge.
So on with my story about touching bottom. We developed a vibration in the starboard engine, thinking mud had gotten into the sea strainers Bill returned to the engine room again and cleaned the strainers. STILL a vibration in the starboard. Long story short we slowly cruised at about 6 knots an hour and continued into Apalachicola.
Friday December 28th
This picture is of an open railroad bridge. The Zone is ahead of us entering into the bay.
This is Apalachicola it is a small fishing village with lots of cute shops. They have a Piggly Wiggly grocery near where we shopped for eggs and milk. There are lots of restaurants and shops.
OK.. so on with the story this is the good part...
Because of the vibration we hired a diver to go under the boat to check the props and shaft.
It was 12/ 28, 7:00 pm at night, the water cold about 60 degrees, there are things in the water I would not have the nerve to swim with...the divers name is Anton.
Bills face when he finds out nothing is wrong with the props and shaft. To make the best of the situation,
we had a gathering with other looper's with snacks and docktails and dive party.
These are some of the pictures of the shops we had so much fun. 
Bill and Bob from Karma spent the day Saturday 12/29 discovering the source of the vibration in the starboard engine and driving the golf cart to the Ace hardware. A bolt and pin on the shaft at the back of the starboard engine had sheared off. Bob says that it was an old problem but aggravated by the new recent  groundings. Bob is a mechanic and we are so thankful that we met him because we keep him busy. Also, thankful that he loves to work on boats. Bob is a wonderful man. Bill and I would give him an award for helping other boaters along the way. YEAH! BOB!
I will try to post more tomorrow about Apalachicola, but today we travel to Carrabelle and wait to cross the gulf....Oh MY! The anxiety starts to build again, I'm so glad for shopping therapy.
Love and Prayers, Joy

Monday, December 24, 2012

Panama City Beach December 23rd and 24th



Well here we are in Panama City Beach, Florida 
its cool 57 and raining today its Christmas eve. Bill and I made the traditional Walgreen's run 
This attraction Ripleys Belive it or Not is across from the Walgreens, isn't it cool?
On Sunday December 23rd we spent the a few hours at the mall and ate at 5 Guys hamburgers with Bob and  Ivy its a great outdoor mall. 
Bill asked if I would take pictures so his sisters could see the cool mall and its on a pier overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, actually Ivy and I came to the mall on Saturday did some shopping for cloths from Santa ( wink wink) while Bill and Bob worked on the port engine of our boat. 
This is a street view of Pier Park Mall.
The amusement park at Pier Park Mall
This picture of a little girl on the Christmas train made me miss seeing the kids, Shauney Rose, Molly and Carlie Grace.
So here is Shauney Rose
Molly Joy 

Carlie Grace and Taylor
Bill and I have 9 grandchildren and its hard to get them all on a blog so I will have to post again on Christmas day with more pictures. SO..Trey, Brent, Brittany and Callie, and Julie Marie watch for tomorrow post.
This is a beautiful marina we are safe and warm we have cable t.v. and newspapers. We have a few looper family here, Lady KK, The Zone, Karma, Why Not and Krazy Kru we are all waiting on a weather window  before we move on to the next port. 
Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year, Love JOY

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Shalamir to Panama City- The Grand Lagoon, Panama City

As some of you know Bill and I anchored out the night of Dec. 13 when we left Palafox Marina at Pensacola then discovered that our generator would not work AND a fuel  leak in the starboard engine caused by a split injector. We stopped in Shalimar Yacht Basin.  Thankfully, Bill was able to get the part overnighted and the injector is fixed, we met really nice folks there- One couple we met were dreaming about living aboard a boat or a RV, so Bill invited them to take a tour of Proud Lady.  
They were so happy about the tour they brought a chili dinner and movies back to the boat for us for supper. Only thing that could have been better is if they would have stayed for dinner with us. The other folks there at Shalamir Yacht Basin were great we attended their Christmas Party, chatted with other live a board folks. Shalimar is known as one of Florida's best kept secrets. The stay at Shalamar was nice but we made the decision on Monday December 17 to move on to Panama City.
Engine all fixed but still no generator!
This is Proud Lady in her slip at Shalimar.
Orange tree near the marina.
Evidence that Christmas is near.

Monday December 17 

We left Shalimar about 8:30 am our destination Panama City. The weather promised to clear by noon.
Did your mother ever tell you if you can't say anything good don't say anything? Well this should have been one of those times-
Monday December 17th was one challenging day it was cloudy, cool, gray clouds hung low in the sky above Choctawhatchee Bay, waves escalated to about 4 feet high our Proud Lady proved to us that she can handle anything. I was a little frightened as the waves peaked and toughed slamming us in the side tossing us to and fro. By noon the weather did not clear. For aprox. 22 miles we sloshed about in the Bay with rain wind and waves. Finally, we entered into the Gulf intercoastal called the " Grand Canyon", we were out of the wind and waves but the rain continued.
This picture is the canal that connects Choctawhatchee Bay to West Bay. This canal is called "Grand Canyon" the banks are high with dark green scrub pines, ferns, moss with occasional white sand banks. I don't remember how long the canal is but it took about 2 hours we travel at 8-10 miles an hour so my nearest guess is about 20 miles long. It feels isolated but I know just over the banks are towns and not far from the Gulf of Mexico.
THEN, we entered into West Bay about 2:00pm the rain lightened the shy was promising to clear as we traveled closer to Panama City, we seen fishing boats, lots of industry and huge ships loading cargo.
About 3:45 we entered into the opening to the Gulf of Mexico, St Andrews Bay. Nearing the Grand Lagoon where we have planned to stay at a marina. Bill and I discussed the bouy system that marks the channel it was a little strange so based on what we know we took the center of the channel at the opening into Grand Lagoon UT! OH! It was about 4:15 pm just before dark less than a mile from the Bay Point Marina we touch bottom and Proud Lady could not move, not forward or backward. There are beautiful soft white sand on bottom and surrounding beaches and sparkling blue waters with a wind about 10 to 15 in gusts from the south, the air was warm and humid, the sky is clearing but we are sitting among the sand and shallow waters in the mouth of Grand Lagoon. Laughable yet we were to see the opening into the Gulf. My Captain promptly called Tow Boat U.S. who arrived after dark and pulled Proud Lady to the safety of  deeper waters.
Mind you its after dark by this time we still need to get to the Marina, Bill and I make a plan to use the spotlight he will drive and we used our app on the I pad from active captain to navigate through the water, we did make one wrong turn but we were able to recover by turning around and going back. Thank God the water stayed at a level that Proud  Lady could travel in some depths were 2 to 3 feet. That was enough to make our toes curl!
We arrived in the dark at Bay Point Marina, with the guidance of the Harbor master Steve by phone we were able to tie up on the pier and settle in for the night. Challenge complete lesson learned.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pensacola to Shalamar ...One day at a Time!

Enjoyed the Christmas Parade in Pensacola on Saturday December 8th 

King Neptune

Santa arrived in Pensacola but not oin a sleigh with reindeer he got here in a boat pulled by dolphins!
December 13 2012 FINALLY, we left the beautiful pier of Palafax in Pensacola and crossed Pensacola bay  the weather was clear sunny about 65 degrees inside the fly bridge we stayed toasty warm and dry.
Bill and I entered the Innercoastal waterway about 1030 am. This bridge at Pensacola beach is near the bouys that mark the waterway.
The beaches are white sand they are desolate at this time of year. There are beautiful and large homes that edge the shoreline all the way through the waterway. About 3:00 pm we entered into Fort Walton near Eglin a Air force base. 
This tower or lighthouse is sitting on the barrier island near Fort Walton, Florida 
Lots of planes and troops in training in the air and on the water.

We arrived at our anchorage about 3:45 pm its simply beautiful and the water looks like glass, reflecting the homes and trees with a pink sunset. I cooked Becky kind of spaghetti which we ate like we were hungry. I read a book for the 2nd time called, " Americas first woman Sheriff captures Kentucky's  Barefoot Desperado" by Diane Griffith, I got more understanding from it reading the 2nd time but I am a little upset the man died, I wanted to believe in our justice system and the truth be found out and for all to live happly ever after. 
My new goal is to take better pictures. Things we miss on camera are the dolphins that lead the way at our bow. Then, at night there are some beautiful Christmas lights, boats decorated and homes decorated for the holiday. I have them captured on film but the picture is so blurry ANYWAY, on 12 14 12 our starboard engine has a fuel leak so we are stopped again in port at Shalamar Yacht Harbor with engine parts on order. We will tour this area of Florida during our stay here. Today is cold rainy and dark but the folks here are very nice. We are safe and warm in our slip. Still very blessed and happy, Love you all- JOY

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Navel Air Museum and Pensacola Light house

Bill listening to the tour guide give the history of the plane.
On December 4th Bill and I had the opportunity to visit the Naval Aviation Museum the place is very overwhelming with tons to see and do.
This area is about Vietnam with planes, helicopters and a display of how the POW's were treated the film had John McCain. I myself had to step out because its very sad and I could not handle the treatment those guys had to endure.
Bill looking inside a jet
this is the inside Bill was looking at
There were 3 C 1 30's on display they are sort of the kind Bill worked on in Vietnam but he was in the Airforce not the Navy. Bill Holzworth Sr. served in WW2  in the Navy. Jim Holzworth a cousin of Bill served in the Navy. I enjoyed the display of the WW1 and WW2  also the forgotten war Korea was on display, I tried to get pictures of all the displays but it was hard to catch all.

This is a retired C130 called Fat Albert used by the Blue Angels.

This is the WW1 display as you can see there is a lot to see.
Then we walked down the street and across where we toured the Pensacola Lighthouse

I climbed all 177 steps to the top and took pictures.
Here I am ready to climb 
a window about 50 stairs up I stopped 
This is the lens crystal and weighs 4 tons it is all electric now but in 1859 they used a flame light with kerosene. The tour guide Mary had a grandpa who worked here until 1953 he story was intriguing. 
She also told about the lighthouse being haunted by a woman who walks the catwalk.

This is a picture of the Blue Angles practicing I got this shot while I was at the top how exciting!
I have pictures of them landing and the taxi into the air base.
After descending from the lighthouse we walked to the beach area just down from the lighthouse this big tree looks like one that the grand-kids would love to climb the limbs are low and all spread out 
Bill wandering the beach .
Our walk on the beach was great I was so excited to see the water and waves. The sand is white, soft and hard to walk in. I took about 97 pictures today and all could not be posted on this short blog