Friday, January 20, 2012

Homeport Marina to Pensacola Palafox Harbour

The Admiral says she can't see as well as she used to but she never misses a raptor at the top of some far away tree.

The ICW soons changes to white sandy beaches.

On Both Sides of the ICW

This is the Pensacola Channel out to the Gulf from where we will soon be transiting to Destin, FL.

You go right by Fort Pickens.

This strange ship with this strange appendage was right next to our marina in Pensacola.

I had to find out what this strange ship does, the name is Global 1200.

Turns out it is the latest technology in deep sea pipe laying.

And this Tall Ship "Peacemaker" was moored near as well. Some group called the "Twelve Tribes" operates this ship and they allowed anyone to come aboard and take a self tour of the boat for a donation. They normally sail the East coast but comes to Pensacola once each year for a couple of months. I guess the twelve tribes are doing well, it would take a lot of orginization to raise the funds for a ship like this, not sure if they are a religious cult or something like the Amish? Wikipedia details some of their sketchy past but they seem to have their mission sustainable now. Anyway click on the title to this blog for a link to the ships website.

This is Seville Harbour where I thought we had reservations but when we called as we were approaching Pensacola we arbour instead, just around the corner and owned by the same Marina company. Seville was under repair and not accepting transients.

This is Palafax Street leading to the water front and our Marina.

WS at this 5 star Marina. The small boats in this marina were worth 15 times WS. There were several small private ships moored here.

This little Snowy Egret stayed around our boat fishing every day.

This is the entrance to Palafox Harbour, very hard to see from the bay until you get right up to it.

Jaco's is the very popular resturant on the right, I think the Marina owns it to.

A sunset over Pensacola Bay

We rented a car for a day and drove over to Pensacola Beach, The water is getting pretty clear and the sands much whiter.

We love our Mustang Island but these beaches are pretty incredible.

To cold to jump in the water but it was a great evening walk.

A Pensacola Sunset shot through the fishing pier.

Day, 53
Underway 4:40 hrs, 28.7 Nm., Avg speed 5.8Kts. , 32-60 degrees,Sunny 10-15 NE winds.

Man I was feeling pretty High as we departed Homeport and motored down this last stretch of the ICW that we would see for a while. I anticipated the trip across Pensacola Bay where I had come in from across the Gulf as crew for Wave Dancer ours friends Bill and Pam's 42' Passport.

What I did not anticipate was the shores of the ICW turning to white sand where the homes that were built along this section had a beach for their back yard. Still a couple of Tows moving about but I think we only saw two. Now we saw a lot more pleasure craft and several marinas along the way. As we approached Pensacola Bay we called Seville Harbor to let them know we would be arriving soon. The Lady who answered informed us that the person who took our reservation was a substitute and Seville was closed to transients. We would be going to Palafox instead. Hey the price was right since they took a boat US discount, just like Homeport Marina. This Boat US membership is finally starting to pay us back some. We were instructed to tie up at the fuel dock and Harbour Master Drew would give us a slip assignment. I thought this is a neat trick to get incoming transients to the fuel dock to buy fuel. Well I always like to top off the tanks anyway and come to find out their diesel was very reasonable and guess what, yep Boat US discount on the fuel also. It was blowing 15-20 and we were sort of pinned against the fuel dock with our high free board but Drew came through for us as he had the strength to push off the dock just enough for us to get away to our slip.

The Marina is located near downtown and three different Historic zones in walking distance. We also found a Greek Grocery store we could walk to to get some provisions. We did the nearby museums and had a great Happy hour right down on Palafox street at a winebar where the Happy hour was a carafe of your choice of wine for the price of a glass. We ordered the Shrimp Topas to share and it was great with the Sonoma Chardonnay.

Enterprise is our goto rental agency for cars since they come get you and they take you back after dropping off the car. We got a car for 1 day to complete our provisioning and to take an afternoon to go to Pensacola Beach. We were impressed with the blue water and white sands. The Admiral has been reading ahead and told me that Destin Beaches are supposed to be much better. I thought it would be hard to beat these beaches anywhere in the US but I am always ready for better. We ended staying in Pensacola for 4 nights while waiting for a front to pass through and to plan for our 1st passage on the outside in the Gulf of Mexico. The Admiral felt like we were missing something and was very concerned about going out into the Gulf. I scheduled diver to come and check out our keel and rudder since we had run aground twice in the ICW, once in Texas and once just after entering Louisiana. You want to be sure everything is ok before heading out into the Gulf of Mexico. The diver gave us a clean bill of health, all below the water line was ok, no damage. We asked him about the entrance to Destin and he said it was pretty straight forward but he said Captain Cook was on a boat right next to us and he made trips up and down the Florida coast all the time. The Admiral went right over and arranged for him to come meet with us and go over the charts for our next several destinations. Captain Cook spent about an hour with us and provided all the local knowledge we would need to navigate to our next four destinations. The Admiral was much relieved as we made final preparations to secure the boat for our 1st journey out into the Gulf for our passage to Destin where the entrance can be tricky without local knowledge.

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