December 21, 2016
After leaving Port St. Joe we intended to take a slip at Apalachicola, but from the water the place was not inviting, plus we had rough water and stiff winds that make for laying alongside the docks a chore so we bypassed it and moved farther east on the panhandle to Carrabelle. Coming out into open water we encountered a channel dredge pushing a giant tube filled with the sand it plowed up to deposit elsewhere out of the channel. We were forced to hug tight to their process through a quarter mile of dredging in 2 feet of water. Harrowing.
Carrabelle is a beautiful harbor with numerous marinas lining its deeper east side. We watched a lighted boat parade and the marina fed us Low Country Boil, consisting of shrimp, sausage, red potatoes, and cob corn boiled together in seasoned water in a huge pot. Another sad town beaten by continuous hurricanes. We spent two nights due to nasty weather in the open Gulf. The Gulf crossing is a serious matter to Loopers. Weather can quickly change so we all monitor sail flow, tide tables, winds and waves and when the sea looks favorable we take off. Sometimes it’s a night crossing.
We had planned to leave the panhandle and cruise across open water to Steinhatchee, but the water turned too rough and we pulled up short into Miller’s Gateway Marina at Suwannee River.
From Suwannee River we drove our last leg to Marker 1 Marina in dense fog. It was a long anxious day! This marina is large and popular. We had reserved a slip 3 months prior to arrival, but it was not available so they put us on the outside wall where we are subject to rolling seas and fixed docks. Many mornings during extreme low tide we had to crawl out of the boat. Don had to lift Inky up and over. The dock was so high we could stand in Panacea and look under the dock to the boats inside the marina across from us. Marker 1 is in Dunedin, Florida, a lovely busy town with numerous shops displaying local artist’s creations. Very unusual. Great food everywhere. Lots of tourist attractions. Dolphins play around our boat.