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Gulf Crossing

 Carrabelle, in the Panhandle of Florida, to Tarpon Springs is a 160 mile trip if traveled straight through. It would take 16 hours at 10 MPH so in order to arrive in daylight you’d need to leave at midnight to arrive before dark the next day. Yesterday we decided to break our trip up into two days. We left with Wanderin’ L&M at 4 AM to find the coastal waves to be less than three feet and winds less than…

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Last Stop Before Crossing the Gulf of Mexico – Carrabelle, Florida

Carabelle is only a short 31 miles southeast of Apalachicola and it is the last stop on Florida's Panhandle and ICW. From here you have to either cross southeast out into the Gulf of Mexico to Tarpon Springs (160 miles) or hopscotch around the "Big Bend."The Big Bend is three to four travel days with the advantage being that you're closer to land in case you want an exit strategy from the Gulf in a hurry due to worsening weather.…

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Apalachicola, Land of the Yummy Oysters

Apalachicola, Florida was a 61-mile run from Panama City Beach on Florida's ICW. It was a beautiful meandering cruise through absolute wilderness most of the way. We saw eagles and many dolphins on this run through pretty swampy looking territory.We went through this cut during low tide as you can see in the photos below.Apalachicola is considered one of the top oyster centers in the country and when you're there Papa Joe's, in our opinion, is the place to go.…

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Panama City, Florida

Today we traveled to Panama City Beach, Florida. Our timing could not have been better. A front came through the day after we arrived bringing high winds and big white caps, even in the marina. It was reported that there were up to fourteen-foot waves on the Gulf. Good time to be tied up to a dock. We planned a three-day layover at Bay Point Marina which was touted as a good stop and we have to report that it…

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Sand Dune Cliffs on the ICW

 Some people call this cut, in the Panhandle, from East Bay to Apalachicola the Grand Canyon of the Florida ICW but we don't think it is really anything like the arid canyons of out west but for us it is more reminisant of the sand dunes in the Leelanau Penninsula near our hometown in Michigan.This is my (Lisa's) favorite part of the trip south. The winding cut through this portion has a more intimate feeling than some parts of the waterway.…

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Thanksgiving Day – Destin Harbor – Anchorage

While waiting for the turkey to cook we took the dinghy down for a tour of the harbor and a walk on the beach. It was the perfect day. Just a slight breeze, no bugs and lots of sunshine. We stuck our toes in the Gulf and squished our toes in the fine, white sand. Once settled into our anchorage Lisa prepared a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, home-made pumpkin pie, stuffing, gravy and mashed potatoes.We put the roaster on…

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Playing with the Dolphins

Thanksgiving day was spent motoring another six miles to the harbor in Destin, Florida to anchor out again. On our way we came across a school of dolphins playing in the crystal clear, sandy bottom, waters in the Destin Channel. We had five dolphins playfully swimming in front of, beside and under our boat, as Lisa captured it all with her camera. Remember what we said about nature providing entertainment?

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Fort Walton Beach

The next two days we took it a little slower not wanting to hurry through a beautiful cruising area. We only traveled six miles each day. Our first overnight stop was to tie up to the Fort Walton Beach’s free dock. Everything we needed was within walking distance and it was time to get off the boat to stretch our legs. Lisa said it was time to find a hair salon and it was nice to just walk the two…

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Santa Rosa Island Anchorage

With the leak fixed we were able to leave early this morning for an anchorage by Elgin Airforce Base, Santa Rosa Island, which is six miles west of Fort Walton Beach. We were just on the other side of a barrier island which is the only thing that separated us from the Gulf of Mexico. We are seeing more and more dolphins now as we head east on the ICW. We were close to the landing path of those gigantic…

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Pensacola Shipyard

We developed a transmission oil cooler leak and luckily found an authorized Cummin’s dealer in Pensacola to handle the warranty repair. It was a beautiful cruise toward Pensacola. We are starting to see a lot of white sandy beaches and windswept bushes and trees. The repair was completed the afternoon of the day we arrived at the Pensacola Shipyard so we would be back on our schedule only one day or so behind.

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Ingram Bayou Anchorage

Ingram Bayou is a fantastic anchorage located in the Orange Beach area. Well protected it is the perfect anchorage to enjoy a variety of birds, dolphins and amazing sunsets and sunrises.We were entertained all morning by a couple of dolphins who swam all around our boat for hours.

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Fun Stop at Lulu’s

We took our time pushing off today, leaving at 9:00 am instead of our usual 7:00 of previous days. We have fond memories, from our previous Loop, of the ICW along the Panhandle and want to slow down and savor our time spent in this area.First off we decided to stop at Lulu’s for lunch. Lulu’s is owned by Jimmy Buffet’s sister Lucy. It is a fun place and you would almost think you were in the Bahamas. In the…

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Pelicans, Dolphins, Tides, Salt Water and Gulf Breezes

Our return to the beautiful shores of Fairhope, Alabama was a welcome respite from our long adventure on the river system. It was a very warm, sunny day and the sights, sounds and the smell of the salt water air made us breath deep and relax a little. No more locks, hopefully continued warm weather and lots of coastal sunsets to appreciate.We spent three days at Eastern Shore Marina resting, stocking up, doing laundry and socializing with friends.The first night…

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