We woke up to a foggy morning docked at the Bayou Grande Marina which is located at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola.

Since Sam has retired from the Air Force, we are able to stay at marina bases.

If you are former military, you should check it out.

It rained from the time we arrived and then all night long so we welcomed the sunshine.

At exactly 0755 reveille played.

Then at exactly 0800 we heard Star Spangled Banner.

We are proud to be Americans and that really got us ready to get out there!

After the fog lifted, we got on our way.

Sam got a little off track when we came in so he followed the magenta line on the Garmin Chart Plotter for a safe exit.

The channel was very narrow and of course we met a boat.

Fortunately, it was a small boat of friendly servicemen so no issues at all.

It really was a lovely day to be cruising.

Almost immediately when we got out there, a large sport fishing boat gave us a good hearty wake, I guess to say good morning.

We also passed a couple other boats before we got to the Pensacola Bridge.

We started seeing giant homes and large boats docked right in front.

I like the way bridges look after we go under them.

I don’t know why.

Sign of progress.

Smooth Sailing

The water was so calm on this stretch that I actually painted my toenails.

Crazy right?

More giant homes along the way.

It’s so easy to relax and enjoy the calm, smooth ride.

Trouble

We heard on the radio about some trouble that a boat was having.

They had unfortunately run aground.

As we slowly passed, we saw Sea Tow there helping them.

We actually saw a diver standing up and walking around their boat.

Now that’s shallow.

The strange thing is that they were right outside the channel on the left.

I mean barely noticeable outside the channel.

Nevertheless, it was a good lesson to us to make sure to stay between those markers.

Strangely enough, there was another boat on the opposite side and just beyond the channel on the left.

This must be a really troublesome site.

So beware when you pass Green 63.

Stay in the channel!

Smooth Cruise Continues

I was really enjoying the trip when I looked out down the side of the boat and saw one of the fenders getting batted around.

OH NO!

I did it again.

I got so relaxed on our trip to Ft. Walton and the Emerald Coast area that I forgot to pull the fenders up after we left the Navy base.

White Dunes

What I didn’t expect on this stretch was to see beautiful white dunes.

It wasn’t a crazy reflection.

They were actually white.

So beautiful.

As we continued down the Intracoastal Waterway, it was easy to get carried away with the sights.

Do you think they are having a good day at their anchorage?

I’m glad we aren’t going to this place.

Talk about a narrow channel!

Coast Guard on the Job

While we were gawking at all the sights around us, we noticed a Coast Guard boat turned around after we went by.

Uh-oh.

Is it our time to be boarded?

Then, they went around us.

Hallelujah!

Not today.

All of a sudden, they slowed down.

So we slowed down.

HUH?

We were too busy watching them that we didn’t see the Slow Down sign.

You know how it is.

LOL

So thankful for the Coast Guard and all the work they do for us mariners.

Emerald Coast

We followed the Coast Guard under this bridge and then looked to the right.

And saw the Emerald Coast water tower.

This picture doesn’t do it justice.

Stunning.

As we went further down the ICW, we saw this sailboat.

Cool, huh?

Did You Say Bombs?

Sam called me up to the bridge to look at the Garmin.

Do you see where the magenta line is taking us?

That’s right.

Directly through an “Unexploded Bombs” area.

What is happening here?

And this is what it looked like from the boat.

Harmless enough.

And it was.

No explosions for us.

Bluewater Bay Marina

The marina gave Sam instructions when turning toward the entrance to go through three sets of red/green markers and then make a sharp right.

I don’t know what happened exactly but Sam started following a smaller boat and got off track.

The Garmin alarm started going off and the depth was suddenly shallow.

Fortunately, Sam was able to back up and get back to the markers.

Close call.

Sam always says it’s not how you screw up, it’s how you recover.

So I’m not surprised at all that he was able to save the day.

Then, we found our slip and it was the skinniest slip we have ever been in.

Our beam is 15 feet 4 inches.

This slip is about 16 feet.

No problem.

We got to dock next to this seasoned sailboat.

Look a little closer.

Built in 1906.

Incredible.

The Bluewater Bay Marina had a courtesy car so we were able to go to Walmart and provision.

We were only there one night and it happened to be the night their restaurant was closed.

Our loss.

We were, however, invited to docktails by the AGLCA Harbor Hosts, Gold Loopers, Jack and Patty Nickerson aboard Nearly Perfect.

We were able to meet some other loopers and a couple planning to loop in a few years.

It was a short but enjoyable trip.

I think we’ll be back.

Our Thoughts