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Sunday, November 23, 2014

11/20/2014 - 11/22/2014 - The Wharf Marina

11/20/2014 - Thursday
We tried to see if we could get a cheap rent car for the weekend to add on to our next week's rental but they were all out so we are stuck here until Monday.  As I said before, a few days at The Wharf is enough, not much to do, everything is too far away for walking or biking!

We asked Al and Kay if they would like to ride back to Texas with us on Tuesday.  They were planning to head back in December anyway so this would only be a few extra weeks ahead of their original plan.  They have now changed their plans and moved their boat to a better/safer slip also because the next time they come back to their boat will be around the first of next year.  

Late in the afternoon, Jerry and Susan returned from Texas with their car just in time for happy hour.

11/21/2014 - Friday
Beth and Randy left us to head back to Palafox so we all helped them cast off their lines and said our farewells.  We hope our paths with cross again in the future!  I found out that Kay's best friend's husband passed away last evening and she will be flying out tomorrow.  Al and Lexi will still be driving back to Texas with us on Tuesday.  It's amazing how things change, it makes you realize that if you want to do something you better do it and be prepared to "go with the flow"!

I did some laundry and then Josh and I walked the shops again.  We both looked at each other and said "Now What".  We do not pick up the car until Monday so we have several days here with nothing to do!  Josh started piddling around with A/C filters and I read my book.  We saw Al and Kay on their bikes and they were doing the same as us - bored and trying to find something to do. 

It was interesting talking to some of the Loop'ers who stop at this marina before heading out to places in Florida.  They all have stories about their adventures and some not so good ones!   I enjoyed looking at some of their blogs.  It reminds me of some of the larger TMCA trips but these are longer.  In one picture I counted 15 boats in a lock at one time.  All these boats travel together, competing for stopping places!  It does reinforce to Josh and I that we still have no interest in doing the Loop.

Phil and Matilde, TMCA friends and one of the couples who traveled with us back in 2012 stopped by to spend the night with Susan and Jerry before heading back to their boat in Florida.  We all got together for happy hour and had a great time catching up on their travels.

11/22/2014 - Saturday
Josh and I looked at each other and said "what are we going to do today"?  Let's see if we can get a ride to the outlet mall!  That would give us something to do.  I went to take my shower in the back shower and afterward I went to the forward head to remove my magnifying mirror off the wall mirror that is directly over the head (potty) and I heard a "plop".  Oh No!  One of the batteries on the back of the magnifying mirror dropped into it.  Josh said "what was that?"  I cringed and told him.  I will not go into detail of our conversation but (lesson learned) always keep the lid down!  I think I just gave us something to do today because Josh was thinking that he was going to have to take the head apart.  I felt really bad so I was thinking of some other way to get it out.  I asked Josh if he had a baster to remove the water and he did.  Once the water was removed VOILA! the little bugger came back in sight.  Josh used his "nose picker" (that's a tool) and plucked the battery out.  Thank goodness because I would have never heard the end of it. Batteries are now removed from mirror!

We talked to a gentleman today who did the loop and all the locks alone.  He was telling us that he used Gold's Gym Exercise Balls covered with mesh laundry bags, tied with a line attached for fenders.  You inflate the ball partly, insert them into the bag, inflate the ball the rest of the way, tie a knot and attach your line.  They are MUCH cheaper than real fender balls and he said they worked great.  Not one popped!  Several years ago someone told him about this at one of the looper rendezvous' so he decided to give it a try.  They fold up a lot better than the traditional boat ball fenders. That's a real space saving plus on a boat.

Phil and Matilde headed out around noon.  It was really great to see them!  We were planning to go to the outlet mall with Susan but she wanted to straighten up their boat and get ready for round two of their company so she told us to take the car.  Al was watching a football game so Josh and I headed out to the mall and walked around until the rain started to come in.  Thank you Susan! We really appreciated the use of the car!  After we got back Al, Josh and I went to Ginny Lane for an early dinner and then we went back to the boats for the evening.  Damp and rainy, not good!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

11/19/2014 - Wednesday - The Wharf Marina

This morning the temperature was reading 30 degrees when we got up.  This is nuts!!!!!!  When I took Teak out the docks had a light frost on them and the marina had all the slip faucets running so the pipes would not freeze.  Teak and I walked very carefully! 

Our new plans!  We are moving the boat to a better slip today because we are renting a car on Monday the 24th and going home for a few days.  We will return the car on December 1st and then start looking for a weather window and hope that New Orleans has a slip for us.  They are going to keep us informed as something comes available.

Today was the first beautiful day after several not so nice days and boaters were on the move!  All afternoon we had several loop'ers come in.  The marina was filling up fast!  The dolphins love to play just outside the marina entrance and I guess they decided since is was so nice they would come out and play.  They would jump, roll and you could see their bellies, just a wonderful sight.

Tomorrow Al and Kay may head back to Palafox, then maybe on to Panama City Beach and Jerry and Susan should be back to their new home here at The Wharf.  The Clear Lake group is dissolving, we are all going our own different ways!

Around 4:30 PM we decided to have happy hour on the dock facing the ICW so we could see the dolphins play.  No such luck!  Too cool I guess because we did not stay out long either......

Before starting dinner I checked on Ron and Linda on the AIS and they are anchored at Ship Island.  They should have a calm and beautiful night!


11/16/2014 - 11/18/2014 - The Wharf Marina

On Sunday the weather was to start turning "yucky" in the afternoon so Al, Kay, Josh and I rode our bikes (needed some exercise!) to West Marine and then we toured the other side of The Wharf where the big amphitheater and water park was.  Not much else going on, just the same things as before - walk the shops at The Wharf and out to eat.  Beth and Randy and Susan's friends Patty and Dick have cars so all of the girls went shopping.  

Al and Kay have red lights on their back deck and we have blue!


Beth and Randy had other plans for dinner and Susan and Jerry went back to the condo with Patty and Dick so it was just the six of us.

Monday morning around 5:30 AM the front came through with gusty winds and heavy rain.  It did not last long - thank goodness.  When I got up to take Teak out it was still blowing (which was expected all day and into tomorrow) and the temperature was starting to drop.  A good day to stay inside and read!  The Wharf Marina takes used oil so Josh decided to change the engine oil while Al and Ron changed theirs also.  Another maintenance item down!

When I got up on Tuesday morning the temperature was 33!  Brrrrr!  I hope it's going to start getting warmer.  Teak may like this weather but I do not!  It was starting to look like our Florida and Alabama time was coming to an end.  Our plan was to leave tomorrow morning for Biloxi.  The weather indicated that we would have two good weather window days to do Mobile Bay and Mississippi Sound so we started getting the boat ready for our departure.  Josh call Biloxi for a slip and then decided to call New Orleans, Pontchartrain Landing.  They said someone would call us back.  It was getting close to 4 PM and we still did not have a call back so Josh called again and was told that they have no open slips available.  Someone rented all the slips until the end of the year.  Not Good!  Decisions, decisions! Do we want to go to Biloxi and hang out there with no floating docks and with the winds that they are predicting or stay put with floating docks?  We decided to stay put and maybe rent a car and go home.  We need to take care of our medical insurance renewal situation for next year because we just found out that it's due by December 15th.  Of course, everything that we need to make an intelligent decision is at home!  During our (supposed to be) last meal together with Beth, Randy, Al, Kay, Linda and Ron, we informed everyone about the situation and our new plan.  Ron and Linda still plan to head out first thing in the morning but now they will go offshore to Venice instead of meeting us in New Orleans.  Go with the flow - things happen for a reason!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

11/15/2014 - Saturday - Orange Beach Marina to The Wharf

I took a look again at the 10 day weather forecast and it still looks like Wednesday and Thursday of next week will be low wind around this area, then picking back up all the way through the 24th.  We need at least three good low wind days to get to New Orleans, one day to move to the Wharf, one day to Biloxi and one day to New Orleans.  Both Mobile Bay and the Mississippi Sound are open water and if the wind is blowing 10+ knots we stay put! 

Around 10:30 we hopped on our bikes and headed back to town for some more exploring.  As we were heading out, I told Kay and Al that the weather is going to get yucky again until sometime next week and Kay said because today is a beautiful day let's go to The Wharf this afternoon and be with the rest of the group.  She said if the weather is going to be that yucky, why not be with the others. We can't do anything outside anyway regardless of where we are.

We road our bikes over to the beach to look around, then over to a clothing store and to a BBQ place for lunch.  The place was so good!  I never had cole slaw on a chicken sandwich before.  During lunch we decided that if Orange Beach Marina would give us a weekly discount we would stay. If not we would leave and head back to The Wharf, they both cost the same. There was no weekly rate, so we loaded up the bikes, checked for sand in the strainers, prepared the boat for traveling and headed out around 1:15 PM.  Exiting Orange Beach Marina was a piece of cake!  All you needed to do is remember "red right return"!   When leaving the marina, the greens were on our right all the way to the bridge, then hug the bridge and turn towards the ICW with "red right return" all the way.   We had plenty of water and never ran aground!  Our welcoming committee, Ron, Linda, Randy and Beth helped us dock and welcomed us back with the group.  This time we were docked at a different place than before so Teak was a little confused! 

Our last bike ride around Orange Beach

Bye Bye Orange Beach - I will miss this place!

Heading to The Wharf we passed this boat towing a shell of a boat

Saturday, November 15, 2014

11/13/2014 - 11/14/2014 - Orange Beach Marina

11/13/2014 - Thursday. It was cold, windy and rainy so I cleaned the inside of the boat, did all the laundry, baked in the oven, played on the computer and read my book. Nice relaxing day!  Thank goodness we were here, protected from the north winds and not out in the open at the Wharf.  Josh found out today that his arbitration that was scheduled for the middle of December may be postponed.   Maybe he will reconsider about taking the boat back to Texas for awhile.  There's a lot that we have not done in this area that I would still like to do.  We could leave the boat for several weeks, go home for the holidays, take care of home business and then come back to do some more cruising.  This is the best time of the year (if it's not in the 30's) and it's not just a short trip to get here with our boat.

Josh would never live aboard a boat. I think his time frame on a boat is running out on this trip.  Maybe in our future we can trailer our Whaler over here, rent a condo for a week and play!

11/14/2014 - Friday morning Teak woke me up for some reason wanting to play (I guess she liked the cold weather) and gave Josh the "one eye".  Not what he wanted first thing in the morning!  The temperature outside was reading 36, the sun was coming out and the sky looked clear but it was a bit windy.  Good day for biking!  We bundled up and road our bikes to town of Orange Beach, exploring all the grocery stores (three of them - Wine Dixie, Publix and Walmart), restaurants (Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Seafood, BBQ - you name it, they have it) and all the other shops.  Too cold to do any beach walking!  The BBQ really smelled good but we all decided on pizza before riding back to our boats.  Maybe BBQ for tomorrow's lunch!  Later in the afternoon Randy and Beth came by to pick up Al and Kay to go TV shopping. Their TV broke the day before and they said we could tag along.  You should have seen us - four adults packed in the back seat of Randy's Infinity!  Actually, two women questioned us at a red light, asking if we had been out partying.  They were behind us for a while and just could not understand why we would pack into a car like we did.  They just don't understand BOATERS!  After our shopping trip, we all gathered on Al and Kay's boat for happy hour and to watch Al along with Josh, supervising the setup of their new TV.  LOL!  Al is a great delegator!  Susan and Jerry are spending the weekend at a TMCA friend's condo in Gulf Shores enjoying some dry land time and Ron and Linda will be heading to the Wharf from Pensacola sometime tomorrow.  We should all be together sometime next week for a day or so.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

11/12/2014 - Wednesday - Orange Beach Marina Play Day #2

Another great day!  We started off with some more beach time, strolling up and down enjoying the beautiful scenery before the weather starts to turn yucky.  Orange Beach reminds me of Destin and Panama City with a lot of beach for beach walking.  After our walk and a dinghy ride around Terry Cove we went back to our boats for lunch and then started putting away the dinghies.

If I was going to leave our boat in this area, I would leave it either here because you have a lot of water (dinghy, paddleboard, kayak) and land things to do or at Pensacola's Palafox Marina because of downtown proximity (they always have something going on) and you can ride your bike all over (Joe Patti's) or at the Wharf just because they have floating docks (but not much to do after a couple of days).

Ron and Linda Gerdes drove over from Palafox Marina for a visit and took us over to the Wharf so we could have Prime Rib with the rest of the group (Prime Rib Wednesday at Ginny Lane Bar and Grill, yummy!).  We checked with the Wharf office to make sure they had slips for us because Ron and Linda will be coming in on Saturday and Al and Kay will be coming along with us sometime next week.

We visited with Randy and Beth and Jerry and Susan before it was time to head to dinner.  Susan informed Josh that they will not be heading back to Texas with us so once we are at the Wharf we will look for a good weather window to head to Biloxi and New Orleans, two days of open water.

After dinner, Randy drove us back to our marina.  We had some great entertainment listening to his car navigation system.  Randy and Beth Lawson http://randbsailingadventures.wordpress.com/ are great people! If you run across them while cruising, tell them hi for us.

This is a service dog for the hearing impaired.  He's having fun digging for crabs.  

Beach Time!

Kay got wet!

A large Grand Banks Aleutian coming in the jetties from Nassau, heading to the Wharf

Kay was able to get this picture of dolphins playing in Terry Cove.

Dinner at Ginny Lane Bar and Grill

Banana split martini - YUMMY!

Randy's horseradish purchased from the hot sauce store at the Wharf