Thursday, November 19, 2015

Apalachicola to Carabelle

We were up about an hour before dawn and started getting the boat ready to move. We have been at Saul Creek for a week now and are really looking forward to getting on the move again. Even if we can get only as far as Carabelle.

Sunrise was at 0707, so I started the engines at 0645. It was only 4-1/2 hours to Carabelle but we wanted to get an early start while the wind was calm. We had the anchor up by 0700 and were on our way. Stylist left about 30 minutes later.

As we passed through Apalachicola we could see all the other cruising boats stacked up waiting for a good weather window to continue. There is limited space in Carabelle to anchor out so I was glad to have a chance to get there early. As we entered the bay I saw Stylist on the AIS just pulling into the river.

The wind was calm, and seas flat. Perfect day to make the run. Shortly after we passed through Apalachicola we started hearing all the other boats on the radio as they were getting underway. We had a smooth ride until we got to the pass between St George Island and Dog Island. The big swells from the gulf were rolling through there. I could see huge breaking waves on the other side. We rolled heavily in the beam seas, but it only lasted the 20 minutes or so it took us to cross over to behind Dog Island. I radioed back to let others know to be ready for this. Some of the boats were planning on pushing further past Carabelle, but when they heard the size of the swells they decided anchoring in Carabelle was the better option.

We arrived at the Carabelle River around 1130, and headed up river. Twenty minutes later we had the anchor down near the center of town. An hour later the other boats started arriving and were scrambling to anchor in the two remaining spots. The others ended up having to pay to stay in a marina.

Our friends on Stylist already had reservations to stay at Moorings Marina. They needed water and fuel, and needed to pump out. This worked out nicely for us, as we were able to dinghy in to tie up behind them. We topped off all of our water jugs, made a grocery run to the IGA across the street, and did laundry at the marina. I then walked from one end of town to the other to go the the sole liquor store. Only to buy the most expensive bottle of cheap vodka I have ever purchased. I think our liquor re-provisioning will have to wait until we can buy at more sane prices.

We spent a pleasant evening with Bob & Gail, and they fixed dinner for us. We got home late and went straight to bed. We were serenaded to sleep by the live music from the eclectic local bar about 50 yards from us. Then the music ended a 0100 and the redneck brawls began. That lasted until around 0300, and it was finally quiet.

The weather looks like we might be able to leave tomorrow afternoon and make a short run to Alligator Harbor. We can stage there for the crossing to Steinhatchee or Cedar Keys.

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