Sunday, April 22, 2018

Palafox Marina Pensacola to Bluewater Bay Marina near Niceville, Fl. 53 Miles

Sunday March 8, 2018
We left our slip at Palafox Marina at 9:20 it was breezy and the temp. had gotten down to 47 early this morning. About an hour later we were passing under the Pensacola Beach Bridge, the ICW here runs between the beach islands and the mainland. It is a pretty stretch cruising along Santa Rosa Island, Navarre Beach and Ft Walton. About 2:30 we entered Chocktawhatchee Bay there is always a lot of pleasure boat and jetski / waverunner traffic here, Destin bridge and harbor are at the mouth of the bay to the Gulf of Mexico. We will be heading northeast up to Rocky Bayou, there is a light chop on the bay.
We arrive at Bluewater Bay Marina and tie up at the dock at 3:30. This is a small marina but in a pretty area. They have a good restaurant and also a courtesy car they loan to boaters staying there for trips to the local stores.
Some of the slips at Bluewater Bay the office and restaurant are in the building behind the boats.

Looking out of the marina entrance canal to Rocky Bayou

Monday, April 16, 2018

Lulu's Homeport to Palafox Marina Pensacola

March 28, 2018 Wednesday  Breezy, cool, 32 miles

We left Lulu's at 9 am as usual there was lots of pontoon, speed and fishing boat traffic along this stretch of the ICW. We had no problems and enjoyed the scenery. As we passed by Perdido Key and got closer to Pensacola the Blue Angels flight team were practicing they passed over the boat several times it was a great show, but loud. We have seen them several times from boat or land they always put on a great show and we always enjoy watching them. The wind had picked up a bit and Pensacola bay was choppy but we made it into Palafox Marina by 1:15. At the fuel dock we had the holding (sewage) tank vacuum pumped out. Then we moved over to our assigned slip.
      Palafox is a nice marina with a good restaurant next door and others nearby. We will be here   several days, on Friday we will rent a car. Easter Sunday we will drive to Rosemary Beach to spend a few days with Joshua, Sunshine, and the Grandkids.
On the ICW leaving Lulu's 

The ICW cut at Ft McRee, the entrance to Pensacola Bay from the East blue water and white sand!

The Blue Angels put on a good show, this is one of their several passes over the boat

Sunset from our boat at Palafox Marina

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Point Cadet Biloxi to Lulu's Homeport Orange Beach Al

March 25, 2018  Sunday. Cool, clear, light winds  75 miles today

We left Point Cadet Marina at 6:45 AM, the weather looks good for the trip across Mobile Bay which can often be choppy. We cruised along the Intracoastal for a few hours then passed under the Dauphin Island Bridge and into Mobile Bay at 10:20 AM. Conditions were good, 2' waves with a 3 now and then. We slowed down to let an inbound ship in the ship channel cross in front of us, they are so big it seems they are travelling slow but actually are moving much faster than it appears, you don't want to get in front of them to find this out the hard way. Reaching the east side of Mobile Bay we were back in the ICW "ditch" again, cruising on to Lulu's (Jimmy Buffett's sister) place, restaurant, marina and playground. Lulu's restaurant is usually crowded, but, this is Spring Break so now even more so. We got to our slip at 3:30 and checked in then went by the restaurant to see what the wait time for a table at 6 PM would be one hour they said, we went up at 6 and were told 2 and a half hour wait! the place was packed with lots of people waiting in line. Dinner on the boat that night. It is a nice marina with floating docks. 
Leaving Biloxi 

Crossing Mobile Bay, good conditions

East side of Mobile Bay entering ICW ditch

Lulu's Homeport Marina

Gulfport to Biloxi,MS

March 24, 2018 Saturday Gulfport to Point Cadet Marina Biloxi - 16 miles
We left the slip and went to the fuel dock to get some diesel, everything went fine, we took on 70 gallons to fill the tanks. We left the marina at 1:20 it was breezy with 2' chop on the Miss. Sound. It is a short distance to Biloxi, we arrived at the Point Cadet Marina at 3:30 we checked in  and later had dinner Casino Grill restaurant. We want to cross Mobile Bay before the wind picks up tomorrow so we picked up fuel and made the short trip from GPT to Biloxi today to be a bit closer in the morning.
Mississippi Sound with Biloxi hotels and Casinos in sight.

Seabrook Marina to Gulfport Harbor MS.

March 23, 2018 Friday Seabrook to Gulfport, MS Clear, cool , light breeze 70 miles today

We departed Seabrook Marina at 7:30 AM  we had a 25 min wait for the RR bridge to open, a train was shuffling cars. Once through there we entered the ICW, we passed through the huge post Katrina floodgate project, the Rigolets, and on to the Mississippi Sound. There was a light chop there in the morning, it picked up to 1-2 foot chop in the afternoon, very nice conditions. We arrived in Gulfport Harbor about 4 pm. Kevin had given me the name of a mechanic he knew there I called him and asked him to come by and have a look at the belt and pulleys on the engine to see what he thought about the dust. He did and said the pulleys looked in line and that the dust did not seem excessive to him, that it should be OK to run like that, so we will, keeping a close watch on it. 
We had dinner onboard.
Gulfport Harbor, a very nice marina, and town, Gumbo is the first boat on the right.
March 22, 2018  Thursday  Boomtown to Seabrook Marina New Orleans,  15 miles

We departed Boomtown 9:15 AM clear, cool weather, light breeze. We had about a 2 hour wait to enter Harvey lock as there were several tows (tugs with barges) ahead of us. We locked up, the lockmaster said 17' usually it is about 10', and through then entered the Mississippi it was the highest we have ever seen it  and flowing very fast with lots of logs and other wood debris swirling around. It was a rough trip down the approx. 5 miles to the Industrial lock on the east side of the river, once there we had a short, 20 min., wait as a vessel exited the lock. We entered and were lowered into the ICW/ Industrial canal. We moved on to Seabrook Marina a couple of miles east where we docked  for the night. There is a restaurant next door so we walked over for dinner..
     I am finding belt dust from the main, Cummins, engine serpentine belt when there is usually none. I had to replace the belt tensioner the last time we were out in the boat it seems to be operating OK, all gauges are registering normal, this belt drives the water pump so I'm keeping watch on water temp especially. I have spares so changed the belt which shows no sign of wear. 
Entrance to Harvey Lock, closest is a highway bridge, then the RR bridge, up unless train nearby, on the far side is the lock and the Mississippi River. While waiting we were tied to a small barge on the right.

March 21, 2018 Wed.   Houma to Boomtown Casino, 52 miles

  We left our slip at 9 AM, A nice clear day light breeze. I noticed a slight vibration once we got going it wasn't too bad but I worried it might get worse. So I called around and Kevin was able to locate someone who knew of a diver who could take a look at it  as we passed on our way through Larose. On arriving in Larose we pulled over to the ICW bulkhead and tied up, not long after the diver arrived, got suited up and went in for a look. It turned out it was not a plastic bag or rope as I thought but an growth of barnacles on a couple of the prop lobes that were causing the off balance vibration. So, after much scraping and banging the diver surfaced  we paid him and kept on our way now vibration free.
There was not too much traffic on the ICW , it is a slack period for the oil industry.
We arrived at the bulkhead at Boomtown Casino about 6 pm the bulkhead has deteriorated over the years and it took a while to find a good spot, eventually we did and got tied up and had dinner at the casino then back to the boat for the night.
Boomtown is a good spot to overnight it is about only about 5 miles from the Harvey Locks we will have to lock down into the Mississippi river tomorrow morning.

Leaving Tropical Harbor Marina in Houma, La. This canal leads to the Intracoastal Waterway

Sunset over the ICW from the Bulkhead at Boomtown Casino.