Heading out just after sunrise this morning from Grand Mariner Marina the winds are calm but the Bay is rocky. The rustic ambiance of the Grand Mariner is left behind as we make our way approx. 27 miles south in Mobile Bay to the GIWW channel which is another 15 miles heading east to the ICW. The shipping channel is narrow due to the bay being shallow and shoaled over in so many areas. You must stay in the channel. We have our winged buddies following us out for a few miles to where they hop on a larger barge or a shipping vessel with more service area to land. It’s a rocky go only because the winds are coming from the southwest and causing the side waves which tosses the boat around. The extremely narrow channel leading into the GIWW is about half the size of the shipping channel.
Calm waters begin as we approach the entrance. We are slow moving now as we pass homes, docks, and boats. It become obvious that we don’t need to slow as the no wake zones are marked but as a boater you must be aware of your wake. So we slow down a lot and go when we can. We pass the odd barge and its tow. There is a lot of open area on this leg of the ICW so going 28 MPH is often. Most boats are out of the water on rails and the open area is quite rocky. We pass crab pots outside the channel and the odd fishermen. As the time passes the marinas are significantly larger with the larger yachts. Then the sign….Welcome to Florida. We leave Alabama behind.
The crystal white sand of the panhandle greats us a short time later. Then the swaying palm trees. The temps go up to around 75 degrees but the wind keeps it cool. Scott is baking in the sun and puts on shorts and sunscreen. Welcome to Florida indeed.
We decide we’d like to stay at a marina for the night near the beach. The boys think they want to boogie board int he 60 degree water. No surf. Flat water. We stay a Sabine Marina in Pensacola, Florida along the ICW which has showers, restrooms, restaurant and provisions can be supplemented anywhere. It’s off season but most stores are open We took a walk on the board walk, on the beach through the small stores and picked up some quick supplies. This marina is tight to get into but well marked. We came in at low tide but the tide is small here. We had 4 feet clear at the entrance but they are dredging as we speak. It has a yacht club as well as Sabine Marina. There is a large enough pool that you can turn around in and not be shoaled. The sunset was amazing with a beautiful view of the west.