After riding out the residual impacts of Hurricane Patricia at Redfish Point we were thrilled to discover Little Sabine Bay. What a jewel! But we only ended up here because the tide was still up from the wind and currents that we were encouraged to stay on this side of the bridge that’s just past Fort Pickens. Pepper is 56′ tall. Neither of us was ready to get out in the Gulf just yet. Though I think Pepper would go anywhere.
So we’re hooked, literally and figuratively speaking, on Pensacola! With only a 3 minute dinghy ride to shore we can be walking the white sand beaches of Pensacola and another 10 beyond that we’ve discovered the perfect, for us, happy hour locale called Shaggy’s. After spending more than a few days here we’ve mastered getting the bikes in and out of the dinghy, which we now joke about naming Salt, and have ridden the crap out of our marine fold up bikes. Gosh the beaches are nice here and there’s dozens of public access points too. There’s just a phenomenal bike/walk trail that runs for miles along the coast.
Delighted to finally be here and able to enjoy an evening on shore we each pulled up a bar stool at Shaggy’s and were ready to socialize. It’s been just us for more than a few days. You get the picture. Well we met Dick, who was here on business, right away and chatted him up. Hours quickly passed. We all just clicked. He’d like for he and his wife to go cruising upon retirement so there was plenty of good conversation, plus, he and I had similar work backgrounds.
The next day we were on the bike trail again and didn’t hesitated when we got a text from Dick who invited us over for lunch, poolside at his Perdido Beach Resort condo. He ordered us the 24 Acre pizza that was simply divine. We hadn’t had a meal off the boat in several weeks now and this one was certainly memorable! Acting like we had been friends for years we talked about meeting up again somewhere exotic. Dick has some background in sailing and we’d be honored to take them out on Pepper someday. He showed us a tremendous amount of hospitality. Dick even showed us up to his condo where the views were spectacular. You’ve got to check out the photos. It’s probably a good thing he was flying out that evening because I think we kept him from his work too long. Lunch went until about 3:30 p.m. Getting to know Dick was such an unexpected surprise. Trent and I are hopeful that we will see him again in the future.
Okay now, back to reality. Almost everything we’ve needed or wanted has been easily accessible but I think I mentioned a few days ago that we could use some new anchor chain. Our friends on Batton Down from Turner Marine were running a little behind us in getting to Pensacola so they anchored next to us for an evening after we had already checked everything out. Friends! We did dinner on Pepper then took the little boat to shore for a nightcap. The next day Salt took us over to visit their new marina, Santa Rosa Yacht and Boat Club, where they drove us to pick up the new chain.
This is all noteworthy because the 150 foot of chain weighs about 200 pounds and the Batton’s vehicle was on the other side of the Waterway. Just lowering the chain into the dinghy over the edge of the dock was a challenge all on its own and there were four of us to assist. I slipped on my rain jacket because was starting to come down and off we went. By the time we motored back to Pepper against the current and fighting the wind we were soaked to the bone. My jacket didn’t help because the water was coming in from every which way. Waves were crashing over the sides and filling Salt with water. Trent fought our way back, coaching the little engine that could along, while I balanced the boat out on the bow while pumping, with and hand pump as fast as I could, water out from the bottom. That was certainly an unforgettable trip to the marine store.
The next morning we had a small break in the weather so we hustled out onto the deck and fed the chain up onto the boat. We’ll replace it after we leave here. We certainly didn’t want to pull up a perfectly set anchor if we didn’t have too. Trent knew the chain would hold. He’s good at getting to things before they break and wants to do as much as possible while in the States. Not to mention, supplies and parts south of Florida are going to cost 3 times as much that’s if you can even find what you need.
It was rainy for another day which we could both easily withstand after what happened the week before. Little Sabine Bay was perfectly protected and had a great holding. It was actually kind of nice to lay around a little bit because we’ve been so busy running around for entertainment, playing tourist. I do that quite well! The nice thing about getting back to the boat when you’re wet and cold is that we can actually have a hot shower. Fresh water gets hot as hell when the engine has been running. If the engine hasn’t been in play then we turn on the generator for 10 minutes, snap up the handmade shower curtain, and we’re in business. It has to be a quick one though.
We have yet to pull up to a marina for fuel and water and may go visit the Battons again at Santa Rosa this morning. Our next stop may be Panama City and we’ll probably anchor along the way. Let me briefly explain the water thing though. The water maker works fine but we haven’t run it in the Waterway but plan on doing that when we get further out into the Gulf. We just want a little cleaner water running through it. Every time we took the little boat to shore we filled up our two 5 gallon jugs with water and dumped them into our bigger tanks. No big deal.