We left the marina Sunday. Conditions weren't ideal, but they were as good as we were going to get until probably Thursday. It was our only chance to get out of there, and we had to take it! So we headed on out into the bay. Not bad. Wind on our nose (headwind, big surprise there!), but the waves weren't bad. We got out to the main channel and turned south. At this point, the wind was coming at us from the side. Waves on the beam make for a very rolly ride. And they weren't all straight on the side; they came from all over the place. So we were rocking and rolling left and right, up and down, what the heck is going to hit us next. It wasn't dangerous. Just really uncomfortable. Do you have any idea how hard it is to use the bathroom when you can hardly stay on the seat? Too much info, maybe, but you get the point. Besides, everyone pees, get over it.
Yep, crazy wavy out there. But our boat is awesome! Handles it no problem! We were even making good time, going 5.5 to 6 mph with the wind on the beam. Nice. Mom and Dad found a shortcut, so we took that and headed east. This brought the wind back in our faces, and the waves, too. The wind has been in our face the entire trip, so why stop now? These waves were sometimes pretty big, so we saw lots of sky-water-sky-water-splash! We have discovered that when we go straight into big enough waves, the boat slows way down when we crash down. Only when we get the big SPLOOSH sound, though. Otherwise, we maintain speed okay. So we had lots of this on-the-nose wind and waves and rough ride and splash-in-our-faces and... You get the point. It was tiresome. But eventually, we came close enough to the eastern shore that we were more sheltered from the wind. And that was pretty nice. So we headed down the eastern shore toward the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway, you can google it).
And then we were on the ICW! Clearly marked, nicely sheltered, not beating us to
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See that gap there between Fort McRee and Fort Pickens? Big waves come in from the Gulf right there. Big ones! On the beam. Remember when I told you about waves on the beam before? Yep, these were big rolly ones. Which, oddly enough, are a little easier to take than choppy waves. You just go up and down instead of getting jerked one way and then another. Recap: big rolling waves are more awesome than big choppy waves. It was actually pretty fun. Kinda like a roller coaster ride! But on a boat. And therefore a little wetter. And then there were waves coming straight on that sort of piled on top of the rollers. So it was really like a roller coaster! Except you're not strapped in. Trevor's parents: don't read too much into that part. We were totally safe. Heck, Trevor was actually inside for this part. See? I'm taking good care of him. And we've been wearing our life jackets. Just in case. Wait, not just in case. They're just there to keep us warm. And we look fashionably salty in them. Not helping my case, so moving on.
Once we were past the big rollers, we had just waves on the nose. Not terrible, but starting to get uncomfortable. Copious amounts of splashing. I'd wipe my glasses, then get splashed again 10 seconds later. A battle of futility, but I refused to give up. A smudgy view is better than a spotty one. Oh, and we saw dolphins again. Yay! "Trevor, DOLPHINS! Eeeee!" Did I mention that I like them? Because I do. Cheered us up for a little while. But then we still had wind and waves and waves and wind, and we were tired of it.
Hey, here's another map.
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See that bridge that says 399? We finally made it under that bridge. This was the home stretch. And the waves just got bigger. Which means we were going slower. And were getting crankier. "How are you doing?" "Oh, I'm just ready to be out of this. You?" "Yep, I'm over these waves. Ready to be done for the day." Eventually, we made it to the anchorage. See where it says "Sea Shore Village"? That's where we anchored. It was not so sheltered as we hoped. We were sheltered from the waves. But that wind came roaring across the sand dunes and blew us around all night. See how close we were to the Gulf of Mexico? Serious windage. That tiny spit of land did nothing to break the wind. We would swing over to the right, and there are the hotels in the starboard window. Then we'd swing over to the left, and there are those hotels in the port window! Swinging 180 degrees, but so fast. It was unreal. The anchor was solidly set, so we weren't in any danger. But we did not sleep well last night. The anchor line creaking and groaning, the halyards flapping against the mast, and an assortment of other unpleasant-sounding noises. Just unrestful.
This morning we woke up to some calmer breeze. We knew it was just a matter of time before it kicked up again. Today's forecast called for strong southern winds shifting to north winds and thunderstorms. This was not a day for cruising. Mom and Dad found a marina 3 miles back, and we made a run for that. We got here around 9:00 this morning, and the marina is closed. What does this mean to us? Free dockage! We like not paying for things. And we even have electricity. Bonus! Oh, here's another map to show where we are. (I learned a new cool thing on google maps, and I don't have any pictures from the last few days because we didn't want to get our cameras wet in the messy weather, so you get maps.)
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See where it says 399? That little marina is where we are tied up. Pretty cool, huh? I like this map thing. Don't worry, once it's safe to take cameras in the cockpit, you'll get pictures again.
Oh yeah, the rest of the day. At one point (maybe around 1:00 or 1:30), we were standing on the dock. The wind was blowing from the south, like it had been. Suddenly I noticed it was blowing from the east. "Hey Dad, did you notice the wind shift?" And then temperature droppped. 10-15 degrees in a matter of seconds. It was amazing! Then the rain moved it. It's been raining off and on since. So glad to be in a marina!
It's supposed to move out tonight, so tomorrow's travels depend entirely on the wind. We're hoping to get out of here in the morning and head to Ft Walton Beach. We'll see!