Skip to main content


America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association
Information & Inspiration for Your Great Loop Cruise
HomeBlogsRead Blog

Bruce & Beverly's Blog

Florida Intracoastal Waterway
By Beverly Kness
Posted on 11/19/2017 12:31 PM





Panama City was incorporated in 1909.  Panama City is a fishing town with numerous facilities available
for those desiring to fish, facilities for every imaginable water sport as well as tourist shops and
restaurants.  The sparkling white sugar sand beaches are rated as some of the finest in the country!  
 
The day we arrived was a beautiful one and we were happy to be here before the weather changed! 
Overnight, the winds blew, the boat rocked back and forth and we were happy to be tied up in our slip!  

Here in Florida, it is typical that the docks are short and stationary (not floating), so to be able
to get off of the boat, we need to back the boat in the slip.  We also have to tie lines to the two poles on either
side of the bow of the boat to keep the boat from swinging.  To do this, as we back in Bruce brings the bow
of the boat close to one of the poles, I lasso a line around the pole, tie it off loosely so that he can bring the bow
over to the pole on the other side, again tie it loosely and then Bruce continues to back the boat in.  After the
boat is backed all the way in, we secure both bow lines so the boat can't swing very far while in the slip. 

The picture below shows how the boats are secured by the bow lines.





It was fun to run into Heaven to Betsy here.  Steve and Betsy are planning to drive
home for the holidays so they had a rental car and used it to drive us all to Schooners. 

Schooners is a favorite Panama City Beach restaurant offering a great atmosphere and sunset ocean views.

We were there in the evening so I didn't get any ocean view pictures.
















This was the first airboat that we've seen.  An airboat, also known as a fanboat is a
flat-bottomed vessel propelled by an aircraft-type propeller and powered by either an aircraft
or automotive engine. They are commonly used for fishing, bowfishing, hunting and tourism.





The folks at Bay Point Marina were very nice and accommodating. They had a golf cart that we could
use to go to the grocery store. They brought a free newspaper to the boat every morning and
had complimentary coffee as well as free donuts and muffins on Saturdays and Sundays.  







It was fun to run into Phyllis and Sonny on Corkscrew.  They just crossed their
wake and are now sporting their gold flag!  We picked up some valuable information
from them, on our upcoming route, as they have been there and done it!







The next night it was much cooler!  The low for the night was upper 40's!   



Mike (he is from Canada) is still barefoot and wearing shorts! 
He said the shorts he's wearing are his winter shorts!


Below:  this Police boat was also docked at the marina!




Below: this picture is actually from the restaurant at Bobby's Fish Camp. (a few stops back)



We three girls visited the gift shop at Lamberts, (home of the throwed rolls) a few days ago.
  The other two girls walked out and I bought the box below. 
When I came out of the gift shop carrying a bag, Taffy and Tammi asked if I had found something? 
I said, "yes, some Old Fashioned Peppermint Candy, would you like a piece?"





Imagine Tammi's surprise when she opened the box!   hehe





Lambert's has three locations:  Sikeston, MO, Ozark, MO and Foley, AL.
Their motto at Lambert's is "We hope you come hungry, leave full, and
hopefully have a laugh or two!" That is exactly what we did while there! 

An article written in 1981 states that it was four years ago that he first threw rolls.  One noon,
it was too crowded for him to serve the rolls to a customer and somebody yelled, "Throw em". 
So he threw them!  Now throwing the rolls is a trademark of the Lambert's restaurants!






We woke up to overcast skies and a mild ENE wind. The forecast for the day was rain. During the night,
as I drifted between asleep and awake, I listened and wondered if the sound I heard was rain. It wasn't long until
I came to the conclusion that what I was hearing was just the lapping of the water against the bow of the boat. 

Our plan for the day was to go to Port St. Joe Marina at Port St. Joe, FL.  Daniel at the marina told us it was
15 miles closer to go out in the Gulf of Mexico to Port St.Joe and it would be a nice ride, if the weather
conditions were good.  We had to make a decision.  Should we go out into the open waters of the
Gulf of Mexico or stay in the ICW (Intracoastal waterway) which provides more shelter and calmer waters.

We decided to go on the outside. We prepared the cabin for possible rough waters.  It was like taking
a deep breath of freedom as we left the shoreline and headed out into the open waters of the Gulf.

Below: a boat passes us as we are leaving the marina and heading out to the Gulf of Mexico.

 
   
The skies began to look like it would rain before we got to the Port St. Joe Marina. 
 
 

It was raining steadily as we arrived and got tied up in our slip at the marina.
However , we weren't there long before we saw this beautiful double rainbow.
 




That day we moved our clocks forward an hour because Port Saint Joe and it's
nearby town, White City, had put us back into the Eastern Standard Time Zone.
We walked downtown to the Piggly Wiggly grocery store and ate at
the Dockside Seafood Restaurant at the marina.   








We are in the watching weather mode for our Big Bend Crossing.  We stayed two days in Port St. Joe with
its good facilities, close shopping, good internet and cell service rather than to move farther on to
Apalachicola or to Carrabelle itself, until there is a chance of a good weather window for the crossing. 

Everyone is looking at their favorite Internet weather sites and sources to help predict the weather for our 
overnight crossing. It won't be long until we reach the point of where we have to make a decision.  The question
is whether to follow along the elbow as the land turns from east-west along Florida's panhandle to north-south
on the peninsula. The waters in the elbow are shallow and the prevailing winds push the Gulf's waves into
that corner, causing confused and tricky seas. A person needs a weather window of about three days to follow
the bend.  Another interesting part is the crab pots which are all along the shallow coast.  In the dark crab pots
can not be seen and a boater does not want to run into one and get the line twisted around the propeller.

Our other option would be to cross directly across the Gulf from Apalachicola or Carrabelle to Tarpon Springs,
a route that would take at least 20 some hours which would mean that we would be traveling through the night.   

Weather forecasting is an inexact science and wave forecasting is even less exact.  We decided to proceed to
Apalachicola to at least get in position for the Gulf crossing, if the weather window would be there in a few days.


Our next planned stop is the Water Street Hotel and Marina in Apalachicola. 

Apalachicola lies at the mouth of the Apalachicola River on the Apalachicola Bay.
We are traveling with a fleet of four, Ned Pepper, Ocean Star, Independence and Seaquest. 
 


Skipper Bob
Kevin Severance
Cruising Solutions