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Warm weather chasing with s/v Joyce Ann

11/2/16 Florida
By Brandon Patrick
Posted on 11/2/2016 9:07 PM
Welcome to Florida...
The first picture was the sign that greeted me towards the end of today's travels.  About an hour later, I dropped the anchor near Pensacola, Florida.  I was greeted by too many dolphins to count entering the anchorage and a great sunset.
After having a nice night at the anchorage just north of Mobile, Alabama, I was off early to reach the marina on Mobile Bay that was going to raise my mast.  The trip through Mobile was one of the most amazing moments of the trip.  It's known as port city, and you can easily tell that Mobile is a seriously major port.
There were also what appeared to me multiple large warships being manufactured out of a series of huge boat manufacturing facilities.  Fortunately, I had some friends that followed me for several miles through the end of the Mobile River before entering into Mobile Bay.
After a pretty easy day and very calm waters on Mobile Bay, I reached Eastern Shore Marina in the town of Fairhope, Alabama.  I had hoped to get the mast put up the same day, but the boatyard was too busy on that day.  The following day, my girl was finally looking as she should for the first time since Lake Michigan.
The boatyard wasn't able to get the mast up till a little after lunch, so it was too late in the day to move further down the line.  I took advantage of this fact by using the courtesy car and driving to Gulf Shores, Alabama to go and eat at Lulu's.  The restaurant is owned by Jimmy Buffett's sister which means I'd been looking forward to going for a long time.  I had a shrimp and fish basket that was real good.
After getting back around 10pm, it was off to bed for an early start today.  While it was calm at the marina in the morning, there were two feet waves and 16 knot winds out on Mobile Bay.  It would have been great conditions if those were behind me, but they were directly on my nose.  It was a long 4 hour slog to get down to the intercoastal waterway which finally brought some protection, but in the meantime, the combination of breaking waves and wind had made the cockpit of the boat and its captain covered in salt water.  I would remain nice and salty the rest of the day, but it was a real enjoyable trip after getting on the protected waters of the ICWW.  It was also funny to see where I had ate supper the night before from a boat ride view.
It will be another early start tomorrow, and I'll update as I go along.
Green Turtle Bay
River Forest