Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mobile Bay, Alabama

We crossed Mobile Bay on a calm, beautiful, late November Saturday afternoon—it had been so rough the day before, as we were told, with boaters fighting five foot waves—we were again, “lucky”. Coming from absolutely the middle of nowhere for five days (since Demopolis), we saw the skyline of Mobile (civilization!) and came into the busy port terminal where we saw cruise ships, navy and cargo ships, tall cranes, coal barges, and lots of people—yes! We crossed through what is known as the “shipping channel” with no difficulty. TYJ. We were on our way across Mobile Bay (a nice wide body of salt water) for a three night stay at Eastern Shore Marina—which was nearly destroyed by Hurricane Katrina—everyone watching the horrible news on TV during that storm saw the destruction this place specifically suffered. The sailing Yacht Club also right here in front of us was, in fact, completely and tragically destroyed by Katrina—now a new and beautiful clubhouse has just been completed and overlooks our boat, as I am writing this.

We had just left the busy port in Mobile, and were out in the Bay when almost on cue, a pod of dolphins came right up out of the water on our starboard side—what a glorious sight—I’ve missed the wonders and beauty of salt water. (I’ve always said I was a salt water girl who happened to marry a fresh water guy!) But we arrived at the marina around 2pm, and had Linda and Charlie (Freedom’s Turn) waiting to catch our lines—they were two days ahead of us and we’ve missed being with them. Also at the marina were Lisa and Jim (Kismet) whom we’ve missed as well. BTW—Happy Birthday, Lisa—albeit a week early! We had several hours to catch back up with each of them—exchanging hugs and information—both boats were leaving here the next morning. We surely hope we’ll see them both somewhere on down the line before we leave for home, family, and Christmas.

The nearby town here, Fairhope, is absolutely precious. The marina has a courtesy van, which the guys—Larry, Robert, and Louis—quickly all signed up for on Sunday for two hour intervals. The quaint little town and shops were having their first-of-the-season Sunday Christmas Open House (complete with cookies, punch, and extras)—most of the shops, if not all, regularly are not open on Sundays at all. (Interesting fact: The super Wal-Mart closes at 6pm on Sundays here, every Sunday!) After a delicious lunch (gumbo, shrimp & oyster poor-boys) with the guys, Margie, Kay, and I spent four fabulous hours just wandering the shops downtown—enjoying a much-needed girl’s retail-therapy afternoon. I want to remember especially about Fairhope: the huge arrays of flowers at every corner, the heavily lighted tailored trees which beautifully line both sides of the streets at night, the welcoming “Azalea Girls” in their pastel antebellum hoop-skirted dresses, and the youthful adorable ballerinas in their light-pink leotards & tutus, touting “The Nutcracker”, which will begin here next week. It’s a magical and beautiful small, coastal town—almost with a “Pleasantville” atmosphere and attitude—I could easily live here (except I’d be way too far from our children and grandchildren). Then, as a perfect ending to a special day, we all went to a Chinese restaurant/buffet and stuffed ourselves miserably.

Monday morning was spent with Louis changing the zincs (I had done laundry the day before) and Louis chasing down a problem with our auto-pilot (which with greatly appreciated help, he fixed!) and afterwards, we got the courtesy van again and went to Hobby Lobby, Home Depot, Boater’s World, & Michaels. Margie has taught me a wonderful new craft (I’m not telling yet!), and I especially needed more supplies. The guys went one way, the girls the other! We’re getting very adept at getting in & out of the mostly awkward courtesty vans, shopping expediously, and being back at the marinas “on time”.

“Sunshine”, “Southern Comfort”, and “Blue Max” pulled into the marina late this afternoon(Monday)—we had just enough time to get hugs from them, wish Shelly a Happy Birthday!, and give those three boats information we’ve learned since being here—sound familiar? Heavy rain is expected here tonight, so each of us has decided to stay on our boats (we’re all so spread out here anyway) and get to bed early. We’re on the move tomorrow—headed by boat to Lulu’s for lunch (Jimmy Buffet’s sister’s restaurant--another Looper favorite) and then to an anchorage, and then on to a marina in Pensacola, Florida for Wednesday and Thursday nights—which is Thanksgiving evening. We plan to be in Panama City sometime over the weekend—where we’ll leave the boat for a month and drive home for Christmas. Kay & Robert Creech (“C-Life”) who live in Southport, NC, are also leaving their boat in Panama City for a month—so we’ll rent a car & drive home together—then drive back to our boats sometime shortly after Christmas to continue on with our Loop. We hope to be back home @ December 3rd—after seven months of being on the water and going roughly 4300 miles, we’re both very excited to be coming home to "dry land" for a good long visit. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

1 comment:

Jay Stockard said...

HAPPY THANKSGIVING YOU TWO! You will be missed this weekend at the beach, but we really look forward to having you back on Tarheel soil for Christmas. Glad to hear all is still going well! Take care, stay safe, and we will see you soon! Love ya!

"Brother" Jay

BTW: The "POWDER" is on order! TYJ!!!