Days on cruise: 238
Distance traveled: 37.0 miles
Travel time: 4 hrs, 24 mins
Total trip odometer: 5,194 statute miles
Thursday’s flights from Seattle to Houston and on to Mobile were uneventful, and at 9:30 pm we were met at the airport by Glen, the project manager from Dog River Marina for our boat repairs while we were back home, and his wife Susan. Mighty nice folks. What a relief to arrive at the boat tired and late at night, and find it had been washed that day, the heat was turned on in preparation for our arrival, and the courtesy car was already reserved for our use Friday.
Re-adjusting to boat movement and noises made for a less than fully restful night, but it was great to wake to longer hours of daylight (one hour longer on each end than in Seattle) and brilliant, glaring even, sunshine! Temp was mid 30s during the night, high 50s in the afternoon, and the locals say it’s colder than normal.
Friday was chore day: checking work done by Dog River Marina, installing a new door latch/lock on a sundeck wing door, laundry, grocery shopping, moving the boat to the fuel dock to fill the tanks and get a pump-out, and finally dinner at the Mobile Yacht Club, courtesy of Dog River Marina, in thanks for our patronage of their services. The folks here have been incredibly friendly and professional, their work was well-priced (or at least exactly in line with what we expected), and they took good care of every need we communicated and some we didn’t.
This morning under cold, gray skies we headed south 20+ miles on Mobile Bay, traveling in the Shipping channel for a while, past the Mid-Bay Lighthouse and numerous barges, container ships and freighters.
After 25 miles on the Bay we turned east to enter the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway which runs from Brownsville, Texas to the Florida Keys. There it becomes known as the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and continues north to Norfolk, Virginia; either way we we’ll refer to it as the ICW.
Early afternoon we pulled into Homeport Marina in Gulf Shores, Alabama and parked right next to Jackets II, our friends Charlotte and Stephen, the first Loopers we ever met exactly a year ago in Fort Pierce, Florida. Sadly, they’re still home for the holidays in Jacksonville, so we won’t see them for awhile.
This stop is famous for its’ on-site restaurant “LuLu’s”, owned by Lucy Buffet, sister of Jimmy. We plan to eat dinner there tonight and enjoy some live music, so we’ll report on that tomorrow.
Meanwhile, we’re re-acquainted with life on the boat and water, and successfully refreshed our memories about how to drive and navigate. We weren’t so sure at first!