Florida Pan Handle and the Gulf Crossing


 With new props installed on October 30, we decided to move on the same day to Fairhope, AL across Mobile Bay.  The following seas made for a nice run, but the seas kept coming for the next two days right into the marina. The westerly winds made for a rocky couple days at port and it was difficult to get on and off the boat onto an 18" wide dock.  The town was very nice, but I would not boat there again.

On November 1, We entered the Intercoastal and stopped in at Orange Beach Marina.  The white fluffy sandy beach was within walking distance and the marina was very nice to stay at.  With 203 hours on the engine oil, it was time for an oil change.  The engine oil and gear oil samples that I sent to the lab showed that everything was working fine.

Recap of stats from July, 27 2019 thru November, 1 2019:

Miles traveled – 2,562

Days of travel – 40

Days on the trip – 92

Hours of traveling – 179

Gallons of Diesel – 2,436

Nights anchored out – 2

On November 5, Pensacola Florida was in our sights so off we went to Palafox Pier and Yacht Harbor. This is a very nice marina, the town is within walking distance and worth going back to.

On November 7, it was off to Destin and the Harbor Walk Marina.  Right downtown in the middle of it all, this town is very busy, colorful and commercialized.  It was fun and worth the trip.

On November 8, it was Panama city next.  We wish we could have stayed longer but a weather window was opening up for a Gulf crossing so we had to move on. One of the best things about having a go fast boat is we can have breakfast, move on about 8 am and be tied up with the boat washed at noon to go check out the town.  Some of the slower boats that travel at 8 mph leave early and are tied up by 4 or 5 pm.

On November 9, Carrabelle was our last stop before the big crossing. This town was small and quaint but not much there.

November 10, the hardest part of the loop was upon us. One of the biggest challenges of the loop is to cross the Pan Handle of Florida and cut out the so named "arm pit" in the Gulf of Mexico.  As you work your way across Alabama to Florida, you start watching the weather for a good window to make the 170 mile trip from Carrabelle to Tarpon Springs. Some slower trawler style boats that travel at 8 mph do an overnight and day crossing for about 22 hours. Go fast boats can do this in a one day only crossing cruising at 18 to 20 mph.  We like to travel at 30 mph and could have done it in 7 hours but the weather predictions were wrong and had we had rough seas that made us travel about 20 mph for a 9.5 hour tour.  Many boats looked at the same data from numerous weather sites and about 17 decided to make a run for it. It was rougher for some other boats that made the trip, but everyone made it safe and mostly sound.

A ship in Harbor is safe, But that is not what ships are built for. – John A. Shedd 1859-1928

Orange Beach, AL in 3 months and about 2,500, We could have drove in two days.
Our first dolphin in the Intercoastal.
Orange Beach Marina had many Sport Fishing Boats like this 60′ Viking behind us.

Entering the Gulf Intercoastal in Alabama.
Sunset in Fairhope, AL.

Orange Beach
St Thomas by the Sea in Orange Beach.
Sunset of Orange Beach
Welcome to Florida on the Intercoastal, not    I-75.

Linda and Gary Reed and their Katie Krogen home “Unwindwing” on the water in Pensacola, FL
Sunset in Pensacola, FL.
Destin, FL is a Vibrant town.
A million bucks hangs from the ceiling at McGuire’s Pub in Destin, FL.
Palafox Marina in Pensacola, FL.
Some boats from hurricane Michael still litter the seas.
Panama City still has buildings upside down from the hurricane. It’s actually a museum.
Car show at Panama Beach had this nice 1930 Cadillac.
Traveling in the channel of the intercoastal had remnants from hurricane Michael.
Are we in his spot or is he on our spot?
The Crossing conditions where not as predicted, it got so rough that I could not take another video. We were never in danger but I was hoping to make the trip in 7 hours and it took 9-1/2 hours with 4' beam seas plus 2' seas coming on the bow. Remember, 4' looks like 8' from a boat because they only measure from flat sea up.  You just hope nothing goes wrong because being 50 miles off shore, you loose all communication.


1 thought on “Florida Pan Handle and the Gulf Crossing”

  1. Facebook posts:

    Cindy Yassay
    Cindy Yassay Love the updates. It feels like we’re on the adventure with you.

    Carmen Mamo Where are your winter jackets?

    James Christmas Congratulations…..???‼️

    Tama Feigley Bums?

    Jeanne Wunderle Thanks for sharing your adventures and photos! What an experience of a lifetime!

    Connie Naudi

    Cesolin Tesolin Thanks for the up date. Looks great. Think we’ll drive it?
    Good to see you guys have time to stop a explore some places

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