I have been asked by a friend who is about to embark on the same trip to do a quick summary of our last cruise. It took us almost six months so this may not be quick but it will be a summary.

It all started in mid February which put us leaving Pickwick in the ice and cold. We actually broke ice entering the Tennessee-Tom Bigbee Waterway. But other than being cold it was actually a pretty nice trip. Not many Tow Boats to pass makes for a less stressful Waterway run.
We made it to Demopolis, Alabama fairly quickly because the current was adding an extra 2 to 3 miles per hour to our cruising speed. While in Demopolis we met a couple of guys on a Nordic Tug. Annie Jo followed us through the very dense fog that morning and tied up along side of us at Bobby’s fish camp.
We got a late start leaving Bobby’s because of fog but we finally got to the lock and locked down. Then we found it was even foggier than before.
Oh well… It was what it was.
Thank God for Chartplotters, Radars, and Radios. Another incredibly useful tool in the fog was AIS. (Automatic Identification System) This system will actually show a Commercial Vessel’s position as well as name, speed, and direction… all on my chartplotter. This was very helpful in the low visibility situation we were in.
We stayed a night in David Lake which is just a cut off of the waterway. It’s shallow but you’re out of the way of tow traffic and protected from weather. It’s about mile marker 49.
The next day the waterway run was near the end. This trip was not so bad except for the fog. We only had to overtake one Tow Boat and that was in a bend where he had all but stopped.
Now Mobile… Finally We had made good time so we decided to run across the Bay and stay in Orange Beach at the Wharf Marina for a couple of days to rest up after the 5 day waterway run.
Then on to Destin Florida. It was a very nice cruise on the GCICW and we tied up at Baytowne Marina where we met up with old friends and had a wonderful dinner.
The next day we shoved off and headed for Panama City where we spent a few nights at Baypoint Marina. Then head east for Apalachicola to wait for good seas to cross the Gulf of Mexico. We had a great time there.
Then the crossing…. It was beautiful!
The next day we had the West Coast of Florida in sight and I called the Crow’s Nest Marina to confirm reservations and to give them my ETA. We made it right on schedule.
After a night we made way for Boca Grand cut and Charlotte Harbor. We always run all the way across to Burnt Store marina.
Next stop is Naples and Naples City Dock. The Gulf was behaving on this run which made for a great cruise and we arrived at Gordon’s Pass on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. We stay at Naples for a couple of days.
On the run run down to the Key’s and Marathon… Florida Bay was not quite so friendly.
But this day ends with a beautiful sunset behind 7 mile bridge.
Marathon is our favorite place in the Key’s; so we stay here for a few days before heading back north up Hawks Channel on the east coast of Florida. This run north got a bit sloppy so we tucked in behind Rodriquez Key and finished up the Stone Crabs leftover from Marathon. The next morning at daybreak we made way for Fort Lauderdale.
Ft Lauderdale on a weekend is like a yacht traffic jam. Boats everywhere! Courtesy? Not so much.
We end up staying at Ft Lauderdale longer than we expected. But Bahia Mar is a nice place to be stuck. After a couple of weeks we thought we were finally leaving Florida and heading for the Bahamas but weather changes everything. We were invited to an interesting party at the marina– So we wait another day.
So on this day we set off for West End Bahamas. It was a bit rough but not bad for us humans… the pups didn’t agree though.
We stay at Old Bahama Bay for a few days where we catch up with old acquaintances and let the pups run around. Finally back in the islands.
The next stop was Spanish Wells. We had thought of anchoring at Great Sale but we were making great time so we pushed on futher.
The next day started early and we made the short little hop to Green Turtle Cay and Bluff House Marina. This was Easter Sunday.
Next stop was Marsh Harbour— The Big City.
Here we always stay at Harbour View Marina where Troy and his crew always take good care of us. It was time for us to move on to Elbow Cay and Sea Spray Marina but Mother Nature thought different. The winds wouldn’t ease so we stayed put and enjoyed ourselves in the city.
On the next good day our friend and Sea Spray harbor master called to tell us our slip was vacant and ready for us. We made the run to Elbow Cay on a high tide and eased into White Sound without a hitch.
We didn’t realize it at the time but this would be our home for the next 6 weeks. We became quite familiar with the little island. Radar was known at all the restaurants and bars. The nights on Elbow Cay are as much fun as the days. Fireworks, Sea Spray Saturday Nights, and Elbow Cay Sunrises. Oh yea… Junkanoo!!
On the days the wind allowed us to go out on the Sea of Abaco to play we dinked over to Tahiti Beach or to Pete’s Pub. I went snorkling off Sandy Cay with friends.
There are a lot of Sport Fish boats at Sea Spray and they are all good about sharing their catch.
We really enjoy our little peice of paradise on Elbow Cay…Here’s a shot of the Marina
But all good things must end and our final day finally came.
This is a shot of our friends at Sea Spray
Then because of weather and time we aborted our plans to head to the Eleuthera and the Exumas and turned around and backtracked the way we came.
It was a great trip and Istaboa performed wonderfully. What a nice home in the islands.
We won’t go into the trip home but it was most enjoyable and the weather was beautiful.
I must put in a link to Pensacola though…
We hope you have enjoyed our 2007 cruise summary.

Bob, Mel and Radar… and the spirit of Sadie.

Happy Days

Next week we do the Tennessee River Fall Cruise again.

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