Storm Layover in Bluewater Bay
27 May 2017 | Bluewater Bay Marina Sunset
Thursday, May 11- Friday, May 12th
Normally, our next homeward leg out of Panama City terminates in an anchorage in Destin Harbor. As a change-up, we decided to layover in Baytowne Marina at Sandestin on the south shore of Choctawhatchee Bay. Although a bit pricey ($3.00 per foot/night), we had moored there on two previous occasions and enjoyed the convenience, the setting and the restaurant at the end of the pier. However, our call for reservations revealed that only porta potti's rather than bathrooms were available due to remolding work underway at the Marina. Such accommodations at those prices were out of the question, so we decided to moor at Bluewater Bay Marina on the north shore of Choctawhatchee Bay. We had moored at this marina last Spring and enjoyed their accommodations which included a reasonably good restaurant. Although we lost a bit of "ground" by diverting northerly to the marina, which we would have to make up the following day, we had traveled further westward than originally planned.
The entrance to the marina was well marked allowing us to proceed to our assigned slip on the transient t-dock without a problem. Docking was complicated by wind which was blowing us away rather than towards the pier plus a late arriving and somewhat inexperienced dock hand. Given these circumstances, the mooring did not go as smoothly as desired but nevertheless was achieved. We are still in somewhat of a learning mode with this boat, particularly with respect to mooring the boat in such wind conditions. We understand what needs to be done but have not completely worked out the timing and coordination. We will get better!
Whereas we only anticipated an overnight stay at Bluewater Bay both Gerry and I were monitoring the weather forecast along our anticipated track west of our current location. We jointly concluded that the severe thunderstorms forecast to the areas west of us and moving east over the following day posed too great a hazard to proceed home as planned. So we decided to delay a day before proceeding to our homeport. To ensure our dock mooring was secure, we added several mooring lines and reconfigured our fenders. Late that afternoon, the outer bands of the thunderstorms passed over the marina but let up enough for us to get to the restaurant where Gerry and I ordered yet another cup of New England clam chowder- maybe the best we had during the cruise.
Luckily, the rain held off until after we finished dinner and got back on the boat for the night. The plan for the next day's rather long leg of approximately 62 nm was a 7 am departure with Gerry and I trading off at the helm for breakfast while underway. But first there was the matter of the final Skip-Bo game between me and the gulls, a game which I managed to win with a last minute rally! (RKS)