Sunday: I give Frankie his morning walk across the street from the marina on the beach. I also wanted to check it out so if we decide to go over later in the day, I’ll be somewhat familiar with the path, etc. After returning to Kailani, we have a nice breakfast and the day is started.
Today we must go to the office and register, but unfortunately, so far we’ve gotten bad feedback from others staying here. Things like for staying at the marina portion of the resort, we’re not supposed to be allowed to use the beautiful pool or any of the other resort amenities! That just seems too awful to believe but Tracy gets ready to go and do battle with the manager while I make a call to the next marina stop in Cape Haze and find out of they can take us as early as tomorrow. That gets us out of here and also, gives the marina service department an extra day to look at our little electrical gremlins causing the non-working dinghy davit and the ‘low voltage’ switch in the engine room. I’m thinking that the ‘low voltage’ issue might be causing the dinghy malfunction. We’ll just have to wait and see on that score. I finally get word back from Aquamarina that they have a slip available for us tomorrow, so Tracy goes up to pay for our two days and find out about the pool. When she returns, she has two pool wrist bands and an agreement with the manager the she will provide them with a letter describing the expectations of a transient boater pulling into their ‘marina’ and how to correct the issues. All they really had at this time was a motel with private docks! Grrrrrr – tc
Then we meet a couple that is in the adjacent apartment from Michigan and the guy has led a storied life as he was a police officer for 32 years, then he worked personal security for an extremely wealthy and influential family for 9 years. In fact he has so many stories that he wrote a book and had it published. Soon he is walking back to his apartment and coming back with an autographed copy of his book for us. Really nice couple and great guy.
Later on, we take a walk on the beach and the water temperature in the gulf is pretty comfortable. Then we walk over to the resort pool and Tracy gets some sun while I start reading the new book about our new friend’s career as a police officer. While I’m reading about his life, he walks over to the pool and asks if we’re interested in having dinner with them and their other friends from Michigan. We accept and agree to meet at the grilling area at around 6:00pm.
Dinner is a simple hotdogs with macaroni & cheese and salad. We all bring our own hot dogs while we bring the mac & cheese and Joe & Nancy bring the salad. We enjoy some nice conversation with the two couples over the dinner, then all six of us return to Kailani so they can all see the interior.
They are aboard until 9:20pm, then we relax for the rest of the evening and go to sleep ready for a move tomorrow to Cape Haze.
Monday: The winds are stronger than we expected, so we discuss staying here one more day. The discussion involves a call to the next marina to see if we can move our reservation and that goes smoothly, and it involves asking the marina staff here if they have room for us to stay one more night and that goes equally as smooth, so we relax and make a day out of staying here.
In mid-afternoon, we take a bike ride to a local beach and tackle store where we find new flip-up sunglasses for me along with new sun visors for Tracy and then Tracy gets to discuss local fishing strategy with the clerk who is a fish charter captain. She then picks up some needed tackle and live bait to fulfill the captain’s advice and then we return to Kailani.
Now that we’re staying this extra day, we can make arrangements to visit the local Italian restaurant which is owned by some Connecticut natives that moved down here over 20 years ago and are also related to our financial advisor. He had told me that his cousins operated three Italian restaurants down here, Gratzzi Restaurant in St Petersburg, Angelo’s here in Venice and Carmelo’s in Punta Gorda. Well, we didn’t get a chance to try Gratzzi’s because the day we could go was Valentine’s Day and they were completely booked up, so getting a chance to try this location is much anticipated for me and now we’ll be able to go. So I make a reservation and then we enjoy the afternoon with our new friends from Michigan, Joe and Nancy Dubois.
Uber comes right on time and soon we’re walking into Angelo’s Restaurant and Italian Market for our 5pm reservation. Tracy gets a caesar salad and Linguini with oil and garlic sauce while I give the lasagna with homemade noodles a try. The desserts are delicious looking, but the entrees leave us no room for extra treats. After dinner, I walk up to the market counter and ask if any of the ownership family is in the store tonight and I get to meet and chat with the son and his wife and we have a nice time here.
Soon, we’re calling for another Uber to get us back to the marina and we sit with Joe and Nancy a bit before turning in to set our preparations for tomorrow’s cruise.
Tuesday: The winds are almost non-existent this morning and we only have 19 nautical miles to travel, so we sit for a while on Joe & Nancy’s porch enjoying some coffee prior to our departure. After coffees, Joe & Nancy come down to our slip and give us a hand with the lines so we can depart safely.
Leaving this marina is again, a plan based around high tide, so at 10:35 am we’re leaving the inlet with as much water under our keel as we’re going to get. Once we are turning out of the inlet heading south towards the Albee Road Bridge, we hear Hawley Rose calling for the bridge to open and they are also going south. The tender asks them to wait and call when they are closer, so I get into the conversation and let the bridge tender know that we’ll also be needing an opening, but we will accommodate Hawley Rose and wait for them to arrive before the tender has to open the bridge. That accommodation equates to less traffic jams and it goes appreciated by all. So we wait for Hawley Rose to cruise around the bend and the tender starts the preparations for a safe stop of the traffic and opening the bridge to give us more than the 14 feet available when the bridge is closed.
As we pass thru the opening and we both clear, the bridge tender lowers the span for the traffic and I call Hawley Rose and remind them that we had met last week in Gulfport Municipal Marina and they remembered us from then. The remainder of the day for us would not require any more bridge openings because they were either 24 feet or 30 feet, so once we were clear of the Albee Road Bridge, the rest of the day would be smooth.
Aquamarina Palm Harbor…Nice hey??? – tc
We had planned for a 4 hour cruise and 5 minutes short of 4 hours, we were pulling into our designated slip at Aquamarina Palm Harbour. We immediately recognized a looper burgee two slips away from us and we introduced ourselves to them and they are a couple that started their loop from Lake Huron and they set their plan for a 4 month stay here, so they will be here until the end of March when we will more than likely meet them again on the waters of the loop. They also told us that there would be docktails at 4:30 this afternoon with Ed and Kyle joining us. That was good to hear because we had scheduled the stop here mostly to be able to meet Ed and thank him for his guidance with email information when we were trying to negotiate the Black Warrior River from Demopolis to Mobile Bay. He is so familiar with those waters that he was able to read river level reports and guide us safely down the river with go-no go feedback.
Wednesday: We were supposed to get an electrical technician to troubleshoot our boat today, but they were extremely busy and when I talked with Renee the Service Manager, she told me that the tech would be aboard our vessel first thing Thursday morning, so that was fine with me.
In the late afternoon, we went to the pool and hot tub to get refreshed, then we went back to Kailani for a Netflix movie as the internet service is very good here. We selected the movie entitled “The Last Castle” with Robert Redford and James Gandolfini. It’s about a three Star General (Robert Redford) who is sent to a military prison which is run by James Gandolfini and the plot centers around the strong wills of the clashing personalities.
We turn in knowing that tomorrow we will be getting our little electrical gremlins fixed and then be able to lower the dinghy for some additional fun opportunities.
Thursday: Playing around in the marina today. The pool and hot tub are a great place to relax here so we take advantage of the weather and water temperature. We lower the dinghy today in preparation for some exploring tomorrow.
Friday: Today our new good friends Ed and Kyle are leaving for their northward trip back to Demopolis where they leave their vessel so they can drive up to their summer home in Canada. They have been very helpful ever since the time we reached Demopolis and I want to make sure I get over to their slip and say goodbye before they leave. In the forum this morning I’ve learned that the Black Warrior River is extremely high (higher that when we were there) and the Kingfisher Marina is currently closed because the water is three feet over the access road! But even with that knowledge, Ed and Kyle shove off and I do get to see them before they leave.
With the dinghy in the water, Tracy is chomping at the bit to get away from the marina and do some fishing. So we load up her fishing gear and head north on the ICW towards Stump Pass and out into the gulf. Once we are out of the pass and in the gulf, we turn south and just ride the coast in about 5 feet of water and Tracy fishes. Not a stinkin’ bite! -tc After some good catches and quite a bit of sun, we start heading back to the marina for the afternoon. Yup, more sun at the pool.
Saturday: With definite plans to cruise tomorrow, we decide to do some dry goods shopping at WalMart and some produce and dairy shopping at Publix. For the Walmart trip, we’ll need to use Uber, so after Tracy makes an appointment at the WalMart based Regis Hair Salon, YUP…Walmart for my hair LOL -tc we open up the Uber app and call for a ride. Once we’re at Walmart, Tracy goes into the salon for her hair appointment and I walk across the street to pick up some prescriptions at Walgreens, then walk back to WalMart and scour every aisle at least once while waiting for the hair dresser to finish up with Tracy. Finally she is done, her hair comes out real pretty and we grab a Subway sandwich before calling for a return Uber.
Once we’re back at the marina, we unload all the groceries onto Kailani, then I take the cart and four shopping bags (2 for cold and 2 for regular groceries) and start walking down to the local Publix. See we haven’t had good luck with WalMart dairy and produce, so with a local Publix, I decided to break up the shopping today. I had previously checked real quick for the store location and had remembered that it was just a mile plus, down the street. So it shouldn’t take long to get there, shop, then return. Boy, was I foolish not to verify! The Publix was actually 1.8 miles down the street and the sidewalk was on the sunny (really hot sun today) side of the street. So it was a sauna walk today to get to the Publix. 45 minutes later, I was entering the cool confines of the grocery store where I filled our cart with milk, bread, cold cuts, steak, chicken, macaroni, sauce, and some fruits to round out the bill. I also bought a cold water bottle to hydrate on the return walk.
The sun was a bit lower on the return trip so some of the walk was in shade and Google Maps said it would take 38 minutes to walk to the marina and it turned out to be exactly 38 minutes later when I was stepping onto Kailani to unload the groceries.
After all the cold items were in the fridge and/or freezer, we loaded up the fishing gear for one last trip here before we leave tomorrow. As we came out of the marina, we went straight across the ICW to a small inlet with all privately owned homes along both shores and Tracy caught a few fish and we saw some pretty sights also. It was slightly dark when we returned to our marina but the ferry was still running, so we had to make sure we avoided the ferry when we crossed the ICW.
Back aboard Kailani, we made our final cruise pans for tomorrow’s cruise to Cayo Costa Island, home of Cayo Costa State Park and some beautiful anchorages. It will only be 14 miles to the destination, so we’ll be able to take our time without feeling rushed in the morning.