Well, it has been a while since I have updated our blog. Sorry about that. Thought I would be doing a better job but since we have not traveled as much as we intended, I have not written.
We arrived in Panama City, FL on Wednesday , January 23, 2013. We negotiated to stay a little longer than a month as we needed to get back to Texas and then to North Carolina. For those of you that do not know, we have purchased some waterfront property in New Bern, North Carolina. We collected the few belongings we have left from my Mom's and rented a U-Haul to take them to New Bern. We closed on the house on February 15, 2013. Stayed in New Bern for two weeks to get the house in order and then closed it up to continue on our trip. We made it back to Panama City on March 3 after visiting Mark's aunt, uncle, and cousin in Jacksonville, FL on March 2. Travis drove us from New Bern to Jacksonville, FL and Ron drove us the last leg of the trip from Jacksonville, FL to Panama City, FL so Travis could head back to Raleigh to prepare for his exam on Monday. Thanks Travis and Ron.
On Monday, March 4, we had to leave Panama City to vacate the slip we were in so the marina could prepare for the boat show they were having on March 15. Thank goodness the weather cooperated and we were able to leave and get to Port St. Joe, FL. We had intended to only stay one night in Port St. Joe, but the weather did not cooperate, which has been the story of our life since we began this trip, so we had to stay another night. Port St. Joe Marina was a great marina as everything was convenient. The grocery store was a block away and most everything was within a mile. We either walked or rode our bikes. The marina also had bikes and trikes with baskets so we could haul larger items.
On Wednesday, March 6, we headed to the ICW to Apalachicola to make our way to Clearwater, FL. They had a fee dock that we could spend the night at, but the current of the river and the wind made it impossible for us to dock at the free dock, so we opted for the Maritime Museum which had a brand new dock that we could catch with the current and side tie to. We walked the town, which was another cute little town and had to be back at the boat so the museum could lock up for the night at 5:00 pm. When we got up the next morning, we decided the weather and our auto pilot was not working well so we headed back to Port St Joe to make repairs.
We heard from our friends Trish and John on Mariah that they were heading to Port St. Joe on Friday. They arrived on Friday morning at 7:30 AM after traveling all night. We ended up spending over a week there waiting on a weather window and because John works. We wanted to buddy boat with them to Clearwater. While in Port St. Joe we did a lot of biking and enjoying the little town. Mark also repaired the steering and the autopilot. Mark's brother Jeff and his wife Kathy visited us for an overnight stay on their way from St. Petersburg area to Jacksonville. We had a wonderful dinner at the Sunset Grill. Thanks y'all, we enjoyed your visit.
On Friday morning, March 15, at about 7:30 am we headed out of Port St. Joe for Clearwater with Mariah. We were able to sail today, which is the first time since we left Galveston that the wind has been in the right direction. We sailed most of the day, but as the sun was going down, the wind died too, so we ended up motoring all night. We slept in shifts. I took the 8-11 shift and Mark took the 11-2 shift and so on. It was an uneventful trip and we arrived at the Clearwater Yacht Club at 12:30 pm Saturday afternoon, March 16. We made excellent time as we thought we would be arriving about 4:00 pm. We explored Clearwater Beach on our bikes. A very touristy destination as it was the end of spring break. The weather is still cold. Not a lot of people on the beach and only very few people in in ankle deep water, because the water is so cold.
On Monday, March 18, we decided to leave to go about 15 miles down to Passo de Grille. The seas were 2-4 but the wind was out of the south so we had to motor. As we got further south, the rain started moving in and the seas started pounding the boat. The auto pilot went nuts and we lost it, so we headed back in Clearwater Yacht Club where we still are. We ordered a new hydraulic auto pilot and are waiting on some extra parts. Hopefully we will be in shape to leave on Tuesday, March 26, to make our way farther south. Still hunting on warmer weather.