The after party : Side trip to Pensacola 

What a celebration we had after our initial champagne toast!  Brenda and Scott drove down from Fairhope where their boat is being repaired. We all shared dinner at LuLu’s! 

Nov 11th, we left the dock at LuLu’s to head for Pensacola to see the Blue Angels preform. It’s their homecoming and final performance for the year.  By 1:30pm we had set the anchor and settled into a relaxing afternoon 

The afternoon performance was excellent viewed from our front row seats on our bow! They were right over our heads!

As the sun set, we enjoyed dinner and got ready for the evening show.

Having never seen a night air show, we didn’t know what to expect. 

Ok, that was cool but as night fell, it really got exciting! Photos just don’t do it justice but if you ever get a chance, go see one!

Morning on the water is always a treat. 

We pulled anchor at 8:30 and docked back at LuLu’s. Had a good lunch out with Norma and Charlie befor they drove back to Houston. 

Next morning Sunday , Scott and Brenda arrived at 10 to drive over to Robbie and Julia’s home. They gave a a great tour of Pensacola. 

Including a walk on the white sand to see the clear blue water one more time before we headed west to the brown waters of home!

Love these friends to the moon and back! They shared so much of our trip and we will miss them until we see them again.

Crossing our Wake

Tuesday November 10, 2016 we cruised into Mobile Bay and come to the spot we were last year at this time.  So the circle was complete. They call it “crossing your wake”.   So now we are officially Gold Loopers!  We took down our white burgee from the American Great Loop Cruisers Association.  Upon crossing our wake we joined the group of cruisers eligible to fly the gold burgee!  It’s like finally making Eagle Scout!  Years of training and miles of trials that prove you have what it takes! We were greated by a playful dolphin! 


A good friend gave us a bottle of 1999 Dom Perignon that we used to celebrate.  Our dock friends from Texas came over to spend the weekend and help celebrate too!   

This has been a trip of a lifetime. We made lifetime friends along the way. 2 of them joined us for more celebrating at dinner at LuLu’s.  We started in Galveston Bay last November. Here is our trip by the numbers:

 It has been 358 days since we left home port. We returned home 78 days during that time. We had 116 travel days where we moved from one place to the next. Our longest day was crossing the Gulf, 165.6 nautical miles. Our shortest day was .08 nm. On average, we traveled 46.07nm a day.  We logged a total of 5345.1 nm
We used 4280.4 gallons of diesel fuel costing $9,808.42 USD.   That averages out to 1.24nm/gal., and $1.80/nm.  We traveled less than 15 hours on plane and used auto pilot as often as we could!  We went thru 105 locks.   We tied up with power 27 nights, stayed in marinas 271 days.  This cost $13,855.66 at an average cost of $46.49/night.

We logged 451.3 hours on our generator. We spent 5 nights on walls without power, anchored out 28 nights and spent 27 nights on mooring balls for a total of 60 days.  That averaged out to 7.52 hours/night on the generator.
Yes it was a blast and now we will make our way back to Seabrook. Who knows what the future holds but we will definitely keep cruising!

The Run to Dog River

Wednesday, November 9th, we pulled anchors at 8am . Again excited and sad we were almost at the end of our adventure.  Steve stayed on the helm and Kathleen was the one pulling anchor today. Flawless- just saying…  evidently watching him do it every time this past year paid off.  We headed into the Port of Mobile. 

The coast changed that last little bit from river to sea.

Mike,on Moon Dance, was an amazing excellent guide with his naval history.  Lots of industrial activity going on here as well as a cruise port.

The navy has a few ships here that were quite unique. Tri hulled and modern.

Not nearly as large as port of Houston, there was other stuff going on too.

Then we spilled out into the bay. Calm at first, the farther south we got, the windier it was. Our friends turned east to Fairhope while we continued on. Ran into a little traffic in the ship channel.

Did you call ch the name on the shrimp boat? It’s a sign! We were being welcomed home.

The tanker came close but was empty so very little wake. We could almost see the props!
Dog River was more rustic than we were expecting, but we pulled in and filled the fuel tanks.as that was happening, a man walked up and introduced himself. He has been following our blog all year after hearing from a family member about us doing the loop. Steve’s friend plays golf with one of his relatives. Anyway, here he was!! They started loop first of November and just by chance, were dock near us!  This world seems so much smaller since we have been on this adventure. Just as we finished fueling, TwoLynne pulled up. It was a peaceful night as we fell asleep around 4 pm!  Exhausted!

Last anchorage

We pulled off Bobby’s dock at 6:45 am on Tuesday November 8th.  Beautiful water! We were racing to get in our last lock before a train of barges got there.  This was another massive flotilla that filled the lock. 

We we surprised to find our friends on TwoLynne waiting at the lock. 

The shoreline continued to change as we cruised past a cool rock formation.

We passed a huge paper mill that you could smell long before we saw it. Massive stacks of logs along the river. They were spraying water on top to keep the wood from spontaneously combusting.

The closer we got to Mobile, the more industrial the shore became. we saw the rare truck tire tree… harvest time is near.

We saw local folks harvesting fish in fish traps… yes that is a baby in an infant seat on the back of that boat!  We are in Alabama.

The shoreline started looking more beach like. And the markers caught big trees, holding them so we wouldn’t hit them.

We arrived at our anchorage and were pleased to see how wide it was!  We set our anchor and the others rafted up with us. These are great people and we loved spending time with them. 

Of friends pulled up before dark and dropped anchor behind us.  We invited them to join us for dinner but they declined due to the rain that just began to fall and the fact that election results would be coming in soon. 

We enjoyed one more night with our friends before going to bed. Mike and Deby were wonderful hosts and hardly minded that red wine was spilled- oh! No names cause you know!

 Then, as Steve turned to shut off the generator, he slipped on the stairs to the bedroom, hitting his back right in the middle.  Ouch!!  Between watching the historic election results come in and trying to find a comfortable position for the back, we were up most of the night. Kathleen was up top several times checking on the anchor situation. Here is why!  We wallowed all over the place, driving her crazy.

Bobby’s Fish Camp

To say Bobby’s is a marina is being generous! It’s really a 150′ dock with power pedestals  that sells expensive fuel. But it can because they are the only thing around for over a hundred miles. It is customary for loopers to raft up here and they boast to have hosted over 13 boats at one time. Same price with or without power!  

Leaving the creek was the first challenge, like unwinding a coiled rope.  Had to back out as it was too tight to spin. But all went well, and Steve retrieved the aft anchor. We got underway at 8am to go 22 miles to the iconic Bobby’s.

Enjoyed the trip down stream,  and arrived before noon.  No answer on radio and phone mailbox was full! We circled and then the first row docked with out being able to raise the marina. We decided we would make ourselves at home and pay when they decided to show up. Here we are first row on. We ended up with 9 boats rafted up. 

Sure enough someone finally arrived to collect. We met our new neighbors including Murphy. And watched the night fall. Kind of sad realizing that we were 2 days away from Mobile.

We enjoyed another wonderful dinner with Fins and Moon Dance.

The Great Migration South

We left Demopolis Marina in a very well orchestrated group. Our unofficial fleet commander was the very organized and natural leader Mike on Moon Dance. A testament to his skill was all 10 boats leaving the marina without incident and then traveling the mile or so down river ,loading into the lock on time!  Departing the dock promptly at 6:45am! And this on the day we reset our clocks!

 We naturally organized  as we approached the lock in the early morning fog.

Loading in like it was planned we each took our spots and tied off. This was a huge lock!

The lock opened and we spilled out past the dam and falls.

We quickly filtered out into an order based on how fast the boat traveled. The scenery changed as we went farther south.

And again we saw things that amazed! In the middle of no where!

Our destination was Bashi Creek. 2 sail boats were there when we got there. This sweet couple came to help with our second anchor, needed to keep us off the bank. So 3 of us rafted together and we fit exactly!

This is looking up stream

The rest of the pack finally caught us and we gathered on our bows to have happy hour and share stories.

These are great people from all over and we loved spending time with them! Early to bed, so we can be early to rise! 

Saturday

Or as we called it, the day we did nothing at all!  Golf on tv, pj’s till 3pm! Yes very restful!  Kathleen wanted to wash the boat but all it took was Steve suggesting we wait til Dog River and pay someone to do it and she agreed, that was an excellent plan- back on couch!

We did get out @4 to walk around a bit 

It’s a pretty big marina.  We met up with the loopers that were leaving Sunday morning to get a game plan.  8 boats leaving at once takes a little planning.  Then Mike/Debbie on MoonDance (they did the crossing with us) invited us to ride with them and another couple for dinner. This was our room , and we had fun talking about our adventures since we last saw each other. It was great reconnecting and also meeting the couple on Fin.  Phil and Lynn are great! Just starting their loop. We will travel with them Sunday and raft up at a creek 70 miles down river.  Phil is cooking Jumbalya, Debbi’s making salad and I’m doing peach cobbler! Yum yum.

Foscue House was wonderful. An old home built in the 1800’s that is a restaurant now. Home has not been modified much, individual rooms have tables set up and they served the best fried green tomatoes I’ve had in a long time.   We leave at 6:30 am ,so earl to bed!