We had spent the weekend in one of our regular and favorite locations, Ft. McCree, adjacent to Pensacola inlet. We had to go home for a little of that 4-letter word.......W@@K, but since I am now semi-retired and working less hours (at least in theory), we should make time for a cruise - right? Well that is why I cut my working hours (and salary) in half). Talking to our best friends Larry and Tracy - they were planning to head back to Atlanta and in Larry's words he had a large dose of the "I don't want to's". So it took no persuading them to join us on this little impromptu jaunt on thier boat S/V TraSea. Fist stop - home, to fulfill a couple of commitments, re-provision, top off water and fuel etc.
Given the wind direction, we decided to go "inside" or via the ICW. First stop - a very short hop to Ingram's Bayou. And I mean a short stop - just a couple of miles west, but at least we were off the dock. We anchored and ate dinner at restaurant under new ownership - GT's on the Bay.....a great improvement over the former "Cayman Grill" and a moderate dinghy ride from Ingrams. The food was good - so a thumbs up for GTs! http://gtsonthebay.com/. So stop there and support them if you have a chance. They have a long dock into the bay - but its looked like about 4 ft draft. But they have excellent dinghy docks.
The next day, with a reasonably early start, we headed west on the ICW towards Mobile Bay. Amazingly, this was the furthest we had sailed west - we ALWAYS go East. The ICW trip was fairly interesting. We did hit the bottom once on the north side, just about a mile west of the Wharf. That was a surprise, but a soft sandy hit at low speed - so a little more care for the remainder of the trip.
Dauphin Island Race.
After intercepting the Ship Channel, we headed south for a short distance until we were between makers Green 15 and Green 13 in the main ship channel. Caution and a good look-out is essential as the ship channel is narrow and quite heavily trafficked by a variety of cargo ships. Also look out for the ferry which crosses between Ft. morgan and Dauphin Island .
The depths in the center were generally 10-12 ft, with a sandy bottom that seemed to provide very good holding. The dunes on Pelican were pretty small, so wind protection in a blow could be an issue. Waves should be no problem in anything but an E wind - and even then, there are couple of sand fingers that you could tuck in behind.
|Pelican Island (outside)|
|Beaches/low dunes - Pelican Island|
We got a great view of Sand island Light and the many oil and gas platforms, wellheads etc. in the gulf and entrance to Mobile Bay. Again - care needed. Surprisingly not everything is marked on the charts.
The trip back started as a "motor-sail", but the wind built and it turned into a great sail back with the winds building from our rear quarter, we hit 7-8 kts under sail.......and without spilling a drop of my drink!