Saturday, February 13, 2016

Panama City to White City to Carrabelle, FL

ICW scenery
ICW Scenery


We were looking forward to a nice day of sailing across St. Andrews Bay and East Bay before entering the narrow ICW toward White City. The winds were supposed to finally calm down a bit which would be a pleasant break. Unfortunately the forecast that morning showed winds blowing up to 25 knots once again. Since the winds would be coming from the west we decided to head east anyway. The following wind and waves should make it reasonably comfortable out there. The sail turned out to be fun even when the gusts were pushing up past the 25 knot range. Once we entered the narrow ICW the wind and waves were blocked making for a nice relaxing motorsail.

Never trust your GPS

We arrived at the White City Municipal Docks and found it completely empty. The docks are free which we really appreciate. A fisherman pulled in just behind us and warned us that there were going to be about fifty boats launching well before sun up the next day for a bass fishing tournament. We knew we were going to be getting up early for a long sail the next day, so we weren't too concerned about the noise they were sure to bring. Little did we know that those goofy bass fisherman are nuts. Who gets up early enough to launch a boat and be on the water by 4:15 a.m.? Geez, the fish will wait guys! So much for sleeping in.

Drag race line up.


We watched the committee boat release two boats at a time who then floored their 250 to 300 h.p. outboards like it was a drag race. We guessed we wouldn't be passing any of those boats on our way.

We threw off our dock lines and floored our 22 h.p. Yanmar to accelerate right up to 5-6 knots. We motor sailed when we could, but due to a strong opposing current we often slowed down to 4 knots. Our plan was to sail all the way to Carrabelle if possible, but the slow start wasn't making that look possible.

Luckily the wind swung around to the north giving us a nice boost as we motor sailed across Lake Wimico at 6.2 knots. After crossing the lake we once again entered the narrow ICW toward Appalachicola. The current and winds were now in our favor and Wrinkles was really cruising along. Being a displacement hull our theoretical top speed is 7 knots, but a strong current gave us a speed over ground of up to 8.5 knots. This fun run lasted all the way past Appalachicola out into St. George Sound.

Bridge at Appalachicola

Turning eastward toward Carrabelle the north wind and strong current allowed us to sail along at 7 knots for a long time. The waves were 2-4 feet which made the ride fun and exciting. Eventually our good luck ran out and the course we had to take put the wind nearly on our nose. Shoot, time to put the sails away and just motor Wrinkles to a slip.

We planned to stop at C-Quarters Marina where we stayed last October and just loved our time there. We became good friends with a couple, John and Nancy, who had cruised for ten years already. We were excited about seeing them again. Brenda wanted to call ahead to tell them when we would be arriving, but Mike remembered how much "fun" everyone has getting their boats in C-Quarter's slips and really didn't want them witnessing our docking. A strong current runs perpindicular to the slips which only have two wooden posts on each side and a really short pier on one side. The posts are far enough apart that a boat under 40' can't span both of them. Sounds like fun doesn't it. Well, it wasn't! Mike underestimated the current and once Wrinkles was between the two posts there was nothing to stop her from beginning to turn sideways. Hitting reverse only makes matters worse as the prop walk pushes the stern in the same direction as the current. Fortunately there were enough people around to help us muscle Wrinkles in to the slip without damaging anything more than our egos.


We tidied up the boat and walked up to the office feeling pretty embarrassed. The boaters on the porch made us feel so much better when they said, "That was better than we did yesterday?" Then they described how they had their big trawler completely sideways in the slip before getting it situated. We laughed about each other's mistakes and got to know their cruising plans. Our good friends, John and Nancy, popped up out of their sailboat about then (they didn't get to watch the docking disaster) and welcomed us back to Carrabelle. A few cold drinks were enjoyed as everyone got acquainted.

John and Nancy

We went to dinner at The Fisherman's Wife restaurant with two of the couples for some good food and conversation. It is really good to be back in Carrabelle.



1 comment:

  1. Fabulously written account of a wonderful time! Thanks for the great writing and photos.