In my last entry, we were anchored in Ingram Bayou enjoying the Dolphin shows. Our entire focus was on our plans to sail to the Tarpon Springs area of Florida. There was many ways we could do it. We could hug the coast along the panhandle and day hop to Destin, then Panama City, Then go inside to the ICW at Port St. Joe and then down to Carrabelle. From Carrabelle we could then make a 24 hour crossing down to Tarpon Springs. That is the route that we used (only in reverse) when we were coming north in March of 2020. The problem with that route is you have to find multiple weather windows that match your sailing plans and there is a significant amount of motoring. After coming down the river, we were tired of motoring. We wanted to sail as much as possible. SHIFT is a sailboat after all.
We had this perfect weather window for the day after Thanksgiving, November 26th. It looked like we could head SE out of Pensacola with a 15 knot wind on our beam and head in the direction of just SE of Port St. Joe. We had a bailout at that point if the conditions were not to our liking or if we had a problem. After the first 24 hours, the wind was forecast to diminish to around 10 knots for the next 24 hours and then get very light on Saturday night as we would be approaching the Florida Coast.
On Thanksgiving day, we weighed anchor and headed out of Ingram Bayou. We motored along the ICW to the Pensacola inlet.
|There was a lot to see along the ICW to Pensacola. This area was hit hard by Hurricane Sally in Fall of 2020. This boat was still up on dry land.|
|The anchorage that we selected is right next to the inlet. It is a small basin surrounded by mounds of sand that were deposited here by dredges working in the inlet.|
|Here is a shot of the other boats in the anchorage.|
|As forecast the wind died off to nothing about sunset. It was beautiful.|
|I just love this shot with the Blue Heron on the spit of sand.|
|Sundown meant it was time to get some sleep and get ready for what was to come. The uncertainty is the hardest part. I was pretty nervous, but I slept well. I would need it.|
|Here is our planned route. You can see, we will get pretty close to land after about 100 miles of the 275 trip. Also notice the 7.3 knots of speed over ground.|
|This is our view as we left the inlet. It was a smooth ride.|
|Sunsets at sea are amazing. You can see the confused seas. It was quite a ride.|