CruisingNorth AmericaUSA

A free pontoon boat in Destin

By April 28, 2010 No Comments

My new crew member, Russ, joined me on Monday and we hung out in Pensacola with his friend Walt until we sailed to Destin on Friday. 

 The sail started with the wind on the nose, but after a hour or so the wind slid to a close reach and we enjoyed higher speeds than the motor was giving us.  It was a very nice day with  10-15 knots of wind and 2-4 foot seas.

 Destin is great.  We are right in the middle of the harbor and have restaurants, condos, and boat rental places all around us.  On Saturday we were getting ready to load up the dingy to go to Crab Island, when a couple wanted to come aboard and look at the boat.  Of course I let them (l love showing off the boat) and it turns out they own a pontoon boat rental company.  Long story short, they told us to take one of their pontoons and keep it for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  It has been a blast.  If you want a boat or jet ski in Destin go to Sunshine Pontoon Boat Rental and Ed will set you up.

 Crab Island is a sand bar on the other side of the Destin bridge with water depths between one and ten feet.  People go there in their boats, anchor, and play.  It was fun (we did it for two days) and we are told it is absolutely packed during the summer.

 Melissa joined the boat in Destin and we showed her the water front area until 2AM.  Russ then stated we might as well leave instead of getting three hours sleep, which made since.  So we got everything ready and left Destin at 3AM.  He took the first shift and we headed to Apalachicola.  We made it to within six miles before we lost the sun.  We anchored in a creek that was very protected. 

 The next morning we got to the city docks and both Russ and Melissa pulled out the three bikes I bought at a police auction for a total of $18.  After an hour or so they had the two best bikes running fairly well.  We stripped parts off the other one and tossed it in the trash.  We had a great time riding around and seeing the town.   There are some beautiful homes and lots of bars/restaurants.  Plus everything is confined to a 10 square block area.  We even visited the only other Three Soldiers statue from the Vietnam Memorial (the artist was from Apalachicola).

 After two days we found it hard to leave the town, because the locals had taken us in so well, but we needed to get way south for Russ’s flight.  We left on Friday morning with a weather report stating the wind would be on the nose in the morning and clocking in the afternoon so we could sail.  It was suppose to be 10-15 knots.  By 10PM the wind finally did shift enough to sail, but only for five hours and then it was on the nose again.  Plus it was 15-20 with one period registering 30 knots and 6-8 foot waves.  We even had a little bird who was tuckered out and caught a ride with us.

 Yesterday we got to Tarpon Springs on schedule (with a lot less diesel).  The block which holds the dingy up broke (we were able to secure it before the dingy lowered itself) and a jib sheet chafed.  Once in Tarpon Springs we did not care for the anchorage (way too crowded with the boat ramp right there) so we found one of the only slips available and fixed the issues rather quickly (thanks to Len giving us and our bikes a ride to West Marine before they closed). 

Tarpon Springs is the sponge capital of the gulf and it has a HUGH Greek population.  So we stayed downtown to sightsee the sponge docks, have a Greek dinner, and partake of the nightlife.  Yet another place I would have liked to stay a few more days, but not at the marina price.

 We have until Wednesday to get Russ to the Cape Coral/Ft Myers area and pick up our new crew member, so today we are motoring the ICW to Sarasota with 20+ knots on the nose.  It is a bit rough, but we are in protected waters.

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