Tuesday – Nov 14
We left Dog River in Mobile and did the Mobile Bay crossing.
We had heard from other Loopers how easily Mobile Bay could get whipped up into some high seas.
Our wind apps “Sailflow & Windy” predicted low wind days on Tuesday/Wednesday.
We were supposed to leave Mobile on Monday, but we delayed 1 day.
The 1-day delay was worth it, the ride across Mobile Bay was wonderful, the water was almost glass near shore & only 1 footers in the center of the bay.
We did encounter some fishing boats with their flock of birds following for the tasty overboard samples.
We also saw some large structures listed on the charts as “man-made reefs, by Exxon Corp”.
Here is an article about them = http://alreefs.com/resources/executive-summary.pdf
Now it was time for a memorable day for us, our entry into the GCICW (Gulf Coast Intercoastal Waterway), where we will now spend a lot of time cruising inside the protected covering just inside of the Gulf of Mexico. We were excited about this, but
our entry into the Gulf ICW was somewhat uneventful – No big signs saying “welcome Mike & Jonell”.
About 3 miles after entering the GCICW we passed a Looper Famous place, called LuLu’s Restaurant. All the Loopers stop here for lunch or dinner. We came back at night for dinner.
LuLu’s has a couple of distinctions from other waterway restaurants around here;
1) It is owned by Lucy Buffett, sister of Jimmy Buffett.
2) It was constructed and is operated as the first Green Restaurant on the Alabama Gulf Coast, using eco-friendly wind turbines for power, and grass fed beef & organic tomatoes on their “Cheese Burger in Paradise”
Down the ICW another 3-4 miles was our marina, The Wharf at Orange Beach.
After the somewhat rustic marinas we had stayed in over the last few weeks, the princess Jonell & I were happy to get back to a 5-star rated marina complete with restaurants, pubs, & shops all on-site.
As shown below, they also have some nice boats around these parts.
Wednesday – Nov 15 (Good Luck Deer Hunters)
On Wednesday, we swapped the props from the ones we have used the entire trip, and installed the spare set. We have had several underbody knocks/clunks during the trip, and as you recall we did have a slight grounding about 6 weeks ago. But about 5 days ago we had a clunk/knock from a submerged debris which resulted in a vibration and a buzz/humm in the rudders. Most folks driving the boat would never be able to tell there is anything wrong, but I could tell there was a difference from previous operation over the last 4 months.
We had heard good reports from our friends on the vessel Craic (Tim/Patti) of a diver who swapped their props without pulling the boat out of the water.
Diver “Danny Hand” arrived about 11am, and had both props changed and underbody inspected by about 12:30pm, for the cost of only $250. A haul-out in this area for our boat would be $400-600.
Let’s hope the prop swap works to eliminate the vibration. The props we installed were reported as “Good” by previous owner Dave Sylver Sr, so we did not have them scanned before install. We will get the removed props repaired while we are stationary for 1 month in Fort Myers Beach.
Later that afternoon, we washed the first batch of salt water off of the beautiful Gettin’ Looped. I am sure this will become a 3-4 times/week task in the upcoming months. The salt water leaves a very heavy film on the gelcoat.
We also sat out on the dock and watched boats go down the GCICW (Gulf Coast Inter-coastal Waterway) in front of us, and zip liners traveling between towers behind us.
On Wednesday night, we went to dinner at an Italian place called Villaggio, with very nice ambiance & average food taste.
Thursday – Nov 16
On Thursday we had an awesome fun day. We went to a Bar/Restaurant called “Flora-Bama” made famous by many singers/songwriters, but especially Kenny Chesney in the song by the same name, “Flora-Bama”.
Kenny Chesney has also done at least 1 very large concert on the beach at the Flora-Bama !
Flora-Bama Kenny Chesney Video
The Flora-Bama Lounge, located in Perdido Key Florida, on the Alabama/Florida state line, is a honky-tonk, oyster bar, beach bar, and Gulf Coast cultural landmark, touted as being America’s “Last Great Roadhouse”.
The Flora-Bama takes its name from its location on the Florida-Alabama border line, the property does lie in both Alabama and Florida with the bar sitting right on the line.
Widely known as a place where “you can have a millionaire sitting next to a biker,” this unique make-up of bar patrons is one of the contributing factors to its large appeal and attraction.
The Flora-Bama first gained national attention when former Oakland Raiders and Alabama quarterback and NFL MVP Kenny Stabler referred to the Flora-Bama as “The best watering hole in the country”.
Much to our surprise when we arrived, we learned that this week was the once/year “2017 Frank Brown Music Festival”.
The Frank Brown Songwriters’ Festival is the oldest festival of its kind, and has been referred to as the largest gathering of songwriters at one time anywhere in the world.
The festival is dedicated to the late Frank Brown, who was night watchman at the Flora-Bama for 28 years, and whose moral values, integrity and strength of character still endure. Mr. Frank, who was 91 years old when he retired, was featured on Paul Harvey’s syndicated radio show, “The Rest of the Story.” In recent years, the event has attracted more than 200 artists from around the world.
We had planned on staying at Flora-Bama for about 5 hours and listening to a little music, having lunch , and spending the afternoon on the beach (oh yea, Flora-Bama is right on the Gulf of Mexico).
We did stay 5 hours, but spent 4 of the 5 hours up in the stage section of the bar listening to all the great music, and only 1 hour on the beach.
The musicians were performing all their original music, it was all very good.
There was a new musician on stage about every 15 minutes, so we saw about 15-20 different acts. This was between 1-5pm, some folks we spoke to said it gets really good at the night time shows.
And the white sand on Perdido Beach was incredible – very white, very clean, & very soft.
It was a wonderful day !
Next stop = Pensacola Florida