June 6, 2011
We entered Johns Pass at 1:00pm. The newly
constructed bridge now boasts 25' height at high tide. We lowered our
antennas and steamed under the unopened bridge. The state of Florida takes
a dim view of unnecessary bridge openings, sometimes fining those who request an
opening they really do not require. A rare event for us, we headed to the
local marina. Johns Pass Marina charges $1 per foot for dockage. We
tied up here for several reasons. First, we could be able to go ashore and
visit Jim and Janie from Pirate. We met them in the Bahamas 5
years ago and have stayed in contact with them whenever we could. We would
also be connected to shore power, allowing us to equalize the living system
batteries. This is recommended once per month. Equalization is a
process of super charging the batteries at high amperage to "burn off " any
minerals on the battery lead. This adds longevity to the batteries.
It takes 8 hours to fully equalize. We would also have unlimited water to
wash the boat. Finally, we could run the air conditioning to really
de-humidify the boat after her long journey.
The first night we had Jim and Janie come aboard for
fresh mahi dinner. It was fun to catch up on events with them. The
second night we were invited to go to a house party here. Janie picked us
up in her car, and took us to their home, where Pirate is berthed on a
dock in front of their house. Jim fired up the Hatteras engines and we
went on our first ride on their boat. What a treat. I know, we are
always on a boat, but it is always fun to go on a DIFFERENT boat. In 15
minutes we were tied up at their friends waterfront home. The menu
was mahi, snapper, bay scallops, cracked conch and more. We were surprised
to learn that people collect bay scallops during special season. They were
delicious. About 30 people attended the party.
Besides wanting to go to the party, we were waiting for
a fuel price check on Monday morning. Jim had a good source for bunkered
fuel. When he called, the price was $3.43 per gallon including
taxes. The cheapest we found otherwise was 400 miles away in Demopolis, AL
at $3.87 per gallon. Locally diesel cost $4.45-5.00. A considerable
savings. We always call around before buying fuel. Often we find big
differences in price. The truck delivered the fuel to Jim's dock. We would
tied alongside Pirate. Pirate would also buy fuel, giving us a
volume discount. After refueling, we would start our big 30 hour trip
across the Gulf of Mexico.
The weather window was good most of the week.
Different forecasts predicted light winds, 5-10k and seas 2' or less. So
our delay should not cause any problems.