GICW to Panama City and Gulf Mexico Crossing

Ambler Isle
V and S
Sun 7 Nov 2010 17:45
30 16 922N
87 45 648W
We took the GICW (Gulf Intercoastal Waterway) to Ft. Walton where we picked up Lisa and Roger Carter for the trip to Panama City. They enjoy a weekend pleasure cruise with us when we are in the area.   We decided to go past the Panama City Marina and anchor instead by their home in Lynn Haven, several miles away.  A bridge by their bay was only 18', so we lowered the radar and antennas and tiptoed under it.  Launching the dinghy, we docked at a neighbor's private dock and walked across the street to their home. Roger cooked burgers and all the trimmings, and we enjoyed a rare land day with them.  Next morning we went to St. Andrews Marina to fuel up and to buy some fresh shrimp right off the boats.  Never frozen, they are a tasty treat.  That day we ate them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  The rest we froze reluctantly.  The weather report for the Gulf of Mexico crossing seemed good, seas 1' or less, and we opted to go.  We seldom leave from Panama City, instead preferring to to to Appalachicola, some 50 miles east.  But that would involve staying overnight there and the weather window was only for 2 days.  The first 17 hours of the trip were uneventful.  Calm seas, calm winds.  But then the seas got rougher and rougher.  Soon they were 5-7' !  We persevered another 12 hours til reaching Anclotte Island anchorage, just out of Tarpon Springs.  Total Gulf of Mexico trip was 30 hours.