Sunday, December 4, 2016


     Saturday in Carrabelle is to be a work day and a day of relaxation. We also sleep late as we have changed time zones, and got up earlier than usual this past Friday to make the run to Carrabelle. I go to the local hardware store hoping to find a switch for our navigation lights. Our current one is faulty on the anchor light side, causing 1 of the two anchor light bulbs to stay on even when the switch is in the off position. I also need a nav light bulb, as one has apparently gone bad since Pensacola. It is a nice little hardware store with an auto parts counter in the back. I get a fuel filter element for the primary diesel filter. And they have the three position, six terminal switch that I need. Barbara hikes next door to the local IGA grocer to buy staples. Everything is less than one block from the marina it appears. I spend the afternoon getting all the nav lights functioning as they should.

     On Sunday we go to the First Baptist Church 11a.m. service after our morning biscuits. It is a nice, traditional service. The pastor is obviously from a SB seminary. He gets excited and loud at times. No sleeping in this service. Barbara and I walk around the other end of town as we leave the church. We eventually get back to SummerTime, and after a light lunch, spend the afternoon relaxing. We go back to browse some of the shops near the church. One is an art gallery, and there is some very good photos for sale.


For dinner we go to "The Fisherman's Wife" restaurant. My surf and turf was very good. The five of us got the last 4 pie slices in the building. I had buttermilk pie for the first time. No keylime pie or cheesecake. I feel for the group of 9 coming in as we are leaving. The food is great, but not one of them is going to get a dessert.
     The wind is still blowing on Monday morning. We are not going to make the crossing to Steinhatchee today. There is 61 miles of open Gulf, and we do not want it to be 61 miles of bucking bronco ride. Barbara does the laundry. I work on more little things on the boat. We go to the other hardware store as the hydraulic lines for the trim tab have been kinked at some time and developed a leak. We eat at the grill next to the hardware store. I get a hot dog and chips. They still make shakes the old fashioned way, but I did not get one. I got my fittings at the old timey hardware store, and go back to complete the repairs. I also fuel the boat, 13gallons, and ready it for travel on Tuesday. I am sure the diesel tank is not full, but it will not take more gallons. I think I should have filled the water tank first to get the diesel tank vent up higher. Barbara fixes a dish, chili, for the pot luck dinner. At 6:30pm, we gather with the others on the deck at "C-Quarters Marina". Some of the locals, employees, and other cruisers bring food in also. It is a fabulous pot-luck. One of the nicest meals and bits of fellowship we have had on this trip. The "C-Quarters" staff does this every Monday evening, inviting the transients at the dock. We will be well fed if we leave as planned at 6:00am on Tuesday morning.
       I got up early as well as Barbara as neither one of us was sleeping good. We are ready to leave with the engine running about 6:05. But the outboard on the sailboat "John B" does not want to get started and run. Don eventually puts fresh plugs in it, and we are off about 6:40. It is not so dark any more that we really get to test the new spot light out on SummerTime. It is dark enough to see the light on the reflective markers. We can get the reflections for over a quarter mile easy. We get out the river easily, and get to the far side of the bay.

We turn east bound, and are just before making the south turn to the inlet when "Somewhere in Time" calls and says they have had to shut an engine down due to a temperature  problem. We reset our course to the north headed to the shore to get out of the wind as repairs are made. After about 10 minutes, they call back and have a hose put back on their engines intake pump. Everything is back to normal except salt water clean-up in the engine room. After we clear the sea buoy, we make our direct heading to a reef marker north of the Steinhatchee River mouth. John B hoist a fore sail, and is making good time. We are starting to spread out a little. About 11:30, "John B" calls and says he is having engine problems. A few minutes later, and he calls again as his engine has stopped. We talk to "Somewhere in Time" who is now 1.5 miles ahead. SummerTime turns around and heads to "John B", and "Somewhere in Time" continues towards Steinhatchee at a reduced pace. After some discussion and rope tying, we take "John B" in tow. We are now .9 miles south of our course per the GPS, and at our new speed (5.5kt), our arrival will be about 7:50pm. After about 30 minutes at this speed, I see that the towing is going good. I pick the speed up to 6.5kt. After a few minutes of this, I pick the speed up to 7.1kt at 1700rpm. The "John B" is stable in this position, but the higher speeds will put more stress on cleats, ropes, and transmissions. Our new eta is now 6:50, or almost our original arrival time.

The seas calm out, and the towing is smooth for all parties. About 6mi west of the "R24" buoy, the TowboatUS boat meets us and takes over towing the "John B". It is nearly 4:30, and we add speed, traveling at 2200rpm for 9.2 knots. Our arrival time to "Sea Hag Marina" in Steinhatchee is now down to 6:15pm as we still have about 18 miles to cover. We will arrive after dark (sunset officially at 5:38pm per NOAA) going up the river channel.

As we get near the channel, we call the marina on the radio to tell them we are coming in. They tell us they go home at 6pm, so I run SummerTime wide open for the last 2 miles. Our eta drops to 5:58 as we are now doing 14.7 kt. The new bottom paint and fixing the trim tab hydraulic leaks has given us some missing speed. We arrive at Sea Hag Marina and tie up at 6:04pm, as we slowed for fisherman and shallow areas entering the crooked part of the river. We have covered 85.5 miles in just over 11hr, most of which was open water. TowboatUS gets the "John B" in at about 7:40. We all go to dinner at Roy's Seafood, which is opening for the its first night after hurricane repairs. They have a great salad bar, good seafood, and we get dessert. A bad starting day has turned out good.

      On Wednesday, I fuel SummerTime. It takes 45.5 gallons, which means we probably were about 10-12 gal short of fill-up before leaving Carrabelle. I spend the afternoon doing a good wash on SummerTime with soap and water. It is the first good wash since Green Turtle Bay in Kentucky. Barbara and Sue walk to the grocery store and get provisions, and check out what they may be able to get for Thanksgiving Day. In the evening, we put our dinghy in, and motor up the river to a Hungry Howie's which has a riverfront dock. I never thought I would see this Michigan pizza delivery chain in Florida with a dock for eaters. We eat pizza in the restaurant. The manager is a sailor and talks to us about our  travels. Don orders a blueberry pizza as dessert, and I somehow manage to spill half my blueberries down my shirt front and on my jeans. We all laugh at my clumsiness.

      Thanksgiving morning the four of us walk back up to Maddies neighborhood store and pick up a turkey breast and other fixings for a Thanksgiving dinner. When we get back, we use the electric carving knife we bought in the Port Clinton second hand store for cutting our cushion foam, for cutting the turkey breast in halves. Each boat cooks a half as that is all their oven will hold. We all sit down around 3, and the 5 of us have a feast on "Somewhere in Time" that would have made our pilgrim forefathers happy.
      On Friday morning, I go up to the marina store and buy some 1-1/8" bilge hose to complete the job and eliminate the leak from where I started the hose repair at Pensacola. Barbara and I go up the Steinhatchee on the dinghy. We see and video a manatee. This is after we met the others for lunch with the dinghies at the "Who Dat" bar and grille. The food is good, but Barbara injures a tooth or gum on her bacon wrapped hot dog. When we get back to the boat after our trip up the river, I work on finishing the bilge hose replacement. Barbara walks to Maddie's again to get some pain relievers for her hurting tooth. Sue on "Somewhere in Time" makes a casserole with the leftover turkey and trimmings from Thanksgiving. We pull our dinghy up on its cradle hoping to the others will get their parts early on Saturday morning so we can depart to Cedar Key to finish our trip across the NE corner, or "Big Bend" of the Gulf.


  1. How could you dare do that - leave no pie for the other restaurant diners?

    That's justification for naval even the score between pie-eaters and non-pie-eaters!!!

  2. Hi. I just read about Hungry Howie's and blueberry pizza. I've never heard of blueberry pizza - until now. Surprisingly, I do know of Hungry Howie's because we have them here in Las Vegas...but I never knew of Hungry Howie's link to Michigan. I thought the company was simply a small, little-known startup here in Las Vegas.

    See what happens when a guy reads a boating journal? He (me) learns something.