Monday, August 15, 2016

Apalachicola to Panama City Marina

On the morning of 14 August 2016 we plotted a course from Apalachicola FL to Panama City Marina.  As the sun began to rise in a clear sky we eased out of our slip and made a sharp port turn into the Apalachicola River that serves as the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GICW).  The 62 mile cruise will take us up the Apalachicola River past an old rusty railroad swing bridge and into Lake Wimico.  This area looks like it must have looked 300 years ago.  You feel like there is no one around for miles and there wasn't.  Lake Wimico necked down to a narrow, winding canal with Cyprus trees, palm trees and mangrove so thick you couldn't see past them.  The water was the color of tea and every now and then a slough would appear and tucked back into the shadows you could see a flat roof shack on pilings that could only be accessed by water.  We convinced ourselves that there is no way a barge could navigate this path.  Nevertheless, I crept around every bend expecting to see the bow of a tow heading towards us.

We passed the canal that takes you to Port St. Joe, another good place to stay in the area.  At 40 miles into our journey we sailed into East Bay and stretched our eyeballs as the banks opened into bigger water.  Dolphins came alongside us and escorted us as we looked for the red nun buoys that marked the channel.

The GICW made some lazy turns as we passed under the Hwy 98 bridge next to the Raptor Ranch at Tyndall AFB.  Heading North and between Ferry Pt. and Parker Pt. we turned due West for a a few miles then headed NW to Bunkers Pt.   From there we could see Panama City Marina to the North.  We called on channel 16 and the dock master switched us to channel 12 and gave us instructions on how to enter and were to turn to get to the fuel doc.  After some maneuvering in the busy harbor we got tied up to the fuel dock and topped off the tanks.  The dock master had us move alongside the transient dock for our stay so we plugged into the 50 amp pedestal, turned on the A/C and relaxed with a cool drink and a map of the area so we could plan our exploration of Panama City.

That's the news and here's the views:

We are here

The 62 mile route from Apalachicola to Panama City along the GICW

Early morning departure from the Water Street Marina and Hotel in Apalachicola

Looking back at where we stayed as we rounded the green and red divider buoy taking us into the GICW
Goodbye Apalachicola

The old rusty railroad swing bridge just up the GICW from Apalachicola

Entering into Lake Wimico

 A floating fish camp in the middle of nowhere

Churning along in "The Ditch"

These guys were around every day

The view from the transient dock in Panama City Marina

Lots of good the fake owl does

Show me the FOOD!