Where is YOLO?

...Off to the Sea for Adventure

...Off to the Sea for Adventure

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mobile to Destin, Destin to Key West!

Time again to update the blog! It's been a while so I gotta start from Mobile. After all the time spent in the rivers, we set up camp for about 4 days at the dog river marina south of Mobile on the west side of the bay. We spent those 4 days with our friends John and Erin from Luna Sea. Lots of rest and relaxation along with a little boat work.

Our 1st night at Mobile, Tuesday, was a quiet one. We set up camp and spent our dinners with the Luna Sea crew each night. Friends we already miss. They're currently on their way west to Galveston, TX.

Wednesday night was supposed to be another low key night, and all was going to plan until the man, the myth, the legend, DON JOHNSON happened. Straight out of south Alabama in his rickidy pontoon boat coming from up river on a mission. The chance encounter happened while I was walking along the dock between Luna Sea and YOLO. DON JOHNSON (I keep capping his name to illustrate to the reader that he said his name, first and last, loudly, a lot) slowly motored by our exposed slip and shouted from about 50 feet away: "Where y'all from?" I shouted "Minnesota". This led him to think we'd all be great friends (even though I don't think he had any real ties to the great white north). He politely asks the 4 of us to join him across the river on his (not so) seaworthy craft for some drinks on him. Being poor and thinking this might be interesting, I grabbed the rest of our 4 person crew and we all hopped on board (both his boat and a night of insanity!) We safely manage the river crossing and docking to find out that he only brought us over with bribes of free drinks if we would pretend to be his friends and talk him up to the barkeep. I guess he wasn't so popular over there and wanted to redeem his street cred. Oh well, free drinks! After a few rounds he INSISTED we all go back to his place up the river... (Banjos, I know...) Properly lubricated by this point, I convince the crew that nothing bad would happen and let's give this guy a shot. Sounded to me like he really just wanted the company. Long story short (very short, sorry mom, can't get into details here) we ended up having an extremely unexpected BLAST involving dirt bikes and a volkswagon "thing"! He even delivered us back to our vessels later that night unharmed. A night we soon wont forget.

On to thursday... The long awaited reunion with Jimmy and Kim from the beautiful yacht Aquaholic. The long awaited reunion was primarily due to his hasty departure from Demopolis, AL where we met him and Kim the night before (note previous entry). So, we finally got his end of the story (and permission to tell it on here)....

So... we had a rough and rowdy night the night we met John, Erin, Jimmy and Kim. I think that's evident by the photos. Anyway, all of us at the end of the night resigned to our respective boats. We were awoke early by the thunder of Jimmy's huge twin diesels firing up. Why was he leaving so soon? and why not the goodbye? Andy and I rush out to see him motoring away from the dock we wave goodbye and he yells back "I left a suitcase there on the dock for you". Confused we turned back and saw the suitcase sitting outside the fuel dock office. The dockmaster explained to us that he had dropped it off for Kim who was supposedly on one of our boats. Where the hell did he think she was? Sure wasn't on our boat. We did a quick search of Luna Sea to unearth no evidence there either. Where was she? We started thinking bad thoughts, did she get lost? did she drown? We recapped with John and Erin and couldn't figure it out. About 2 hours go by then we see Jimmy return in Aquaholic. He didn't even have to say anything, his face explained the tail between his legs... He thought he was kicking her off the boat, but didn't realize she was actually on the boat the whole time and he somehow couldn't find her on it. As he approached the dock, he saw us standing there... "guys, i'm in BIG trouble, could you grab that suitcase and throw it on the bow!? this is gonna be an akward rest of the trip boys!" as he motored away (for the 2nd time that morning) we saw Kim emerge to wave goodbye to us. Oh how akward it would be on that boat for a while! He explained the story to us just as we had imagined it played out. How funny! Turns out he left early, locked himself in (accidentally locking her out) and upon her return, discovering that she could not gain access to the interior, decided to make her bed on top of the boat using cushions as blankets.

Our original plan had us sailing to gulf shores, AL where Jimmy Buffett's sister Lucy owns LuLu's Homeport Marina (Aquaholic's home). Unfortunately poor weather prevented us from making the bay crossing so, with Emily's (andy's sister) sweet hook ups at Enterprise, we rented a car and set out (the 4 of us again) to meet up with Kim and Jimmy one last time before they drove back up to Indiana/Tennesee. Good times were had by all. The six of us stayed on their boat that night then set out to Demopolis, AL about 3 hours north where John from Luna Sea left his VW wagon. We had the rental car back in time friday afternoon then rested one more night before beginning down the road once again.

Saturday morning we set out eastward into the intracoastal towards Pensacola where, on sunday afternoon Our college buddy Dan Gullickson had a chance to totally redeem himself from standing us up in St Louis. He was even nice enough to drive us to the Naval Air Museum at The navy base there. Pretty cool stuff. He stayed the night on the boat with us Sunday night then headed out with his sights set 800 miles east to his home in Charleston, SC. Thanks for coming dan. Good times.

We kept our pace eastward with a close eye on the Gulf weather marine forecasts for our chance to head out and down to the keys. Finally, Tuesday seemed as promising as any to make a safe passage so we topped off the water and fuel in Destin, FL. I wanted to get some Key's charts, fishing gear, and coffee but to my disappointment the marina had none of this. A nice old man named Mike heard me and offered to take me to town to get the supplies. Quite a character this one, but kind nonetheless. We ended up having to make 4 stops. Three for me and one for him to pick up his dog, Synbad (allegedly named after his ex girlfriend named Sydney cuz she was bad) I came back to the boat and Andy was ready to go so we hit the open sea!

Our 1st major open ocean passage took a total of 81 hours. We motored for the 1st 30 hours then motorsailed about 10 hours and sailed the last half all the way up to Key West! Almost all the way we had various pods of dolphins hanging with us. Really cool stuff! They would discover us, swim alongside us at our pace for 15-20 minutes then break away. An hour or so would go by and another pod would show up to check us out. We got some really cool footage!

We had some great winds and a great ride until thursday morning about 3AM the wind (and seas) picked up a little more. Soon we were riding 8-9' rolling waves hitting our port beam. It gave us quite a ride and a pretty intense sail for about 24 hours.

Trying hard to make our landfall before the sun set on Friday night, we hustled as fast as we could but realized by friday morning we weren't going to succeed. We started devising a plan. We thought about slowing down, but didn't like that idea. Our GPS plotted a Mooring buoy about 10 miles north of Key west (which we surmised was for tourist SCUBA boats or something of that sort...) We expertly navigated towards that buoy and made it about 10 minutes after the sun went down... Perfect timing! But... we were pretty wrong... We tied up to the mooring buoy, and (thankfully) armed our GPS anchor drag alarm. It took only about 4 minutes before the GPS beeped at us telling us we had drifted over 500'. What the heck was this mooring buoy doing??? Closer inspection revealed we had tied up to some commercial fishermens fishnets, dragging them all over and probably fouling them up. Oops. Well, at this point it's dark and we don't wanna just bob all night so we made the decision to motor into port at night. All proved to be fine and safe, it was a well lit, well marked channel that guided us in safely, we called some people and got the recommendations on where to anchor and we found a nice little place to drop the hook among about 2 dozen other sailboats within dinghy distance of downtown Key West!

We've spent only one night here so far and we LOVE this place! I think we'll plan on spending at least a week here if not more. We'll see. We had a ball last night and plan on doing the same tonight. We've already made new friends and had them on the boat a couple times. Lauren, Erin, and Carla are all college friends and currently Medical Professionals of some sort on an extended weekend ladies get away. Cool people.

Currently I'm at a bar watching the ducks pull a close one off on Cal. My 1st Duck game i've seen on TV since this trip (sadly I can't watch my ducks during the best season since the '30s). Anyway... all the way out here in Key west, I sniffed out a fellow duck fan watching the game! McKenna was sporting a Duck Jersey and I had to stop and ask if it was true! Sure enough she was an alum from '03 and We hit it off.

1 comment:

  1. In my defense, I graduated HS in '03 and college in '07.

    It was so great to meet you! Let me know when you're in Miami. Good luck with the rest of the trip.