A Kiwi couple's cruising adventures on America's Great Loop and around the coast of New Zealand

Saturday, 24 November 2012

'Ave a pepsi cola

Carolyn can't pronounce Apalachicola, so I suggested she tell people we are at 'ave a pepsi cola' and they will know where she is talking about.

JADE left Panama City the day before Thanksgiving, so we teamed up with Don and Freya off THE LAST RESORT to cross the Gulf of Mexico from Apalachicola when the weather is right. On Thanksgiving, we had (in the words of Arlo Guthrie) a "Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat". It was a joint venture between us and Don and Freya and we were joined by Loopers Scott and KC off JETSTREAM who we parted company with a couple of months ago but who happened to be travelling by car nearby to where we were. The menu was:

Roast turkey - 1 full bird (Freya) and 1 whole breast (Phil).
Phils sausage stuffing and Freya's bread stuffing (called dressing over here)
Phils cauliflower based gravy
Carolyn's Pumpkin, sweet potato (kumera) and cranberry bake
Carolyn's Brussel sprouts
Freya's mashed potato with chives and garlic
Freya's beans and carrots.
Freya's cranberry and orange sauce.

Freya's Key lime cheesecake
Nancy's pumpkin pie (Nancy is off NANSEANN, and donated the pie but couldn't attend)
Ice cream

We also invited a lone Texan yachtie (sailboater) to join us. He had just pulled in to the marina before dinner and we felt we couldn't let him spend Thanksgiving alone. A good night was had by all and we retired early to sleep off the meal.

The next day, which was yesterday, we had a bit of trouble getting Stan, the starboard engine, going when we left Panama City - it appears we have a dud battery, but nothing a set of jumper leads (booster cables) couldn't fix. The boat sure goes a whole lot better without 28 feet of rope wrapped around one of her props. We're down in Apalachicola now.  We will wait for a weather window to cross the Gulf from here and at the weather gurus tell us its OK for tomorrow night. It's 145 NM across to Tarpon Springs and you have to do it overnight because there ain't enough daylight to do it during the day. The problem is you can't leave before daybreak as you have to get through a real skinny channel called the Government Cut to get to the Gulf, and then you have to be able to see the crab pots when you reach the other side, which ain't good at dusk. Technically we could do it in 10 hours at 15 kts, but with an horrific fuel burn, and too much risk of dark falling before we reach the other side. So we will do what they all do, which is leave in the afternoon and go all night, arriving at dawn when we can see the obstructions. We will do this at the same speed we have been cruising the ICW, which is around 9kts - so it should take us around 15 hours. Notwithstanding the weather reports, we intend to stay here until the weather is optimum. I have no intention of spending 15 hours out in the Gulf of Mexico taking a beating, however it is still looking good for tomorrow.

Apalachicola is an oyster town and I just had to try them out. We are in a marina right next door to a restaurant (2 actually) and we have just had lunch there. The oysters are big and similar in looks to a Bluff oyster. They taste as good as a Pacific oyster, but fall well short of Bluff - but then only a Bluff oyster tastes like a Bluff oyster. They are reasonably priced at $10.95 a dozen, and they had olive oil but no Balsamic vinegar to have with them so I had to go get some off the boat.

Well, that's all for now....next time should be from the other side of the Gulf of Mexico
BTW we have now done 30 miles short of 2000 Nautical Miles since we began.

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