Dora and I just returned from our annual Northern Gulf Coast Cruise. This is an annual event hosted by C22 Fleet 77 in Fort Walton Beach, FL. The event this year was organized by Floyd and Carole Ann McKenzie. There were 25 Catalina 22s participating. We launched at Fort Walton Yacht Club on Friday May 10, 2013 and spent the night there. The cruise started on Saturday May 11. It was a little cool Saturday and we had some rain. We motor sailed to Brook's Bridge where we hung out and took pictures of fellow Catalina 22 sailors on their way to Specter Island. By the time we arrived at Specter Island the weather had cleared up leaving us with a beautiful evening.
The weather on Sunday was sunny and a nice breeze took us all the way to our destination in Pensacola. Cruisers had a choice of three destinations, Palafox Marina, Little Sabine, and Peg Leg Pete's. Bonny, Robert, Dora, and I opted for Peg Leg Pete's. This is small out of the way marina and restaurant. A short walk across the street puts you on the Gulf and I grabbed this sunset.
Monday everyone met up again in Big Lagoon. This is a favorite stop over by everyone with plenty of room to beach anchor. There were two surprise events. We knew the Blue Angels would not be practicing in the morning so we had our own impromptu air show and race. Planes were provided by Anita Kjallberg. After dinner were also surprised by a production of the Harlem Shake coordinated by Jonathan Few. You can see videos of this at http://www.catalina22.org.
Tuesday's destination was Bear Point Marina in Orange Beach, AL. This is the turn around point where everyone gets together for a group picture.
Wednesday we sailed back to Pensacola where everyone stayed at the marina in Little Sabine, adjacent to Quietwater Beach. The Pensacola Yacht Club provided us with an Italian dinner. Quietwater Beach has a new attraction called the Wheel of Excellence.This is a large Ferris wheel with enclosed, air conditioned gondolas. Dora and I took a ride and where surprised to find out the whole thing is controlled by Siemens products.
Thursday we sailed back to Specter Island. You couldn't have asked for a better day to sail. We had about 12 - 15 knots of wind on a close reach all the way from Pensacola to Specter Island. We made a quick stop in Navarre to see the butterfly house and eat at TJ's with Greg and Nancy.
Specter Island is the last stop on the return trip to Fort Walton Yacht Club and the end of the cruise. We opted to sleep in on Friday and along with Robert and Bonnie were the last to leave. We spent the night at Fort Walton Yacht Club. Mickey and Dee LaGarde gave us the use of their Beneteau for the night.
To see all the photos from the cruise click here.
The video is a compilation from two days. The first day we were sailing west near Pensacola Pass. The second day we were on the return trip sailing east towards Navarre Bridge.