November 25, 2015 – Wednesday – Baytown Marina, Sandestin to Panama City Marina – 53.3 statute miles traveled

We were off the dock at 0730 and out the narrow channel to the big portion of Choctawatchee Lake for a 15 mile run to the canal known as “Grand Canyon”. The winds were still up and we found pretty consistant 15-20 mph winds coming from the east . There were about four major legs to this journey as we rounded two different points. Sometimes the waves were on our starboard fore quarter, sometimes dead ahead and sometime on our port fore quarter. While the wave height was about what you would expect for the wind conditions there seemed to be an extraordinary amount of white caps and spin drift all over such that the water surface was almost white with foam. It was a crashing ride but since the waves were not on our beam it was not uncomfortable.

When we reached the “Grand Canyon” all wind was blocked and it was a calm transit through about 15 miles of winding canal. The sides of the canal were sand and the formations of erosion were quite interesting.

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Sand formations on the side of the “Grand Canyon” part of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway

 

 

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“Grand Canyon”

Upon reaching West Bay we stayed in channels dredged through shallows for the first half of the lake. After rounding a couple of points we were headed into the main harbor of Panama City and arrived at Panama City Marina by 1430. We were assigned a slip with a bow in port tie. There were no cleats to tie to and the pilings were on the opposite side of the slip so we had to tie to pilings on both sides of the boat to keep the boat away from the unprotected fixed walkway. We put fenders out to protect the boat but these were only useful when the tide was a certain heights so it was necessary to suspend the boat from both sides.

Mazel Tug had pulled into the marina at the same time as us and in talking with them it was determined that Vicki would research and make arrangements for a group of loopers to go to a restaurant to have Thanksgiving Dinner tomorrow and then Ralph, Mazel Tug captain, would make arrangements for transportation.

Vicki and JoAnn took a taxi to the grocery store for provisions while I stayed aboard and read more of the book “Sailing Grace”.

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