White City has a main highway through the middle of it that crosses a bridge just west of the free dock. This highway lies right on the line between CST and EST. Technically we were moored in EST so we agreed to get off the dock at 0730 EST or 0630 CST. After enjoying the river for another five miles we headed into Lake Wimico. The sun had been directly in our eyes on some courses of the winding river but our course on Lake Wimico was directly into the sun. It is a shallow lake so staying in the channel was important but luckily the channel was very straight so the auto pilot (which we have now named Seamore) kept us on course. This was verified by the chart plotter ( which we have now named Elsea).
Traveling about nine miles down the Jackson River took us to the town of Apalachicola that was to be our stop for the night. While under way we had a good cell signal so were able to check weather forecasts. What we found was that a weather window good enough to cross the Gulf of Mexico was opening up for a Sunday/Monday crossing instead of the Tuesday/Wednesday that we had been looking at. Getting a good weather window is critical for a comfortable ride on this crossing and they do not come every day. We decided we would bypass Apalachicola and continue on another 26 miles to Carrabelle, our staging area for the crossing.
Leaving Apalachicola we entered St. George Sound. This sound is about 21 miles long and 7 miles wide so there is plenty of room to build a fetch. Since the settled weather was not yet upon us we made our way through two foot chop some on our beam and some dead ahead as the channel dictated. Even though this sound is quite large the depths outside of the channel are mostly seven feet or less.
The town of Carrabelle is up the Carrabelle River and we went to Moorings Marina at the upper end of town. This is a good location near an IGA and restaurants. We topped off the diesel tanks so we would have enough fuel to get to the Yucatan peninsula if necessary (smile – just kidding!). Several looper boats were already there, some who had been waiting there for days for a weather window. We all shared cruise stories and discussed our Gulf crossing plans. Most were going to cross tomorrow as we were planning. Some were going to wait another day as the window seemed to be about three days long.
We spent the afternoon checking boat systems to promote their continual operation for the 24 hour run. I changed the primary Racor fuel filter for the Ford Lehman 120 among other things and then we had dinner at The Fisherman’s Wife restaurant. Now to get as much sleep as possible as tomorrow would be an all nighter.