We Left Houston In March of 2020.
The previous few months were a blur because we had been working so hard and focusing so deeply on our departure date. A week before our sail away day an old client I used to drive around with Uber a few years back had bought a boat and was working his way back from Austin to South Carolina. It just so happened that he was in town and wanted to come to check out our boat. It wasn’t too long before he offered to help sail our boat across the Gulf. We were stoked to have an extra person to trade shifts with.
A week later we were tieing off our loose ends and was ready to sail the Gulf. March 11, 2020, was the day we took off and also apparently was also the beginning of the world coming to an end. The next 8 days were filled with fair winds, and beautiful sunsets and rises. Unfortunately, after day 1 our auto pilot stopped working and we were forced to hand steer. Originally we planned to go far out and just coast passed all the oil rigs.. ( Which seems like a lot !) but once our auto pilot stopped working we decided to head on in a little bit closer and cut some time off of our travels. What we discovered was that the oil rigs were not as bad as we anticipated. They glowed like a Christmas Tree in the night and let out a deep whistle sound so you were aware if one was near by.
One early morning I was helming in thick fog, straddling between two rigs who would let out a smooth deep whistle that travelled in the fog like I was walking through clouds in a dream. The water was still as glass and the colors from the sunrise made the fog a sight that words cant describe. I remember thinking in some early morning shifts how much peace is out in the ocean. Sure it can tear you up in a heart beat, but if mother nature is calm and content you witness a very different perspective of our earth. It feels like the water is a blood stream, and the winds are the mood, The sky lets you know what there is ahead MILES way giving you plenty of time to evaluate your decisions unlike being in a car where you have a split second to decide how you will react to a possible tragic situation. The rock beneath you reminds you how important it is to work on balance and the fresh air reminds you of the life force that constitutes you. you are NOTHING without water, without air, YOU are nothing if you can’t find a sense of balance between your heart, body, and soul. The ocean takes care of so many species in a way that humans could never return the gratitude to our land creatures. The ocean provides a sense of solitude. It brings awareness and demands respect. There is no time frame in boat life, you make your decisions like mother nature plans her moods. You cant hold expectations out there or else you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Dont waste your energy on disapointment. If your expectations of reality is flexible you will feel far more gratitude for things happening smoothly and safely then if you were to build up expectations for every event you face.
This lifestyle is not for the weak that is for sure. You must be ready to be your best self every day and plan your next move one sail at a time. But back to the story! We caught a bonita tuna .. Just one fish 🙂 But it fed us and we had fun attempting to fish in the big blue! Apon arriving back to land, We were doing our best to arrive in a time frame that I could meet a half brother and sister on my blood fathers side but we unfortunately came in a day too late. We pulled into Mobil Bay.. Mobil bay leaves a sour taste in our mouth. The last time we were here, we were on our way to Texas and we arrived in the big bay around dark time. A storm was forming and we were on the fence about returning back to Pensacola. after about an hour of motoring through the bay FILLED with crab pots and all the markers had been runned over and instead of fixing them the government or coast guard ( who ever would be in charge of that kind of things ) instead of putting a boey on it of SOMETHING then just slapped a reflective sticker onto of the broken post that barely sat above the water. This time we arrived in the day time so just the crab pots were still a pain in the butt! We arrived In Pensacola 6 days later.
We arrived in Pensacola ship yard around 4:30 pm. We settled in, washed the boats, got some cold beers and pizza to celebrate. As we were ordering Pizza I was presented a touchless delivery option. Keep in mind I was unaware that Covid had left china and was on its way to blowing up into a full blown world wide shut down.. I remeber reading about Covid in Feburary so I didnt put much thought into it until I opened social media and got a real grasp as to what this actually meant for our travels. We spent the next 3 days anchored out in the anchorage right outside the ship yard. We weighed out all the pros and cons and if staying put meant more exposure and no more travel, or if we kept moving until someone told us we needed to stop.. John has a compromised Immune system and we had spent the last 2 years planning this trip so we decided that the Governement concerns were valid but not so much for our lifestyle and that we were going to keep going and see what happens. We ended up staying a whole week because our friend Babaloo, who some of you know was the man who helped us finish our trip from Pensacola back to Houston last year when we bought the boat, was returning from the Bahamas. Our friend Jake was in town, so we hung out with him for a few days and he helped up get to the grocery stores, and then we met a new friend who had just put his boat back in the water after 15 years on the hard! ( you can see his christening video here)
What Happens next?
Well, We make the tough decision to continue forward. Our first stop is just outside Pensacola. What looks like a shallow anchorage is actually a deep anchorage with a wonderful sight to see!
For Mgcree is a beautiful beach just outside the blue angels base. It is a well protected anchorage with lots of wild life and adventure to unfold.
This gem is the ruins of an old fort. The land has a walking trail that brings you around the site explaining where you are in the fort. One of the under ground doors are open to the public and it is creepy but also pretty awesome. The inside is filled with graffitti and green tree frogs. The beach sand feels like moon sand. It is a very soft white. When we dropped anchor a little dolphin came out to play. He circled our boat for 45 minutes splashing away and making eye contact with us as it swam from one end of our boat to the other. He was alone and was very playful, We loved it!! You can see more on our trip in Pensacola here!