Oh Pensacola! My Cola, the city that is part Alabama and part Florida (Haha) Actually, Pensacola has some pretty amazing history. The town is quaint and I wish I had captured more of it on the GoPro instead of just collecting Instagram stories. However, we did find the best anchorge EVER.
Pensacola is a very special town for us, it’s where we met Babaloo, the man who offered to sail our boat the rest of our trip,lent us his car, and continues to do amazing things for us.. If you dont have a Babaloo, you will. I mean he will find you. Babaloo is a boogie man that shows up and makes things better.. We are so greatful for Babaloo! We were short on time, short on funds and short on wind and here comes Babaloo waving his arms at us from the dock and yells ” what the hell are you doing back?” 1 day after we said our fairwells to this kind gentleman, thinking we were going to cross the Mississippi we quickly realized it was not in the cards for us and with our tails tucked between our legs we returned to Pensacola.
We thought we were going to have to load up our FUTURE on a truck and have it shipped back to Houston. We had plans to sail it from Fort Pierce to Texas. But of course, we ran out of time and the weather was .. well weathering a giant storm that later flooded Houston. We couldnt wait for the weather because John had used up al his vacation time and we had to return to work.. As we told Babaloo why we had returned and what plans we had to make happen over the next few days. The Babaloo would not allow it. He said firmly ” Sailboats are not meant to travel on land , If your father stays aboard I will aquire one more mate and we will sail it to Texas for you once the weather clears. It felt like destiny, We only knew Babloo for a few days yet we felt completly comfortable with him taking the helm. Our next task was to rent a rental car and drive back to Texas. Once again Babaloo wasnt having what we were cooking and offered to lend us his suv so we could save on a rental and so he could return home without boarding a plane, saving us even more money!
Babaloo is a retired purple hearted military veteran. His sailboat is a beautiful well kept and VERY organized 34 foot Catalina named Partager You can see all the hard work he has put into his boat and his favorite thing to tell you about exploring his boat is how many spaces are well fit for cases of beer.
Pensacola has a beautiful harbor that you can anchor comfortably in. Once you pay for a slip it is frowned apon to come apon the property if you decide to anchor out however the security gaurds are relaxed and if you are discrete about where you hide your dingy you can use there boat ramp facilities that is open to the public. The clubhouse has GIANT washer and dryers for $1.50 a load. They have also recently added an ice machine with take out bags! ( Sailboat luxery item!) The shower has a well used wooden grate in the shower . The showers werent too bad however I would suggest wearing shoes. Their office area has a printer, a board for business cards, 2 desks to sit on and great wifi! The front deck staff is very kind. Last year the lady who worked the front traded our toilet paper we had on the boat in exchange for marine toilet paper. She gave us 4 GIANT rolls. In the one year we were in Kemah we only went through one of those rolls.. So when we came back to Pensacola we still had 3 rolls stored away during the crazy covid pandemic ( click here for that story!)
Totally stoked on toilet paper the second time around to pensacola was just as amazing as the first. Apon arrival we were greeted by Babaloo and Doug who was the other crew member that helped sail our boat. Within 10 minutes of saying hello babaloo he drops his SUV keys in johns hands and says Ill be here doing projects, go take me car to run and get what ever you need… Without any mention of needing anything he didnt even offer he just dropps the keys in his hands. This was when we reallt got a grasp of how crazy the covid pandemic was. We had left Texas right before it got crazy and it felt like we had entered a movie set. I had another friend named Jake from Houston who actually lived in Pensacola. He also helped me a couple times with some errands and provisions. Unfortunately he was still working through covid and we had a compromised immune system aboard our vessel so we had to be very careful about spending time with Jake.
Things to explore around the shipyard
There are a couple of parks that you can dingy too from the shipyard. There is a gas station down the road that is in walking distance. You will pass by a cute boat resale shop that says “live dances ” on their little billboard. You can dingy pretty close to a Walmart too. If strippers are your thing, there was a strip club a half a mile down the road. They were closed due to covid when we were there last and were hosting car washes instead of lap dances ( LOL) . Renting a car may be a better option over ubering. Other than walmart other important shops like home depot and west marine ( which for once was right next to eacheother ) are a 15 minute drive to and from the marina.
Secret Gem of Pensacola
If you find yourself in Pensacola We highly suggest anchoring out at Fort Mcree . It is a beautiful anchorage , and it is near a airforce base. Every morning you will get a beautiful show of aircrafts soaring through the sky by the Blue angels. Local powerboats tend to flood the place on the weekends but because of the virus it was less populated and a delightful weekend! There is a walkway that leads you around the fort and explains the history of the areas. There is giant doors right at the head of the trails on the left side that leads to an underground fort that is an exciting place to adventure into. I really wish I had a model to shoot or a photographer to shoot me while I played with fire in the long tunnels of graffiti. The beach sand was soft and white! The water was perfect for swimming! They do advice not swimming at night because of sharks, sting rays, and jellyfish. We did not see any but we did have a dolphin play with our boat for 20 or so minutes! Ive never been so close to a dolphin before. My son and I painted a rock and out it on the inside of the fort . So if you see it please take a photo and tag us in it!