Saturday, January 09, 2010

Panama City Through Christmas

We have had a great time here in PC so far.  We have had a chance to reconnect with friends and we visited with Bo and Carmen Johnson at their house on the beach with Roy & Elvie, Ken & Darcy, and Carl & Greg.

This was a Christmas party and everyone had a good time.  Bo & Carmen have had the house since the 60's and have renovated and added on over the years.  It is a beautiful house right on the beach.

The first day of decent weather found us dropping our dinghy and heading across the bay to Shell Island.  We decided to take the dinghy since we were not going all that far and we wanted to explore the entire shoreline along the bay.  The island was deserted but during the "season" the Marriott here has a shuttle that goes over to the island.

Later we went to Carl & Greg's house on Watson's Bayou.  In addition to Roy and Elvie we had Steve and Sharon from "Stevedore" with us.  Carl is a contractor as Bo is and he has also done major renovations to their home.  They are full-time residents here.  We first met Carl & Greg at our first AGLCA rendezous in 2007.

Our next outing was to see some other friends that we met at our first rendezvous, Hal and Alma on "Cuppa T" and Jim & Sue on "Eagle One".  Hal was a dentist in the Navy and now they make Pensacola their home.  Jim and Sue were at the marina at Pensacola and are good friends of Roy and Elvie so we decided to drive halfway and meet in Destin.  Roy & Elvie were with us and we had a good time reconnecting.

The next week Stevedore was trying to figure out a way to better stabilize their dinghy on the deck and after looking over the situation we decided he needed to build a fitted chock for the back.  We went to Home Depot and bought lumber and borrowed a sabre saw from Roy and spent a couple of days making a new chock.  It turned out well and the dinghy rides very stable now.

We had met a couple at a church we have been attending and found out that they live just around the corner from our marina on a canal.  They came by one day with their boat and we went to Bayou Joe's for breakfast (brunch) and then toured the bay.

We saw a new fire boat that is being built at a local shipyard.  It is a new boat for New York and is named the "Three Forty Three" for the 343 firefighters that lost their lives on 9/11.

We had been waiting for a really nice day to take SEASEA out and make a run down to Crooked Island.  This island has a cut that requires local knowledge and Carl had given us waypoints for entry.  When I plotted them on my computer it showed us traveling over land to get to the bay on the backside of the island.  Carl assured me that this was right and we decided that we would trust his knowledge.  Another couple from church knew the area well and wanted to go with us.  We had a good trip there and found a large number of shells.  It was a great day.

On Christmas Eve we had dinner aboard SEASEA with Steve & Sharon on Stevedore and then went to a Christmas Eve service at a church we have been attending.  Afterward we attended Midnight Mass with them. 

On Christmas day we drove down to Port St. Joe marina where they were hosting a pot-luck.  A few of our friends are staying at Port St. Joe for the winter and we had a great Christmas sharing with old and new friends. 

Some of the boaters at Port St. Joe are staying for the winter and some are waiting for good weather to cross the gulf to south Florida.  Such is the life of a cruiser.  We meet new people and form friendships only to say goodbye until we meet again somewhere.  It is amazing how many times we meet people we have been with before.  The cruising world is the smallest world imaginable.