We tried sailing from Panama City Beach to St. Joe's Bay but once again the wind was right on the nose. We tried tacking back & forth but that would have taken us forever. Plus it was pretty lumpy further offshore, so the heck with it. We sailed back in and then motored east, close to shore, in easy 2 foot seas. We entered a canal at St. Joes that connects to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. A short way down the GICW is the small town of White City. They have a small cut in the waterway with some space to tie up. No services, nothing around except a boat launch ramp and a bunch of Black Vultures. It was free, Perfect! This was all a flashback to our river cruising complete with fog at dawn. We waited an hour before getting underway with still a fair amount of fog hanging low. Sure enough, a half mile up the ICW we encounter the only barge within 50 miles looming out of the fog bearing right down at us. No problem, call him on the VHF and discuss passing. After 4 tries on 2 frequencies and him closing fast he finally responds. With thick Louisiana drawl he casually agrees on a starboard to starboard pass. No problem. The rest of the morning was quite scenic as the fog lifted, including the largest Bald Eagle we've ever seen. He looked every bit the part of a BALD EAGLE sitting atop a tree overlooking the waterway.
Freedom arrived in Apalachacola early afternoon. We topped off the diesel tank & the spare jugs too for the long run upcoming. We then anchored across the river from town to settle in, get a few preparations done for tomorrow and relax.
Tomorrow is the much anticipated crossing of the Big Bend corner of the gulf. There is no good place to stop for a deep draft boat between Apalachacola and Clearwater, a run of about 160 miles. At 6 knots, that's about 27 hours. We've had rotten luck every time we've headed out to the open waters of the gulf. Friday & Saturday sea conditions look good...we'll see!