The Waiting Game

We moved further East down the Panhandle to Port St. Joe. Active Captain reviews of the marina were great and they have proven to be true. This isn’t a “high end” marina but it is very nice, restaurant on site, grocery store and marine supply store a block away, several decent restaurants nearby, a neat and tidy town, and very friendly folks. It’s a good thing. We will be here awhile, at least a week.

We are now located where most boaters cross the Gulf to Clearwater or Tampa. It is 170-190 miles depending on whether you leave from here, Appalachicola, or Carrabelle. Even though this is a short distance the Gulf deserves respect. It is a shallow bowl and seas can quickly build making a crossing uncomfortable if not treacherous. Depths along our route are never more than 120 feet (although well offshore depths can exceed 3000 feet). The Loopers have been piling up at these locations for two weeks now waiting for good weather to cross. We are still waiting. Seas are 6-7 feet with short periods; i.e. 3-4 seconds – definitely not a good ride. A succession of thunderstorms have moved through; one with wind gusts to 30 knots. This caused us to do a little dance on the dock trying to move fenders in place between Tivoli and the dock pilings; got soaked but no damage done and some lessons learned. Fortunately, we have no schedule and will sit tight till it’s right; flat to 1-2 foot seas sounds good to us.

We monitor passageweather.com, buoyweather.com, windfinder.com, NOAA weather reports, a very cool earthwindmap app (earth.nullschool.net), RadarUS, and a number of other iPad apps for weather data. We download GRIB files from OCENS and can review many different weather parameters over time and play them like a movie. We can plot our course and review predicted weather state anywhere along the way. There is no shortage of weather data available today as long as one has cell phone coverage or can download data via a satellite phone when out of cell range. On Tivoli we have a cell phone booster and a WiFi booster with external antennas primarily to facilitate the receipt of weather data. Our lives now revolve around the weather. We spend time every day analyzing the data.

We are also enjoying lazy lunches, palm trees, museums, movie night aboard Tivoli, dolphins, the view outside our windows, visiting with friends new and old….and watching the weather.

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