Saturday, November 2, 2019

Fairhope to Orange Beach (The Wharf)

After yesterday's failed attempt to get to The Wharf, we were up early (5:30) and had engines on by 6:30. We were underway before the sun came up.

Still breezy, and a bit choppy, the waters were much calmer than yesterday. We did a little tacking to minimize the beam seas at the beginning, but when we headed southward, with a following sea, the ride was very smooth.

Three of the four hours of travel were on the bay. The last hour was on the Intracoastal Waterways, or the ICW. Been a long time since we'd traveled on it. It felt a little like coming home, even though we'd never been on it this far north before. Dolphins even welcomed us, traveling with our boat for a while. We've missed them!

The dolphins are back!
Before docking we wanted to pump out. But a large vessel was already occupying the easily accessible space, right off the ICW. The option was to pull into a slip on the other side. The winds had come up again, and the tide was going out -- both were pushing in the same direction, which was into the slip. Something I did not want to do. So we spun around, facing into the wind and current, and we employed "the Poughkeepsie Maneuver", tilting the bow just enough so the forces pushed us sideways towards the slip. I used just enough forward engine, tapping it occasionally, to keep us from drifting backwards. Until we lined up with the slip, then we backed right in. Like buttah!

If you look at the front of the boat, on the pier is a
Blue Heron. This is the most pervasive bird we've seen
on the loop. They have been everywhere (though not in
numbers) from the coast, Canada, the Great Lakes,
and the river systems. Their cry, however, is dreadful.
Docking, however, was not quite so easy. The slip they assigned us was down some narrow, twisty fairways, where maneuvering was taxing and tedious with the wind. We scoped it out, and I did try once, but I felt real uncomfortable. See, the thing is you win no money or award for nailing that tricky docking stunt, but you risk a whole lot if things go badly. I've come to trust some things just aren't worth pushing if you have other options (wished I had enough experience to make that call in St. Augustine). I spun the boat around and parked Cat-n-Dogs easily on a t-head. 

The marina guy shrugged, and they let us stay there.

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