February 6 – 10, Tuesday through Saturday nights, Apalachicola, FL
We had been looking forward to visiting Apalachicola by boat since our fellow loopers, Dodie and John, have moved here after finishing the loop. We are staying in the Scipio Marina (silent C) which is on a creek off of the Apalachicola River. It is only about 8 blocks from our friend’s house in one direction and from the downtown in another.
The first night we ate again at the Up the Creek Restaurant near by – good place. We passed it on the way in, along with houseboats that are AirBNB or VRBO rentals – how fun would that be?
I loved visiting Apalachicola. The town center is about 4 blocks deep and 8 blocks long, mostly one or two story buildings, and people like to chat and are friendly. There are plenty of coffee and breakfast places, a couple of bookstores, many cute stores and a number of art and pottery studios. Although we didn’t take advantage of all the seafood restaurants or the bars with live music, we heard good things about them from the other boaters.
Which is another reason this was so much fun – when we got to the marina we found two sets of loopers we knew from Mobile: Lili and Tom Hudson and Chris and Roger, and we started getting together most days for docktails around around 5:30 to share boating stories, sites to see in the area, etc. Two other boats joined us after a few days, and there are 3 more anchored in the harbor that we’ve met as well. What is the main topic? When are we going to cross the Big Bend?
The Intracostal protected waters stop about 20 boating miles from here (west of Lighthouse Point on the left of the map) and don’t pick up again until after Florida’s Big Bend ends in Tarpon Springs, FL (bottom right). The direct trip across the gulf is at 18 to 23 hours, an overnight trip, and boaters must wait until the Gulf of Mexico is unusually calm before taking off on this trip. The alternative to cruising overnight is to do the trip in 2 of 3 legs, which is our preference, anchoring out in the few safe harbors along the way. We will stop in Steinhatchee and Cedar Key areas before getting to Tarpon Springs. This route still is highly dependent on calm winds and waves. So we discuss the weather, the approach, etc.
Here we are one evening have dock-tails on our sundeck…
I did a lot of walking around town, and one day I rented a bike as well. The trip to the only grocery store (Piggily Wiggily) was a decent workout on a regular basis.
Looking at the map, our marina is on the creek near the Orman House, the downtown is where Commerce and Water street are labeled, and you can see Piggily Wiggily up about about another 10 blocks. Here are more scenes from the area.
Today (Saturday), our last day here, was busy. Lili, Dodie and I joined the local Yoga class and I had quite a workout and then I headed to the Farmers Market near another area along the creek that I hadn’t explored. John and Dodie were there and after some shopping, Dodie took me to Wildlife Preserve boardwalk that provides a view of the natural look of the area.
I don’t want to leave out the Vietnam War Memorial located in front of the historic Orman House which I also toured.
Enough! It was a great visit and we very much enjoyed being with our best boat buddies, John and Dodie as well as new boat buddies we will hopefully continue to meet up with as we travel the west coast of Florida.