"Mr. Southern Hospitality"
| Crew Member: ||Jason & Christine|
| Location:||Pensacola Beach, Florida|
| Photo Album:||West Coast FL|
Jason, Christine, and Greg Barnes
Rafted Up With Greg's Catalina 25
|The first thing we did upon arrival in Pensacola was drop the anchor and GO TO SLEEP. After days of being yanked out of sweet slumber every 3 hours, a solid, uninterrupted 18 hours is a godsend. (If you care to recreate this aspect of offshore passage making at home, simply have a partner or roommate rouse you from your rest every 180 minutes by shining a flashlight in your face and screaming, “YOUR WATCH!” I sometimes use a whistle on Christine too, she sleeps mighty hard)
Once our internal clocks were set right, we inflated our dinghy (our small, rubber, water-taxi) and went ashore to explore Pensacola Beach.
Other than the beach itself, the main attraction with most U.S. beach
towns (so far as we can discern) are endless blocks of retail stores, brimming with plastic, palm tree themed chachkes. Pensacola proved to be no exception.
Luckily for us, the weekend we visited was enhanced by Pensacola Gay
Pride Days! This event drew crowds of regional visitors from mainly
Northern Florida towns and Alabama. It was a boon for us as the local restaurants and bars were pulsating with great bands and perpetual happy hour specials.
After a bit of partying on the beach and gorging ourselves on a ridiculously large pizza (a welcome change from what we can prepare at sea), we decided to sneak into the local Hilton Hotel and borrow their
free internet access. Though normally we are mostly law-abiding, we felt this qualified as an important task. After all, we’d not yet contacted any family to let them know we'd survived the crossing and escaped all watery perils at sea. We also took this opportunity to check the latest weather forecast and download some new tunes. We admit file sharing does not exactly qualify as an emergency task. Oh well.
The next morning, we pulled up anchor and decided to re-situate ourselves at an anchorage with a little less background partying noise. It’s fun when you’re in the midst of it, but less appealing when you’re trying to sleep. Anyhow, while sailing a few yards down the channel we encountered a very friendly panhandle local. Greg Barnes sailed right up to our boat in his 25 foot Catalina, dropped anchor, and said hello. He quickly brought us up to speed on the local attractions and then offered to take us on a driving tour of the city. It was a fun ride, the three of us piled into his 2-seater BMW sportster. We hit
Downtown, perused the local restaurant & bar scene, and ended the night with walk-through of Greg's 36 foot Hurricane damaged CSY sailboat. Greg is in the process of restoring her with the hopes of cruising by 2008. That evening, we said our goodbyes and finished the night by charting the next leg of our offshore trip.
In the morning we were stocked and ready to pull anchor when, lo and behold, we had our final gam with Greg when he appeared bearing gifts. We suddenly found ourselves stocked with hot, fresh bread, a pound of local steamed shrimp, 5 blocks of ice, new music to add to our collection, a book on DVD, and a much needed new coffee percolator(the French press is somewhere at the bottom of the drink off of Galveston Bay, another story). A perfect end to a perfect visit. Thanks Greg! Perhaps we’ll see him again somewhere, cruising in his fully restored boat the S.V. Fox.