December 4-11, 2019 Orange Beach, AL

We were about to cross Mobile Bay.  It’s a BIG expanse of water, but surprisingly shallow in the middle.  BackAtcha had previously done this trip across the Bay and the coordinates were saved in his navigation program, so we were following him and Dancing Bears behind us.  The water did get mighty low – about 6-8 feet in some spots, but we were able to successfully cross on a diagonal rather than following the shipping lanes, which saved us a lot of time.  The weather was sunny and calm – a good day for a boat ride!

We entered the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GICW) which narrowed our waterway and gave us protection from Gulf waves.  Along the way we passed LuLu’s, which is Jimmy Buffet’s sister’s restaurant and marina.  We passed The Wharf, where many Loopers were docked.  Friends from Alcyone were on the dock waving as we passed.  We were headed to Orange Beach Marina, which had covered slips and would give our boat some protection when we left the boat to go home at Christmas.

Getting TO that marina was quite a trip, and I was glad we were following BackAtcha.  We backtracked quite a ways past many residential areas,  past an inlet opening to the Gulf, past LOTS more homes, and finally arrived.  It IS a lovely marina and looked like a great place to stay.  

One of the nice perks of the marina was that there was a courtesy car that we could use. There were only the three of us transients, so we could use the car pretty much whenever we needed – for as long as we wanted.  BIG change from the Dock Nazi rules at Demopolis!  On the 5th, we picked up Patty and Todd (Alcyone), as well Tom (Dancing Bears), Diana and Duane (Bella Donna), and Chris and Lisa (BackAtcha) and went to Cosmo’s for dinner.  When Loopers gather, EVERYone joins in.  Had a fun night.  On the 6th, we took the car, picked up Patty and Todd again and headed to LuLu’s for lunch.  We can’t take the boat EVERYwhere, so sometimes we go places by car.  Had a fun lunch there and enjoyed the party atmosphere of the restaurant. 

On the 10th, the Marina had their Christmas Party.  All the boaters were invited as well as all the First Responders in Orange Beach as well as city officials.  It was held in Fisher’s Restaurant (at the marina) and WOW, what a spread they had.  It’s an upscale restaurant, and the chef did an outstanding job.  We sat at a table with Councilman Jerry Johnson and enjoyed the conversation about the growth of Orange Beach and some of the great places there including the Gulf Shores State Park.  Nice to make contact with high officials – never know when it may come in handy!

We were spending a lot of time with Lisa and Chris on BackAtcha.  Truth be told, we spent a lot of time there because of Winston – their little Yorkie – who stole our hearts!  He can entertain us for hours and is so cuddly.  We don’t necessarily want a dog onboard, but we’re sure glad other people have pets with them for us to enjoy. We taught Lisa and Chris to play Mexican Train – we think they’re hooked!

Wherever we have been on the weekends during this trip, we have always looked for a Catholic church to attend. So far, we’ve been very fortunate – my sister can’t understand why there is always a church near a marina! In Orange Beach, it was St. Thomas. We attended a Knights of Columbus Fish Fry there one evening – fresh fish! Where there is a K of C event, there is usually a 50/50 drawing. Ed had a lucky night — Won a contribution to our “fuel fund!”

Our days at Orange Beach were spent more as vacationers than moving boaters. The days gave Ed some free time to do some creative photography – when he wasn’t doing boat chores!

On the 11th, we picked up a rental car and packed to head home for the holidays.  We didn’t tell people we were coming – so much more fun to surprise them.