January 3 – 12, 2020 New Year-Same Marina

Ed’s brother Chuck was so kind to come to Augusta to pick us up and return us to Orange Beach, AL. The plan was that he would ride with us for a few days and then return home.  We got back to AL on the 3rd, knowing that we needed to replace some thruster propellers.  Ed had ordered them and they had been delivered to the marina.  When the diver came the next day, he dove down to remove the old ones and replace with the new ones.  That didn’t happen.  New ones didn’t fit.  These ARE the ones specified in our boat manual – double checked – correct number.  Did some research. Seems that the previous owner upgraded the propellers and this required a coupling to be put on the shaft to fit the upgraded propellers.  The diver couldn’t remove the coupling, so we had to order new, upgraded propellers and pay for overnight delivery.  OUCH!  Finally got the thrusters all taken care of and then we looked at the weather.  Not going anywhere. High winds were predicted for most all of the week.  Because we had to cross a very open Pensacola Bay, we decided to wait. 

We were entertained by dolphins that came into the marina.  Something about those beautiful creatures that can hold your attention for a long time.

Then we discovered Bamahenge!  It all started with Dinosaurs.  Billionaire George Barber wanted some, so he commissioned Virginia artist Mark Cline to make four that would sit along the edge of the Woods From Elberta near Barber Marina. Then Barber decided to add a full size replica of Stonehenge, this one made of fiberglass.  Oh the sights we have seen!

Time for a little history.  We headed to Fort Morgan, which is near the base of Mobile Bay.  Across the Bay is Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island.  Days before Alabama seceded from the Union, a military force of volunteer Alabamans captured the fort from the Union forces. Thus it was  in Confederate hands during much of the Civil War and was instrumental in keeping out the Union supply ships.  In August of 1864, Union naval forces were finally able to get past Fort Morgan and enter Mobile Bay in what was named The Battle of Mobile Bay.  Several Confederate ships were captured or sunk and the Fort was eventually surrendered, giving the Union Army access to move supplies to their troops in Southern territory.

During WWI, the Fort served as a training area for men in the Coast Artillery.  During WWII, the US Army occupied the fort and constructed an adjacent airfield.  The Fort was turned over to the State of Alabama in 1946.

Gulf Shores State Park is in Orange Beach, conveniently, just about a mile from our marina. We took advantage of the miles of bike trails in the park and enjoyed the varied landscapes contained within the park.

Starting on Jan 10, the rain started pouring.  This meant we were still not moving.  A couple of days later, we had a short break in the rain and we were able to get out for a dinghy ride down some of the canals near the marina and over to the Coastal Islands of Lower Perdido Bay.  We had seen other boats beach on these islands, so we wanted to explore.  It was a fun diversion and we did a good deed by replanting some of the sea grass seedlings that had been blown away by the wind.

January 12 and we were still in Orange Beach.  Wished we would have saved some money and not gotten the overnight delivery for those thruster blades!