Fort Walton Beach City Docks, Fort Walton Beach, FL to Panama City Marina, Panama City, FL — November 19, 2013

Well the cold front went thru last night and it was in the mid 40’s this morning.  There were lots of clouds around this morning, but they cleared early and with the sun, the temps slowly moved to the low 60’s for the afternoon. The winds were pretty strong out of the north.

We left early because this was going to be a relatively long day if the tides were against us.  As it turned out they were not but the winds on Choctawhatchee Bay we problematic because the Bay just west of Fort Walton is about 4 miles wide and the Bay is about 30 miles long.  There were small craft warnings out for the morning.

Because of the rougher water we favored the north side of the bay to limit the fetch for the waves to build.  We had 2 bridges to pass under and needed to move back toward the center for these bridges. After the first bridge there was a boundary on the north side of the Bay that indicated the area was a prohibited area.  I looked at the notes on the chart and then at the shore and saw a lot of development on the shore.  We stayed between 1 and 1.25 miles off the north shore and then crossed out of the prohibited area for the 2nd bridge. Nobody was on the water so we did not see any kind of a patrol boat.

The 10 to 12 mile section of the ICW is really just a ditch dug by the Army Corp.  There have been some problems when they had torrential rains earlier this year.  One are of the bank wash out and the Army Corp has done some repairs but they still have more to do.  The one picture is of the Army Corp work boat taking soundings of the water depth in the area of the breach on the dike.

When we exited the ICW ditch to West Bay in the approach to Panama City there were some dolphins in the area.  The pictures are from Humbug.  The dolphins appear to like the wake from a Nordic Tug and not a Sea Ray.  Still great pictures and Lenore and I did see the Mom and Baby jumping in our wake, just no pics of it.

We did see some kind of a Military Vessel in Panama City Harbor.  Did not look like any Military Vessel I have seen before.  It had been moving pretty good and he slowed as he was nearing his dockage area.  There were also 2 black inflatables with 3 men in each with camouflage clothing on.  There must have been simulating a night activity because in the bright sun they were not too hard to spot.

This was the second day I a row of travelling that we started out with cloudy skies and ended up in the bright sunshine. It must be a good sign.

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