Yahoody! It is official. Florida has alligators… well at least one confirmed sighting. Travelling between Valparaiso and Panama City, along a man-made canal, I spotted the alligator lying full stretch on a narrow sandy beach. He raised himself on his legs and did a slow walk to the water’s edge. Alas, I was so excited at finally having seen one, I forgot to take a photograph. Such is Life!
Last night we found a superb anchorage in Tom’s Bayou just off Boggy Bayou, next to Niceville, which is part of Valparaiso. It was such a picturesque little bayou, we tootled in our dinghy to check out the neighborhood. Dolphins cavorted, butterflies swooped and birds sang in our little nook in paradise. But not all was as it seemed. Unbeknownst to us, over the ridge was Eglin – the largest US Airforce base. Not only did we enjoy Taps in the evening and Reveille at 7.30am, we also enjoyed jet blasts and low level flyovers.
Today we had a brilliant sail. The weather was superb. Over the course of the day dolphin pods joined us in our bow wave, pelicans dive bombed, eagles soared, and yes, I must mention the alligator sighting.
I also had to do a little fast maneuvering when a freighter suddenly pulled out behind me and challenged me for the channel. As he was moving at close to twice our speed, I moved quite a way out of the channel for him to pass… and refrained from telling him the overtaking vessel must give way!
Tonight we bob gently in Pearl Bayou, listening to dolphins quietly surfacing and birdlife chattering. We have sailed past Panama City and the devastation from Hurricane Michael is plain to see. Foliage has been stripped, trees are down, houses with tarpaulins covering their roofs, a ship on its side and many pleasure boats washed ashore. In Pearl Bayou alone, there are six boats aground and in tatters. Marinas are closed due to damage. May all quickly recover.
Life is not meant to be like this. But…
Such is Life!