Chock-Ta-What? (Day 110 – Stop #60)


Tonight, a lesson in Native American names — which is appropriate, since this is Native American Heritage Month. We are anchored in Chocktawhatchee Bay, named for the Chocktaw Indian Tribe, on Florida’s Emerald Coast. (“Hatchee” means creek or river. A river does run out of this 30-mile-long bay.)

We are living one of those scenes where the mouth stays (mostly) shut while the eyes stay wide open, because words are inadequate. We risk whiplash from watching panoramas unfold on both sides of the boat … the lingering rays of jewel-hewed sunset on the west, and the pastels of moon-rise on the east.

How I love to anchor out! I don’t even mind the early nightfall when it’s this gorgeous.

The day began with a question mark: What would the diver find when he dove under Many Moons to examine the prop? Both Jeff and I noticed a vibration yesterday, so we hired a diver to investigate. We’ve heard enough stories of mechanical breakdowns to make us extra-alert to any new sound or motion. The cause: one of the four prop blades is slightly bent. The vibration manifests only at higher speeds, and we can live with it for now. The $100 fee to know this was worth the peace of mind it gave.

When I think of all the things we hit during our weeks on debris-strewn rivers, it’s no wonder we got a nick. We feel lucky it’s nothing worse.

Today’s cruise was all on wide-open water … so wide, in fact, that waves rocked us in a way we haven’t felt for months. It was a brief disruption, though. Most of the 30-mile crossing was simply choppy.

Photos and captions, from Two Georges Marina to Chocktawhatchee Bay, below.

The professional diver emerges from the water after investigating our prop.
Two Georges Marina has a busy boatyard. We were glad that a diver answered our questions; a boat lift costs a lot more!
This is a poplar marina among Loopers. We enjoyed it, too — though we never got the bathroom code (another boater gave it to us) or the WiFi password. We understood they are busy, but it was disappointing. They did send us the right diver.
We were berthed near the oddest boats. You can make out Many Moons by the bikes on our fly bridge, at 10 o’clock. That odd shape to our right, with red stripes, is the bow of a very big aluminum boat with the strangest shape; nobody can tell us what it’s for or who owns it. The blue boat on the far right is an advertising machine — see below.
The Betty G has a huge screen on its stern, which carries advertisements along the canal – and sometimes shows movies. Or a church service. (So we heard.)
At large marinas, you need to be able to find your way “home.” It helps to remember which dock you’re on. Signage like this helps.
While waiting for the diver to finish, I got acquainted with the marina cat. We’ve met several on this trip.
The bridge across the Chocktawhatchee Bay is almost four miles long.
Many Moons at anchor in Chocktawhatchee Bay.
We couldn’t get close to shore because it was so shallow here, but I took the dinghy out for a row anyway.
We put our headlamps on early now, because nightfall comes so quickly. One minute, it’s daylight and the next, it’s dark. Or so it seems. (As a Michigander in Florida, Jeff is still trying to wear minimal clothing — but he does don a jacket in the evening!)
No words, as they say. The colors lingered long after the sun disappeared.
As jewel tones dazzled us at the stern, the moon rose among pastels at the bow. Can you see the moon in the pink? (These two photos were a minute or so apart!)
Here they come! Each circle represents the number of Looper boats in that area – from Mobile, Ala. toward Panama City, Fla. We’re included in the “10-plus” circle on the right. We hear there are far more boats this year than in previous years.

4 thoughts on “Chock-Ta-What? (Day 110 – Stop #60)

  1. How cool the story and photo’s are. Glad to see you’re well. Wally got his buck on opening day. I’m still in CA working; no deer season for me this year. All the best to you both. Jim

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  2. Wow. Just plain wow. I’ve been reading the posts but forgetting to say anything. I’m in St. Louis now for holidays. Love the picture of Jeff. He has the face of a man who’s accomplishing a life’s dream. I keep ticking off the notify me of new comments box, but they aren’t coming to me. So I check in. Gorgeous photos. What an adventure.

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