The Navy’s Blue Angels swooped down and saluted us as we entered the Pensacola Channel Tuesday morning, on the final legs of our GC3 Panhandle Cruise. We were truly in the premier seats, center of the Bay with a 360-degree view of their 45-minute practice session as we proceeded to our slip at NAS Bayou Grande. Arkeoo, several miles ahead of us, hopefully got part of the show, too, as they headed to Orange Beach Alabama.
We spent a few extra days in Panama City, awaiting a good weather window to go back out into the Gulf for the 90 NM trip. All was not wasted as we had access to excellent restaurants in the historic St. Andrews neighborhood. Ate oysters for lunch and then oyster for dinner and then again more oysters, yes at all four eateries. The lovely Oaks Park is on the land that archeologists have determined was a seasonal early Indian encampment with its access to the bay and its bounty. Our entertainment varied from watching the commercial fishing boats come and go and off load their catch, shrimp, grouper, vermillion snapper, scamp and tuna. On Saturday’s there is a farmer’s market at the marina parking lot. The St. Andrews marina served both the recreational tenant boats, transient boats (along a floating lay along dock) and the commercial boats. The facilities, including laundry, were appreciated.
Camaraderie is one of the benefits of the GC3 cruising concept and we certainly enjoyed sharing meals (Fresh Bay Shrimp & Grits, Mississippi style, farmer’s market offerings in basil, garlic, zucchini, tomato, eggplant, hot sausage casserole, and goat cheese sundried tomato fettuccini). Maybe we need to have a subtitle to our GC3 cruise, the gourmet’s delight!