There are nicknames for the various stretches of Florida coastline such as "The Space Coast" near Cape Canavral. This particular stretch that we cruising along now is called "The Forgotten Coast". It is less developed and not visited as much by tourists which is part of the charm. There are no high rises or hotels, just white sand beaches, river marshes and plentiful wildlife.
From Panama City, which we didn't care for particularly we have taken three short trips. After travelling 45 miles we stopped for a night in the little fishing town of Port St. Joe's which is a little off the GIWW.
The next day and 30 miles later we anchored in the Apalachicola River in front of another fishing town by the same name. It was a lovely, peaceful spot and we spent 3 nights there. We visited the Apalachicola Seafood Festival which is apparently the oldest marine festival in the state.
I fished for hours from the boat and caught 15 catfish. Several were big beasts and John snapped a picture of the biggest one, over 8 lbs.
We explored the area on foot and by dingy before continuing east through the Apalachicola Bay and the St. George Sound. We experienced our first Gulf rollers (big waves) of the trip along a very short unprotected stretch. Our next stop was Carrabelle, approximately 50 miles southwest of Talahassee, the state capital. Carablle is also a fishing village, although it has become more of a draw for tourists lately. The origianal name of the town was Rio Carrabella, meaning "beautiful river" and it is situated on St. James Island. Carabelle is known for having "The World's Smallest Police Station", actually a phone booth, which has been featured on Ripley's Believe It Or Not and the "Today Show".
I really enjoy swinging on our anchor which we plan to do much more now that we are in Florida, land of expensive marinas. The sociability of marinas is nice once in a while but anchoring has many benefits. The fishing is better, we barbeque more and it's so much more peaceful being surrounded by water. The best part is that there is no charge so it's the easiest way for us to save money.
We explored the sleepy little town of Carrabelle today and took the dingy down to the beach where the Carabelle River enters from St. George Sound to collect some new sand for our hermit crabs. We bought them larger shells to move into and I wanted to freshen up their terrarium before adding the new shells. I let them crawl around in the bathtub for a few hours which they enjoy while I cleaned their house and added the new sand and new shells.
Tomorrow we will head over and anchor by Dog Island which offers great fishing. It is a barrier island 6 1/2 miles wide and 3/4 mile long. If the weather is calm enough we may venture out to one of the reefs off shore to try our luck for some exotic fish like grouper. Would I ever love to be able to post a picture of a beautiful big grouper on our site!