SailingChic, thanks for asking where we ended up. We followed the GIWW the whole way to Corpus Christi. Actually, the bridges weren't a problem. We just weren't able to leave the GIWW on side trips. Once we got into Texas, we had no problem as the bridges are all at least 73 feet (I believe) except for one in Aransas Pass.
It was not fun! Due to almost no wind
when we were on our way, we did not go out into the Gulf. If anyone has the time or interest, our blog starting with this entry: Goodbye Mobile
describes what we did and where we stopped. Many marinas were very cheap
for transients and we stopped whenever we could, as it's difficult to anchor
in the waterway. The barges pull up into the mud on the shore at night, and don't always see little sailboats. It may have been the time of year, but many of the anchorages suggested in Skipper
Bob's guide were very shallow. We did go aground a number of times, and have heard the same stories from several other cruisers who came here on the GIWW. This link has many photos of our three week trip: Mobile, AL to Corpus Christi, TX
It was an excellent learning
experience for us, however, as we had a lot of practice anchoring
and avoiding barges in the fog
. We also met many wonderful people, including a man from the only fuel dock
open at the time in Galveston who came out to meet us at 6 pm on New Years Eve and then insisted that we stay at his dock
(the party boat pier) as he had an empty slip. He wouldn't take any money
. There were no marinas open in Galveston or in several other towns hit hard by Ike.
For the people who suggested Texas, we are really enjoying Corpus Christi. There is always a wind
here making sailing in the Bay ideal. We are staying for several months in the city marina, on Corpus Christi Bay. The cost is very reasonable and we are right across the street from the downtown area. It's a beautiful marina with over 600 slips. The city bus system is fantastic. A trolley stops right in the marina and connects with other buses at a downtown station, enabling us to get anywhere in the city. Of course, the weather
is excellent and right across a bridge we can go to North Padre Island with miles of Gulf beaches.
Keyspc, ordinarily, I would agree with you that we should pay the Florida sales tax, except we do not plan on living in Florida and only had our boat delivered there because we followed the advice of our broker. We had planned on being there for several weeks while we took some ASA classes
and then leaving the state. We stayed three months because it took that long to have warranty work done. We wouldn't care about entering Florida again, except we plan on spending most of our time for the next few years in the Caribbean
and will probably need to stop in Florida to come back into the states from time to time. That isn't worth $30,000 to us, although I guess you think we should pay Florida that amount for the privilege
of having the boat delivered there. Trust me, the state got a great deal of sales tax from us as we outfitted our boat in Ft. Lauderdale, perhaps one of the most expensive marine
cities in the country.
Again, thanks to all of you who took the time to respond to our request for help. We are 62 years old. This is our first boat AND our first time sailing. As 50 year old Waterworldly says in another thread, "IT CAN BE DONE, but you GOTTA GET OUT THERE. Don't listen to nay sayers, IT CAN BE DONE. Don't let armchair weekend seasonal sailors scare the crap out of you IT CAN BE DONE. If you wait until all is perfect, YOU WILL NEVER GO." We are older than him and started with less experience, i.e. none, but we feel we are doing quite well and living our dream. At our age, we couldn't start out small and build our way up to a large enough boat to live on.