The multi-colored lines here show the marathon between Pensacola and Crystal River, a shoreline that seemed endless and relatively featureless . . .  .  Each of the colored lines represents a day of travel.  I learned this part of Florida is called the “forgotten coast” or the “big bend of Florida.”  There may be other names, but the relative absence of settlement intrigues me.  On the other hand, with place names like Sumatra and Tate’s Hell Forest and Swamp, it may be inhospitable.  There’s even a song about Cebe Tate chasing a panther into that wilderness.

After a late departure from Pensacola, we were off the long Santa Rosa Island and its sugarwhite sand by nightfall.

Soon after we departed from Santa Rosa, we had the first heavy rain of the trip, but the storms

traveled fast and soon

we left them behind.

Remember in yesterday’s post I alluded to a contrast between LA-MS-AL (LAMSAL, a new acronym?) and FL waters?  What’s different?

Only everything:  no oil/gas infrastructure and very few boats of any type.  There was one boat, a sport fish, traveling at least three times the speed of Legs III and on a collision course until two sets of five blasts of our battery of air horns caused that boat to drop off plane and then sheepishly [I hope] take our stern.  I suspect the sport fish had all eyes on their lures and none on the wheel.   No, I won’t post their photo and name here.

Our next overnight was off Saint Andrew’s Park, Panama City. Notice the pads 11 feet down in that super clear water.

Beyond Panama City, inland fires suggest agriculture-related burns, but I’ve never traveled by road in that part of Florida.  Yet.

We gave Cape San Blas wide berth because of irregular shallows. The Cape was the site of Civil War activity and a whole series of lighthouses.

The chart said we had plenty of water, but the bands of lighter water suggested maybe we didn’t.  Ultimately, the chart proved itself correct.

AIS said the tug towing tandems was Lady Terea, a name that meant nothing to me until I searched a bit more and found that from 2014 until 2018, she worked in the sixth boro and North River as . . .

Mr. Russell.  Then she carried the livery of Tappan Zee Constructors.

That evening we spent jacked up off a remote area of St. George Island, the barrier beach that defines Apalachicola Bay.  More on the Apalachicola River here.

Seriously, we saw no other boats with the exception of the two I’ve mentioned.  I saw this mast in the distance, and an hour or so when we passed it, it was as minimal as the waters of Florida’s forgotten coast were untrafficked.

Then later, Lady Edwina passed us with a tandem tow;  the captain hailed us to ask where we were headed with Legs III.  He also said he’d started his career out working on liftboats.

A bit north of the mouth of the Crystal River,  I brought the drone as close to the wave tops as I dared to get this shot, hoping for a blinding glimpse of setting sun under the hull, but this is the result . . .   no blinding sun.

Morning showed a Dann Ocean boat and a large Express Marine barge.

Ocean Tower! it was.  

Tending another Express Marine barge was Consort, which I’d not seen for over a decade!

All photos, any errors,  WVD.