Docked at Margaritavlille Biloxi Marina

I’ve made good progress on several boat projects in the past few months. I’ll go into more detail soon, but for now I’ll just tell you the leaky faucet that snowballed into an extensive refit is no longer leaking.

After a few months of a lot of work and a little play, I decided it was time to plan a birthday week sailing trip to celebrate.

In 10 years of hanging around Orange Beach, Alabama, I’d never travelled by boat more than 6 miles west of the marina–we always go east–so Biloxi was chosen as a nice destination. It is about 80 miles west of OBA, on the other side of Mobile Bay, across Mississippi Sound. It also had the added benefit of a Margaritaville Casino & Marina, as well as a few nice spa options for my first ever massage.

With a crew of Randy, me, plus two lovely ladies, KD & Allison, we pulled out of Bear Point Marina under clear skies at 5pm on Monday. The forecast couldn’t have been better with a relatively stable summer pattern for the next 5 days.

As we motorsailed through the Alabama Land Cut past Lulu’s Restaurant, I threw some snapper filets on the grill. Allison whipped up a nice spinich salad to go with it and we were in high cotton watching the sun set over Mobile Bay.

We had estimated a 15 hour trip to Biloxi at an average of 5.5 knots. We were making closer to 6.2 across the bay, but the nightime lights of Mobile Bay were driving us crazy. Thankfully there was no shipping traffic, but it was tough to determine which lights belonged to oil rigs, other boats, hotels, & cars on shore.

We finally cleared the Dauphin Island Bridge around 10:30pm and with barge traffic ahead and behind, we opted to pull out of the channel and drop the anchor for a quick night’s sleep. Why get to Biloxi at 7am dead tired when we could get some sleep and still catch the lunch buffet?

Anchored in 9 feet of water between the Intracoastal Waterway and Dauphin Island’s north shore, we watched the moon come up and rocked on the waves of a gentle breeze.

Up with the sun on Tuesday morning we got underway and learned that my parents would be able to meet us for dinner in Biloxi. We uneventfully motorsailed west in Mississippi Sound pulled into Margaritaville around 1pm.

Surprisingly, we were the only boat tied up to their nice floating docks–the only knock on the marina was the smell of shrimp boats docked next door preparing for the opening day of their season, which happened to be Wednesday. The people of Margaritaville were awesome–we even met Doug, the President/CEO of the place. He’s a well connected sailor himself and we really enjoyed getting to chat with him for a while.

After a great birthday dinner with my parents and our crew, we rested up to spend the next day at the spa. By 3pm, we readied the boat to cast off, opting to anchor out instead of spending another night at the marina.

We sailed south, then east, through a sea of shrimp boats, navigating 15nm to the eastern end of Horn Island. We dropped the hook in 20′ of water and swam in to explore the island for a few minutes before the bugs ran us back into the water. The night was meant for anchoring with a perfect sunset and gentle breeze. Maybe someday I’ll even tell you about the fireworks in the sky and the bioluminescence in the water.

It was only a 4 day trip, but when we tied back up in Orange Beach the next day, I had a great feeling of accomplishment. After all of the seemingly endless work done to the saltwater plumbing, freshwater plumbing, engine fuel system, and refrigeration system, it was refreshing to take a few days to enjoy the boat for what it is–the catalyst for unforgettable experiences and amazing memories with people you love.

Bo is currently based in Orange Beach, Alabama working towards checking #31 off his bucket list. If you’d like to be a part of the adventure, consider sponsoring a mile or checking out his Junior Captains program for kids here.