America's Great Loop - Live the Dream!
Cruising the Gulf ICW   
The route from Mobile to Carrabelle takes you (surprisingly to most) into and across some of the most beautiful beaches in America.  
In season, this area becomes the boaters playground. Heading south along Mobile Bay's Eastern Shore; there are several Marinas to choose from,
including the Marriott's Grand Hotel Marina, Fly Creek Marina and Fairhope Marina, all three of which are located near Fairhope.
From Fairport, it is a short distance to the Gulf ICW or GIWW as it is most often referred to, and your first stop on the Gulf ICW is most likely
to be LuLu's (Travel day & destination #122 on our map).
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"Officially" this leg of the journey is 218 miles from Mobile Bay to Carrabelle. Our recommended route will take you 271-miles
from Mobile Bay to Carrabelle. This portion of your route is a well protected inside route.
The area has been described as the "Forgotten Coast" and "the road less traveled", but that translates into fewer tourists, where you would
think more tourists would be. Fact is, you are about to cruise along side some shockingly beautiful scenery with astonishingly aqua-tinted gin clear
waters and pristine sandy beaches.
Apalachicola is a small Florida town, known for its oysters. It used to be one of Florida's largest ports in the 1800s. It's along the western bank of
the Apalachicola River.
Apalachicola Bay is wide, runs approximately east-west, but is very shallow in parts, so pay special attention to your chart. Getting into and out of
Apalachicola from the bay requires a good half hour's worth of cruising along a dredged channel with depths of only a few feet on either side. So, as
always, watch your depths, and make sure you stay in the channel.
There's a very protected anchorage spot just north of the US 98 bridge, east of the Intracoastal Waterway. From there, you can dinghy to the
Apalachicola riverfront.
You can anchor really just about anywhere in Apalachicola Bay, but very little of it is well protected. The entire Bay is tidal, so pay attention to
your swing and dragging. Bottom is mud. The Cove offers some of the best anchorage in the area, with 20 foot depths swimming distance from shore,
and a view of the Gulf over very low dunes.
Your route along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway will take from Mobile (mile 134 EHL) to the Gulf ICW where your first stop will most likely be
Lulu's which is mile 155 EHL. From Lulu's and Homeport Marina, it is 12 miles to Orange Beach Marina.
If you want to visit the beach at Orange Beach, between mile 167 and 168 there is a marked channel off the GIWW through Bayou St. John to
Perdido Pass, on the way you will cruise past a gauntlet of marinas, and waterfront restaurants. The area is a great place to visit, and of course (as
you will see) the beaches are pristine sandy and beautiful.
Ft. Walton Beach (mile 224) is another beautiful area with a lot of charm. Sandy beaches and crystal clear waters are a delight. All the water and
the beaches from Pensacola, Orange Beach, Panama City, Ft. Walton, and Destin are simply great.
If you are in the mood for some great off shore fishing, all the area from Pensacola to Panama City offers simply fantastic charter fishing. So,
while you might not be so excited as all those "land-lovers" over the boat ride, the fishing makes for a fantastic day. Just remember to give away the
fish you can't eat or can't safely store until you can eat it.
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Cruising the Gulf ICW   
- The Looper's Companion Guide -
cruising the Gulf ICW on America's Great Loop
     Someone once said, “You will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”
That statement was never so meaningful in my life until I completed my first voyage around America’s Great Loop. The experience simply overloaded
my treasure chest with powerfully positive and cherished memories. Now with multiple Loops under my keel I feel so blessed, “my cup runneth over”
Psalms 23: 5.
     Your positive memories will begin the moment you head out on this epic adventure. It will produce a special kind of excitement that will awaken your
spirit and intensify your enthusiasm even as you progress from the dream to reality and envision your own adventure and how it might be.
From the journeys of Columbus and Cook to Drake, Ericson and Magellan, historically maritime adventures have always been one of the most envied
and impressive accomplishments of mankind. This voyage is no less an accomplishment and you will be no less the envied explorer. Make no mistake
about it, cruising America’s Great Loop is a truly epic voyage of amazing discovery. You will be joining the ranks of a very elite group of incredible
individuals that share the common characteristics of focus, preparedness, conviction, curiosity, perseverance and independence; not to mention a
desire for travel and adventure.
     Long before this voyage is over, you will discover the real secret of cruising the Great Loop is not found in any book or blog. It is found in the
powerful life changing effect this voyage has on all of us. Among all the fabulous destinations, awe inspiring waterways and beautiful sunsets; you will
discover some profound life-changing insights into yourself and your cruising companion(s). For many, this voyage is the first time we experience
enough total solitude to ponder the meaning of life; who we really are and how we want our life to be.
Beyond doubt, this voyage will transform your ordinary ways into extraordinary days. It will fill your soul with the indescribable sensation of waking up
every single morning feeling ecstatic and more alive. Every day on the Loop starts with great expectations and ends with eager anticipation of
tomorrow.
     America’s Great Loop is truly a melting pot where romance, travel, adventure, new experiences and new friends blend into a bowl of delicious
unexpected daily delights. Life doesn’t get any better than this.
Cherished memories! That’s what this voyage is all about. It will begin with doing what melts your butter and it will end having written the greatest
chapter in your life’s story.

Capt. John