12-06-09 Port St. Joe, FL

[Betsy Speaks] We had heard a lot about Port St. Joe Marina from our friends on Pookie II, as they stayed here for a month last January waiting for a good day to cross the gulf. I must say that if you have to spend a month waiting, this is a great place to do it. They really roll out the red carpet for you. We were met when we arrived yesterday not only by the dock master but by other boaters that are here long term. We immediately met up with some others that were going to church today, and we said we would like to join them at the Methodist Church. We were supplied a car by the local “harbor hosts” Patsy and Ray.

The Harbor Host program is a program encouraged by the AGLCA wherein local members contact boaters as they arrive in town and offer to assist them in various ways. Patsy and Ray immediately offered us the use of their car, as this marina does not have a courtesy car. They also arranged a shrimp boil for this afternoon for all the boaters here. Ray comes around every morning and supplies each boater with a local newspaper. Each Harbor Host offers whatever services they are comfortable with. You will recall that just a few days ago we stayed at the Conrad’s dock for a couple of nights, and they fed us three meals a day while we were there, and invited us to stay in their home rather than on our boat if we wished. That is going above and beyond the duty of a Harbor Host. Rick and I will probably become Harbor Hosts for the Topsail/Sneads Ferry area when we return, offering local assistance, use of our car, transportation to church or restaurants. But those of you that know me know I don’t cook for myself or Rick, I’m sure not going to cook for others!!

Anyway, we are very happy here at Port St. Joe. Last night we had a nice meal at the on-site restaurant. We are in a nice covered slip. The facilities are very nice and clean. There is a nice gift shop. We are only a couple of blocks away from a grocery store and a small strip mall that has lots to offer. The marina provides bicycles, and today I took a 3 wheeler with a large basket on the back to the grocery.

This morning we went with another loop couple to the Methodist Church. It was a beautiful church with a nice choir and all decked out for Christmas with one of the largest trees I’ve ever seen. The minister today was a guest minister who used to be the permanent pastor here. He reminded me of Santa Claus without the red suit, but he gave a wonderful sermon. His sermon ended with him singing a song about the importance of Joseph in the Christ story and it was truly moving. You could have heard a pin drop when it was over.

This afternoon Harbor Hosts Patsy and Ray hosted a shrimp boil for anyone at the marina. As usual, everyone brought a little something…loopers seldom go hungry! It was very cold outside, so we moved into the dry stack storage building and huddled around the grill to keep warm! As we were eating a boat came into the channel, and we looked out to see that it was “Pearl,” the New Zealanders that we had met a couple of days ago in Fort Walton Beach. They quickly docked their boat and joined us. Rick mentioned in the blog a few days ago that their trip is nearing its end and their boat is for sale. We learned today that the asking price is $18,000…anyone out there want to do the loop?!

As we finished eating and headed back to the boat we had to stop and admire another gorgeous sunset. We finally crossed back into the Eastern Time Zone yesterday just before arriving here, so darkness comes a little later in the day which is nice.

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