Some of us may live on a sailboat in hopes of actually getting stranded somewhere secluded. I look at Hogtown Bayou as my own “Walden’s Pond”. This majestic bayou is actually quite a large body of water. Tucked in the pine trees behind a bustling Hwy 98 and tourist filled 30A. Hogtown provides a vast area of protected waters.
Leaving the Choctawhatchee Bay, Derek and I rounded the shoals off the point, and crept eastward into the depths of Hogtown Bayou. The end opens up into two basins seperated by a 4 foot shoal.
This area is nothing but big pine trees, resembling a coastline of symmetrically aligned asparagus. Back in the day, logging was obviously a big thing. With Pensacola Bay close by, the logs were easily relocated by waterways. Produced into mostly turpentine, lumber mills supplied the essentials for the wooden ships and growing communities.
The first night we anchored off to the southern side, Holly was able to pick up Derek. The next day, July 13, I took the dinghy all over Hogtown. With a wooden stake marked at 5 and 6 foot lengths, I scouted the bayou for shoals. Derek came back to move Splendid Isolation over to the north side. This way I would be closer to a park which had a boat ramp, restrooms, and over night parking. We tucked into an 8 foot hole I had found, off to the side of the channel entrance to the park.
July 14, I woke in my home in a new area. This place I would sit, until further plans were made. Claire still working in North Carolina and my Father flirting with the idea of coming down to crew.
Checking our Xantrex C40 charge controller every morning, I noticed a sad 11.2 Volts. We have a big battery bank for such a small boat, never any issues. [back post on battery bank 2/2012] I was puzzled because we normally hold 12.7-13.1 Volts. I began tracing wires, with the multi-meter I learned that our 140 watt solar panel was still putting out full charge. Glad about that, I figured the MC4 Cable Connects had finally crapped out after about 4 years of abuse. I ordered new connectors online (such a convience of being back in America) and had them shipped to Derek’s house. Conserving power, I was able to hang the wind scoop by day, and run the fans at night.
There I sat, with the two ship-cats in Hogtown Bayou. Through thunderstorms, rain fronts, stale hot days, and calm misty mornings. I may have overgrown my beard, started talking openly with the cats, and peaking out windows at the passing familes and fisherman. For a few days there my best friend was our FM radio DigiTech, which I had errected a large foil flower off the antena. Wildlife activity at its peak, the warm shallow waters were a haven to bait fish, dolphin, sea trout, redfish, and much more. Birds, bats, and blue crabs surrounded us.
I had picked up the Volvo from Derek’s parents’ house and parked that in the boat ramp parking lot. Conveniently I could tie the dinghy up there and take rides into town or to the beach. Much time was spent alone, enjoying the solitude of Splendid Isolation. Swinging freely on anchor for 10 days and 10 nights in Hogtown Bayou made me just that much more grateful.