Tora! Tora! Tora!

Today we experienced a bombing run with live bombs! More on this later.

We arose in Palafox Marina in Pensacola. Jan eased us over to the fuel dock where we pumped out waste and settled our bill. But I will wager our readers want to know what happened in the day I skipped. So here goes.

On Sunday morning the crews of Kismet, 20BUCK$ and Cbay all met at 0900 to await our taxi. We requested a van to fit all these people into and one arrived shortly. Off to the Pensacola Naval Air Base where the renowned National Naval Aviation Museum is located. If ever you are in the area this is a must see. So many one of a kind historical exhibits.

A great tour guide took us through. Here you will see planes that have only one surviving example, and planes of great historical note. The plane George H.W. Bush flew while training to become a pilot, the one he flew in as president when he landed on the USS Lincoln and the one his son George W. Bush landed on a carrier when the “Mission Accomplished” banner was displayed. It was overwhelming to try and take it all in. Plan on at least a half day if not more.

On the way back we had the cab stop at West Marine to pick up a few items.

It would later be discovered that I had lost the camera somewhere and had no way to go find it. More on this later.

Back at the marina we all enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Jaco’s which overlooks the marina. After dark a beautiful Kady Krogan came in. It was named Muddy Waters and 3 kids jumped off and began tying up lines and connecting power. They are the Samways and the whole family is on the Loop and homeschooling the children. They were so well mannered and bright. If only all children could turn out like these our country could be saved but in my experience they are too few and far between.

After shoving off this morning I decided to try a longshot. I had the boat card from the Samways and knew they were taking the kids to the Navy Museum. So I called from the middle of Pensacola Bay and asked if they would mind checking lost and found for the camera and if it was there to pick it up and call me. Surely we would cross paths down the way. Now here comes the kicker. The camera was not at the museum. But they got the same cab driver we did to take them back to the marina and they asked to stop at West Marine just like we did. That is when one of the kids found a camera in the back seat. I had told them that they would know it was our camera because the very first stored picture is of a black Chihuahua. I had not had the heart to delete it. So they turned on the camera and there was Daisy staring at them! Talk about luck. Now all I have to do is wait for them to get here tomorrow and pick it up. Then you can see all those planes.

Back to today’s journey. Our original destination was to be Ft. Walton. But when we were almost there the weather was so great that we agreed to push on out into Choctawhatchie Bay and stop at Bluewater Bay Marina. It is located on the north end of the bay at Niceville and sounded like a “nice” place to visit.

As we entered the bay the attack began. Fighter jets flying low over the boat on bombing runs and dropping live bombs! The explosions were deafening and you could feel every concussion through the water. Was this another Pearl Harbor sneak attack? I thought of the signal used by the Japanese to start that attack. Tora! Tora! Tora!

I know many think I am making this up so let me give you the rest of the story. Earlier the Coast Guard had made a security announcement on the radio that beginning at 1300 there would be bombing practice out of Eglin AFB near Ft. Walton. It would take place between 3-100 miles offshore and would involve dropping live ordinance. All ships were warned to clear the area. Around 1300 helicopters headed out to sea to make sure that private craft were cleared and patrol boats began to take up stations in the bay and Gulf to be ready to perform rescue missions if a pilot had to bail out. At 1400 the jets took off and flew low over the bay at just under supersonic speed and that was when we were crossing. Several squadrons went out. I told Jan to be prepared to hear and feel the explosions. I have been down here many times when this was happening. Sure enough we soon felt as if we were under attack. Those bombs were being dropped in target zones miles offshore but it felt like they were nearby. Quite exciting. And after dropping their load each plane would return to base to be scored. In the Gulf are huge towers that define the target areas and these are restricted. We will see some of these offshore when we cross the Gulf. Those are out from Tyndall AFB in Panama City.

A smooth trip across a big bay and into the sheltered cove containing Bluewater Bay. Kismet was already here and were tied up in front of us. We will be here until Thanksgiving morning. This will give us time to shop for materials needed to complete several projects and allow us to be with old friends on Buck Bayou for Thanksgiving. I will tell you all about them when the time is nigh.

Pictures to be added soon. I am trying a new method of posting tonight that my friend Jim Peeler talked me through. If you are reading this it worked.