Summarizing our time in Panama City Beach, Florida (aka PCB) has been hanging over my head for a while now. It’s overwhelming to think of how much changed, both before our arrival and during our time docked at Bay Point. There’s a big part of me that is ready to move on and not do a recap. But that would be like skipping a chapter in a book.
It’s no secret that PCB wasn’t our first choice.
In fact, it wasn’t even on the radar. At the conclusion of our time on the Tennessee River, we were heading back to Fort Myers. Or “home” as we had begun calling it. September 28th changed the trajectory of our year when Hurricane Ian destroyed much of our city. A new plan was needed ASAP.
With little time to research we committed to a marina we’d never seen, mostly because it had spaces available and a reasonable rate. In hindsight it was perfect for this season of life!
The 6 months we spent in PCB flew by- here are some of the major highlights, in no particular order:
- Resigned from a 20-year career with Liberty Mutual Insurance. Got a yacht brokers licence, worked for a brokerage for a few months, and then started his own with a partner. (Brent)
- Joined the Panama City Youth Choir, and Destiny Church Youth Group (Mary Grace)
- Excelled at golf and baseball (Miller)
- Celebrated Florida’s coldest Christmas on record. This included filling our water tanks, as the docks had to shut off all the water to keep the pipes from freezing. Memorable indeed.
- Enjoyed meeting tons of Loopers coming through the PCB area.
- Staycationed our way through Spring Break with some of our best friends (because PCB is known as the spring break capital of the world!)
- Became regulars at a beach bar called Flip Flops. At least once a week we set a time and invited all of the Loopers in our marina.
- Got featured on the cover of a local magazine.
- Traveled away from PCB a lot.
- Toured the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center.
- Celebrated Miller’s 11th birthday at a go-kart track with friends.
- Served as Harbor Hosts for the AGLCA at Bay Point.
- Rang in the New Year with 40 Loopers and a giant pizza party.
- Finished 4th and 9th grade.
- Attended our first Mardi Gras parade.
- Enjoyed visits from both of our families and a few non-boat friends visiting the Panhandle area.
Lest you think it was all fun and games, additional happenings included:
- Surviving a broken finger (Miller) and a huge tornado outbreak.
- Completing lots, and lots of boat projects.
- Creating a new norm with Brent’s work travel.
Without a doubt the two biggest blessings from our time in PCB was our marina and our buddy boat.
Bay Point Marina recently reopened after Hurricane Michael destroyed it back in 2018. It felt somewhat appropriate that we would land there this year. The marina staff is amazing, the docks are new, and the community is incredible. The marina is located in a gated golf course neighborhood which made it a really great place for the kids to ride bikes and explore.
We can’t recommend Bay Point enough to any boaters traveling through the area. Light & Salty will certainly stop back by in the fall!
Our buddy boat, The Perch, also spend this season in PCB with us. Although it wasn’t their plan from the start, or even from the middle…that’s how it worked out and we couldn’t be more grateful. Many, many hours were spent eating together, holding countless business meetings as Great Loop Yacht Sales formed, and binge watching Ted Lasso. Less hours were spent walking, but that deserves an honorable mention.
Kim and Michael have become not just family, but also our village. Many days it took all 4 adults to coordinate kid drop offs to activities and we also share care of each other’s pets. I can wholeheartedly say that I’m not sure we would have made it through the 6 months in PCB without them. And they certainly made it a lot more fun!
What’s the next adventure for Light & Salty?
Essentially when we made the decision to stay in PCB, we made the decision to come back up on the Tennessee River. While it wasn’t exactly the top choice for all of our crew, it was absolutely the right decision. Initially we thought we’d do a similar schedule to last year, stopping in several locations for 4-6 weeks. However, after a lot of prayer we’ve decided to “home base” out of Huntsville, AL.
Brent is traveling a ton for work (huge answered prayer- but also needs to be considered in our logistics.) Both kids want to get involved in church activities. Miller wants to play soccer. We have several weeks of non-boat travel planned this fall. Both kids will have more challenging academics this year as Miller finishes his last year of Elementary School, and Mary Grace starts Dual Enrollment college classes as a sophomore.
This is just not our season to do extensive boat travel.
And most of us are okay with that. I have no doubt that the next few months will be filled with adventure and new experiences. But before I share too much more about our future plans, I’ll also need to do a post about June. If you’ve thought our last 3 years were crazy- you haven’t read anything yet!
As always, thank you for following our adventures. Also, this is a totally shameless plug, but if you need any help buying or selling a boat- I know a guy. Reach out to Brent at (865) 216-7628. And tell him I sent you. I’m loving that so many of his clients are coming through Mom With a Map!
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