April 23, 2015:
With a heavy heart, we woke the next morning in Ingram’s Bayou and took down the pyrotechnics, the ukulele amps and the aerial silk rig. Nooooo!!!
But, we were excited to make our way over to The Wharf in Orange Beach to claim our slip for the Jimmy Buffett concert.
Recall when we bought our tickets for the concert and called to reserve a slip, they literally laughed at us and put us as No. 93 on the waiting list. Well, 92 cancellations later and here we were, with a slip of our own. So, we hustled up the anchor early and made our way west. I called when we were close and chatted with a gal named Judy who runs the marina office. She was super friendly and sent two strapping young men out to come help us with our lines.
While I love to see her out sailing, all canvas up, I also love to see her docked as well, all safe and sound! Another no-mishap docking accomplished. Whew!
Judy gave us a tour of the new facilities there at The Wharf. They have moved the marina facilities over from where they were previously located by the fuel docks on the west basin to the center of all the action on the east side of the bridge, and the new bathrooms, shower and laundry facilities are all primo. We were really impressed.
Judy was great, too–super knowledgeable and friendly. I may or may not have let it slip that I’m an author and that a book would soon be coming her way. It would be the first to start their marina book swap at the new facility. I was sure donating my very own book to start the swap would totally revive my piteous book swap mojo. Let us all hope. If I have to face another Fabio cover, his white flapping French shirt agape with some frail yet fully-endowed maiden clinging to him, I’m going to puke. Thankfully, Judy, was in my camp and was proud to welcome a good, salty yarn written by a local female sailor, to start the swap out right.
I put a little log in the book for readers to list their vessel, when they got the book and where they dropped it off to help document the book’s travels. Judy wanted to read it first, and then she’s going to send it on its merry way!
Another little traveling book set free! I hope to hear from some folks who find it some day.
After the “drop,” it was time for some food. We headed over to Ginny Lane‘s for lunch and were thrilled to find your first martini is only $1. Sweet! We’ll take two!
I have to say that’s some smart marketing, though. Because the next round is full price, but by then your whistle’s already wet with the stuff and your pocketbook is a little looser. Nice, Ginny. Real nice. They served us up a fine burger and salad as well, which we had earned with all of our hard work peddling my penmanship around the marina.
Then it was over to the Oasis. Have any of you seen the pool at The Wharf? It’s like something a wealthy oil tycoon would build in his backyard–a wave pool, a slow, curvy lazy river, complete with waterfalls and spouts, slides, hammocks, palm trees, a hot tub, a tiki bar. It’s incredible!
We lounged the afternoon away at the pool (cruising is real hard) then hopped on the free marina bikes and peddled the grounds for a bit before cleaning up for dinner, which apparently at The Wharf, comes with a show!
Every Thursday night, the Wharf hosts a “Sunset Festival” much like the Mallory Square festivities in Key West. Remembering our “sloppy sunset” at Mallory Square during our trip to the Keys last year, we knew we were in for a treat.
While the crafty carnies at Mallory have really perfected the craft, I will say the folks at the Wharf did give them a run for their money. There was cheery knife and flame juggler/tightrope walker, a trained dog, live music and some ladies from the local zoo with their more exotic animals in tow.
“What the heck is that?” asked Phillip.
“That’s a bunny, my friend.”
“A 13-pound bunny.”
But, the real talent at the festival? This balloon guy.
I mean, look at his fancy, flattering balloon apron. That’s some dedication. And anyone who can crank out a pretty much lifelike Mario in under a minute–suspenders, mustache and all–takes the trophy in my book. Sorry flame dude, this man was a genius.
In all, the Sunset Festival was really entertaining and, most importantly, totally FREE! Our favorite kind of fun! Dinner with Phillip’s fantastic family at Jimmy’s sister, Lucy’s, place — Lulu’s at Homeport Marina — rounded out the pre-birthday festivities. Tomorrow was the big day for the Captain. His birthday, yes, but more importantly … BUFFETT!
Thanks as always, to the many patrons who help make these posts just a little more possible through PATREON.