Last Breath of Summer from a Beach in Gulf Shores

Lighthouse Sunset Over the Gulf of Mexico
Lighthouse Silhouette as the Sun Sets Over the Gulf of Mexico

Busyness has many enemies, but to me, one of the greatest causalities of busyness is the loss of creativity. When life turns into a checklist of task items the thing that loses out, at least in my life, is always the creativity of reading, writing, photography, poetry, contemplation, prayer, games, music, and so on. Many of those can be viewed as spiritual disciplines, which means one could say that busyness can pull us away from those things in our life that are to be set aside for worship.

This past weekend I finally got a few days to go down to the beach and relax, only it wasn’t quite as relaxing as I had thought it might be. Sure it was time away from the routines of life, which was great, but I really think it takes more than a few days to untwist your mind from the speed of life we live today. That’s the part that never really happened… but that’s ok too, after all, how busy could it possibly be with the view from our balcony below. What we did get to do was visit with family we haven’t seen in a few years, I finally got to visit the aviation museum in Pensacola (that post is upcoming), and we enjoyed a few glorious sunsets on some empty white sand beaches.

I left Auburn hoping to get through two books while I was down at the beach, both of which I had made it about one chapter deep. I managed to make it to the last chapter of the first book, one called Lifted By Angels by Joel Miller, and one I hope to write a review about soon. This was a great book to read uninterrupted at the beach, a place where one’s thoughts can be lifted above the routine of daily needs. There were so many quotes that caught my attention in this anthology about our interactions with angels, especially when it comes to our interaction through a prayerful life, but this stood out when talking about asking for things in prayer…

Isaac the Syrian said that when we ask for earthly things, it’s like a subject standing before his king and imploring him for a measure of manure. The request insults both the king and the subject.

I think we often get so caught up in the earthly life of “things” and the tasks of the day, we forget our life is about preparing for eternity, not necessarily worrying about tomorrow. Below is sort of a timeline from sunup to moonup on our last day, in the last bit of summer warmth before the real fall arrives soon.

Balcony View of Gulf of Mexico
Balcony View of Gulf of Mexico
Sun Setting Over the Gulf of Mexico
Sun Setting Over the Gulf of Mexico
Sunset Through the Grass at Gulf Shores
Sunset Through the Grass at Gulf Shores
Moonrise Over the Beach
Moonrise Over the Beach

On the Beach Again with the Whole Family :: Friday Feet

Scott, Deborah, and Ebby on the Beach

Scott, Deborah, and Ebby on the Beach

Scott, Deborah, and Ebby on the Beach

Scott, Deborah, and Ebby on the Beach

Last weekend Deb and I went back down to Gulf Shores for a quick camping trip.  Of course, being that we were camping we had no Internet access (at least non-cellular) which was weird, so I have some catching up to do on my blog.  I haven’t missed a Friday Feet post since I started it last year so this post-dated version was from last Friday.

Always an interesting weather time weather wise down here where thunderstorms usually start to roll in and winter still tries to hang on.  One day it is freezing and the next is it hot.  Thursday we arrived to a blustering tornatic frontal system and Friday it was sunny and hot.  It was still a great time to relax away from the computer and start thinking about Holy Week coming up.

I have several posts coming up on photos from that weekend, a few book reviews, and many more, stay tuned.  Have a great Holy Week this week.

Our 1979 Morgan Out Island 33 Sailboat has Sold

Scott and Deborah When They Bought LAUGHALOT

Sailboats in the Bear Point Marina

Today we have officially moved on to a new chapter in our leisure time life.  We have sold our sailboat in Orange Beach, the 1979 Morgan Out Island 33 which we bought in Tampa in April of 2007.  We had big dreams for this particular sailboat (over the other two sailboats we have owned) but we finally decided the distance from Auburn to Orange Beach was just to much to maintain. Plans are to replace her with a tiny little camper and go back to our camping roots and get to know some of the land and parks here in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida.

We first officially put the sailboat up for sale on June 3rd (For Sale: 1979 Morgan Out Island 33 Sailboat in Orange Beach) but decided by September that we needed to go ahead and sell the boat.  Our philosophy has been pretty much the same every since we got married.  If we are not using it, and well, then we don’t need it and should not keep what ever that happens to be at the time.  Having sold on eBay full time for many years, and the Internet in general, people tend to want to get what they paid for on items when they go to resell them, we know this just isn’t the case (see also What is Your Blog or Internet Business Worth // eBay or Sitepoint?), so, when we want to sell something, we sell it.

This is good for the buyer of course, but when we have made up our mind to do something, we would rather do it than sit around for month after month working on it.  When we started looking for this boat, a Morgan Out Island, there were not many on the market, but the ones that were on the market, are actually still on the market, 18 months later.  Not because they are not good boats, they are, but because these people refused to sell something for what someone else would pay for it.  A concept we don’t get.  So we sold it for half of what we paid for it, but we had some wonderful times on the boat and great memories, worth more than what we paid or sold the boat for anyway.

Now it is time to move on, although we will both miss having this sailboat, she was great.

Continue reading “Our 1979 Morgan Out Island 33 Sailboat has Sold”

1979 Morgan Out Island 33 Sailboat in Orange Beach For Sale

Morgan Out Island 33 For Sale

This is probably the saddest post I could make on this blog but we have come to the decision that we can not keep up with our house here and the boat we love down at the coast.

I will be posted more photos and information as time goes on but you can look through this blog and all the posts and history of the boat to know what we are selling. It is a 1979 Morgan Out Island 33 in great shape. We had put a lot of hard work into her since we purchase her in Tampa in 2006. The only issue she has at all is the 50hp Perkins motor needs a new head gasket. The Perkins has been serviced, a new heat exchanger installed, filters changed, and she runs GREAT. Starts right up every time, but she does need the header gasket replaced.

Comes with all sails and equipment needed to take an off-shore cruise to the keys or Bahamas. I will post the latest survey soon. We did not have one done as we did not continue the coast guard registration process. Along with all the normals for a boat this size, it also has a GREAT marine a/c and heater unit. We used this all summer last year and this winter and it works great. It is a very roomy cabin, perfect for a live-a-board with the headroom and sleeps at least 5 comfortably. The interior is very clean and in very nice condition. Floors and wood work on the inside are in great shape. Two water holding tanks that hold about 50 gallons of water, a 35 gallon diesel tank, working head and fresh water shower.

To see the history of the vessel please visit the history page, you can also see the most recent survey as well. We had not completed the name change so it is still technically called the s/v LAUGHALOT. The boat is located at the Bear Point Marina in Orange Beach Alabama. You are more than welcome to visit the marina to see the boat. The current asking price is $19,500. The current NADA price is about $23,000 but we have discounted the header gasket work that needs to be done, which should only be about $1500 or so. The marina is VERY nice and the slip is very reasonable at $350 per month, which includes electric, water, phone, and cable.

Any questions at all please let us know through the contact page above and I will be happy to return your email. You can also ask your questions through the comment box below and I will post answers there publicly.

Here are some recent photos. I am sure the new owner will enjoy it as much as we have. We spent many weekends on the boat and enjoyed each one.

Deborah on the Sailboat

Morgan Out Island 33 For Sale

Inside the Cabin












History of Morgan Out Island 33 Sailboat, Hull Number MRY02337M79B

the Island Zephyr

History of the Morgan Out Island 33

Below you will find a brief history of our vessel as best we can put it together. If you are a Morgan Out Island owner or recognize the hull number and have more information we would be thrilled to hear from you. Please go to our contact page and let us know. If you have a site that shows the history of your Morgan Out Island we would love to see it as well.

Vessel Background and History

  • 1979 Morgan Out Island 332 Sailing Sloop
  • IMO Hull Number – MRY02337M79B-333
  • Hull [USGS Documentation] No. 599460 Net 12
  • Manufacture – Morgan Marine, Largo, Florida: Main Plan; Morgan Yatch, 7200 Bryan Dairy Road, Largo, FL 33543 [813-544-6681]
  • LOA – 33′
  • LWL – 27’6″
  • Draft [Tirant d’eau] – 3’9″
  • Beam – 11’10”
  • Displacement – 14,500 lbs
  • Net Registered Tonnage – 12 tons
  • Sail Area – 525 Square Feet
  • Hull Speed – [1.34] [27.5] = 7.02 kn
  • Vertical Clearance – 48’9″ [with 30″ antenna] Stated 46’3″
  • Water Capacity – 50 U.S. Gallons [30 gallon v-birth / 20 gallon bunk starboard]
  • Engine – Perkins 4-108 50HP [Serial # ED22195U611945D]

1979 – 1995

Little is known about the history of our boat prior during this time. We can find no records but can assume the owners name and information from a 1995 vessel survey that was completed, which we have now converted into a pdf file. We were told that extensive log books existed and very detailed records about all the vessels voyages were kept until an angry wife through everything away around 2004.

  • Owner -Unknown
  • Christened Name – s/v Chablis
  • Home Port – unknown (Chesapeake Bay Area)

1995 – 2004

As far as we can tell, the boat traveled extensively throughout the Bahama islands. We recovered a very very old GPS which still had track and route data that could be downloaded and we were able to pinpoint the waypoint locations.

  • Possible Owners – David Salinger / Don Fletcher / J Guy St. Pierre
  • USGS Documentation No. 599460 Net 12 appears on paperwork
  • Christened Name – s/v Hopewell
  • Home Port – Palm City, Florida
  • Destination Ports –

2004 – 2006

At this time it seems to owner for many years had taken ill and was not able to travel on her much and it sat in the marina from this point until we purchased her and had her delivered to us in Alabama. Not much was done during this time, no maintenance of any kind as far as we can tell. It did ride out two hurricanes anchored out with many of the other vessels from this marina and suffered no damage during either storm.

2006 -2007

The boat was finally sold to a broker close to the marina (as a personal boat of the broker), which also (reportedly) had health issues and had to sell the boat. The new owner was told there was not a thing wrong with it (proof from the survey) and kept it one month before she decided to sell it herself.

  • Owner – Margo Robison
  • Christened Name – s/v LAUGHALOT
  • Home Port – New Port Richey, FL

2007 -2008

The boat was purchased by the current owners in May and delivered to the Gulf Coast of Alabama by a delivery Captain from the New Port Richie Florida area. It was determined at that time that the heat exchanger needed to be replaced and the main head gasket on the Perkins also needed to be replaced at some point. The sail from Tampa to Orange Beach was an uneventful one and she sailed beautify according to the delivery Captain. The next 12 months were spent in the slip doing cleaning and general maintenance and enjoying long weekends on the boat (see coastal). We decided to sell her in 2008 to someone who could spent more time with her than the schedule we now have to keep. It is a great boat and we hope the new owner will be as happy with her as we were.

  • Owner – Scott and Deborah Fillmer
  • Christened Name – s/v LAUGHALOT / s/v Island Zephyr
  • Home Port – Bear Point Marina, Orange Beach (Gulf Coast of Alabama)

Survey Value

The 2004 survey is posted here (download 2004 survey in pdf) lists the value at $33,000 and a replacement value of $125,000. Additional photos will also be placed on the website at The NADA guide value is also listed between $20,100 and $22,600 in standard used condition (which is the case here).

Additional Blog Posts About the Morgan

Dinner at LuLu's Homeport and the Bama Breeze

bama breeze

We drove down to the coast today. We try to come down to the gulf coast as often as we can since this is where our sailboat is located (see this blog under the category coastal or tagged under sailboat). This is actually getting more of a challenge with the price of gas now close to $4.00/gallon down here, but it is still reachable, just would be nice in some gas friendly car.

Who knows, I may look back at this post in 6 months and the price may be $5.00/gallon by then. Makes our trip to Colorado in late summer a load of fun, gas wise.  Either way, we love it down here and we try to come as often as we can (which seems to never be enough).  Our favorite time to come down to the gulf coast is in the off season, you never have to wait for a table and the beaches are always clean and empty.  Of course one thing we love to do while we are down here on the coast is eat, and Orange Beach and Gulf Shores has no shortage of good places to eat.

There is Some Great Food Down Here

There are several restaurants we love eating at down here. Tonight are going to LuLu’s at Homeport, which is a localish restaurant (meaning it is half touristy and half locals) and tonight should be a great set by John Reno and The Half-Fast Creekers.

John Reno andthe half-fast creekers

The band played longer than we stuck around but they played a nice mix of their own music and the usual known pop most bands play for the tourists. I guess those here for their vacation expect to hear Cheese Burger in Paradise at some point when they come down here. Deborah and I enjoy hearing songs we know, but we do like hearing the original music each band creates, they all have their own flavor.

His music can be defined as trop rock – a mixture of rock-n-roll with an island theme. John Reno and the Half-Fast Creekers have been described as Hoagy Carmichael meets Toby Keith in Margaritaville! LuLu’s

One reason we love to go to LuLu’s when we are down here is for the live music. It isn’t the most quiet place in the world for sure, and probably not the cheapest, but if you are in Alabama’s gulf coast, stop by and have their open faced crab melt sandwich and enjoy some local music.

Nature in View

Down here there is always something going on. When we got back from dinner we had a nice pod of dolphins that were having a feast on the fish they had pushed into the cove across from our sailboat. We watched them jump, play, and eat for about 30 minutes and then sat in the cockpit of our boat and listened to them until we went to sleep.

There is always the Pelican, Sea Gull, and all the other water birds constantly flying around but we also have a pesky Gray Heron that seems to think our slip is his domain. He squawked at me several times trying to get on the boat and then again as he reclaimed his territory. The dolphins were kicking up so many fish that he was just waiting to pounce and he several nice dinners.

Other Images

A few other images from LuLu’s last night. The Bama Breeze (from the song of the same name, but I am pretty sure this is not the original) is just off the sand mound from LuLu’s and for the previous year we had been coming to this restaurant we didn’t even know it was out there. There was also another photographer there last night, she was shooting some private party but we shot her shooting them (really cool dreds too).

Scott at LuLu's at Homeport

The wait for a table in the summer time is supposed to be very very long, but we have never had to wait for a table, not once. Of course we have been there mostly in the winter and early dinner in summer but, still, no wait at all.

When Batteries Explode, Remove Them and Return to Walmart

We came down to the boat this time to find that we had a little battery issue, one didn’t like being charged over the last few weeks and just blew its top (or side as it looks). Most boats and sailboats have a battery compartment and we have three batteries on board. One starting battery and two “house” batteries.

Much like an RV, the house batteries are supposed to be deep cycle batteries but when we bought the boat the person who “preped” the boat said they put in new batteries, and of course they were all starting batteries. This wasn’t really a bid deal since we weren’t going to use them much at first anyway, but one of them didn’t like being charged like a deep cycle does.

Batteries, Charging, and that Deep Cycle Thing

I removed the coverings to find that the side had completely blown off the side of the battery and of course all its contents were in a puddle underneath the battery. Thank goodness the plastic that lines the battery compartment kept the battery acid and all things wet, contained (also thankful it didn’t start a fire as well).

exploding batteries

Since the lead plates were visible I was not real thrilled with getting in there and removing it, but someone had to do it, so while I prepared, Deborah took a few shots here. You can see from the battery shot, the yellow piece to the left is actually the side of the battery that blew out and up.

removing batteries

Disposal of Said Bad Battery

What to do… well, we put a box in a garbage bad, pulled the battery and put it in the bag, then mopped up all the remaining acid and water, sealed it all up and went outside for a breath of fresh air. What in the world do you do with a battery like this? Disposal needs to be done properly, so, Wal-Mart here we come.

The conversation with the automotive center guy went something like this.

wm – Do you want to return it for a refund?
me – Nope.
wm – Do you want to exchange it?
me – Nope.
wm – Do you want your money back?
me – Nope.
wm – What do you want?
me – Nothing, just take the darn thing and dispose of it for me
wm – (opening the bad to inspect)… ummmm
me – ahhh, don’t do that, it is pretty bad in there
wm – ok, anything else.
me – Nope. Thanks.

People are always dealing with power issues on a sailboat, nice to see some of the other posts about some of these issues, like House Battery Shelf, which looks like he shouldn’t have this problem, its great to do it yourself. We now make sure the charger is turned off when we leave since the remaining battery is still a starting battery, but in very good shape.

Cold Day on the Beach in February is Empty and Fun

Sunset at the Marina

Some days a cold day on the beach is better than a warm day inside. The beaches, in most parts of the country right now, are completely empty, but put a nice cool breeze and January into the mix and you get this (see beach image below). Not only is there a rare February thunderstorm in the distance but the only visible moving object on the beach is a tiny little bird in the very center of the image. The sunsets at the marina are always so dynamic and each one is different. The thunderstorms here made just enough of a hole in the sky to give us a great sunset today.

This image was actually taken by my cell phone. I am really amazed at the quality of images that can be taken by a cell phone these days. Not that it is worthy of publication but for just sticking a phone up in the air, its not bad.

Gulf Shores in January

This weekend we did spend the day on the beach (see all the photos below) but we came down to be on Laughalot. We did enjoy the peace and quiet that the marina always has around this time of year, and of course on the beaches too.

We have several favorite beaches down here, some are in Florida, some in Alabama, but depending on the time of year, you can usually walk several miles in either direction and enjoy a quiet walk. As is customary for me, I try to get in about 5-7 miles while I am on the beach, here I am on my way, yes, it is cold. I don’t look all that thrilled but I really am glad to be there, even if the weather is a little harsh.

Scott going for a walk

Of course, DK has here own way of keeping warm, stay in the tent, don’t move much and have a ton of layers on. We do have some larger shots of the tent area on the beach but this close up gives a better idea of how cold it really is down here today.

Deborah's Beach Tent

It still made for a very nice sunset at the marina and we had a great weekend on Laughalot.

The Thanksgiving Non-Event for 2007 and the Marina

Cooked and carved the turkey on Saturday, check. Made the stuffing, and the baked sweet potatoes, too, check. Sealed it all up in bags to freeze so we could have it on the boat on Thanksgiving Day, check. Loaded the car with clothing, food, ice chest, etc., check. Made sure to take computer to the boat too, so Secret of the Stole KAL members wouldn’t miss their final hint this Friday, check.

Leave on Monday and make the 4.5 hour drive to the marina, check. Upon arrival, found out the marina wifi was not working and would not be working until after the holiday week was over, CHECK. Made the 4.5 hour drive back to the house in the same evening, of course. What else were we supposed to do? Visions of Secret of the Stole members coming up the road to get me with lighted torches and pitchforks in hand went through my head.

Scott and I will be having our “leftover, prepared ahead of time” Thanksgiving dinner back here at the house. Luckily, we embrace change so it’s all good…

Delivery Captain Sails From Tampa To Orange Beach

Captain Bill, Captain Vicki, and the New Marina

LAUGHALOT arrived today in her new home in Alabama. Captain Bill and Captain Vicki sailed her up from her port in New Port Richey, Florida to a port here in Alabama where she will be much closer to us. We went down to meet with the Captains and give them a lift to the airport where they could pick up their car rental for their return trip.

We were a little nervous about having her delivered and I was more than a little jealous about not being able to bring her up here ourselves. She was in capable hands though and now she is here and all ours. We are very excited about having LAUGHALOT close by where we can visit more often and we love the gulf coast.

Now the fun/work begins…

Captain Bill and Captain-to-be Scott