Gulf Shores Bike Trail to Beautiful Sunset Beach

Gulf Shores Sunset

Branyon Backcountry Trail

Bike ride

Bike ride

I would like to say that every day is filled with a bike ride and a walk on the beach, but at least, today, it was.  We use to spend quite a bit of time in Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, and Perdido Key, but haven’t made it down here in the last 6 months.  This is our absolutely favorite time of year to be down here.  The beaches and parks are usually empty, the temperature is still pretty nice.

After getting some work done at home we drove down to a bike trail in Orange Beach that is easy to find but not on many maps or searches.  The Hugh S Branyon Backcountry Trail, which starts and runs through Gulf State Park, is a paved trail that have several different 1-2 mile sections that runs through the sand dunes and some beautiful nature areas.  We have driven by several times in the past but never stopped to ride the tail.

Of course no day would be complete down here without a walk on the beach.  We made it over to the sand just in time to see the sun set.  I walked a few miles down the beach and then we had dinner at a restraunt there on the beach, The Hangout.

I am always amazed at the beauty of the beach and the ocean.  I have seen it so many times, in many different states and countries and it still has some magical, almost mystic quality.  A place that for one reason or another allows you to remove the routine of life and the busy world around you and leaves you with sand and water… but a lot of sand, and an unreal amount of water.

I think people are attracted to the beach because it represents life.  Water that is living, breathing, and a constantly changing yet every time you go to the same beach, it looks relatively the same.  Taking a walk a few miles down a nice white sand beach (especially in January) is a spiritual thing, and I will take a walk any chance I get.  Here are some photos from the day.

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 https://www.scottfillmer.com/tag/morgan. 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

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.

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…