Orange Beach, Alabama

When Jimmy Buffet plays a concert 4 hours from home, and it’s at the beach, it’s a good time to plan to go! Also, Orange Beach is a popular destination for a beach vacation. Lots of folks around here have beach condos and vacation rentals there and in nearby Gulf Shores, and there are lots of fun things to get into.

From Google” Orange Beach is a small city on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. It’s known as a water sports hub. Located on Wolf Bay, Waterfront Park has a fishing pier and picnic areas. The Orange Beach Indian & Sea Museum explores Native American and fishing history. To the west, The Wharf is a shopping area with an amphitheater. The Backcountry Trail winds from the city through Gulf State Park’s beaches in the nearby city of Gulf Shores. ― Google ”

Among many many other things, there are dolphin cruises, fishing charters, popular restaurants, water sports, and some of the most beautiful beaches in the country.

I had to have the ($50) T-shirt

As always, Shannon did his research. The concert would be at the Wharf Amphitheater in Orange beach, and it just so happens that there was: 1. A brand new public boat launch directly across from The Wharf that opened for use at the end of May 2. A Marina at the Wharf with boat slips for overnight stays.

The Launch at ICW (article linked) was scheduled to open on 4/28/22 But ” a few small issues” (article linked there) delayed the opening. Luckily for us, the city of Orange Beach decided to go ahead and open 2-3 of the planned 6 launch lanes while they worked on straightening out the crooked ramps.

There was some boat/car/trailer traffic here that we suspect will continue to increase. It’s a nice public launch, ample parking, clean bathrooms, and a nice launch dock and pick up dock opposite

Once we’ve trailered the Shinin’ Brite to a location, it takes us about an hour or so to get her ready to sail; Step (put up) the mast, set the rigging, set the tiller, rudder, and motor, and then untangle and set lines, stays, and sails. As usual, Shannon unloaded her from the trailer and parked the truck and trailer while I used the restroom one more time. This was on June 2, 2022 and it was a hot one!

We motored across to the Wharf

Once we got to the Wharf Marina, we set out to find the dockmaster and check in. We got a kick out of seeing Shinin’ Brite up against some of the yachts

Shannon said, “If I owned that boat behind me, i’d buy four sirens and build a fancy dock to tie them to”. I agree. We adore our Shinin’ Brite.

Once we found our slip and got set up, we wanted lunch and cold drinks. We found Yoho Rum and Tacos and then found some Dippin Dots

Just the thing to cool off on a hot day
  • Side note – If you’ve ever been to a Jimmy Buffet concert, then you’ll know. Everyone dresses up. It’s a beach/luau/parrot/captain/cheeseburger/pirate amalgamation and it’s a lot of fun! There are many youtube videos of the events and I’ll link one of them here in case you’re interested

As we were mingling with the crowd, we noticed a group of people dressed up like Pirates! They were stopping and posing for photos with enthuasiastic concert-goers, and Shannon commented that he’d like to get a photo of them on the Shinin’ Brite. As it happened, we came face to face with them as we were headed to our slip, and Shannon invited them aboard! They were thrilled with the invitation and marched down the gangway for a pirate takeover!

The Fernandina Pirate’s Club takes over the Shinin’ Brite. This may be my favorite photo yet!

The Fernandina Pirate’s Club (website linked) are goodwill ambassadors and some of the nicest people we’ve met. We saw them around all evening, including at the concert, spreading cheer and happiness everywhere they went. Many others wanted a photo with them as well, and they were very happy to oblige!

And the concert was a blast! Jimmy Buffet, Mac McAnally and the Coral Reefers, played all of our favorites and then some. They’re not only outstanding musicians, but they know how to put on a great show!

The next morning, we set out to sail about 5 miles from the Wharf to Pirate’s Cove, for some “Cheeseburgers in Paradise” and bushwhackers. Recipe below from the tipsybartender.com linked there.

ALABAMA BUSHWACKER
1 oz. (30ml) Light Rum
1 oz. (30ml) Coconut Rum
1 oz. (30ml) Coffee Liqueur
Vanilla Ice Cream
Caramel Syrup
Garnish: Whipped Cream, Cherry, Ground Nutmeg

The Route we took was through a shipping channel, that was a little bit nerve-wracking in a small sailboat. There were shrimp boats, fishing boats, and dolphin cruises coming from both directions, and we kept a close watch. It ended up being a beautiful morning sail, and especially when Shannon spotted some dolphins swimming with us! Here are a few videos and photos:

It took us about 3 hours to sail to Pirate’s Cove.

Pirate’s Cove on approach
Bushwacker in a souvineir cup!
Sign at the end of the dock
Do you see her?

At Pirate’s cove, there are lots and lots of people coming and going in boats. We saw some come and order lunch and take it on the boat to eat elsewhere, some just ordered drinks for the boat ride, and others, like us, took to the picnic tables on the beach under the pavillion. It was fun to chat with people and see all of the boats.

  • Side note- I heard someone mention that there were stray dogs everywhere at Pirate’s cove, but I noticed they all had collars and tags. We noticed boats pulling up with pets who jumped out and hung out with the other dogs – so it was kind of like a beach dog park too.

Sometime after lunch, we started hearing thunder. There was a bit of a scramble to either get away in a boat, or, like us, to move boats away from the docks and up onto the beach. The picnic tables under the pavillion were an excellent place to watch a storm.

He had no less than 5 people ask him about her, and a few others wanted tours, which was a lot of fun. We were the only sailboat at Pirate’s cove this day!

We stayed at Pirate’s Cove through the storms, and once they cleared, stayed a bit longer to let everything dry out, take a dip in the bay, and have a few more bushwackers. We stayed so long that we ended up ordering a pizza for dinner and eating before we left to find a place to anchor for the night.

Rainbows after the storm passed

Shannon looked at maps and found a few hidden, protected coves he thought would work well for an overnight anchor. We ended up choosing one just past Pirate’s Cove, in front of a park and small boat launch in Robert’s Bajou:

It was a beautiful evening, and a beautiful place to anchor. Even with small boats coming and going from the one boat ramp in the park, it was extremely calm. We saw a few more dolphins swimming around, and a beautiful sunset!

The next morning, we sailed back through Wolf Bay for a while until the wind died down, and then made our way back to the launch. The one thing about sailing, is that you have to have wind!

We had a great time on this trip and can’t wait to go back!

3 thoughts on “Orange Beach, Alabama

  1. Sounds like it was meant to be to sail to the Jimmy Buffet concert. I love how people got really into it and dressed up. That’s a great picture of all the pirates aboard the Shinin’ Brite! How cool to see some dolphins during your sail!

    Liked by 1 person

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