At 6:00 AM we all weighed anchor and headed for home. As we were entering Galveston Bay we were welcomed by dolphins again. The Louisiana waterways are nasty; you will not see dolphins and our boat had an orange stain all over it making us look like a rust bucket! We did notice that while traveling the ICW through Louisiana you would see many shipyards sandblasting and painting in the open air. I guess Louisiana has different environmental laws or rules than Texas, or maybe it’s because it’s commercial and government projects and not for individual personal work. We arrived back at Portofino around 4:00 PM and our friends Ernie and Camille Rogers and Ross Heard helped us in. It’s kind of sad that our trip is over, I could have kept going but the weather was going to turn bad for boating, so I guess we timed it pretty well. In 2014 we are planning another big boat trip and this time it will be up the Tenn-Tom.
Monday, December 10, 2012
As soon as it was light enough to see, we headed out to our last anchorage on our Goin’ East trip. We pulled into Taylor Outfall Canal and dropped anchor around 3:00 PM. Teak finally got with the cruising routine just as the trip was coming to an end. After we were settled in for the night I rolled out her fake grass pad on the bow, put her down on it and she went right over and pottied! Before the sun even went down the mosquitoes were out in full force. It was a beautiful night with light winds and lots of stars. It was a shame that we had to enjoy it inside instead of out!
The day started off cloudy but by 9:30 AM the sun was peeking through. Mike on S/V Faith needed to dive on his boat to check out some shaft zincs that he thought were moving around and making a rattling noise. He was right, they were moving around but he was unable to hold his breath long enough to remove them so a diver was needed. Denver, the marina harbormaster, found a diver that said he would be out around 1:00 PM and also told us about a good place to eat lunch. We had time to spare so we headed out for a good lunch at Jag’s Bistro as recommended, and to pick up some items that we needed at a convenience store that was right across the street from the restaurant. Two divers showed up, one was a diver for the police department who needed to log some underwater time.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Our night at the Mermentau anchorage was calm and peaceful! Every so often you would hear the wildlife howl! At 6:30 AM, Josh started the genset, I started the coffee and then took Teak out to her fake grass on the bow and she did her thing (Yay!). After that we pulled up our muddy anchor (I am the one that got mud all over me, Josh was at the helm!) and headed out of the anchorage for our trip to Lake Charles. The day was overcast and rainy, but not a bad day at all! As we got closer to Lake Charles, the weather started looking really bad - like we were going to get thunder storms. S/V Morning Star was going to stop at Bow Tie Marina to get fuel but then decided against it because of the weather with lighting all around us. Thank goodness we all made it in safely to the Lake Charles Municipal Marina, tied up and were secure before the storm hit.
Shell Morgan Landing is mainly a fuel stop (with some rudimentary transient tie ups) so we all fueled up before heading out around 8:30 AM. Going through the Leland Bowman lock was smooth with no problems. They let us in as soon as we arrived, we tied to a bollard, the gates opened and we went out the other side, piece of cake! As we continued on the tow traffic got pretty busy and we were stuck behind a tow boat named the Martin Challenger (Port of Houston) and he was having some problems (newbie maybe?). This was the first time that I’ve ever seen a tow all over the place in the ICW and also run aground while passing another tow. The tow blamed it on wind and if it was really that windy, I would have definitely said something in my blog! This tow would slow down every time he passed an oncoming tow but refused to keep going slow for us to get past him. After several miles of this we were all getting frustrated so we looked for an opening and told him we were going to pass. It was kind of scary because we really did not know what he was going to do. He liked taking the entire ICW!!!!!! As we got closer to the Mermentau River, the weather started looking like it was going to rain and tows were talking about 28 to 30 knots of wind. Not good for anchoring! As we entered the Mermentau anchorage around 3:30 PM, the winds died down and it started to look like we would have a good night. When the sun was going down we took Teak out to see if she would do her thing but she heard a pack of wolves or coyotes howling and birds (geese honking?). That sure ended the moment for her! Our dog is so stubborn about going potty on the boat until she really has too, it’s frustrating! I do have to say that the Mermentau River is still my favorite anchorage! Josh and I checked the weather around 6:00 PM and it looked like we might get some rain coming from offshore. Around 1:00 AM Josh got up to check our anchor position and Teak finally decided it was time for her to go. I picked her up, took her to the bow and she did her thing! Even in the rain, Yay!!!!!!
We were lucky; our tie up at Morgan City was not bad. During the night there was very little tow and train traffic and we were able to get some sleep (but it’s still the worst stopping place ever in my opinion). Maybe the reason we had little tow activity was because of a dredge pipe just passed the bridge that was spread out all over the Atchafalaya River. I do wish there was somewhere else that boaters could stop! At 6:00 AM we all untied our lines and pulled out to start our relatively long trip to Intracoastal City and Shell Morgan Landing. During this stretch we saw a lot of eagles and/or osprey (need to do some research on how to identify the differences) and several very macho floating “man caves”. I do like these man caves out in the wilderness! I think it would be cool to have one except for the snakes, gators and other critters that one could encounter during the night or early morning! This would definitely not be Josh’s cup of tea!!!!! Camping – roughing it? Not a chance in the world!
We arrived at Shell Morgan Landing around 2:00 PM, found a spot and tied up. After we settled in we had a drink on the stern of our boat and watched the tows and crew boats go by as we waited for the sailboats to arrive. Shell Morgan Landing is closed on Sunday but we did call them earlier in the day and they told us to tie up and get with them in the morning. They will be open at 6:00 AM tomorrow.
Josh and I walked to the hospital to get some decent coffee because the water that I used to make ours this morning did not taste very good. At 8:15 AM we all left Houma and headed on our way to Morgan City (or Berwick) for the worst stopping point in Louisiana. The ICW between Houma and Morgan City is like traveling through the swamps. This is a very pretty area and we saw several eagles perched in trees. We passed a power boat named La Buena Vida (a Great Looper!) who left the Morgan City docks that morning. We asked them about the dock situation and he said that he was not sure if we would all fit on the Morgan City side because of all the shrimpers and other miscellaneous boats. We talked about the wave action and he said it was not good, so it appears that both sides get the same rock and roll. At this stop there is no guarantee of what will happen and if you will get any sleep but it’s the only place for cruising boaters. I wish we had somewhere else to go! We all arrived around 2:00 PM and were able to tie to the Morgan City side. The sailboats needed gangplanks to get off their boats because they had pilings outside the bulkhead that they had to tie to. We took the spot right next to the bridge without outer pilings, just a flat bulkhead (but a nearby bridge made it a bad place for boats with masts) and we were able to step off. We all headed to Rita Mae’s Kitchen for an early dinner before it closed at 5:00 PM. Josh had grilled pork chops, red beans and rice, seasoned corn and cornbread. My fried catfish (also with white beans, potato salad and cornbread) was delicious!!!!!
At 9:00 AM we all headed over to the hospital for breakfast. After breakfast Josh tried to call some more places to see if he could find a diver. As he was walking the Houma Marina dock, he ran into two men on bikes and one said he would go into the water and check it out, it turned out that his friend was in no sober condition to do anything. He removed some lily pads but it did not completely solve the problem on one side. Our bow thruster is still not working correctly so this will be another thing added to our “to do” list that will need to be taken care of when we get back to Seabrook. Because it was such a beautiful day we decided to head into town to walk around and have lunch at Castelanos, the place that we were going to eat at on our last visit but was closed. After lunch the sailboats did some outside boat cleaning and Josh and I walked around the marina area enjoying the scenery. Around 4:00 PM we all had docktails down at the ICW entrance and watched a drunk on the end of the bulkhead and also all the tows go by. The guy that checked our bow thruster stopped by again to talk and to check on his friend, the drunken one that kept pestering everyone at the park.
Friday, November 30, 2012
We all headed out around 8:15 AM with S/V Faith as our lead boat for the day, to arrive at our first bridge opening after the blackout period was over at 8:30 AM. As we were waiting, a Coast Guard boat came up, heading out also, and (yes) we were all boarded. They started with S/V Morning Star, then moved on to us and then over to S/V Faith. They were very friendly and nice, even Teak behaved herself (only barked a little!). We went through two locks with no problems except as we were leaving the second one, Harvey Lock, our bow thruster stopped working. This is not a good thing! Someone will have to dive (not me!) in Lafitte with all the gators or Houma with the murky water. One thing that I have learned is when going through the locks, it’s best to put a bumper all the way to the stern and at the bow (big bumpers are always better!). As the locks close and open you tend to rock back and forth. Our bow and stern thrusters are great and I will hopefully always have them working but as you can see, anything can happen!
Barry called the owner of the boathouse barge that we tied to before in Lafitte and he said we could do it again. Since we were going to get into Lafitte so early in the day and we would have nothing to do, we decided to have a conversation regrouping on channel 68. The consensus was to keep going onto Houma even though we would have to travel a couple of hours in the dark. Josh decided to make some phone calls to see if we could get a diver in Houma and one place priced him $200.00 or more and another place priced him $495.00 plus travel time. We are not going to have our bow thruster checked in Houma! The trip to Houma was not bad, actually it was a very nice night. S/V Faith did a great job navigating and “tow talking” for us. All of the tow captains were very friendly, helpful and worked with us the whole way. We arrived and all tied up at the Houma City Marina around 7:15 PM.
our next boat (currently under construction)