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M/V Last Trade

M/V Last Trade

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Heading Home form Port Aransas - Monday, April 13th, 2015 - Freeport to Portofino

The plan was to leave Freeport Marina (used to be Freeport City Marina) around 9:00 AM and go to Harborwalk for the night then return home on Tuesday by noon.  Storms were predicted to go through in the early morning and we were not real sure what the weather was going to do after that.  After heading out, we kept looking at the radar, weather stations and winds.  We arrived at Harborwalk by 1:00, the winds were low and it was just a beautiful day so we decided to go for it and head all the way home.  The Harborwalk restaurant was going to be closed anyway, so would be either sitting around there with little to do or enjoy the rest of the day on the water and keep going. 

White pelicans sitting on dredge pipe.

Bridge Harbor Marina finally working on their transient and fuel dock bulkhead!


Look, a pig!  Wild boar.

Teak taking her afternoon nap while underway!

 Bird Island full of pelicans

As we were coming towards the Galveston Island Causeway bridge we passed a tow and for the first time ever, the Captain of the tow asked us to give him a slow bell.  We did not have the heart to tell him that this is all we could do!  He must have thought we were like a sport fishing boat because they put out big wakes.

We arrived back at Portofino Harbour Marina and Yacht Club around 5:00 PM.  After settling in and cleaning up a bit, we headed to T-Bone Toms for wings.  Josh was thinking about them all day!  

The end of another trip!  I must say, after traveling past Lake Charles into Florida, traveling this area is getting kinda boring.  So much more to do going the other direction.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Heading Home form Port Aransas - Saturday, April 11th, 2015 - Matagorda and Sunday, April 12th 2015 - Freeport

At 6:00 AM our alarm went off. Shortly thereafter, EJ sent me a text about bad weather coming in.  Josh and I got up and started looking at the weather for the day on several different weather sites.  It did not look good!  It looked like a storm was on its way and we did not think we could make it across Matagorda Bay before it would hit. We stay! Better safe than sorry!  We will keep our eyes on the weather and move on when we feel that it's safe.

The weather was looking to be pretty clear during the afternoon so Josh talked to a tow on Matagorda Bay about the bay conditions.  The tow operator said is was blowing about 13 kts with a little chop.  He said our 36 foot boat should have no problem.  The Heards and the Wallachs had a meeting and discussed our options - go today with NE wind on our nose or wait until tomorrow with S wind on our stern?  NOSE won so we headed out at 1:00 PM, looking at a 6:00 PM arrival.  All was good until we entered Matagorda Bay!  It was not a little chop, it was more like 2ft/4ft waves coming at us, giving us a nice salt bath.  No turning back, not with these waves - we would be rolling all over the place.  Two hours to get across, we can do it!  Halfway through the bay, someone got on the radio and said "little chop? this is NO little chop".  Josh and I said to each other "no... it's not".

Video and picture of M/V Last Trade provided by Ross Heard

M/V Beachcomber coming off Matagorda Bay.  I could not get pictures while we were out in the bay because I could not keep the camera steady.  We were going up and down too much!

Lost buoy!  We saw a lot of beached buoys on this trip.

Logs from all the rain.  We had to bump the big one because it kept coming towards us and 
we were more concerned about safety passing through the lock chamber.

M/V Beachcomber dodging the debris!

Around 6:00 PM we arrived at Matagorda Harbor Marina.  M/V Beachcomber went to the fuel dock first before docking.  After they docked and Ross told Josh how much the diesel cost, we decided to get fuel in the moring before leaving.  It was $2.06 a gallon!  That was the cheapest yet that we have seen!!!!!!  When both boats were settled in, we headed to the restaurant for dinner.  Tomorrow's destination would be Freeport and we would not have a restaurant on premise.

Sunday was not a long travel day so we decided to head out around 9:00 AM.  At 8:30, Josh and I went over to the fuel dock for the cheap fuel.  Cheap fuel is always a plus!

Bye bye Matagorda!

This is the first time we ever saw a shrimper towing a fishing boat.

This house in Sargent reminded me of an Easter egg!  

What a great idea for drift wood - a fence!

 We had some strong current today.  We normally do around 8 Knots at 1800 RPM.

We dodged logs throughout the day from all the rain.


Going through the locks was fun (not!).  We had to wait for a tow that was having problems because of the current.  He was being sweep down river and had to try to get control of his tow and align it with the second lock.  When it was our turn, going through the first lock was a little tricky.  With the current flowing strongly, we rocked and rolled as we were trying to plow through it.  Along with the current, we had to dodge debris!  Just as we got through the first lock and while heading into the second lock the rain started.  Just our luck!

This boat was going to pass us and beat the rain that was following us until he saw what we were trying to miss.  He decided to follow until we got past the log and, YES, he did wake us!

 As we were making our turn into the Old Brazos River to head to the Freeport Marina, the rain was coming down really hard, making it difficult to see. For a few minutes we were traveling by electronics. That's why we have them! The rain did stop briefly for us to dock but started back up shortly after we settled in.

Dinner was on M/V Beachcomber.  We had the leftovers from our grilling at Costa Grande.  Great company, great food, what else can you ask for...until show time (7:00 PM).  Time to clean up, pack up and head back to our own boat to watch our weekly TV shows. Ross and EJ turned to their TV also! It's good to know that people you cruise with watch the same shows you do!

....Until tomorrow!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Heading Home form Port Aransas - Friday, April 10th, 2015 - Port Aransas to Costa Grande Port O'Conner

After days of looking at the weather, we decided to make a run for it and start home.  Josh and I woke up at 6:00 AM and Josh popped his head outside to see if it was foggy.  Nope!  So at 7:00 AM we pulled out of our slip in Port Aransas and began our journey home.  The weather was calling for light winds but possible rain/thundershowers.  Light wind prediction was good because we had open water crossing Aransas Bay and San Antonio Bay.  As we left Port Aransas the dolphins were out in full force, playing all around and running with us constantly.  It seemed like every time I got my camera out they would disappear.  Not very  photogenic today!  It was a show just for us. 

While crossing San Antonio Bay, along with the dolphins, we had seagulls.  Lots of seagulls!  I think they thought we were a shrimper!  One seagull flew inches away from Josh's face.  Most of the day was overcast with some light drizzle but as soon as we left the last open body of water, San Antonio Bay, everything changed.  The wind picked up and the air turned cold.  The weather station indicated it was blowing 24 kts, gusting 33 kts.  The wind was heeling us over like a sailboat!  We were hoping that it would pass before it was time to dock.  

Around 1:45 PM we were heading into Costa Grande with some wind, but not like before.  Josh decided to check out the open slips before deciding where we would pull in with this wind blowing.  I had bumpers on both sides, ready just in case.  We were heading for one slip but it did not have enough cleats so as Josh started to back away we hit something!  I thought we were aground but Josh said we had plenty of water.  I said we were stirring up sand and then I saw this big black plastic sheet starting to float and our boat started vibrating.  Oh no, not the prop, please!  We came around to the other side of the marina and were going to dock at the same slip as we were in on the trip down but as we were coming into the slip the boat wouldn't move.  Not good. All I could see was us putting the boat sideways against all the slips.  Josh finally was able to get the boat moving forward, circling away from the docks when I saw another big piece of black plastic float away from our boat.  We contacted Ross and EJ and told them to stand by and to be on the lookout for the black plastic.  Our boat finally started acting normally again so we must have been able to dislodge the plastic. We were able to pull into the slip and tie up.  What an exhausting run!  It was nap time for everyone but me.  I started blogging!

Around 4:30 we started the grill and got things ready for dinner.  We grilled a lot of food just in case we're held up somewhere for a day without an restaurant.  Something to munch on!  It rained off and on while grilling our food.

Teak the wonder dog did not have such a good day.  First thing  in the morning she was sick to her stomach.  I guess getting up early upset her because she knew we were heading out to open water.  She did settle down a little after we were out for awhile but still was not herself all day. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Port Aransas - Monday, April 6th, 2015 through Thursday, April 9th, 2015

A little after 10 AM we rode our bikes to Whataburger for a BOB (breakfast on a bun).  After that we went to the Island Home Center, the furniture store that was closed the day before, and looked around.  This place has a lot of neat things.  Josh and I were picking out things for our next house!  The owner's husband, J. Christensen just published a book titled Jesse Caulder and he gave me a signed copy to read. 

It was a good day to play around in the dinghy so back to the boats we went.  Ross and EJ's dinghy is a lot larger than ours so we all loaded up in their dinghy and headed out to Shell beach.  Shell beach is a place that Barb and Barry Dupuy took us to several years ago.  It looked like a place where shells were dumped to prevent erosion of the banks. Once you could find some nice souvenirs, but now the good collectible shells are getting slim.  After shell beach we headed up towards Island Moorings and got some ice cream at the marina, and then toured some canals before heading back to our boats.  As we were heading back, Ross' dinghy started slowing down by itself so we throttled it back before trying to diagnose the problem while in open water.  We discussed what the problem could be when we met on Ross and EJ's boat for appetizers and a nice pot roast dinner.

On Tuesday we rode our bikes to the Marine Science Institute (a UT campus). This is one of the sights that our bus driver told us about.  The inside exhibits were interesting with several tanks with different kinds of sea life.  They even had a tank with seahorses!  We rode around to the back of the building to the rehab center where some volunteers were cleaning and taking care of some birds.  Then down the beach we rode, stopping on the way so I could collect some shells. After lunch we rode back to the boat and I "paddle boarded" the marina while Josh napped.   After dinner we went for a nice dinghy ride before turning in for the night.  A good day in Port A!

Wednesday morning Josh and I rode our bikes to Whataburger for breakfast then rode along the beach.  It was a nice ride!  After we got back and Ross and EJ were ready, we rode to almost every shop on the island, window shopping and ending with a trip to DQ.  While we were at DQ drinking our milk shakes and malts, a car stopped and bought ice cream for their German Shepherds.  This was a quite a sight to see! Big dogs licking and munching down ice cream cones (see video below).  By the time we got back to the boat Josh had a little time for his nap before we rode out for dinner.

Someone had a good time decorating a post normally indicating no vehicles past this point. 

Farley boat - these boats are located all over Port Aransas just like Seabrook has their pelicans!  This would be neat to have one in our back yard and at our marina.

Three german shepherds eating ice cream cones!

Video provided by Ross and EJ Heard

Our last day in Port Aransas. We took the bus to Whataburger for burgers for lunch and then we walked to the grocery store for things we needed (charcoal for grilling at Costa Grande tomorrow night) and other necessities if we are held up for a day or so with bad weather.  We caught the bus back to the boat, unloaded our groceries, walked the dogs and headed back to the bus stop looking for a place to get ice cream and maybe some shopping down by Island Moorings Marina.   The RV store past Island Moorings only had Blue Bell ice cream so we decided against that and the road by the quaint shops was being worked on so we detoured.  New plan!  We got off at the Stripes convenience store by the marina, purchased non-Blue Bell ice cream and walked back to our boats.  Josh and I packed up our toys (bikes and paddle board) and started getting things ready for the morning departure.  Dinner for all of us was munchies on Last Trade then we helped Ross and EJ put their dinghy away before turning in for the night.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Port Aransas - Saturday, April 4th, 2015 and Sunday, April 5th, 2015

Josh and I woke up at 4:00 AM when the wind changed.  It really started blowing like stink!  Josh added more lines and made sure we were secure before returning to bed.  When I finally got up around 8:00 I looked at the wind speed on WindAlert and it was showing that it was blowing 24 knots! WeatherBug was indicating steady wind at 23 kts with gusts of 32 kts.  I picked up Teak to take her out and she was shocked.  What's going on out here?  Potty break did not take long!  She "booked it" down the pier, did her thing and back to the boat we went!  Talk about a bad hair day!!!! The wind made her look like a ragamuffin! As we were heading back to the boat, I was amazed that some small fishing boats were heading out in this weather.  They were bouncing all around trying to get across the channel.  They must really be die hard fisherman!

Sometime during the time Josh added more lines and I took Teak out this morning, a small sailboat came in and tied up.  I overheard one of the crew say something about coming from Port Isabel and did not expect this wind.  WindAlert was indicating 32 knots offshore.  Smart move to come in!

Around noon we decided to head into town for lunch.  We started out on our bikes and as we got half way down the pier we noticed EJ's new bike had a flat tire.  Back to the boats to "slime" and pump it back up.  Bummer, it didn't work!  EJ stayed at her boat while Ross, Josh and I headed to the bike shop to see if Ross could buy a new tube.  Ross bought two, one for a spare!  Back to the boat we peddled.  Once we got back to the boats we decided to take the shuttle in next trip because the wind was making biking difficult.  The bus driver was very friendly and gave us some good information about what to do and what to see here.  We decided to have lunch at Stingrays.  Ross heard that their pizza was good.  It was different, very thin like a cracker crust with very little tomato sauce but lots of toppings.  After lunch we scoped out other restaurants to eat at since we will be here for several more days, then we headed over to the grocery store for coffee creamer, milk and bread.   Time flies!  It was after 4 PM when we caught the bus back to the boats.  Let's hope tomorrow the wind dies down and the sun comes out!

This parrot did not like my yellow windbreaker.  He kept trying to pull it off to get to my pink shirt.

This would have been fun to watch but it didn't start for another 20 minutes!  Yes, it's pretty obvious how you win.....  What ever number the chicken poops on is the winner.

People are gathering for Chicken Bingo

Sunday morning started out foggy with a light mist and the die hard fisherman were still heading out.  Josh wanted kolaches so after Ross woke up we headed out on our bikes to find a donut shop.  We rode half way around the island to the donut shop, then on to the hardware store, looked at a shop with patio furniture (will go back tomorrow because it was closed), went to the kite shop and then on to the nature center before heading back to the boat for a rest.  We biked the whole island loop!

 Anyone want to buy a dinghy? Maybe AVON has a lifetime warranty?

Look closely!  Do you see the 2 gators?  They are biggies!

After we walked the dogs we decided to take a tour on the "B" Line Port Aransas Shuttle.  It was a nice relaxing ride and just 25 cents a person.  As we were walking back to our boats, a tanker was coming in.  Another video with dolphins jumping.

 The afternoon was too nice to waste so I pumped up my paddle board and played around the marina.

Ross and EJ decided to take down their dinghy.

EJ was making a roast in the crock pot but by dinnertime it was still not done so we rode our bikes to find a place open for dinner.  Right before we got to the "Brewery", EJ called for Ross to tell him her gears were not working.  It turned out to be her front brake pads were rubbing the tire making is tough to pedal.  EJ had been riding her bike all day like this.  She really got a workout!  After dinner we rode back to the boats with EJ having an easier time peddling.