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M/V Last Trade

M/V Last Trade

Friday, May 29, 2015

5-26 & 27-2015 Heading Home from Spring Fling

Tuesday morning everyone got up around 5:00 AM to get ready to head out for home.  We were all so ready to get out of here!  The radar was showing a band of storms coming our way, so with great disappointment we went back to bed.  Another boring day just sitting and bouncing around!

Wednesday the plan was the same, 5:00 AM wake up to get ready to go but it was storming out so we again went back to bed for a few hours.   We were so ready to get out of here that three of the boats decided to head out after the heaviest part of the storm blew through.  The lake has been choppy everyday after we arrived so we figured it was going to be choppy whenever we finally did decide to head out, so three more of us decided to leave shortly after the others, around 9:00 AM.

Teak was a trooper!  Because it was raining, I kept Teak down below and she did not even get sick with the rocking and rolling through Sabine lake.  Once we left the lake it was smooth and the rain started to slow down.  I brought Teak up to the upper helm with us and we had a nice trip all the way to Boliver.

As we got into the Boliver area we had the same situation as when we came through back in December on our return trip from Florida.  Tows have taken over this area for a stopping point, making it very dangerous for pleasure boaters!  They unhook from their barges and push their barges up against the banks on both sides of the ICW.  By doing this they put out lots of prop wash in the channel making it difficult to maneuver through.  When we feel that conditions are not good, we hail them on the radio to ask if they would pull their engines back so we can get by safely.  Most captains comply with our request but some do not answer their radios.  This makes for very dangerous situations.  We had two tows, one on each side that would not answer their radios, both putting out pretty good prop wash.  We were able to go wide around the first one and miss most of the heavy prop wash.  The second one was a little different. We had a tow coming towards us.  Because we could not hail the stopped tow we contacted the tow coming at us for some guidance.  He wanted us to stay close to the prop wash!  Many of these tow captains have no idea what their prop wash does to pleasure boaters.  They really should make it mandatory for all tow captains to understand what prop wash does to different types of boats.  It can be worse than rocking and rolling with waves because it throws us from one side to the other with no control whatsoever.  

This tow below, the Jackie Gonsoulin would not answer his radio.  We tried numerous of times with no luck whatsoever.  There was no way to avoid his prop wash because it covered the entire channel.  We tried to read the swirls and go through the least amount of the prop wash that we could.  M/V Last Trade made it through, but M/V Cambria was not so lucky.  I watched them get thrown on the bank and there was nothing they could do about it.  We couldn't even go to help because the same thing would happen to us.  A fishing boat saw the situation and came over to us asking if there was anything they could do.  They went over to the towboat to get them to back off the engines because it was pushing Cambria further aground. That's when the tow operator finally got on the radio.  He couldn't understand how his prop wash could do this, saying that we should have just powered through it.  He also said that he turned down his radio because he did not see any other tow traffic coming.  He had no clue that a tow had just passed!  Could he have been sleeping?  TowBoat Us had to be called and M/V Cambria had to be towed all the way back to Kemah.   What a shame this had to happen!

Look at this prop wash!

S/V AGood Ketch (with a big keel that weighs a lot) can maneuver through this with very little problem.

This is what pleasure boats have to maneuver through in this area. It's a veritable obstacle course!

M/V Island Gypsy is a Selene 43 that weighs around 60,000 pounds.  Look at the following pictures to see what prop wash does to them.

When this happens, there is very little one can do to correct it.  Our Heritage East 36 only weighs 24,000 pounds and prop wash does twice as much to us as it does to a heavier boat like the boat above. 

Josh and I do not feel comfortable with the situation currently going on at Bolivar with the tows.  We feel that it is very dangerous for all pleasure boaters and small craft operators and think that it's a disaster waiting to happen.   Josh is making some phone calls to find out what the rules are and if there is anything that can be done to prevent a future tragedy.  

We always thought that it was required for someone to man the radio at all times and boats were not allowed to block the navigable marked channel.  We hope something will change before someone gets hurt!  For now, boaters beware!!!!!!!

Monday, May 25, 2015

5-22-2015 thru 5-25-2015 - Spring Fling Weekend

Another great TMCA Spring Fling!  Thanks to all that helped make this event happen.

Friday afternoon boats started coming in and our docker dude work began.  We docked boats throughout the afternoon and into the evening.  Some of the sailboats that tried to do the offshore run but later decided to turn around to do the ICW started coming in as it was getting dark.  I think the last one, Stellar of Course, arrived around 10:00 PM after I went to bed. 

M/V Beachcomber dressed for the weekend!

The vendors, seminars, food and bands were great!  We did have wind, more than I like.  All day Saturday and Sunday the waves were breaking over the concrete wall that protects the marina making all the boats bounce around.  Yup, all the boats including the large ones, and we had some really big ones.  This continued throughout the night making my sleeping not so great.  Sunday it was still blowing strong and we had some boats that headed out to go home.  Doing this in a sailboat is one thing, doing this in a power boat is another!  Something we would never do.......

Monday early morning was like a parade.  There was a line of boats that left from 6:00 AM to about 7:00 AM, then a few at a time.  The ICW is going to be packed today.  We plan to take the day and chill, then head out tomorrow.

As the day went on the wind picked up again and we were bouncing all over the place.  Relaxing on the boat was out of the question!  Waves were coming over the break water and we had rollers in the marina.  If you went down below you bounced around all over the place and the creaking and jerking would drive you crazy.  I was very surprised Teak did not get sick.  Not a marina that I would leave our boat in for very long.  Let's hope tomorrow morning is calm and we can get out of here!

Friday, May 22, 2015

5-21-2015 - Thursday - Port Arthur

After my morning coffee, I decided to start washing off the docks where the other Spring Fling Docking Committee boats were to be docked.  They were expected to come in sometime after lunch.  As I was almost finished, Steve Lee came down and told me that the pressure washer people were here so I could stop.  I did the best I could with just a water hose, but pressure washing would really take it all off.

The sky's not looking too good and we have boats coming in.

A couple of boats were able to get in and docked before the wind picked up.  Others had to circle around until it died down enough so we could get them into their slips.

Throughout the afternoon we had a lot of other boats coming in that we did not expect.  With all these boats that decided to come early it was going to make our day tomorrow that much easier!  

I am so glad we came in yesterday and not today with this wind.  I do not like rocking and rolling!

At 4:00 PM, Spring Fling had an outstanding VIP party.  It's so nice that TMCA has people to carry on the Spring Fling event.  This is the fifth year and going strong!  Good job to all!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

5/20/2015 - Last Trade Heading to Spring Fling

We headed out at 7:00 AM with the plan to anchor at Taylor Outfall.  We were making good time and by the time we got to Taylor Outfall it was only 4:00 PM with plenty of daylight and good weather so we decided to go all the way to Port Arthur.  It was a pretty good day for cruising with a breeze most of the day.  We like not sweating to death!  I was concerned about how Teak would handle the heat.  She is slowing down and does not handle things like she use to.  Not much to see along this stretch of the ICW except cows grazing along the banks and barge traffic.

We arrived at the Port Arthur Yacht Club around 6:00 PM, docked, and started cleaning our pier because it was covered with bird sh_t!  We were also blessed with a dead, stiff fish.  After the dock cleaning was done, Josh said (Murphy's Law) I think we are in the wrong slip.  YUP!!!!  OK, I started cleaning off the finger pier for the slip where we were supposed to go to.  Josh said that since we were going to move again we might as well get our fuel before going into the slip we were assigned to.  Over to the fuel dock we went.  Filling the first fuel tank was easy but when we went to fill the other one we ran into problems.  When you stop pumping, the pump shuts off and you have to start all over.  We tried several times with one purchase of $5.00 and then another purchase of $0.02.  Enough of this, we have enough fuel to get home so we headed back to our assigned, cleaned off slip and settled in for the night.