The days have gone by a lot faster than I anticipated and we are only a day or two from leaving Biloxi. So, I guess I will have to do a Reader's Digest Condensed version of our travels along the GIWW from Leaving Morgan City to our current location in Biloxi.
We left Morgan City on the 25 April. The morning was cold and cloudy with a light wind. We were fortunate that the afternoon was partly sunny and a bit warmer. After a little boo-boo of failing to turn to port after the RR bridge to continue on down the "GUI", we backtracked and continued on our way with only one lock to traverse before reaching Houma, LA.
We arrived in Houma just before 4pm and stayed there for 3 days - long enough to get the circuit board for our refrigeration and install it, and to wait out another round of bad weather.
I didn't go out much, but the city dock was nice as was the city park.
On April 29th, we headed out to our anchorage in Bayou Villars to carefully plan our route through the many bridges and two locks in New Orleans. We arrived at Bayou Villars before 4pm and anchored. We spent the rest of sunlight having sundowners and watching the airboats zoom their customers all along the bayou for their swamp tours.
Now what is the old saying about "best laid plans"? We had planned carefully to leave at first light and get through the first bascule bridge, Harvey Locks, the "river" (as the locals call the Mississippi River) to the Industrial Canal and the 4-5 or so lift, bascule bridges in between. WE thought we had it made. Duh.
Our first indication that things were not going to go well was the fog we woke up to on the bayou. Great. We waited for it to lift and left just before 7:30am. We got into the New Orleans area and went through the first bridge at 9:30, arriving at Harvey Locks at a little after 10:30......and there we "sat", tied to an old metal barrier on the side of the waterway, watching the barges go in and out of the canal and riding through a major thunderstorm......and we sat from the time we arrived until they finally called us in....some 5 and a half hours later...at 4:05pm.
We got in the locks and attached ourselves to the wall; and as the water rose, we broke away from the wall; and after a meeting with the stern and the wall, we were tied up again with the help of the lock employees. What fun!
The river, believe it or not, was not all that busy and we ended up hanging around for close to an hour until the restricted bridges were opened again.
By the time we arrived at the Claude St. bascule bridge just before the Industrial Locks, we decided we had had enough for one day. Since they asked us to wait behind the dolphins at a dock on the east side of the locks, we just asked for permission to stay the night and go through in the morning. That was not a problem with the lockmaster as long as we didn't leave the boat - and that was not a problem with us.
The next morning, we notified the lockmaster that we were ready to enter the locks. And another day of uh-oh's had begun.
We spent from the evening of 4/21 to the morning of 4/25 in Morgan City. One of those mornings, Keith surprised me with a huge and very good breakfast at Cafe Flomingos, a short walk into downtown from the Cidy Dock just beyond the seawall.
Sonja Mingo is the proprietress of Cafe Flomingo. A wonderful person who gives special care and attention to her customers. We had a wonderful meal outside at the unbrella tables as it happened to be a very warm and sunny day that morning.
Sonja named her restaurant after her mother, Flo Mingo - hence the name, Cafe Flomingo.
The downtown area beyond the seawall of Morgan City is very quaint, but could use a bit of revitalization. Other than that, I just loved the place.
05/15/2013, Morgan City, LA
We left Delcambre before 8am and made our way back to the GIWW. I was reluctant to leave as I really liked Delcambre and would miss the place, but the trip must go on.
The trip to Morgan City was a bit uneventful and as we approached the RR Bridge at Morgan City, we contacted Berwick VTS. Actually, they didn't respond, so a Barge Captain radioed us in and we called them back via cell phone.
Berwick VTS was terrific. They kept an eye on us as we waited for a train and a few barges and guided us over to the City dock right before the (you guessed it) twin bridges, whose vertical clearance prevented us from going any further beyond the City dock.
The dock was filled with shrimp vessels and had only two power hook-ups. We found one space between two fishing vessels toward the twin bridges. As Keith had never maneuvered into a side-tie between two boats before, I was nervous to say the least; but he did it perfectly.
The following day, a Shrimper helped us get closer to one of the hook-ups after a party boat left that morning. We stayed in Morgan City for 3 days and 4 nights due to weather.
When we arrived, there was plenty to do. First, on the way, the circuit board to our refrigeration burned out. Keith got on the phone with the and arranged to have a new board sent to the West Marine in Hourma, our next stop.
Fuel was half down also, so he road his bike up the road under the twin bridges and arranged to get fuel via our two 5 gallon gas cans. Another shrimper at the dock who was tied behind us gave him a ride to get the fuel. A very nice man named Mr. Wilson. So, the chore of fueling up was completed.
Next, provisions. Keith took a taxi to the Wal=Mart across the bridge and got everything we needed.
Now we just wait for the weather to improve..
I know it's been a while since the last update. It just seems that time goes by quickly, but it's really been because we've had no internet service.I'll probably have to update this in sections during the course of the next few days.
We are currently in Biloxi and will be here for the next week or so to get some business done and get our mail sent to us.
Tomorrow I will look back on the log and pictures and try to bring our "adventures" up to date.
It's been slow moving along the GIWW this past week.
We left Lake Charles and we were sorry to see it disappear from sight as we headed out to the Calcaseau River. We had a good time. We found it amazing at how relaxing and peaceful it was with all the activity going on around us as people enjoyed the weekend in the City Park and along the docks.
But our trip had to continue, so we left at sun-up on Monday and made our way to our first Lock experience - the Calcaseau Lock.
It was a 45 minute wait as two barges were ahead of us, but there was plenty of room to tack back and forth until we were called in for our turn. The weather was beautiful and it was warm. When they did call us in, we only spent a few moments at idle mid-lock as they opened the exit gate as soon as the entry gate closed and we motored on out.
We were already scheduled for the Black Bayou Pontoon bridge and received the horn (one long, one short) as soon as we came into view. We radioed the Grand Island Pontoon bridge about 3/4 mile before arriving and slowly cruised on through with no waiting.
Our next anchorage was up the Mermentau River in a little oxbow inlet. It would have been quite beautiful except for 2 things - we had trouble anchoring in the wind and swift current and the mosquitoes were eating us alive while doing it. But we finally set the anchor and put the enclosure up and I attacked the mosquitoes with OFF, spraying it directly on the gazillion little bloodsuckers that settled on the inside surfaces of the enclosure, and it killed them on contact. We enjoyed dinner and drinks in the cockpit within the protection of the enclosure.
Our next night was at Shell Morgan. Ugh! I don't even want to talk about that experience. Let's just say that we will not EVER go back there in our lifetime, and we now have some fiberglass repair to do on the bow of the Sue thanks to a fishing vessel's prop wash. We didn't find the people there all that friendly either.
We decided to wait out a coming storm system at North Pier marina in Delcambre, just up from Avery Island. This is a fairly new marina and we had met Kathryn, the marketing director, at the Southwest Boat Show. We arrived with a fairly strong south wind so they settled us on the wooden fishing dock for a side tie rather than in a slip.
We had called ahead to let them know when we were arriving and they were out on the dock ready to help us secure the Sue.
North Pier is a wonderful place; and Delcambre (pronounced Delcome - like welcome) is a nice little town with true cajun hospitality. Kathryn gave us a tour of the area and took us to Shawn's Meat Market where we picked up a few items including bacon-wrapped stuffed Quail, already seasoned up and ready to cook.
We also took a quick look at the Joseph Jefferson Mansion and the surrounding Rip Van Winkle Gardens. It was an absolutely gorgeous home. The grounds also had a 700 year old tree of which I've included the pic. It has been a nice visit as we waited out the weather, but it looks as if we might be here a little longer as that storm blew out of the north and the tide is too low right now to make our way back to the GIWW. No matter though, you just can't beat Louisiana hospitality.
Well, it's our last night in Lake Charles. We stayed through the weekend due to weather.....and just the fact that we had so much fun here. Thanks to Geoff and Irene, Denver, Gordon, Frank and Mary, Richard, Howard, Derek and Amanda and a few others that I didn't catch their names, but everyone was fantastic, friendly, helpful and fun. It's one of those places that you just have to stay a little longer and enjoy the weekend.
Yesterday, we took a walk along the waterfront and ended up at the City Park Carnival. We grabbed a Pina Colada from one of the vendors and headed over to the fountain to rest a while. We watched people at the carnival and watched the boats on the lake. I was amazed at just how peaceful it felt even though there were people all over the park.
Today, we walked to the 9/11 Memorial. They had pieces of the beams from the World Trade Center and a Limestone slab from the Pentagon. I took pictures and we walked over to the Shiver Me Timbers Millennium Playground. This playground was amazing with all kinds of stuff for kinds to climb on and an area where water shoots up for the kids to run through on hot and humid days.
After sitting at the playground for a spell and watching all the children having a great time, we walked back to the boat.
Gordon escorted us over to Contraband Bayou to the Bow Tie Marina for fuel. It was a nice little motoring on a great day to be out on the lake. We fueled up, bought beer and ice and made our way back to the City Marina.
They are calling for fog later tonight and in the morning before 8 am, but I think we'll make it out in time when the fog lifts. Our next stop is an anchorage along the Mermentau River.
The Picture is of a sailboat on Lake Charles at sunset.