03/04/2012, Bow Tie Marina
Left Port Arthur at approximately 7:30 and ensured we had booked passage through the Ellender Lift Bridge (800-752-6706 or 337-437-9100) for 2:00 (they require 4 hours notice). We had an easy passage with beautiful scenery and wildlife. We checked out a couple of anchorages around Shell Island just past Sabine Lake that were listed in Active Captain (https://activecaptain.com/index.php) for future reference and found that they would have been excellent places to stay. We took a side trip up the Calcasieu River to Bow Tie Marina (25$ includes power and water) and arrived about 4:00. This is a great little marina located just south of Lake Charles on a very private bayou. We took a cab to a little Mexican restaurant called Casa Ole and had a good meal. The cab ride is very pricey for the length of the trip but the meal was good. We filled up with diesel, water and ice and emptied the holding tanks all without leaving the dock. This marina is truly a little gem.
Left Stingaree at approximately 12:30 - see above for reason and arrived in Port Arthur at about 7:30. Our original intention was to tie up at Peggy's on the Bayou but it was after dark when we pulled into Port Arthur and we didn't want to go any further so we found a very conveniently placed jetty that is part of the University and tied up to the end. Because they have a no wake zone there was very little problems with the ships and barges that were passing. We had a great night's sleep.
03/02/2012, Kemah, Texas
Left Waterford at approximately 08:30 and tied up at Stingaree Marina/Restaurant at approximately 2:30. We had some trouble finding this one but the service and the meal were worth the trouble. Leaving in the morning was delayed due to being stuck in the mud - a combination of low tide and North wind at approx. 20 knots.
02/29/2012, Kemah - but not for long!
Scene:- Recently arrived 'alien' (human kind) in Houston talking with Texan about sailing......
Texan - 'Yunnow that you can put you boat on the Eyeseedublyah and go all the way from Mexico to Canada'?
Alien - Thinks ' Ah - the eyeseedublyah must be a train that you put your yacht on to move it around the country - wow! they have everything in the US - what a place'
So I searched the internet for the 'eyeseedublyah, yacht, train' - I got no hits! Then Bingo - the ICW = the Inter Coastal Waterway (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intracoastal_Waterway) - now I get it.
Well, if I thought I had trouble working out what the eyeseedublyah was - I was in for an even bigger surprise when I tried to talking with the barges on the radio - with statements like 'comeonbyand Iwillseeyouontheone' - translation = 'You are free to pass me on my port side' - Oh, by the way, don't even try to call them on the radio with a British/Australian accent - they don't understand you! Thanks God for my Kathy - she is multi-lingual and can speak barge and a form of English called American! (I will pay for that last comment!)
Anyway - 2 more days and we be making our epic first voyage on the eyeseedublyah, with a distance of 28 miles, to a seafood restaurant where will spend the night, before heading off on the next taxing leg of the journey!!
02/22/2012, Kemah - Still!
Having grown up on a diet of:
• Joshua Slocum
• Sir Francis Chichester
• Sir Alex Rose - my hero
• Robin Knox-Johnson
• Donald Crowhurst - not my hero!
I have been inspired by long, epic voyages, with huge roaring seas......... People are constantly asking us - How far are you going to travel across an ocean?
Here is my reply. Have you seen what happen to Popeye when he eats spinach? - Well, it is the same for me - but with Tea. This is one of the last vestiges of my being a pom (British) - apart from this rotten accent - I must have PG Tips tea bags, with sugar AND fresh milk. Once I have consumed this nectar of the Gods I can leap tall buildings in a single bound and solve middle east peace problems........
So, the maximum distance we can travel is - until the milk turns sour - minus 1 day, approx. 4 days (although we have a fridge/freezer, there is a built in safety margin to ensure supply). Or about 400 miles, unless I can get replenishment at sea, by a passing milk tanker - Hmmm, somewhat unlikely!
Also, the longest voyage I have completed was on a BP crude oil tanker from Kwinana, Western Australia to Doha and Jebel Dhanna in the Persian Gulf back to Kwinana - 11 weeks without seeing land, apart from 4-5 hours anchored off Singapore. My observation of this voyage is 'mind numbingly boring - a sociologist paradise, 'cause each day repeats, just like Ground Hog day'!
I hope this clears up this matter!
NB. All decisions are subject to approval by Kathy!
02/12/2012, Kemah, Texas
Sitting in the cockpit of our boat 'August Sun' sipping on an iced margarita, having just come up from a scuba dive on an old wreck, in clear azure blue water, looking out at the scantily clad, nubile bodies of the females on other yachts nearby....................................... But, I am not there yet!
I am sitting in the salon with a cold/flu in Kemah, Texas, it's as cold as a witches tit outside, and even India (the communally owned Boston Terrier) can't keep me warm - poor me!
BUT, we are within striking distance now - 21 days to go until we set off to New Orleans, via the Intercoastal Waterway, that extends across the eastern side of the US. Why, do you ask, are they not sailing straight across to New Orleans? 'Cause it to dangerous and I am a coward - so, now that we have that cleared up, I'll tell you why. From Galveston to New Orleans takes you straight through the 'oil patch', which is predominantly where the Gulf of Mexico oil and gas\platforms are. A yacht that recently made the passage encountered a 7 mile long tow! After many hurricanes, that latest being Ike, many rigs have been abandoned by their owners and have no lights and might not be on the chart. With only Kathy, my good lady wife (2 brownie points), and myself we took the longer, easier option. The dog is no great help either - all she does is say 'I told you so' after an incident has happened - she has poor navigation and people skills!
We moved on board on the boat on the 31st march last year and have spent the past year fitting out for cruising. I have had supertankers in dry docks and had less trouble! Our boat is a 40' Jeanneau, built in France; and we have fitted her out in the US - metric/imperial - Aghhhhhhhhh......! I could have scuttled the 'Old French Trollop' many a time - two steps forward, one step back.
We are now in Pier 13, Waterford Marina, Kemah, getting all the last minute stuff sorted out, like mosquito netting and a year's supply of PG tips tea bags and bristling with electronic gismos, which I am not sure what they are, in fact in some instances where they are (AIS transponder/receiver being one that springs to mind!) but I have been given good advice that I need them. I started sail 50 years ago in Royal Navy whalers and cutters and my memory must be going, 'cause I can't remember seeing a single Raymarine plotter on them!
Anyway, back to my bed to spend some time reading about my hero, 'Flashman' (should be compulsory reading for all boys) and pretend that the last mouthful of Nyquil was in fact margarita and that India does not actually keep breaking wind when she is on the bunk with me......! Ho hummm.