Saturday, November 26, 2011

Corpus Christi to Matagorda Harbor Day1-4

I wanted to add these two pics to this post, the Gumbo Cookoff was the best part of Matagorda...Friggen Great Gumbo...I sampled at least 5 different ones and ate at least 3-4 full cups.

Here the Admiral gets her first cup, one of our favorites.

I think this Spoonbill was telling my birding Admiral goodbye from all the birds in Port A.

This is just a small example of the up close views of the Whopping Cranes, a mom and her juvenile enjoying the crabs together.

Wand'rin Star entering the West Gate of the Colorado river Flood Gates.

Here we are approaching the West flood gate.

We are now in the Colorado River, the Tows in the East Lock are trying to get close together so they can close the gate and lock them through.

This little Juvenile Raptor was watching it all with the rest of us.

Looking South down the Colorado, these guys decided to keep on fishin while they wait.

The Tow in the back had to get sideways so they could close the gate.

Good, the Gate is Closed...we are next.

Here the little fishing boats are all over the place but we are coming down the middle!

That's right boys, get in a single file and move over!

There were 4 boats in the parade, I think this one got 1st Place.

This picture does not do the fireworks justice..they were amazing great...with really loud BOOMS!

11/ 23 Day 1 Corpus Christi to Fulton

33.5 Km. Avg. speed 6.o Kts. 75 degrees, sunny, 10-20 NE winds. Underway 5:36 hrs.
We motored sailed across CC bay with 100% Genoa and made 7+ kts. As we got into the Ship channel near Port A the winds were on the nose so Go Yanmar rest of the way to Fulton. The Admiral was not much impressed yet as she wondered how she would endure hours on the boat every day for two weeks or more. We did have a pleasant time in Fulton but nothing new. Planned to get up at 5:30 am to get a early start to Port O'Conner as we would be crossing San Antonio Bay and this is not Lynn's favorite as the last time we were there was in a fog so bad we could barely see our bow.

11/24 Day 2 Fulton to Port O'Conner

42.1 Km. avg speed 6.0 kt.s, sunny, 5-10 NE winds to SE winds. Underway 6:58 hrs.

We were delayed by fog leaving and the Admiral already experiencing fog on the ICW was not ready to go till we could clearly see the Tows from our slip. We slipped out at 10:30 am and again winds on the nose, even after they clocked around to the SE since we were making our way around the coastal bend. Even though it was a Flood tide most of the trip about 1/3 was slack current, 1/3 counter, and 1/3 running with so we averaged 6 kts. The Tide charts are not real helpful since it affects each part of the ICW differently...need local knowledge but I figure we only have a set amount of daylight in the winter months so you just have to get up early and make the best of it since the ICW would be a bit nuts at night with all the Tow traffic.

The Admiral rated this day a 10 since we got to go through the Aransas National Preserve and we saw over 30 Whooping Cranes and the entire spectrum of shore birds and migrating hawks. I slowed to a crawl several times so she could get all the pics she needed. We made Port O'Conner just about 5pm as the sun was going down. Definitely have to be in no later then 5:30 on this portion of the trip. We tied up to a familiar bulkhead at the Inn at Clarks'. Got off the boat for a fast walk exercise, Our own version of Thanksgiving dinner aboard and when the Admiral is Happy the Captain is Happy!

11/25 Day3 Port O'Conner to Matagorda Harbor

31.7 Km. Avg. speed 5.4 Kts. 78 degrees, sunny, 15-20 SE winds. Underway 5:49 hrs.

The winds at first looked as if we just may be able to get the Genoa out again so I put out about 80% and we were moving along just fine. The AIS indicated a lot of barge traffic and just as we were about to pass our first barge a single, we ran aground. Well the Admiral was not to impressed with this as our bow swung out into the channel near the passing barge, fortunately we just had bit of headsail out so it was easy to furl and after the barge passed the Yanmar juice pushed us off.
Well I think I used up all the points I banked from the previous day so I made sure the rest of the trip just had positive moments. When you pass a barge in narrow areas of the ICW you can see the water rushing away from the banks as the barge moves toward you. So that must mean the water is also rushing away from the bottom of our little sailboat to which makes you get pretty friggen close to the barge to make sure not to run aground. Just as you get past the nose of the barge your speed increases by about 7-9 tenths of a knot. Then you get in their prop wash and your depth meter freaks from all the stirred up mud. You just have to be alert and pay attention to the details in front of you and pray that there is not another mound of mud waiting for your keel.

As we neared the Colorado River Flood Gates we were between two tows. Everyone slowed to about 1 knot as we notified the tenders who and what we were and which direction we wanted to pass. Well there were tows stacked up on both sides of the river as well as a bunch of recreational boaters in the river waiting in line to get through. Fortunately we were directed to go ahead of the Tows and pass through the West gate and hang out in the Colorado until the East Gate was opened for us to pass on through. We speed up to get on through the West Lock as the last thing I wanted was a bunch of Tows waiting on us since we would be out here for the next couple of weeks needing their help and courtesy. When we got out into the Colorado there were a couple of dozen small fishing boats milling about waiting to pass. There were two barges in the East Lock trying to cram in there so they could close the doors and lock them through. We did slow circles for 30 minutes but there was plenty of scenery to entertain us and the Admiral got several good pics of raptors. Fortunately there was little river current. They opened the doors and all the recreational boats started heading for the gate, they notified us on VHF 13 to pass through with them. Well there were lots of them passing both directions. The current and turbulence in the lock was proving to be challenging so I just stayed in the middle and pushed the rpms up, there had to be 3+ knots of current against use. The little fishing boats parted like the Red Sea. The Matagorda Harbor Master met us on the dock to help us in. As he checked us in he informed us that there would be a Gumbo cook off at 5pm for $5.00 a head and a Christmas light boat parade soon following with fireworks after the parade, all at the marina and we had a perfect view from our slip. Man I was thrilled, more points banked for the next grounding! I had 4 small bowls of the various gumbo's and the Admiral tasted three. I could write a whole posting on just the incredible food!

We are holding in Matagorda for an extra day to let a major front pass through. We should be able to leave early am for Freeport then on to Galveston...Maybe Offetts Bayou if the weather remains good.

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