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.

Monday, November 21, 2011

November- Down to the Nitty Gritty

The realities or practical details of a matter. (1952 )

Humm...I guess this will do. I guess "Nitty Gritty" is an individual thing. My definition is based on the Idea " Down to the Nitty Gritty". Well what do you leave to do last? I leave the most unfavorable thing to Me to do last. The Admiral has asked me to take care of a few things that would definitely make the boat better but they were not issues concerning safety or Fun! Since I had taken care of all the things I was concerned with I decided to tackle those less pleasant task just for the Admiral. The Nitty Gritty. After all it is much better to do this stuff in a familiar town where you have a car and know where to go to get the stuff you need to get it fixed.

November has been a non stop effort to address the 23 items found in Mike Firestone's Survey.
Each of the items were relatively inexpensive to accomplish individually but when you add it all up it has been the most expensive month especially when you add in the provisioning to go cruising with the Admiral. Wandr'in Star is loaded down and I joked with my dockmates we would be cruising a submarine that is Sloop rigged. I reminded the Admiral that we would not be leaving the US for the 1st year.....but I think she talked to a few previous cruising Admirals who each had their own suggestion of what to bring along.

Well Guess what, it is ok that we will burn a little extra diesel or go a sail a little slower...We are Going. If you happen to be one of our friends or family and can join us along the way please pack small...and you will be sleeping in the Salon since the V-berth is full of everything we need to do an Atlantic crossing.
Thanks to Dean and Aleta on S/V Adagio who made a recent cruise to and from New Orleans, we have a wealth of knowledge to begin our cruise. We learned that Skipper Bob's is the goto cruising guide. ActiveCaptin is essential to have on the Ipad for local information. SeaClear II is an essential for the laptop since you can download the most current NOAA Raster charts and do all your route planning. We have all of our electronics and backups up to date.
We also got a debriefing from Steve and Carol who made the trip on their Defeavor 44 and are now is Carrabel Florida. They drove back to CC for Dr. visits and celebrated with us in a little Bon Voyage party Wendy & Randy hosted for us. Man ... it is time to go, We hope to Go Wednesday but weather will tell. It will be all ICW to New Orleans, then after getting fat there we will move to Mobile Bay and eventually move slowly about around can Florida to the East Coast.
If you have our email let me know if you would like a link to our Spot. Or you can just find us on Facebook and Spot will update there. To busy to post pics on this post....see you on the GICW.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October...Chaos Toward Orginization

Checkin off the list....plenty left to do

September was the calm before the storm....The Admiral & I were enjoying Port A and Corpus, completing perhaps 1 small project per day. Then October. October really began with a week in Austin to visit all our children, grand children, brother, sister...A great week of fun where being with the entire family was actually relaxing, fun, and memorable. Then back to the boat where preparations to depart heightened to incredible levels where everyday was spent checking off the list, writing new list, trying to determine what were the most important things to accomplish before departing since we knew we could not get it all done and would have to deal with the small stuff along the way. This transition #2 seemed to be just as big as getting out of Austin, but I knew it couldn't be all that. I had to stop and admire those that just sold everything moved immediately on the boat, spent 1 year getting ready to go, entirely focused on the dream, and took off. We accepted the distractions and found several things to take us away from just getting the boat ready to go. Birding, the Bay Yacht Club, Racing, go off on short cruising spots around Corpus Christi Bay. Of course we completed much needed work on Wand'rin Star during this time but the distractions persisted. After the mini family reunion I chaotically selected those projects from the list that I felt I could muster each day the last couple of weeks of October. This system now has many projects complete or in process and now I am able to actually organize the remaining list to those things I want to absolutely achieve before we wait Corpus. Little did I know that the last three months prior to departure would be among the most expensive.

The Admiral is up visiting her parents this week so I can tear into two areas without worry of keeping the interior in perfect living condition. After these two projects are complete, about 2 days worth I can begin to concentrate on planning the navigation to New Orleans and beyond. All of our electronics are now updated with charts, our new Ipad is ready to go with all the necessary apps for navigation, AIS, Marine info, weather, tides/currents...what a great back up device! There are few pics for this post as the LIST has been central to everyday in October. Thanks to our friends who have done this trip before us in providing things to do and not to do...and I am sure we will find plenty of those along the way. Oh I forgot to mention...I crewed for Apotheker again this year for the 2011 Harvest Moon Regatta....more on that in the next post. Thanksgiving weekend is our agreed upon departure date. Weather of course will determine the exact day....we will leave on the Heels of a front to get 3-4 days of good sailing in up front.