Monday, January 16, 2012

New Orleans to Rabbit Island

As we were waiting for the L&N Bridge to open the Admiral got these two pictures of a Black Crowned Night Heron

And this Raptor, we think is a red shouldered Hawk.

This is the East entrance to the Rabbit Island Anchorage, Rabbit Island is on the left and is was not apparent as we motored in with calm winds but there was a bit of current running through this oxbow. A Oxbow is a U shaped body of water so you can usually find a safe anchorage from winds that may come from any direction.

This is the east entrance looking out towards the ICW after we got the anchors set.

Our friend Howell sent us a picture of this structure on Rabbit Island warning us to not anchor near due to the Tow traffic which you can see in the background.

The guidebook mentioned the railroad that runs near the anchorage and mentioned that you might hear train whistles throughout the night. Shortly after anchoring a train came by and blew it's horn mighty and proud. The Admiral was not amused. Even though several more trains passed through we did not hear any more whistles...The Anchor gods were looking after me!

There is always a sunset to enjoy...Rabbit Island style.

Day 45
Underway 4:43hrs, 29.5 Nm.,Avg speed 5.5 Kts. , 74 degrees,Prtly cloudy 5-10 SE winds.

After our 1st experience with the L&N Bascule bridge I was a bit concerned about departing the docks. I called the Danziger bridge 1st but she would not answer the call, then I called the L&N just to make sure he was awake and the bridge was working, he replied after the second hail. We figured the Danziger would not answer unless they could see you. So we cast off and as we approached the Danziger she answered the hail and raised the bridge. I was encouraged as the L&N bridge was in the open position but just as we cleared the Danziger the L&N closed. A tow hailed the L&N and the tender replied that there were two trains coming so we would have to wait. It turned out to be a 45 minute wait where we were trapped in a small area between two bridges doing slow circles.

Thank Goodness for Rabbit Island where East bound cruisers can find a safe anchorage when delays prevent them from entering the Mississippi Sound in route for Gulfport. Our transit down this part of the ICW EHL (east of the Harvey Locks) was uneventful with light barge traffic. Our friend Howell was keeping an eye on us through our Spot. He texted us about the Michoud Flood Wall/Gate Construction we would have to pass through as we neared Rabbit Island. And guess what, now the Tenders have AIS, he hailed us by name and instructed us to keep our VHF on 18 as they controlled this portion for 2 miles either side of the construction area. For some reason our relatively new fixed VHF radio in the Cockpit will not dial the same VHF 18 these guys use but fortunately our trusty handheld that we bought way back in 1999 did. So again, 2 radios in the cockpit are necessary so you can monitor more than one channel. On the through flood gate area I anticipated our arrival at Rabbit Island. Howell had sent us a picture of a large structure on the Island warning us to not anchor in the area near the structure due to tow traffic. The structure is near the West entrance of the Oxbow and when we arrived there was three tows working with lots of barges just parked. We proceeded to the East entrance where it was just us and the Admiral circled while I prepared the ground tackle. I picked out a spot and we set the Rocna. All seemed just fine for about 15 minutes, then the boat began to swing against the wind toward the bank. Wow, there is a bit of current so after thinking a bit I decided to set a second anchor to hold us off the bank against the current. Ok, that seemed to work just fine I was just concerned that the second anchor rode was consistently tight but winds would be minimal and after a couple of hours I felt we were good to go. We turned in early and sleep great. Until a eager fisherman zoomed past our boat in the early morning hours. His wake rocked me awake. Fortunately it was just before our wake up alarm went off so we did not loose any sleep over it. But his wake did pull out our second anchor and as I shot up to the cockpit to determine the source of the rocking I realized we had lost the hold of the second anchor and we were swinging towards the bank. No problem, I started the engine, went below and turned on the generator, started up the coffee and went back up to get the second anchor up and shorten the rode on the primary anchor till the Admiral was ready to go. I will study this but I am thinking I probably should have set the second anchor off the stern instead of the bow and I could have avoided this early morning drill.

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