Friday, January 6, 2012

Choose your Adventure

This is Westin and Noah on the yellow 35' wooden vessel "Dandelion"their father built. They came all the way down the Mississippi from Wisconsin. They are bound for the Florida Keys, then on to the Carribean. The vessel on the right is a 25' Helmsthat a sailor named Keith sailed all the way down at times with his girlfriend and mostly single handing. He arrived one day after Dandelion and plans to go to Florida where he will leave the boat until he gets his trailor down to return to Wisconsin.

Brian, our shuttle driver told me a story about this raft, Don Quixote that floated down the mississippi with 4-5 people aboard. Somehow they got it through the Industrial Canal where they deserted the craft after their adventure. The RV manager now has it in his back yard for a playhouse for his kids.

This 120' power vessel shooed us off our dock space, we had to move a couple of spaces back to make way for her.

This is the 26 mile Causeway across Lake Ponchatrain, it is the longest over the water bridge in the US.

The fog was building on the North shore, fog is a big concern around here and is now becoming our concern.

The Tchefunte River has a lot of history with Lake Ponchatrain and New Orleans as I learned from visiting the Maritime Museum

This draw bridge leads to Madasonville over the Tchefunte.

Another view of the bridge just in case we decide to return here by WS.

Lots of History to learn here, well worth the Visit.

Lots to see and do in the Museum.

Hum, I actually remember starting an outboard
like this one at Eagle Mountain Lake near Ft. Worth, Texas.

A real Wizard....

After the Museum visit I continued down Main street toward the North shore of Lake Ponchtrain and went over this one lane bridge over a Bayou.
Here is the Bayou, I wondered what is the definition of a Bayou anyway, in Texas we call them creeks? Anyway so I looked it up on Wikapedia and also asked a local to help clarify. Yep this is a Bayou....

This is the mouth of the Tchefunte at the North shore of Lake Pnchatrain.

I learned form a local that you can dock here in Madasonville for free.

The young man at the desk at the Musuem suggested Friends for lunch.

A friend from Canyon Lake, John Ruiz, suggested a trip to Madasonville and he said to eat a Oyster Poorboy for him. Glad to oblige, Really, Really Good!

Just a view from the deck of Friends.

Remnets of Katrina are still around everywhere.

Can't pass up checking out the local Marina.

On the return trip I spoted the first Sailboat of the day on Lake Ponchatrain.

You can just make out Downtown New Orleans t Mile at about mile marker 8 on the return trip.

After reading the blogs of those who we know have traveled this way before us one component is of course those they meet along the way. I now understand why they are compelled to write of those they may or may not ever see again. The stories behind these cruisers/adventurers are so interesting that it must be noted somewhere. The problem lies in finding a way to portray a face-to-face meeting with these cruisers without losing all the substance. This is when I wish I had the talents of my daughter Lia who can with words paint what she is reporting. I will just have to try and hope it works out just like all the blogging cruisers around the world.
About two weeks ago I stepped off the boat one morning to discover a sailboat moored just behind us. I walked down the dock to take a look at this very interesting vessel and just as I passed the companionway a young man said hello. I told him he had a very interesting boat. After some discussion I learned that his name was Westin and he and his brother Noah had motored (with a 18hp Sabe diesel engine) the 35’ wooden sailing vessel “Dandelion”, with the mast on the deck, all the way down the Mississippi from Wisconsin. Their deceased father had built the boat hoping to sail the oceans one day but never had the opportunity. They were fulfilling his dream. Their plan is to step the mast here at Seabrook and then sail to the Florida Keys, then on to the Caribbean. Just behind them on the Mississippi was a 25’ Helms sailboat sailing down the river. Keith arrived the next night. Like Westin & Noah he had incredible stories of his journey down the river, Westin and Noah reported the last 120 miles there was no where to stop so they had to just keep going and the last 50 miles to NO was incredibly challenging, especially when they had to turn against the current and could only make ¼ knot as they were trying to enter the Industrial Canal locks against the river current. Keith told me a story about being so tired one night he just tied up to a tree floating down the middle of the river and getting some sleep. Brian, our shuttle driver, told me a story about these 4-5 individuals who floated all the way down the Mississippi on a raft. The raft was now in the back yard of the RV Park Managers home and is used as a playhouse for his kids. Check out the pi. There are more stories here but I think I will leave it alone for now, as I am sure there will be more as we mosey along.
About a week ago we were told by the marina that we would have to move up a couple of spaces to make way for a 120’ power yacht. We actually moved to a space between a 48’ Ketch and a 45’ Hatteras so we are sleeping even better from the wind and wake break we get from the two boats. But the Big Yacht only stayed 1 night and did not even need the space we were in. Later I saw the big Yacht over at the Southern YC near the New Orleans Marina.

The Admiral took a plane out to visit her parents so I took a day to take a suggestion of a Canyon Lake friend John Ruiz who wrote that we should check out Madonasville and eat a Oyster Poor boy. Well since Lynn was not interested in making the trip across Lake Ponchatrain on the 26-mile long causeway bridge or eating oysters I saved the day after her departure to Ft. Worth for the excursion since we had a rent car for 3 days. This turned out to be a great day trip. After crossing the longest over the water bridge in the US I turned left to Madonasville and the Tchefuncte River. After crossing the river I turned left at the 4 way stop and went down Main St. to the Maritime Museum and learned a bit of history about the area. Everything here starts with the Civil war. I learned that after the federal navy took New Orleans they required all the citizens of New Orleans to take a Pledge of Allegiance to the US. Well 100’s or thousands refused to do so. They loaded them up on paddle wheel steamers and shipped them to the North shore of Lake Ponchatrain to confederate territory. All these people had to learn how to survive without benefit of stores to buy basic needs. The Tchefuncte River has tons of history related to all this…you just have to go there to see and learn. What was important to me though was finding the best restaurant in the area to get a Oyster Poorboy, The young man at the front desk suggested Friends Bar & Grill just a few blocks away. It was great! I got the Royal Oyster Poorboy, which was their specialty; it was a beautiful sunny day, 70 degrees and thanks John for suggesting the trip! Afterwards I toured the local Marina and soaked in the local boating culture. If we come back this way we just might make the trip across Ponchatrain and take advantage of the free docking available on the Tchefuncte River.

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