Friday, October 7, 2011

90% complete on the Owners Stateroom

Work has continued on the Owners Stateroom, and we are thrilled with the way that the ceiling planks are starting to look.  We started with a plank running up the center of the boat on the ceiling and then started to fit each plank from the center to the outer edge.  Because of the angles, it was necesaarry to install the rear ceiling trim to hold the planks in place and screw them to the ceiling joists (fancy way of describing the small wooden cross beams attached to the fiberglass).

Once we made it to the corner (in the picture above and right) it was required that every piece be cut with an angle and then fit into the tongue and groove.  A few mistakes were made when I would cut them at the wrong angle.

Once the ceiling was in place, the trim was all screwed back into place. When we disasembled the stateroom, we drew diagrams and traced the screws and then stored the legend and screws in a zip log bag so when we were assembling, we could ensure the right screws went back in the correct location (didn't want any to go all the way through and poke through the cabin top.)

After the trim was all in place and secured, the bungs were installed.  I have a cheap set of bung cutters (under $10) that I picked up from Harbor Freight and using an old scrap of teak trim, I cut 160 or so plugs/bungs.  After removing all of those bungs, we found that the best way to assemble is to NOT glue them in place but rather hold them in place with varnish so that if they ever have to be removed again, a drill bit run into the center of the plug will break the varnish free and it will pop right out.   

After a 24 hours drying period the bungs can be popped one time gently with a sharpened chisel and then sanded flat and flush with the trim.    We were in the home stretch at this point so we cleaned up the mess we had made in the stateroom and vacuumed and cleaned up all of the saw dust.  We used tack clothes to wipe everything down really good so that it was ready for a first coat of varnish.  You can see in the picture to the right just what a difference that first coat of varnish makes on what looks like a rather bland wall or piece of teak trim.  This was the excitement shot we needed because at this point we wanted to see some victories after all this work.  Seeing that shine was it.

With 3 coats of Varnish on now, it is really staring to come together.  Here are some photos in it's current state.

We couldn't be happier with the knotty pine ceiling planks.  I hope they do last and don't cause an issue over time.  We were able to install the solar vent through them and there is enough gaps in a couple of small locations to allow a little bit of air flow in there as well.

The next Blog update that we post will be photos that have the new bulkhead for the vanity seat installed and the bedding back in place.  We do still need to install lighting and have held off right now because we just haven't found the ones that we both decided are the ones we really like.
Knotty Pine Ceiling

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Re-assembly Begins

Today was a good productive day for the re-assembly of the owners stateroom.  We made a lot of trips between the storage unit (where we have our wood working tools and room to spread out and work).  We had someone come by and give us a quote on replacing the headliner.  I was a bit surprised at the cost.  The guys were great and do really good work, however for just the owners stateroom (about 5 yards of material) was going to be$1200-$1400.  We really wanted to do a wooden ceiling and thought that would be a problem because it wouldn't breathe, but these guys confirmed that is not an issue if we want to use hard board or wood.  We were going to put "Bead Board" on the ceiling but we really struggled to get each panel so that the slat lines line up, it didn't look good, so we scrapped that idea  We will end up still doing wood, but likely going to do knotty pine varnished 4" wide planks instead.  We can do a tongue and groove on each one to help hold them together and if we start in the middle, we are hoping that it will look better since we can get the planks to run the full length in single sheets with trim to hide the fastening screws that will hold it up against the ceiling beams.

Curved wall on Port Side of bunk
Today we really got quite a bit complete.
  • Ran wire for 2 wall lights and 2 reading lights
  • Installed port and starboard curved hull walls from the bunk to the deck
  • Installed the rear curved wooden wall around the 2 fixed ports
  • Installed the port coach roof panel along the opening port
    Curved wall around the 2 fixed ports
  • Installed the starboard coach room panel along the 2 opening ports
  • Installed / replaced some rotted plywood
  • Installed the bead board above the bunks
  • Installed 1/2" insulation across the whole ceiling 
Adding Insulation to the roof before re-assembly

We still have to dry fit the ceiling planks, and we are deciding if we will remove them and varnish them out of the boat or attempt to varnish overhead on the ceiling.  We will install all of the teak trim everywhere except the ceiling trim until the planks are all mounted so that the trim covers up any small gaps between the bulkheads and the ends of the ceiling planks.  After that is complete, we will install the rest of the ceiling trim, install bungs and sand them all smooth.  Then it is Varnish, Varnish, Varnish.  We always think we will do 10-12 coats and usually quit after about 6 because we are satisfied with the look.
After all the varnish is complete, we will re-install the refurbished/cleaned/polished Beckson opening ports, but are waiting so we don't have to tape around them when varnishing.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Owners Stateroom Refit update

The work that started as a simple replacement of a few flooring panels continues to grow.  It is not turning out to be too very hard to do this work so it just makes sense to get it all done while we are taking teak trim and bungs out to access parts of the boat where we will be replacing panels.
In the last couple weeks we started with removing a small bulkhead wall that forms the front of the owners bunk and vanity seat (it had a little rot at the bottom).  We were also replacing the plywood panels that go up the slight curve of the hull on the outside of the Teak and Holly sole.

We knew we wanted to refinish the wood and stain and varnish it to a high gloss for the look that we both really like.  We removed all the drawers and doors in the owners stateroom and took them to our storage shed to do the sanding, staining and varnish.  Turns out 6 coats of varnish really gave them a very good looking finish and we will stick to that number of coats for our interior woodwork.

Curved wall panels removed
Before reinstalling them we decided to bite the bullet and get it all done at one time.  We removed all of the bungs in the teak trim, removed and labeled all trim (including storing screws and small diagrams of where they came from in separate baggies to stay organized.  We removed the 3 opening ports in the owners stateroom.  (See the "The Projects" tab for video on restoring visibility to your port lenses).  We removed the curved mahogany plywood that went up the curve of the hull from the bunk to the deck.  We removed the side wood panels from the deck to the top of the cabin roof.  may be replacing the headliner as well (at least the lower headliner over the sides of the bunks.

Cabin top port panels removed

We measured and drew out all replacement parts, but more importantly tried our best to retain some of the original shape of the panels to use as patterns for the new ones to be cut.  These are unique shapes given the curves involved.  3 of the pieces have serious curves in the wood to give it a rounded shape to either align with the hull or the rear part of the coach roof.

Port Curved Wall panel dry fit

The panels were cut, and brought back to the boat to be dry fit.   There were several minor adjustment cuts to be made after the dry fit, and the once the port light panels were in place, we were able to trace through the port openings from the outside of the boat to be sure the holes lined up.  Most of the pieces are now stained and we will varnish everything in place given the need to install teak bungs and sand them flush with all the trim.

Dry Fit panel with ports tested for fit before staining

While everything is out, we have planned where we will install replacement lighting.  The ones that are on the boat are the old late 70's square lights and there is no way I want to put those back up on the walls after we spend the time to upgrade all the wood and finish back there.  Right now we are thinking of accent lighting, 2 small lights for the cabin (brass with shades) and potentially 2 goose neck reading lamps over the bunk.

It has been a fun project and is not over.  This weekend I really felt like we made serious progress.  All new wooden pieces have been cut, adjusted, dry fit and are ready for staining and installation.  We still have to sand down all of the teak trim pieces but that will be something I can take back to the garage to do once the stain work is done and brought back to the boat.

Before we can complete the work, we will run some wiring and pain the hull with white bilge paint while we have easy access through all of the bunk hatches.  While down there I visually inspected the steering cables, the auto pilot hydralics and the new steering quadrant.  Everything looks good back there. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Starting to replace some wood panels

It is still hot out (and in the boat) but I want to get something started with replacing some of the wood.  I figured I would start with 2 spots out of the way a bit and go for the angled flooring pieces that go between the sole and the bulkhead under the owners bunk.
I noticed that to get the panel out I had to remove the decorative Teak transition from the sole to the panel as well a the small bulkhead wall that forms the front base of the seat in the stateroom.  It was a bit rotted on the bottom so I will replace that as well as the flooring panel.
I scraped some of the rotten floor panel into a pile behind the sole. 

They are removed, I will rough make new ones and dry fit them and then clean, sanitize and paint the bilge behind the bulkhead wall before putting the floor panel back in. 
Look at the oxidized coins I found under the teak flooring trip !
It feels good to start something and in order to track what I am doing I found a pretty cool Yacht Maintenance software package that lets you track the parts, cost and projects/maintenance done to the vessel.  Check out Yacht Management by OSO Software.  It does a lot more than what I posted here but you can get a free trial from their webiste that gives you 44 days of full usage and the cost of it is only about $50 if you like your trial.
I have now loaded it on the boat and also use it for keeping inventory of my spare parts, as well as locations of all supplies, tools, equiptment, etc.  For anyone that has been franticly looking for that "thing" whatever that thing is, this lets you name every storage location on your boat and document each item you have and where it is located.  It already saved me some time the other day when looking for heat shrink that I keep in a small baggy.  I was able to just pull up heat shrink in my inventory and see that I have it in the starboard settee back aft compartment.  Wire wrapped and sealed in about 10 minutes instead of taking an extra 20 minutes to find what I was looking for.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

In the home stretch

We made a lot of mileage today and stayed at the Stingaree Marina in Crystal Beach TX.  We were able to slide in at low tide skimming the bottom to get into the slip.  We got electricity and filled up all water tanks which was nice.  Best of all was a restaurant and bar right on property. 
We had a nice dinner and went to sleep at a decent hour.  I feel asleep before Deb and she was dozing when she heard voices.  When she peeked out, there were a few people standing next to the boat on the finger peer checking it out after the bar closed.

We realized we didn't have a long trip the next day so we slept late (7am) and were out by 7:30am.  We passed one of the coolest Tugs we had seen on the whole trip.
OLD GLORY - Liked the logos and name of this one

We were in Galveston in just a few hours and then up the very busy Houston Ship Channel.  We encountered the largest ships we had on the whole trip here where the ships come out of Houston and down the Houston Ship Channel out to the Gulf of Mexico.  One cool thing is that the dolphins love to jump in the bow wake as they push all this water along.
Dolphin in Bow wake of a ship

Dolphin in Bow wake of a ship

We tried to stay just to the outside of the ship channel and decided to take a pit stop at RedFish island to check it out.  This will be one of our more common anchor out locations for a nice overnight or 3 day stay.  It is only a few hours away from our home port.
A couple of boats anchored at Red Fish island which has been rebuilt after being blown away in a hurricane

We sailed a bit, but there was very little wind to do so.  We always see the "BoardWalk Beast" which is a custom built speed boat that seats about 50 people.  It hauls but around the bay and gets everyone soaking wet.  It is always a bit of a cool site when she is pounding into the waves and those teeth are painted on the hull to look like a "bone in her teeth".
Bone in her Teeth - Boardwalk Beast

We motored past Kemah Boardwalk and into Clear Lake.  We skimmed along Watergate Marina realizing that it was recently dredged and pulled into our isle at Legend Point Marina.  We decided to back in to the slip and while we didn't do it quickly, we again made it look like we knew what we were doing with our new vessel (always a good feeling at the helm when people come up to the edge of the dock to help but then realize there is not much that they need to do).

We tied up and then enjoyed a long, long, long shower at home.

The trip is over, it was quite a bit of fun, and filled with adventure.  We really enjoyed it and are also glad it is over.  In retrospect we tried to compare this to our dream of cruising, and the one thing that was not like what we expect crusing to be is that we would get to enjoy a spot for some time.  We spent some time in some really cool anchorages and locations, and I would have really liked to stay in them for a few days or a week or so.  But that was not our goal on this trip, it was all about ensuring 50 miles per day to get home on time.

Our boat did well, in the end, we had an electrical issue and have some sail repairs to make, but I have been pretty impressed with our 35 year old engine that ran 12-14 hours per day for 13 days straight.  I was afraid to say that at any point during the trip but with the boat safely tied in the slip, I will verbalize how thrilled I am at that fact.
I also have a slight diesel leak to repair, and I think it is coming from the secondary 2 micron fuel filter but just didn't want to dig into that project yet.

Since returning, I have cleaned the bilge and I must say it was a disgusting brew down there.  I found 4 screwdrivers, 2 metal scrapers, an old bronze thru-hull fitting, a bunch of electrical tape and about 20 cut tie wraps.  It is cleaner, but not clean yet.  As soon as I can dig out all that old sludge crap, I will be painting the bilge with a new coat of white paint, but I figure I won't waste the time doing that until the bilge and engine is cleaned.  Sadly, this ole' Perkins leaks oil so I have to get a bit more creative than just a bilge sock down there, so I may make a removable tray that fits under the engine with wire wrapped oil absorbant pad, so the water in the bottom of the bilge is just water.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Way up there

This morning we traveled to Sabin channel this has been one of the deepest ones so far.   We passed through the Port Arthur lot of ship work going on watched a couple of guys climb around a large crane type barge doing some repair work.   

As we went under the bridge that was also have some construction done on it as well.    

Pleasure cove was the next area we came to this is the spot for the RV’ers they have a camp ground that was packed full.  It also has a large Coast guard pressense, we passed 3 boats coming in and parking lot full of boats on trailers.  Time to remove the magazines.

 After going under the Port Arthur Bridge we entered into the 62 mile run through both marsh and pastureland with oil pumps on both sides.  It has been reported that you can see alligators swimming or basking on the shores we did not see any.  They have gator holes and crawls set into the shore and banks.  We passed through Taylor Bayou outfall canal one of the anchorage’s we talked about staying at we have made such good time we reached here earlier morning.  When we came to the East bay canal it was very swallow and narrow, we had to wait behind a barge to let Eastbound empty barges go through.  The current and winds were blowing them around the captain said it was like a large sailboat.  The Sylvia barge which we had been following for many hours called and ahead to a couple barges coming eastbound that he was waiting on to see if it was safe for us to pass.  He told us to go ahead of him; the other barges said it was good to go.  This saved us hours of waiting.  The current was ok we were able to get through it.  There is dredging operations going on throughout this canal.   We arrived at Stingaree Marina at 7:30 got tied up filled the water and got settled for the night, there is a restaurant right at the marina so we went in and grabbed dinner.  Around 8:45 the Sylvia barge finally passed by.  I am so glad he let us go ahead of him!!  We headed back to the boat Gil charted our course for tomorrow looks like we are only about 32 miles from home!!  

Texas Baby!!!

We just crossed into the great state of Texas!!!

Early Sunrise

Woke up this morning at 4:30 to the smell of fire they were welding on one of the large platforms by the ship yard.  At 5:20 we started to untie, a couple was just coming up to set up to fish we talked with them for a few mins while getting things ready to go.  They ask if we had met the “pet” yet, they have a 12 gator that hangs out at the pier and can be seen most days by the fishing cleaning area.  We headed to the lift bridge passing a lot of traffic both small fishing boats as well as large barges.  There were many barges that had run around to spend the night so it was hard to tell with all the light which barge was moving.   I was on bow duty with the spot light until the sun came up just after the lift bridge.  We are pretty sure this is the last bridge we will need open to get home, Texas has all 73 foot bridges.  We ran down a 20 mile stretch of a long narrow waterway dead into the wind.    This is the path that leads out of Louisiana and into Texas we can almost smell the lone star.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fishing pier delight

Headed to our second anchorage that had reported 12 depths hit bottom twice their as well in a bit of desperation heavy barge traffic at 9:45pm we tied up at the Calcasieu point landing a local fishing pier.  We need to set up a appointment for the Eleanor lift bridge with at least a 4 hour notice so we called in for a 6am opening.  We figured we would get woke up with the office at the fishing pier opened at 6 anyways.  The night watchman came by and talked with us said they would have to move in the am but for now he would let us get some sleep.  He also said the fisherman started coming in around 5 so to watch the boat for hooks etc from them.  We set the alarm for every couple hours to check lines with the tide.   

Shell Morgan

Gil woke up at 4:30 to tighten up the 12 volt negative bus which had come loose again, this time is was a  5 mins fix he was back in bed by 4:40.  Gil was up at 5:15 got ready and left the docks by 6am there is a lot of supply and crew boat traffic in the area.   I was having a hard time waking up note to self don’t take that medication again.  Approached the Leland Bowman locks at 6:25 we waited about an hour while waiting a small gator about 3  feet long was crossing in front of us then headed right up to the boat he got about 4 feet away after a few mins he swam away.  I think he I was waiting for us to feed him.   

We locked in with the Roger K tug he was kind enough to have us tie up in front of him so we could get out first.  The thrust coming off the back of the tug when they throttle up to leave the locks can cause us  to rock and bounce up against the walls of the locks.   The Leland locks help prevent intrusion of salt water into the farming areas of Mermentau basin we drop 1 foot today.  After going throught the locks I headed back to sleep for a much need hour sleep. 

A  9:15 got up fixed breakfast today we had scrambled eggs, sausage and potatoes.  The ICW is long straight and narrow today it is losing the swamp marsh look as we are starting to see more farm land along the way.  Our intended stop today is Bell City drainage canal.  Intercostal was unbelievably shallow today must under 10 feet.  Arrived at our plotted anchorage, there has been apparently some shoaling going on we hit ground 2 trying to go in.  We then continued our travels to Grand lake pontoon bridge then traveled onto the and the Black bayou bridge and into the Calcasieu locks it is almost sunset so we will be looking for a good place to anchor for the night.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Anchors Away

It was a restless night Gil was up a few times checking the anchor line I kept waking up to sound of what I thought was something (gators) hitting the bottom of the boat.  Most turned out to be wakes off the barges passing by.  I guess I have watched Lake Palcid on to many times.  The sailboat and barge have already left and we are doing the same.  At mile 129 we passed Cypremote a cable ferry at mile 134 we crossed under a 73 foot fixed bridge this marks the half way point between New Orleans and Texas.  At mile 137 we passed the Weeks island salt mine this is one of the largest salt mines in Louisiana.  At mile 146 we passed the cut off for Avery Island home of Tabasco hot sauce we opted not to go visit the factory we had storm clouds coming up behind us; although they do have boat parking for the water traveler.  We planned on stopping at Intercostal city they have fuel for the small watercraft; it has been 3 days since we refueled so it is a much needed stop.  We docked at Shell Morgan refueled with a light sprinkle starting.  We headed to one of the transient slips they offer it cost $20.00 with electric.  The rain was really starting to come down and the winds were not on our side as we tried to dock.  One of the workers from the gas station came over in a gold cart so we could toss lines to him; everyone here has been very nice.  We had a good heavy rain for about 30 mins which felt pretty good to me.  After the rain slowed down we headed out to Maxie Pierce a small grocery store within walking distance to get a few provisions.  It is noted in the water way guide they have the best po boy sandwiches around.  Gil had a Shrimp one, I opted for cooking spaghetti on the boat.  It was a early day we were docked and settled in by 4:30 both of us were really tired.  We looked at the videos and photos of the trip first chance we have had to really look at all of them.  We watch Sahara again, one of the only 2 movies we have with us.  My Veritgo was really acting up so I took the medication and was out like a light.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wax River

Coming up on Bayou Boeuf Locks.  There is one barge in front of us the lock is 1000 feet long so we should both get into easy.   The lock was pretty torn up broken in many places rotted in others.  When Gil tied off the one of the boards was loose has to change to another.  We lifted 3 feet then entered into Morgan City this is the second most populated commercial city since we left the Mississippi river.  Once leaving the lock we checked in with Berwick traffic control (think air traffic controller) we were told what was ahead of us and where to check in next.  In Morgan city the ICW merges with the Atchafalaya river went south bound 3 miles on the river before turning west on the ICW again.  Starting to notice a pattern the gators seem to hang out by the large barge ropes along the side of the river got a photo of a rather large one sitting on the bank.  When the barges hit the bank that make a ramp going up the banks from the river this makes nice slides for the gator to get back in the water fast.  Plus the bonus would be a man overboard, I am sure the left over dinner scraps are just as good.
We were able to make really good time doing 6 knots most of the way we covered 66 miles today even with the late start from the bridge opening.  Went through some s type curves in the river the tug captains kept referring them to the wiggles we got video of them talking on the radio quite entertaining.

As we approached the Wax Lake outlet (a deep drainage ditch from bayou Teche and the Atchafalaya basin) run off we were starting to see the current the books and signs along the banks warned off.    While the current was strong and the tugs went across at a 45 degree angle we did not have much of an issue getting across. 

Our travels took us through Bayou Sale which is a small commercial town.  We came across some homes built along the river banks in coves.   Our anchorage point for the night was Franklin canel it looked to be a small area that we could tuck up into.  After watching a Tug come ripping around a bend in a canal similar in size and shape of Franklin we called to the local tug captains to see if that is canel they used.  One captain said no that would be a safe place.  He told us we might prefer the Charenton drainage canel as a sailboat was anchored out there already.  We opted for this since it was only 2 miles away.  We dropped the hook with the sounds of thunder and wicked looking thunderheads with no rain.  Me and Gil sat on the bow watching the gorgeous sunset in a cool breeze with a cold beer while we waited to make sure the hook to set.

We popped out the Ipad and watch a movie on the bow until we could not take the mosquitoes any longer retreated to the cockpit.  Around 11pm we had a large spot light up the entire boat, this was a feeling of comfort as the tugs and barge could see us and the fact when ask we do show up on their radar made us feel comfortable.  The barge was looking for a place to park for the night so we watched him get settled in then headed to bed. 



Still waters

Traveling along the ICW at mile 75 through Lake Cocodrie Zero wind, lots of sun so we got out he tarp to help shade the back of the cockpit and now have the little fan going as well amazing what a difference it made.   

Passing a few small fishing boats and 2 barge’s not much traffic today.  Did see one gator swimming along about 5 feet long.  We have tried to get photo by the time you can see if it is a gator or log they go under. Today we finally got one he/she is about 6 feet long.

Not as many bugs as I expected just a few horse fly’s, dragon flies a few wasp.  Gil has been keeping up with killing the wasp for me can’t take the chance getting stung since I am allergic.  Today is one of the hottest ones so far, a frozen wet wash cloths are very refreshing.  Should be getting to the Atchafalaya swamp home of many of the swamp shows on TV.

Lots of channels coming into the ICW now, starting to look more swamp like seeing more cedar trees entering Cypress swamp coming up on some more lock.

Gods country

We have made it through the bride and heading out today through Morgan City we will be on the hook for the next few nights.  Right now we are traveling down ICW in marsh areas, it is very pretty still water slight breeze.  There are lots of little cannels off the ICW you could easily get lost going off path.

Wow a billboard never would have thought that would be here.

Waiting on a lift

We came up to the Bayou Delarge Bascule bridge ask for a lift they do not due lifts from 6:45 to 8:30am so we have to wait an hour.   Making breakfast taco’s to eat while we drifted around. 

Plane ride anyone?

Woke up at 6 this morning the Downtown marina has no fuel so we are looking up next place to refuel on our path.  While getting stuff ready to depart a water plane pulled into the marina area then heading back out along the ICW.  

Monday, July 4, 2011

Houma bound

While heading down the ICW we came across a herd of horses that were in a wooden area drinking water.  There are no homes or fences around any of the land so not sure if they are wild or belong to someone.   

On our way into Houma we went through the Bayou Blue pontoon bridge this is a road on a barge with cables they swing open like a door to let you by.  As we were coming into Houma area we could see a few homes and a herd of cattle swimming; something else to watch out for on the ICW.  This part of the waterway took the brunt of Katrina you can still see the some damage and construction still going on to repair buildings and homes.  

One of the many new homes built up along the waterway.

At a local park there was a flocked of buzzards eating something large in the water could not get close enough to see if it was a fish or not.   

We docked at the Downtown marina for the night this is a park area with benches, play yard lots of shade trees they made this to accommodate transient boat travelers along the ICW.  No shower or bathrooms they do have running water and electrical.  They even have a local bus stop at the marina.  We were within walking distance to a few gas stations and a laundry mat so we were able to get the laundry done and restock our bread and cokes.  When we got back to the marina we order pizza.  There were another sailboat and a catamaran that also tied up for the night.  They were both coming from Texas and meet up with each other at Sabine pass and have stayed together since they are heading to Florida.  Gil talked with them and exchange information places to stay & things along the water way we have both found.   We had a great 4th, missed seeing fireworks through they are banned in this parish.  Gil was up and down a few times otherwise we slept pretty well.  Looking forward to tomorrow it is suppose to be a very scenic route.

Cedar trees and spanish moss

Our 5:30am wakeup call from same security guard letting us know we were still to close.  We explained to him last night approval from the supervisor he laughed and said he was not right he would have to tell him so.  We told him we would get ready and head out in the next 30 mins.  He was a nice guy he felt bad waking us up both times.   Started the engine heard a squealing noise, alternator belt was loose tighten that up gave the Perkins a quart of oil and we were off by 6:15am it was a hot muggy windless day.  Headed down the Crown Point and Lafitte named after Jean Lafitte of pirate fame.  We saw quite a few homes , an air boat ride company with 6 boats ready to go.  We entered the Barataria waterway came across a couple of gators swimming along. The waterway is lined with cedar tress draped spanish moss hanging down almost to the top of the large elephant ear plants growing into the water.  We have seen many waterfowl living in this area.  
Hydrangeas are so thick in some areas you have to zig zag around them, had a couple get stuck on the prop did a quick reverse to get them off.  Engine was starting to run a little hot.  We traveled into Larose where we crossed Lafourche “pronounced  LAH-FOOSH”  we passed several large ship yards and was surprised at the size of the ships in the yards.  Our plan is to stay in Houma tonight, do some laundry and update our route to see when we will make it home.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Locking Through

Locking through,Traveled down the intercostal waterway along the Rigolets came upon what looks like a wall with a door, must be something for hurricanes or salt and fresh water intrusions.   

 We entered the industrial canal just as a storm wall was starting up lighting was putting on a pretty good show, winds picking up.  We went under the Florida ave.  Bascule bridge immediately after that we passed through Sebert “Claireborne Ave” lift bridge approached the lock contacted the lock master on VHF 14 had to provide boat name, length, draft and beam.   He then instructed us to tie up on the starboard side behind the Barge.  We were then told to hold as the barge opted to wait out the storm before going through the lock he backed out of the lock.  We were starting to get a light rain, we were then told to tie up just behind the light boat.  We later found out a light boat is a tug by itself.  The lock master tossed us down 2 lines; tied off and lifted about 6 feet to the height of the Mississippi river.  As the doors opened we passed under the St Claude bascule bridge.   As we exited the lock the lighting and rain was starting to pick up.  We closed up the isinglass as we finished getting the last one on the storm then turned to the north west of us.   From here we entered the Mississippi river just east of New Orleans.  We went 5 miles upriver where we had a full view of downtown New Orleans, French Quarter at Jackson square.  We saw the New Orleans ferry, cruise ship and an old paddle boat.  We closed up the isinglass as we started to get a light rain, the storm then turned to the north west of us.  

Arrived at the Harvey lock and hailed the lock master on VHF with no reply multiple times.  When he did finally answer he told us we were in a restricted area and needed to move 200 yards down river.  Told him I was sorry he said don’t let it happen again pretty sure he was a little upset with us.   We waited down river for 2 ½ hours in time out as barges were unloading from the east on the intercoastal.  Finally another light barge heading west approached the lock after another 30 mins we were called to load in the locks behind him.   We dropped nine feet when the doors opened we went under a small lift bridge controlled by the lock which started to close as we were going under.  A quick u turn and a sorry from the operator and we were on our way again.  We approached the Harvey canal twin bridges, then the Lapalco Blvd bascule bridge.  I was amazed to see the cars running around the closed gate to get across the bridge before it opened so we had to wait for them.  The operator was kind enough to call the local tugs and see if they knew of a safe area for us to anchor out due to our time out it was getting dark and we would not make our destination Boom town casino allows boats to tie up allow the levy.  We called and were told where to tie up.  Around 11pm we woke to the sound of the security guard knocking on the boat.  We had to move the costal guard regulation would not allow us to be that close to the casino boat.  Moved the boat had the supervisor come out and check to make sure we were good upon his approval we headed back to bed.