Friday, July 1, 2011

Life on the Hook

We went West from Pensacola to Mobile / Dauphin Island and it was a really cool trip.  The first part of it was where the last pictures were posted, then we hit Mobile Bay, just a wide open 25 mile or so trip across.  We did take 2 videos of the most common traffic we encounter.  The first is shrimp boats, some times shrimping in the middle of a channel and the other are barges.

They have all been pretty nice and welcome a call on the radio to discuss how each of you will navigate.  One guy called me this morning and said, "West Bound Sailboat, please don't run me up on the greens if you have enough water outside the channel, I am carrying 7 barges and have quite a bit of wind to contend with"  With that, I altered course.  Law of the larger vehicle takes over quickly.

We motored the whole due to wind on the nose and narrow channels.
After going under the Dauphin Island Bridge we were going to stay in a marina for the night but the I didn't realize until we were already past another place to stop that this place was on the other side of a 25 foot bridge so no go.
We went about 1/2 mile outside the channel in Aux Heron's Pass just each of Dauphin Island and dropped the hook for the night.  It was pretty warm, so sleep was not easy, but we did get some shut eye.  I was up every few hours checking to be sure we didn't drag anchor as this was the first time I had used the anchor on this boat.
Deb relaxing on the bow after anchoring for the night.

Pretty sunset over this area west of Mobile

All was good and about 5am Deb and I both woke up to lightening.  We had just enough time to get out of bed, close all the hatches (now it was really hot in the boat) and then get up in the cockpit to close up the isinglass.  The wind picked up and it poured for about 45 minutes or so, and it was a beautiful lighting show.  The lightning was just over the small narrow island between the InterCoastal and the Gulf and the storm started in the gulf, and then came into the intercoastal.  We sat it out in the cockpit and when it was over, figured we would weight anchor and take off for the day. So we had a good early start leaving by 6 or 6:30 am or so.
Sunrise over Dauphin Island Bridge, just after the Thunderstorm passed us by

We made it all the way to Biloxi today.

We talked to several Tug operators, Big Al and the S/V Cat's Meow that saved me about an hour off my trip with some local navigation expertise.
Here was the largest barge/tug combo we have run across to date.  7 barges, 1 tug.
Hard to see from this angle, but there are 2 rows of barges in front of the tug, 4 on the right and 3 on the left side.

So Deb and I have pulled into a marina, Air is running, Water tanks topped off, and we walked over to the Isle of Capri Casino for a nice Dinner.