Tuesday, October 8, 2013

5 miles or so offshore...

Having a great trip.  The winds are light but sadly also right on our tail.  We are motor sailing to keep the apparent wind in front of us and the wind blowing through the cockpit. 
It may get a bit chilly tonight when the sun goes down and it is going to be a dark night with only a sliver of new moon that sets at 9pm.

We have been dragging a fishing lure the last 5 hours and sa far have only caught sone seaweed.

Here are a few photos from today. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

First 2 days of the trip from Kemah to Corpus

The trip has been really nice so far from Kemah to Corpus.  We headed out on Saturday morning from Kemah, TX on Clear Lake.  We made our way out to Galveston Bay, ran South down the Ship Channel.  We went West on the InterCoastal before going out Bolivar Point to the Gulf of Mexico.    From there we just went a few miles to Harborwalk Marina in Hitchcock, TX.

We had a real nice slip and were able to all shower and then head over to the pool for a nice refreshing Dip in the pool.  After having a few drinks in the cockpit for a sun downer with the sun setting, we all changed and went up to the restaurant at the Marina.  It was "Floyds on the Water" and the meal was really good.  The Service was even better and it is so true that a server can make the experience.  She was so attentive and even when asking for things like "where is the restroom" she would walk you there instead of just pointing and saying "that way".

We woke to a nice cool morning of low 60's and heavy overcast skies with a forecast of high winds and rain.  Early in the morning we saw some lightning off to the North, but it faded quickly.  We got under way about 10am and headed into the wind and weather.

Dark skies as we departed Harborwalk
The bimini and eisenglass worked great keeping the majority of the water out and people warm in the cockpit.  We had a nice relaxing trip for just a short 30 miles or so.  The newly installed AIS was great to provide warning and ship data for all Tugs and Barges encountered.  We could get a warning of a ship approaching even when around the corner in "the ditch".  It allowed us to see their name and call them to discuss the best approach for passing.

Loaded down for the passage
We tied up for the night in Freeport at Surfside Marina.
They have Transient slips with Power, Water and nice floating docs.  They have showers, ships store and security 24 hours a day.    We were able to top off the water tanks, took on diesel to make sure we have plenty for tomorrow and created our routes  and waypoints for tomorrows departure offshore.  We programmed it all into the Helm GPS, the IPAD and PC as backups.  

After getting the fuel and relaxing for a while, we walked over to a little place called "Cast-Aways" for dinner.  It was a dark little bar and we didn't have high hopes, but it was one of the best burgers I have had in a long time.  We watched a little bit of the Cowboys game, had a beer and then walked to the little corner store and picked up some small munchies for the trip. Since we will be running a 25-30 hour passage, we grabbed some sunflower seeds, beef jerky and what not to keep the people on night shifts busy and occupied.  As we walked back to the Marina, we were greeted with a beautiful sunset over Freeport and all of the refineries.  They look like Christmas if you forget the fact that they are stinky and dangerous.
Red Sky at Night - Sailors Delight

We should be  departing out the Freeport Channel (as this is blog post is going live) to the outer light about 4-6 miles off shore.  From there we will turn Southwest and head toward the Port O'Conner outer light marker.
From there we will head toward the Aransas Pass outer lighted ship marker and at 27 51.55N 96 55.23W we will bear in toward the first channel marker for Aransas Pass.
From there it will be in the ship channel and over to the Corpus Christi Municipal Marina.

This will be our offshore route leaving Monday 10/6 at about 10am from Freeport

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The prepping for the sailing trip is complete

We are planning a sailing trip down the texas coast this coming week.  The plan is to sail from Kemah to Corpus.  The big question is which route to take.  As you can imagine if you are from this area, we are keeping a close eye out on Tropical Storm Karen that is still out in the Gulf and heading North and expected to go East.

Based on weather and wind predictions, we are expecting some pretty strong winds, 25-30 or so on Sunday, so we are planning on making the first part of the trip on the "inside".  This means that rather than sail 15 miles off shore in the Gulf of Mexico, that we would sail (likely motor) along the intercoastal waterway for part of it.

The plan is to leave the dock Saturday by 10am.  We will stop and fuel up before heading out into Galveston Bay and we plan on just taking the InterCoastal to Dickson Texas and stopping at HarborWalk Marina (Larry, if you and "clocked out" are there, let me know).   This will make the first day a pretty easy trip. it is about 30 nautical miles.

The second day, (Sunday) we plan to stay on the inside and go to Freeport Texas and stay in a Marina, where we can top off on fuel one more time before the "rest of the trip"

The current plan, and I mean current because it can change based on weather and wind, is to then sail from Freeport to Aransas Pass on the "outside".   For us the outside will mean between 12 and 15 miles off the coast.  There is a "safety zone" there where it is prohibited to have drilling platforms, etc.  This will make the night sails safer since some of the oil rigs in the Gulf are not lit at night.

I will continue to Post as we progress and where I have a connection.     I spent some time tonight setting up the network on the boat to allow the Chartplotter at the Helm to also have "AIS" overlay which shows commercial ships and any potential courses where there is a chance of collision based on their heading and speed as well as ours.