Thursday, April 17, 2014

Final leg to Kemah

The Southwest International Boat show was going to be the weekend we needed to move the boat and we really wanted to go to the boat show, but also didn't want to chance waiting until Sunday to move the boat in the event that something came up with weather, the boat, etc.  The Marina we were staying at was charging me $75 per day so I didn't want to stay another week if I could avoid it.

Interestingly enough, we had several friends all come down on Friday and were staying through Sunday to go to the boat show.  It was Mike and Kerry O'bar, Robert and Mary Fields and Oday and T Roark.  They got in on Friday so we went and had dinner with them Friday and then decided that we were going to hit the water early on Saturday to get the boat moved and be back in Kemah in time to get to the boat show for a little while and more importantly the Cruising Outpost Cruisers Party.

A few years ago when the magazine sold and the new owners screwed it all up, the previous owners decided to bring it back again.  They needed some people to commit to a long term subscription and we really enjoy this magazine as well as the couple that have sailed around the world and are the inspiration for so many that are living their dream on a boat.  We helped out at that time and became part of what they referred to as the Founders Circle.  Each year, they throw a cruisers party after the boat show with free pizza and beer and a live band.  It is always a good time.  But not to get ahead of myself, we still had to sail the rest of the way to make it...

We tossed the dock lines early Saturday morning and motored into the rain and strong wind as we headed to the east.  Barge traffic was still pretty heavy but things were starting to move again so the barges were not sitting along the banks.   We worked our way along East Bay, passed Offats Bayou, and worked our way under the I-45 Bridge between Houston and Galveston.  
Going under I-45 in the rain and spray

Things were fairly smooth and as we started to hear the ICW, Galveston Ship Channel, Texas City Channel and the Houston Ship Channel the water was rough, the wind was strong and it was raining on and off so visibility was good but not good enough to read boat names with the binoculars.  
We had to cross the Texas City Channel and should have crossed the Houston Ship Channel as well but there was SO much traffic out there now that the channels were open, I had a hard time feeling comfortable that I could cross the ship channel in enough time.  With the wind and waves we were making slow progress and the last thing I wanted to do was be half way across the channel when an tanker or 1000 foot ship was bearing down on me at 18-22 knots.    
Perkins poking his head out to see what is going on
The cat does not seem to like the rougher water.  The first day of this trip he had blood in his stool and the vet ended up thinking it was stress related.  We did find that if we put his carrying case out, he would go in that to feel secure and when it is rough, we take him up top in the cockpit so he gets some fresh air.  On this particular trip, he actually ventured his head out the front of the carrier for a few minutes.

It was a little hairy there for about an hour and a half until we go through all of that and settled into a rhythm running north along the Houston Ship Channel but a few hundred yards west of the actual channel.  According to the charts that seemed to be a good path as there was enough depth for me to keep out of the channel and from getting run down by a big ole' ship.  To give you a sense of the size of some of these, we took this video as we passed one of them after things calmed down a bit.  He was making about 17 knots.

We ended up passing Red Fish Island where these is a pretty major dredging operation going on in the ship channel in that area.  For those that don't know, there is a good country sound about this little island.  Listen to "Red Fish Island" here..  The song is by Kelly McGuire  We made it to Kemah, passed through the cut and the boardwalk and turned into the Marina.  We backed into our slip and got tied up in time for our friends to come pick us up and take us over to the boat show !

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