Friday, August 12, 2016

Day Three, Port Arthur Yacht Club, Port Arthur TX - Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Up early to see what is going on, I enjoy watching Surfside marina's fork lift move a fishing boat onto its trailer shown straight ahead of the lift.    Hmmm...I wonder if they could lift On Your Mark.   Actually, they can.  When Herb and I visited here in our 27 ft. Ranger Tug a few years ago, we saw larger vessels stored inside the building on lower and upper decks.  A photo of the building is shown in yesterday's post upon our arrival.

 Leaving Surfside Marina today, we overtake M/V William D,  a 5 strung out barge and we 'see him on  the one'.   This large vessel reminds me of the serious wake we got just before bedtime last night because our boat slip was very close to the ICW.    However, we slept well, either because we were rocking gently or maybe the tugs don't travel after dark.  We cast off our lines this morning at 9:30A amidst a bit of wind and look forward to a pleasant journey.

Joe gives Herb a choice of color of Pelagic Gear sunshield with UVA/UVB -- looks like a face mask -- that will help to keep him cool as he sits in the blazing sun going east.  After Herb opts for the black, Joe takes the blue.  They are not as fortunate as Pearl and I, who can move around the deck to find the breeze.  

Well, I think Herb looks scary!

The cloud cover helps to keep us cooler today -- or less hot.

Here comes a tugboat pushing a load of gravel.  I love the US flag placed near the front of his load.  "One small step for man and one giant leap for mankind." I think the tug pilot claims this rock pile for the United States of America.

As we approach the railroad bridge, Herb and I have memories of waiting here for two hours because the bridge is closed.  A close look shows a railroad track with the blue section lifted above to allow vessel traffic to pass under.  Once a train is scheduled to come this way, the gate lowers to connect the two sections of the track.

As we approached a few years ago in our R-27, we saw the bridge closed and called on Channel 13 to inquire about passage.  We were told a train was scheduled, so they had to close it just in case the train was early.   It was so funny to idle the motor and visit by radio with the pilot of a tugboat/barge, who also waited with us.  We could not anchor, because the train may come at any moment and we wanted to be ready to go.

Scenes along the way show boats that probably have not moved in decades....

Pearl points to a dragonfly on Herb's hat.  As I get close to get a photo, it flies out the window, then returns.  Herb doesn't know anything about it; he's having a conversation with Joe.

Photos of the oil industry are below.

To get to Port Arthur Yacht Club and Marina, we have an hour drive through a lake off the ICW and to an entrance at its south and near the Gulf of Mexico.  It is actually where the Sabine River (which separates Texas from Louisiana) flows south and makes a lake that empties into the Gulf.  Once in Sabine Lake we cruise north in shallow water, five to six feet deep, all the while watching for submerged pilings that are shown on the chart.

During this crossing, I become aware of a change in the WX, the increase of the winds, and chop on the lake.  I watch the sky get very dark on two sides of us -- ahead and on the west; seems I have seen this before during cruises.  It does not look good.  We could be in for some weather!  It gets cooler.  Oh, this is not good.  Do I see lightening?  One third of the way from the left near the horizon in the photo below is a white pole that shows where we should make a turn to port as we approach the marina.

When I see the flag on our stern begin to wave after being still the earlier part of the trip, I know something is going to happen.  Should it rain, all toys need to be inside the cabin, so Pearl and I take the binoculars, cameras, iPad with Navionics, and paper travel guide books below.   Soon the flag is straight out, and the cover over the hot tub is totally clear of our stuff.

We still have a ways to go in Sabine Lake, and expect to arrive at our marina just before dark at 8P.   Skipper keeps a keen eye and I help to guide him to stay in the boat road and around the pilings somewhere under the water.  Herb explains to me that these 'pilings' may have been metal that rusted away years ago, but we don't take the chance; we go around.   The chart shows we have to go between four white markers to get to the marina, and as the daylight begins to fade, it is hard to see them.  God, as our co-pilot, shows the way, and we do arrive at Port Arthur Yacht Club at 8:01P.  Safely!   There is no one here but On Your Mark and the four of us.  

Lightning is seen in the distance and my Dark Sky app tells us rain will begin in 18 minutes.  As we dock, the winds increase and push us toward the dock.  With three fenders on each side, we see that we need more to protect us, so one of the guys moves a fender from the port side to midship on the starboard.   The fenders keep bouncing up onto the dock -- no travel guide described the low dock -- so we have to lengthen the lines to place them lower in the water.  What a day!  We are glad for safe harbor.

Find On Your Mark -- in the dark....

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Wednesday, August 10, 1026


  1. Great description of the travels! You guys stay safe and keep dry!

    1. Safe at the moment -- safe harbor at the fuel dock near Lake Charles, waiting for the WX to pass -- but not so dry, if you walk outside. Raining cats and dogs! :) Thanks for the comment.