Friday, September 2, 2016

Day Four, A Very Good Day! -- Saturday, August 27, 2016

It is 6:50A and twilight, with shoots of lightening seen offshore.  I am ahead of the game today, as I bring topside binoculars, water bottles, hand held VHF radio, camera -- everything we need except raincoats, that we have not needed at all.  We cast off the lines, both engines work, both throttles work.  All good. We are in the ICW heading west toward Galveston and bound for Sanctuary Marina at Port O'Connor.

In Galveston Bay seas are one foot or less with the chop mostly caused by wakes of many courteous tugboats.  Day breaks with glorious pinks and yellows in the sky, giving a hint of a sunny day, but that doesn't happen.  A partly cloudy day turns into total overcast.  A cruise ship is seen in the distance.

We had heard several times yesterday on Channel 16 the Coast Guard directing us to Channel 22 Alpha about the causeway swing bridge being closed to all traffic.  Could this be our dilemma today?  We really would like to have an easy day.  We see many tugs perpendicular to the channel, pushing their barges up against the bank because they can not get through the bridge.  Apparently the construction crew working on the bridge have taken the week end off.  I don't want to think we will have to anchor out until Monday.

We listen with interest, and continue our cruise west.  The blue bridge ahead is the railroad.  The elevated section drops down to connect to the fixed rails on land when a train is scheduled to come.

Herb has plotted our trip on the Navionics program shown on his iPad, so we have a constant tracking.  The blue circle in the center of the screen represents On Your Mark and shows the storms offshore and behind us.  Clear sailing ahead!

We are now heading toward Freeport, and not quite due south of Houston, having just crossed the Houston ship channel.  Channel 16 broadcasts again and directs to 22 Alpha, where we hear the Caney Creek swing bridge is closed to all traffic.  We begin to see many tugs tied to mooring balls, as we continue through Galveston Bay, now West Bay.

Mooring Balls

So with a closed bridge ahead, we work on Plan B.  We continue westward to get more information, hoping to find out if crews are working on the bridge and when it may possibly be opened.  We see a slow moving tug ahead and radio him to get permission to pass on the one whistle.  She agrees and we begin to overtake her. Then we hear five blasts of the whistle, and see a sailboat which appears almost dead in the water.  The little boat takes a long time to get out of the way of the big tugboat pushing her load.  That is very scary.  Rule of tonnage comes to mind.

Small Sailboat Drifts Toward the Bank

Ducking into Surfside Marina at Freeport, we ask if they have any information on the swing bridge.  The dock hand doesn't know it is closed.  We continue west and call another tug, Elizabeth R, we plan to overtake, asking permission to pass on the two.

Plan B develops into a continuing of our cruise to approach the swing bridge and see what it looks like.  Lots of happy people sit on the banks of the ICW fishing.  Hopefully their buckets are getting a good catch. Temperatures are in the high 80's in the morning and these anglers don't seem to mind as it rises in the afternoon.

Yay!  Another frequent broadcast on Channel 16 tells us the swing bridge is now open!!!  We are glad we have continued west, instead of finding a marina for the night.  Herb calls for passage and the attendant says, "Come on.  I'll get it open for you."  I get a photo of the south approach being raised.  On Your Mark stands back while the bridge swings open toward us.

Rule No. Two:  Never pass a fuel stop.  We take on a few hundred gallons of diesel at Matagorda Harbor in the Port of Bay City Authority.

More scenery includes a dredge pulling a pipe that will carry silt and pump it up over the dunes and into a spoil area.  A community of brown pelicans hitches a ride on one of the floats.  They are on lunch break.

Our journey today ends at Sanctuary Marina, Port O'Connor.  As Herb turns us into the channel toward our dock, Denny says, "Look at the alligator!"

My thoughts, "Don't fall overboard; life jackets won't help!"

Find the scary alligator....

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Saturday, August 27, 2016


  1. Glad you guys are having good WX! I would have to say a big "NOPE" to the alligator situation. Stay safe!

    1. We were so surprised. When we think alligators, we think Louisiana. This is Texas!!