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Old 28-06-2015, 14:58   #16
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Re: Houma to New Orleans, LA- ICW

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Originally Posted by AnchorageGuy View Post
Robert, You just need to watch weather of course, and the many oil rigs if you travel at night. Also stay clear of the supply boats runing out to the rigs. The don't stop, slow down or change course for any reason. Chuck
+1. Lots of hazards in that area of the Gulf. Don't get anywhere close to a rig underway at night. There can be all kinds of gear in the water...like supply boat moorings the size of a car which are normally not lit.
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Old 28-06-2015, 15:12   #17
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Re: Houma to New Orleans, LA- ICW

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... On the ICW from Houma to New Orleans- is the traffic so tight that you have to go really slow or can you make good time if you have the ability?

I've heard that Houma is a really nice place. Does anyone have any experiences there?
There is lots of traffic but they've got schedules to keep so usually aren't wasting time. Monitor VHF and talk with the tug captains to arrrange overtaking etc.

The channel narrows at Houma and the big boys transit one direction at a time...best that you wait in line too...getting squeezed in the channel by a tug & tow would not be good.

I haven't been to Houma in years, but assume its still a great little place. Marina under the twin bridges, good food in town.
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Old 28-06-2015, 21:30   #18
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Re: Houma to New Orleans, LA- ICW

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Great tips and thank you very much. Has anyone had experience driving offshore in the gulf around Texas or Louisiana? I thought I would want to skip out on the ICW for as much time as possible to make good time. My boat has a deep hull and plenty of power. I don't have any experience running a boat in that area of the gulf. Thanks!

I highly recommend you download the Active Captain Companion. It is great for finding places to anchor, fuel, supplies, marinas, shoals, etcetera.

Get towing insurance!

An AIS transponder is a great tool. I like hearing Ashley's Light on the radio from ships in the night.

As this will be your shake down cruise, I would hope you would run the ditch at least to Intracoastal City. The seas settle a bit after Vermillion Bay and the currents should be in your favor.

While I prefer the offshore route, I do not think traveling out of Galveston would be prudent with an untried vessel.

If you run around Galveston Bay a bit drop by Baytown and have a toddy.

I plan to head back east soon but my schedule is flexible at the moment. As always I have a few boat projects working.






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Old 28-06-2015, 21:55   #19
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Re: Houma to New Orleans, LA- ICW

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I can't wait! I am surprised at the lack of fuel along the route by way of marina, etc. The waterway guide doesn't show anything until NO or just below, if you go out of your way. Are there other places to get fuel on the water that are availible?

Strange request here but my wife is really looking to goof around on an alligator form or the like and seeks to wrestle an alligator. Does anyone have any ideas for this in LA? I figured that there would be plenty of places in this type of country.
Check out Cajun Encounters tours.. They will pick you up from NOLA area and bring you back. I took my girlfriend from MA there, had a good time and you get to see he gators next to the boat.

Rigolets marina, Lake Catherine Island Marina in the Rigolets have fuel and aren't too far off the ICW. Just have to pass thru the Rigolets CSX train bridge. Deep water in the Rigolets.

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Old 28-06-2015, 22:44   #20
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Re: Houma to New Orleans, LA- ICW

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Originally Posted by robert.hamic View Post
Great tips and thank you very much. Has anyone had experience driving offshore in the gulf around Texas or Louisiana? I thought I would want to skip out on the ICW for as much time as possible to make good time. My boat has a deep hull and plenty of power. I don't have any experience running a boat in that area of the gulf. Thanks!
I work as a mate on a 300' supply vessel in the Gulf. Texas you can hop out in the Gulf but unless you plan on going all the way to FL, I would hop back in when you got near Cameron area or Sabine. Texas has a fraction of the platforms LA has.

There is a lot of commercial traffic but it's the smaller vessels you end to watch for. Crew boats tend to have inexperienced guys sitting at the helm and the commercial fishing fleets are incorrigible. Fishers don't change course, ever. Unless it's after you alter yours and then they're back in your way.

If you stay in the ICW through LA, you will see some nice Marsh and swamp land. We have a large population of bald eagles in the south central parts of LA. You're highly likely to see gators along the way. When you make it to NOLA, do stop in and enjoy the food, and chances are there will be SOME kind of festival going on.

After the river you can hop into the Gulf as there isn't many platforms on MS or AL coasts. The shallow water platforms will be lit up with blinking white lights on the corners. The deeper water drilling rigs/ships and production platforms will be lit up like small towns, you can't miss them. I'm attaching a picture of the drilling rig were supplying right now. (also note the ripples out here, so calm and nice)
Click image for larger version

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If you pm me I can give you a good forecast of weather and seas for the entire Gulf. Information is taken from the larger installations weathermen.
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Originally Posted by AnchorageGuy View Post
Robert, You just need to watch weather of course, and the many oil rigs if you travel at night. Also stay clear of the supply boats runing out to the rigs. The don't stop, slow down or change course for any reason. Chuck
I take offense to that! Wink

But seriously it's not us you have to worry about. Though if I see a sailboat, which I unfortunately haven't yet, I wouldn't alter my course significantly. I would probably give you a mile cpa.

As to the weather, in the summer time you have to worry about lack of wind than too much. Only have to watch for tropical storms which can be seen in advance. I'll send a picture tomorrow of the weather out here 180 m south of Port Fourchon.
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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
+1. Lots of hazards in that area of the Gulf. Don't get anywhere close to a rig underway at night. There can be all kinds of gear in the water...like supply boat moorings the size of a car which are normally not lit.
I think they have been moving away from those mooring balls, but don't take that as fact. I just don't see them often. I have seen one before, unlit of course. But they aren't small, that's correct. I don't travel in the near coastal areas much.

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Old 29-06-2015, 07:01   #21
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Re: Houma to New Orleans, LA- ICW

As always, thanks for all of the great advice. We only plan to run during the day and I will definately run the boat to Intercoastal City to make sure the systems are all working well. From there, I was thinking about cutting across open water until we entered the ICW to head to Houma. We are very excited about this first leg of the trip. I will be sure to keep my eyes out for boat traffic and rigs, etc. offshore. Thanks for the advice on the different side trips too.
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Old 29-06-2015, 07:14   #22
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Re: Houma to New Orleans, LA- ICW

that 'open water' isn't really that open. IIRC the mouth of the Atchafalaya is silting, Vermilion Bay is silting also. Make sure your charts are current.

The approach to Houma (from between the Isles Dernieres to Houma) be advised to stay in the marked channels unless you can get local knowledge for routes. There are people alive today who remember almost all of that 'bay' being solid land. It's thin water... (wife was a student at LUMCON in Cocodrie)
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Old 29-06-2015, 07:28   #23
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Re: Houma to New Orleans, LA- ICW

Unless u have business in Houma, I would suggest Grande Isle. Easy entrance and good rest stop.

I have anchored offshore in 20' of water just north of Fish Haven when in need of sleep.


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Old 30-06-2015, 08:17   #24
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Re: Houma to New Orleans, LA- ICW

Grand Isle looks interesting as an alternate route. We thought about making our way to New Orleans to visit but that would take us pretty far away from NO. Have you travelled to NO from Grand Isle? If so, what route did you take? If not, traveling East- which route did you take (where was your next stop)? Thanks!
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Old 30-06-2015, 08:25   #25
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Re: Houma to New Orleans, LA- ICW

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Well, we purchased the Skipper Bobs guide...it does list places to fuel...Shell Morgan Landing has fuel and a dock....after that Houma has one place. Also if you go up the Calcasieu River about 8 miles to Lake Charles you can fuel up at bow tie Marina...it's the only fuel point we could find in that area. As far as getting up close to alligator there plenty around saw 6 on the way to Avery Island. Have fun!
Cannot recommend Lake Charles!
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Old 30-06-2015, 10:13   #26
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Re: Houma to New Orleans, LA- ICW

I'm currently traveling east, plan on leaving in the morning, next stop Gulfport. We only make 6 mph at 1800 rpm, less than a gallon per hour....gen set runs also and it will burn less than a half gallon...we only travel in day light, and are in no hurry....safety first always.
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Old 30-06-2015, 10:29   #27
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Houma to New Orleans, LA- ICW

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Originally Posted by robert.hamic View Post
Grand Isle looks interesting as an alternate route. We thought about making our way to New Orleans to visit but that would take us pretty far away from NO. Have you travelled to NO from Grand Isle? If so, what route did you take? If not, traveling East- which route did you take (where was your next stop)? Thanks!

My last trip was from Pensacola west. I was on my way back from the keys and left the boat in Pensacola to attend a funeral. I was solo and anchored near Fish Haven for a long nap then hit Grand Isle for maintenance and restock.

Next stop west was Houston.

The Rigolets near Slidel is the route I prefer but I travel with the wind when I can and am a big fan of the North Shore of Ponchatrain.

I like the little town of Madisonville and will stay there a month or so when travel through.

Mandeville would be more likely than Madisonville to have bus service to downtown New Orleans. I couldn't say.

The water and beaches get prettier and prettier once past the Mississippi.

Although I am a fan of the offshore route, be warned. The leading edge of squalls along the NW gulf can kick up some tough weather. Pick your windows.






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Old 01-07-2015, 07:33   #28
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Re: Houma to New Orleans, LA- ICW

Fantastic advice and thank you all so much for your input. I am just trying to decide between taking the ICW to NO or looking at bypassing it altogether with the offshore route. I probably wouldn't want to waste fuel to go back up to see it if we didn't go through it anyway. Weather depending and likely deciding all things, understood.

I've traced the route from the opening of Vermillion Bay inland on the ICW and it is something like 120NM total distance. I used the cruising guide online distance plotter. I know that ICW cruising can be a lot of fun, I am just thinking about the days amounts of travel with a lot of commercial traffic. In my mind, it doesn't sound better than making much better time offshore, with a more direct route. I am still deciding what will be best. We still have 2 weeks before we set off and I have to decide. Thanks again!
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