You are absolutely right Bill and we will be putting emphasis on more of the boating
aspects of doing things as we move forward. I was in way above my head
for many of the days that we cruised from Texas
and it was hard to get a lot of footage. We are still on the move and I'm sure our videos will get better. Here is some more info about the ICW trip.
ICW was uneventful and free of much traffic. Crossing Galveston Bay was busy with commercial
traffic. We maintained a steady speed though the first 180 miles of about 25 knots. There were areas that required a slow down but not many. Commercial
traffic wouldn't answer the radio
and we found ourselves just steering
clear of the barge traffic. We opted to go to Lake Charles and it was an easy trip up. Not much traffic but the ships were huge. We stayed at Contraband Bayou and I highly recommend it.
Lake Charles to Intercostal was desolate. There were a few locks to go through and a pontoon bridge that had to move out of our way. It was easy to raise them on the radio
. Intercostal had the cheapest gas on the ICW and there was no town at all. We tied up on the city dock
to wait for fuel
the next day because there was a death in the fuel dock's family. I always recommend calling ahead to ensure that the fuel places are open or selling. We found many that were listed in the Waterway guide or GPS
that were closed. Some of the side trips took time off our travel and lead us to sketchy areas. Sabine Lake was one I'll never forget.
Intercostal to Houma was uneventful. Not too much traffic. The ICW got really beautiful after we passed Morgan
City. No gas in Houma FYI. We stayed at the Municipal marina and that was our favorite. There are 2 slips with full hookups right next to the city park. Easy to walk into town. Nice people and great food
Houma to New Orleans
was a full day and there was more traffic approaching NOLA. Lots of slowdowns and many people who lived along the ICW, in contrast to the previous few days. Harvey lock was easier than I thought. It took about 30 minutes to hold in place while we waited for an opening. You have to call River traffic and advise you are entering the Mississippi
to head down to the Industrial lock. It was about 10 miles down. We had to tie up and wait 3 hours to get through Industrial. I heard some of the other captains asking for status every 30 minutes or so and I did the same so they wouldn't forget us. We stayed at Seabrook Marina and it was nice. They had a loaner truck that we used several times and nice facilities. We enjoyed NOLA and stayed for a few days.
NOLA to Gulf Shores was easy and a nice ride. No traffic to speak of and we stayed in the bay. We liked Gulf Shores and stayed a few nights.
We had weather
crossing the bay to get back in the ICW through Alabama
. 3-5 seas for an hour but the ICW was sheltered. We saw dolphins
and bald eagles. Not too much slow down or traffic. Florida
was a happy sight. We made it into Ft. Walton Beach that night. Lots of marinas here but many were full. We stayed at a nasty marina and we were happy to leave.
We had a long ride the next day to Apalachicola. This was probably my favorite part of our journey and the ICW was gorgeous! The water
is the color of coffee. The ICW was tight but not many people. We made good time. We stayed for 4 days enjoying the town and waiting out some weather
that was in the gulf. I used a phone
ap called wind
finder to see the sea conditions in addition to looking at NOAA updates.
We thought we were going to cross to Clearwater, which was 165 miles but the seas were too rough so we tucked into Clarabelle. It looks cute but there are a bunch of weird locals that made our stay uncomfortable. I worried about theft of our property and they used the dock after hours, drinking beer
and making a lot of ruckus. We attempted the crossing the next day.
It was clear and NOAA reported 1-3 with 5 second intervals in the Gulf. No wind
to speak of, just the way you would want it. We got out there and it was 3-5 with some 7's, cross bow. It made for an unhappy trip for my kids and wife who got sea sick. I turned East and South after about 45 miles because it was too rough for them. The boat could handle it. We made it into Suwannee River but had to wait for tide to rise because the depth
was too low. We went in the south way, in the river channel. FYI the north way is probably better but depth
was always a concern. We were 12 miles off of the shore- couldn't see land sometimes but the depth was about 10 in many places. Anyway, we made it in and it was a nice place. We walked to dinner and got some beer
at the most expensive store in the world.
We made it into Clearwater the next day and it was an easy trip offshore
. We stayed at the City Marina, which was nice but it cost us about $4 per foot to stay as a transient. We walked everywhere and the store was about 3 miles away- after we crossed the river in our dinghy
. There was a dock available.
We made it into Marco the next day and it was so hot- we didn't leave the inside of the boat once we docked. Happy to leave the next day.
Marco to Taviner, FL was fun but again the depth was a concern. This was a 110 mile day. Beautiful country. I found the ICW on the bayside and we made it into the marina. We stayed at Mangrove Marina for a night and it was a dump. Not recommended. We changed to Plantation Yacht Harbor and took a monthly slip. I think we pay $22 per foot for the month. Great place! Gas is about $4 per gallon. There is no store in walking distance but we have our car, so it's not a problem.
I have each day broken down on our blog- different places we stayed, costs of dockage, gas, etc. Our blog is much more specific on the boating
aspects of our trip. We have a lot of pictures, etc. Our blog is down for another couple days for re-design but you may want to check it out for reference.
We are in Islamorada, FL now and we are making a lot of repairs
, improvements, etc. We plan to leave in December to Havana. We've taken our boat to a few of the nice reefs
and different spots around here for several days and there is info, pictures, etc. about our outings.
I hope this helps. Feel free to ask me anything about specifics.