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Old 27-05-2016, 20:38   #1
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ICW from Rockport, TX to Galveston/Kemah, TX?

Hi all,

In the process of purchasing an Islander 30'. Will be bringing it home to Kemah via the ICW. My father (Expert level sailor) and I (novice) will be on this adventure together. While he has 50+ years of experience, it is mostly in the Chesapeake Bay and east coast. This will be his first time sailing in the gulf region.

Planning to take 3 days for the trip. Purchased Bob's Cruising Guide, but having a hard time figuring out where we will be able to anchor out for the night without going 20 miles inland to a marina each time.

Any advice for how to break up the trip? Stopping points? High traffic times of day? TIA.
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Old 27-05-2016, 23:19   #2
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ICW from Rockport, TX to Galveston/Kemah, TX?

Take the icw to Port O'Connor or Matagorda if you want to do the icw. You can go outside at Port O'Connor if you like. Back tracking from Rockport to Port Aransas is probably counter productive.

From Matagorda, you can make clear lake in a day on the icw. Check locks on rivers before you go. If you go outside at Matagorda Inlet (not to be confused with Matagorda) from Port Oconner, it's hard to make Galveston inlet in a day. Probably have to stay outside at night, or go in at Freeport.

There are marinas in the icw at Port O'Connor, Matagorda, and Freeport. Port O'Connor is at the Sanctuary. If you stay in Matagorda, and they are open ,eat at spoonbills. They will pick you up. It's worth it.


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Old 28-05-2016, 02:29   #3
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Re: ICW from Rockport, TX to Galveston/Kemah, TX?

Port O'Connor can be busy.
Galveston area is always busy.
Houston Ship Channel,Galveston Channel,ICW, and Texas City Channel all converge at Galveston. Also commercial traffic monitors different channels depending on which side of the Galveston Causeway Bridge they are on. SW of bridge CH16, NE of bridge CH13, If I remember correctly.
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Old 28-05-2016, 05:54   #4
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Re: ICW from Rockport, TX to Galveston/Kemah, TX?

This is a great app
https://activecaptain.com/
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Old 28-05-2016, 09:06   #5
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Re: ICW from Rockport, TX to Galveston/Kemah, TX?

We've made the Corpus Christi to Kemah trip a couple of times, but we've always gone outside in the GOM. If you plan it right and the winds cooperate, you can sail overnight and do it in two days and one night.
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Old 28-05-2016, 09:41   #6
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Re: ICW from Rockport, TX to Galveston/Kemah, TX?

Why arrive tired. Stay with the Ditch and get a good nights sleep every night. Its a new boat to you. Breakdowns offshore can be very stressful.
Make sure you have a clean prop.
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Old 28-05-2016, 10:53   #7
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Re: ICW from Rockport, TX to Galveston/Kemah, TX?

I've done that trip several times.

Day one - Rockport to Sanctuary (46 statute miles). Pull in right off the ICW, at mile 480, and tie up at the marina. $1.00/ft. on the honor system. There is a drop box by the restrooms. Very nice facilities, including clean, fancy restrooms/showers.

Day two - Sanctuary to Matagorda Harbor Marina. (42 miles). Again, just off the ICW, so easy in and out at mile 440. Again, nice marina with floating docks. $1.00/ft. There are showers, and a restaurant close by. Nice dockmaster too.
Note that you will need to lock through the east and west Colorado River Locks. Call ahead on ch. 13, state your intentions and listen for tow traffic. Current can be swift here. You can call ahead to check on lock status at (979-863-2318 or 7842 after hours).

Day three - Matagorda to San Bernard River anchorage. (36 miles). There is an anchorage downstream, about a half-mile. I didn't like the looks of it, so went upstream (at mile 405) and anchored at the oxbow. Beautiful anchorage.

Day four - San Bernard River to Galveston. (44.2 miles). The first thing to consider is what is happening at the Brazos River Flood Gates. The current can be VERY strong here, especially if the has been serious rainfall recently. We barely squeaked through our first trip south. Current was near 5 knots. It was easy the next trip with current being hardly noticeable. Call 979-233-1251 for latest conditions. Watch for debris in the water!

This is what we did, but you can probably do it in 3 days if you want to push and have the speed for it. Good luck and be careful.

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Old 30-05-2016, 15:17   #8
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Re: ICW from Rockport, TX to Galveston/Kemah, TX?

Have done this trip many times. Several where we got an early start and made it to matagorda marina by dark, and then second day arriving in kemah around 10 pm. That schedule gets you past pelican cut in the light, and then the ship channel run to kemah is very wide and doable in the dark.

A more leisurely pace is early rockport departure, making it to matagorda. Then on to report next day, staying at muni or other marina, and then kemah the next day.

With all of the bad weather I would not anchor in any rivers. As a matter of fact, you probably want to check on the Brazos and Colorado gate status as they can be closed for long periods die to flooding river. And there are not a lot of places to anchor off the icw.
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Old 30-05-2016, 17:23   #9
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Re: ICW from Rockport, TX to Galveston/Kemah, TX?

Oops, that should have read Freeport the second day.
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Old 31-05-2016, 09:53   #10
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Re: ICW from Rockport, TX to Galveston/Kemah, TX?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nneico View Post
Hi all,

In the process of purchasing an Islander 30'. Will be bringing it home to Kemah via the ICW.
<snip>
Planning to take 3 days for the trip. Purchased Bob's Cruising Guide, but having a hard time figuring out where we will be able to anchor out for the night without going 20 miles inland to a marina each time.

<snip>
Hey Nneico, hope your trip goes well.. I am planning on going the opposite way, going from Kemah (Watergate Yacht Center) to Port Aransas at the end of the June to bring home my new (to me) Hunter 26.5..

Though I am going the opposite way you are, I have a question which would apply for us both.. For those who have done the trip (in either direction) any bridges we have to worry about fitting under?? I wouldn't expect there would be any, but just want to check with those more knowledgeable souls.. Thanks in advance..

flk k
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Old 31-05-2016, 10:07   #11
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Re: ICW from Rockport, TX to Galveston/Kemah, TX?

All fixed bridges are 73'. There is a RR bridge at Galveston, mile 357.2 (open unless a train is coming). Also, you need to open the swing bridge at Caney Creek, mile 418.

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Old 31-05-2016, 10:21   #12
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Re: ICW from Rockport, TX to Galveston/Kemah, TX?

On the Texas ICW there is a swing bridge at Sargents Beach(Only one left in Texas I believe). All bridges From Clear Lake to Port A have Plenty of room(73ft ).
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Old 31-05-2016, 13:17   #13
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Re: ICW from Rockport, TX to Galveston/Kemah, TX?

There is also a bridge at seabrook/kemah. It might be 68 or 70 ft. It came in a bit below design. We have height of 54 ft so no issues anywhere. Galveston railroad bridge will be lowered if train coming. And then the mentioned swing bridge.

With all of the rain, I would be more concerned about the Brazos and Colorado river crossings, and gate closures due to high river.
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Old 31-05-2016, 13:30   #14
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Re: ICW from Rockport, TX to Galveston/Kemah, TX?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nneico View Post
Hi all

Planning to take 3 days for the trip. Purchased Bob's Cruising Guide, but having a hard time figuring out where we will be able to anchor out for the night without going 20 miles inland to a marina each time.

Any advice for how to break up the trip? Stopping points? High traffic times of day? TIA.
First off, if the cruising guide says the marina s are 20 miles off the icw, you got the wrong guide. Matagorda marina and the sanctuary marina entries are right on the icw. Freeport muni marina is probably four miles up the river - a little less than an hour motor. There is also another older marina in freeport right on the icw.

Anchor spots on this section of icw are very few. Or you deal with flooding rivers. It's mostly a freakin ditch, and you will be kept busy dealing with barge traffic. Do you want to anchor on barge traffic?

Last I remembered the matagorda, sanctuary and freeport marinas were around $1 per foot. Why do you want to risk being hit by a barge at anchor? Check into a marina. Run your AC at night. Don't deal with mosquito's.
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Old 06-06-2016, 20:01   #15
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Re: ICW from Rockport, TX to Galveston/Kemah, TX?

Keep your radio on CH16. Listen to the commercial traffic. Get your whistles straight. Barge pushers real professional bunch. One even made a wake for me once so I could power off a mud bank.
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