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Old 23-07-2015, 15:52   #1
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Galveston Bay to east of Mississippi River

Hello
I would like to here from someone who has who has skippered a sv with a 5+ draft offshore from the Galveston Ship channel to East of the Ms River delta or the opposite. Did you do the near shore, or north of safety fairway, or the fairway, or south of fairway? The direct run is 60 sm shorter than the safety fairway itself. We will have a very experienced crew aboard, radar, ais, fully serviced engine and genet, below deck auto pilot, life raft, sat phone, and a 2008 Hunter 41. Are all of the rigs lit up? We want to do this in October with a west or south west wind a a perfect 4 day forecast. This safety fairway would have us at some point 100 + miles offshore! If you Have experience in the La gulf coast I would love hearing about it. Thanks
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Old 23-07-2015, 16:51   #2
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Re: Galveston Bay to east of Mississippi River

We did the reverse trip when we brought our boat across from Florida to Kemah. We had a very experienced skipper with us for the trip and the original plan was to come in closer for a straighter shot, but we opted to bounce back out to the fairway. Our boat doesn't have radar or AIS and the rigs and ship traffic was a bit too much for a comfortable sail. Once we have radar and AIS, I'd be open to trying the close in route again but not having to dodge rigs in the fairway was pretty nice.
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Old 23-07-2015, 16:59   #3
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Re: Galveston Bay to east of Mississippi River

Take a real close look at a chart.....especially south of Louisiana....those are not "rigs" 90+% of them are platforms or single wellheads. Some of them a lighted and have sound signals, some are not. Combine the sheer number of structures with the number of support vessels and it's not a relaxing trip at all. I'd take the offshore route every time.


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Old 23-07-2015, 17:35   #4
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Re: Galveston Bay to east of Mississippi River

I would go offshore, at night there are quite a few unlit, no horn obstacles and trafic to and from is 24/7. I am heading out in Oct, and am very tempted to just take the ICW during the day. Take our time and stop and smell the roses as it where. Go up to Avery Island (on the tender) stop in New Orleans for a few. I am not sure my crew is ready for a big Gulf Crossing yet... Respect the Gulf. It gets nasty in a hurry and being a smaller body of water (comparably) the actionis close together making it very bumpy.
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Old 24-07-2015, 09:30   #5
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Re: Galveston Bay to east of Mississippi River

The Gulf is nasty with waves coming from several directions, hardly ever any typical ocean swells, making for a rough ride

Lots of boat traffic, ships and oil rig vessels and as stated many platforms, flare stacks etc unlit.

It is not a nice voyage. Take the intercostal is my recommendation especially in October when you could get some nasty frontal activity.

Many years ago I got caught in a late October frontal passage while just South of the delta. 60+ knot winds and huge seas, lots of lighting and got struck once Not fun at all.
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Old 24-07-2015, 09:53   #6
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Re: Galveston Bay to east of Mississippi River

We have done it offshore, GICW and my favorite, going the long way around by staying in 40 to 60 feet of water and only sailing during the day. I am almost single-handling with a passenger. That way we both slept every night and had regular meals together.
The number of platforms is unbelievable. So stay out of water less than 1000 feet deep to avoid most oil field activity. Notice I said most. not all!
I really don't like driving in the ICW. It really is like driving. I sure do like the autopilot steering most of the time. With a big crew I would go wide and run to the goal line.
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Old 24-07-2015, 09:55   #7
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Re: Galveston Bay to east of Mississippi River

We transited between the outlet of Tiger Pass and Galveston last October using a straight line over 48 hours. There are a lot of rigs, but we had a full moon all night so they were easy to see. We took them one at a time and kept a sharp lookout. It was not relaxing, but we managed the risk. We are headed back the other way next month and we will probably take the same route and plan more time so we can heave to during dark hours.
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Old 24-07-2015, 11:30   #8
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Re: Galveston Bay to east of Mississippi River

I've done the ICW in both directions and highly recommend it over the oil well route. I studied the oil well route a bunch and got more negative input than the ICW. If you have time the ICW has a lot of things to stop and smell.
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Old 24-07-2015, 11:53   #9
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Re: Galveston Bay to east of Mississippi River

Yellow is right, I have made the trip several times each way. 30-40 miles gets you clear of shallow water rigs and most fishing boats, and keeps you close enough to ports like Grand isle, if you hear a weather report that worries you. I have seen unlighted and abandoned single pipes along the TX and LA coasts, but if you're watching, they are easy to avoid. The active rigs are eager to be seen and avoided, so the glow from many lights is visible over the horizon.
Staying clear of fairways as possible also keeps you away from the big boys.
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Old 24-07-2015, 12:15   #10
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Re: Galveston Bay to east of Mississippi River

I just completed the same trip 2.5 weeks ago. We went offshore (see attached Spot track). We left Galveston Yacht Basin around 23:30 Thursday and were pulling into St. Andrews Bay (PCB, FL) 21:00 Monday (less than 4 days). The currrents helped us a lot more than they hurt us. The winds were good for the first 20 hours and then they got fickle so we motored quite a bit. As a result we stopped in Port Eads, LA for diesel and ice; a nice stop at a fancy fish camp just a few miles out of the way via the South Pass of the Mississippi. That stop added about 4 hours to the trip

I have done the Harvest Moon race a few times before (west from Galveston to Port Aransas/Corpus Christi) where you stay close to shore and therefore encounter many more wellheads, a few unlit and without horns. In comparison we encountered few rigs on our trip east; none were unlit or without a horn; all were quite large. It would have been different if we hugged the coast.

As we approached and rounded the SW Mississippi pass (in the middle of the night) there was quite a bit of ship and barge traffic but nothing too serious. I guess I'd say it was similar to the shipping traffic in/out of Galveston. We were only a few miles off at the SW pass and as we got into shallower water the swells shortened into steep waves and made for an uncomfortable few hours. Next time I would stay farther out. Crossing the shipping lanes at the SW pass was no big deal but it was 02:00 so perhaps traffic was slow. In general, I was surprised how few boats servicing the rigs we saw.

There were hundreds if not thousands of rigs (many lit and I am sure many unlit) that are near shore in LA between the SW pass and the South pass. But we were no where near them and they are well marked on the charts as a mass of rigs. The hundreds of lights actually messed with us big time as we came around the SW pass until we figured out what the lights represented. But once again, we were not remotely close to anything in shallow water.

The trip was excellent. Very glad I went offshore (had 2 crew with me) and not via GICW. I have radar (worked well for storms and rigs) but we could have done without it given the clear weather. I don't have AIS (yet). The only issues were the very large t-storms we encountered (including three water spouts one of which was way too close and required evasive maneuvers). The t-storms quickly created 6 - 10' waves with very short frequency that were more than a little scary. The 8 - 10' waves were thankfully more rogue than regular but for a few hours Sunday evening it wasn't a lot of fun. Wind hit 34 knots in the storms. Lesson: the Gulf turns nasty fast.

Lucky for us, things mellowed out well before dawn Monday morning. We sailed well (including a great aymm run) early Monday and motored when the wind died late Monday afternoon. The water was beautiful. It was an epic trip and I was quite pleased with boat and crew. We caught tuna west of the delta including a nice yellow fin that busted my rod so we could not fish in the really great deep water east of the delta on our way to FL. The other two things that broke were my fridg and my pinky finger. And the finger issue happened in Clear Lake, TX before we technically left on the trip.
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Old 24-07-2015, 12:27   #11
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Re: Galveston Bay to east of Mississippi River

While it's true that the NW GOM can be a rough ride, I still prefer the offshore route.




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Old 24-07-2015, 12:34   #12
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Re: Galveston Bay to east of Mississippi River

Scott,

The fish in the picture, while it does have yellow fins, is a jack crevalle. Did you eat it? Curious how it tasted if you did. They fight like the devil.
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Old 24-07-2015, 13:38   #13
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Re: Galveston Bay to east of Mississippi River

Passing an unlit 4ft by 20ft high pipe on a dark night will bring you to your feet fast !!
Also know the light combination of a tug towing because they normaly tow when offshore imagine the confusion of what you think is a tug leaving a rig then realize the rig is following on a realy long cable
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Old 24-07-2015, 14:17   #14
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Re: Galveston Bay to east of Mississippi River

Quote:
Originally Posted by sartorst View Post
Passing an unlit 4ft by 20ft high pipe on a dark night will bring you to your feet fast !!
Also know the light combination of a tug towing because they normaly tow when offshore imagine the confusion of what you think is a tug leaving a rig then realize the rig is following on a realy long cable

Not a good idea to go between platforms either. They often have walking bridges between.


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Old 24-07-2015, 14:18   #15
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Re: Galveston Bay to east of Mississippi River

Radar is ur friend.


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