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Old 24-10-2011, 08:35   #16
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Re: Gulf of Mexico Passage

I've always wondered -- do all the oil platforms appear on the NOAA charts (if you download the latest version)?
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Old 24-10-2011, 08:43   #17
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Re: Gulf of Mexico Passage

If you are going to sail the ICW from Texas thru Louisiana could you stop along the rock jetty outside of Orange Texas and see if you can find my sun glasses? The last time I remember having them was when I got hit by a barge there. The point is that you are for the most part safer out to sea then confined to a ditch that is a highway for barges. Platforms don’t move, 800 foot tows do. You can read about my accident with a tow here. A Sad Ending For Our First Sailboat
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Old 24-10-2011, 08:47   #18
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Re: Gulf of Mexico Passage

You can’t count on the platforms being on a chart, nor can you count on them being lit. You can go to Academy Sports and buy night vision. I did and in most instances it works great.
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Old 24-10-2011, 08:55   #19
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Re: Gulf of Mexico Passage

the reason a friend withwho9m i sailed a near year sailed thru ditch instead of out o=in texas waters is because TEXAS has unlit wells and rigs. LOUISIANA doesnt. there have been many sailing the ditch without incident, and with your vhf, accidents are avoidable. get to rigolets and then head out into gulf and dont worry about the rigs that way and ee a lot of wetlands of louisiana in process. one whistle--port passing. 2 whistles, pass on std side of tug n tow. ask on radio if the captain wants you to pass on the 1 or the 2. worked for us in icw in alabama and mississippi...and from teejass, you dont even need to pass thru csx rigolets rail road bridge--just out lake houme into mississippi sound smooth and easy,no rigs involved--just crab traps out of the channel. we did this 6 times, 3 each direction , 2009-2010, and ha no trouble whatsoever. beats dodging unlit rigs in no moon darkness.
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Old 24-10-2011, 11:17   #20
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Re: Gulf of Mexico Passage

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Originally Posted by cd30ketch View Post
If you are going to sail the ICW from Texas thru Louisiana could you stop along the rock jetty outside of Orange Texas and see if you can find my sun glasses? The last time I remember having them was when I got hit by a barge there. The point is that you are for the most part safer out to sea then confined to a ditch that is a highway for barges. Platforms don’t move, 800 foot tows do. You can read about my accident with a tow here. A Sad Ending For Our First Sailboat
Sorry for your loss, barges are a significant threat on the ICW. Their behavior is often inscrutable even for experienced ICW Captains.

The best tool your have is the AIS. You would have been able to see the barges name, and course before the collision.

Once I was boxed in by a barge behind me and the one heading before me seemed to be bouncing from one bank to the other. I didn't see how I was going to get by him, let alone the barge behind me that was taking up most of the channel. Fortunately I was able to reach him on the VHF calling by name, (they rarely answer general hails). And was able to find out what was going on, he asked to pass on 2 as he was fighting wind with a couple of empties. just before impact he steered the other way allowing me and the barge behind me to pass as he temperarly grounded himself.

There was another case a while back where a barge lost control due to heavy rains causing flooding and a flood control dam released a great deal of water in a side channel washing the barges into an oncoming boat.

The barge Captain was held at fault for not anticipating the possibility of a water release after the rain, but no consolation to the guy that lost his boat.

Fortunately these events are rare. Calling barge traffic as soon as you detect them, (keep calling until they answer), and mapping out good passing spots ahead of time, will save you most of the hassle.

I spend alot of time in the ICW on the Texas coast, most of the time even though barge traffic can be heavy, they are courteous, polite, and carefull of small ships. I have only twice in 10 years had to take active avoidance measures to avoid collision, (thats better than Houston road traffic).
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Old 24-10-2011, 11:20   #21
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Re: Gulf of Mexico Passage

put the gal with sexy voice on radio and the tugs n tow captains come to attention. no problems during the year i sailed and cruised the area--but iwasnt in teejass--just louisiana to fla.....

works for bridges also.....
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Old 24-10-2011, 11:54   #22
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Re: Gulf of Mexico Passage

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Originally Posted by capn_billl View Post

I spend alot of time in the ICW on the Texas coast, most of the time even though barge traffic can be heavy, they are courteous, polite, and carefull of small ships. I have only twice in 10 years had to take active avoidance measures to avoid collision, (thats better than Houston road traffic).
We returned to Kemah from Port Aransas after last years Harvest Moon Regatta, on the ICW, and agree that the barge captains are good guys. The ICW can be pretty tight in some places, and it doesn't pay to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Sometimes stuff just happens....

A friend sent me an update a while back on his adventures. He was a funny guy, knew how to fix anything on a boat, and was always willing to help me with problems/projects. He died a couple of months back, from a heart attack while working on someone elses boat. Here's his message -


Gulf ICW Adventure
I have a buddy that sends me and some other friends, his captain's logs via email and Spot Tracker info. So far nothing has gone quite as planned. The winds have been crazy. Cold fronts are still blowing in, followed by a lull and then filling back in just as strong from the southest. After a spanking offshore (ripped sail and running rigging failure), and returning to Port Aransas where they had departed 18 hours earlier, Captain K and crew, licking their wounds, opted to motor up the ICW where it is safe (?).

To set it up, Kevin is Captain, his son is First Mate, and Gomez...a cockatoo, is 2nd Mate (recently demoted due to being under suspicion of sabatage).

Captains Log

Star Date 42111

3:45 AM hit the bunk…hard.

7 AM with the getty up go juice almost done, it’s gonna be a good day!

Walked up the docks and took stock in the changes since the last visit. Scott and Jennie Peabody’s boat SEAKON II is the only familiar thing I see. They are a great couple that loaned me their pickup truck to make supply runs… fed me…etc. I had met them years ago when I spent a whole month here one week. They like to fish for black tip sharks just out side the Matagorda jetties and the last I heard she had caught the and landed the biggest one coming in at over 7 ft. They had a chest freezer plugged in on the pier full of shark steaks. (They gave me 4 Pkg when I left…very tasty)

I walked up to the motel where you have to check in and the new owners wife was just driving down to knock on the boat. She was a very nice lady and after haggling about the cost of tying up for 3 hours we agreed on $20 (started off at the full 50/night).

The new 1st mate woke at 10:30 and hit the shower…forgot to warn him about the path from the docks to the building being a briar patch he should have worn shoes…



11:30: The tweezers are finally put down with all the stickers removed from his dogs, we depart and on our way across Matagorda bay, next stop Freeport. Other than a dredge clearing the shipping channel no push boats seen on the entire bay. (Wind I suspect, with a dash of common sense) Pretty uneventful crossing we started up the upper channel on the chart and at marker G11 we cut across to marker G29 on the lower channel where the upper and lower channels split, shaving about a hour off the time. A bit rough but all in all not bad with these winds.



18:00 With the 1st mate at the helm we go through the Colorado River locks he does very well…he’s getting more comfortable talking on the radio to the push boat captains and bridge operators. We pass Matagorda public marina on our way to Freeport only 38 miles to go…should be there 1 -3 AM or so making warp 4.8 – 5.7

(in hindsight should have stayed there…hindsight is always 20/20!!)



02:00 AM and we see the first bridge into Freeport. A few bumps and grinds with the push boats and these incessant winds but not a big problem all and all. Little did I realize that “THAT” statement would soon be null and void. We see the Brown Water 7 making the rounding of the first bridge west bound and the 1st makes the hail but miss states the bridge as the “Rockport” bridge instead of the “Freeport” bridge but no biggy as he quickly corrected that hail and states we are in fact coming up on the “Freeport” bridge. We are hailed by BW7 stating he has 2 large empties and will see us on the one (port to port) we start edging over to the far starboard side of the ICW when all hell broke loose within about 30 seconds. Further and further these 2 – 40 wide by 300 long by 14 high rusty cans are headed straight towards us and looks like it will hit is about mid-ships. The 1st’s eyes get about the size of 57 Buick hub caps and he does the EXACT right thing. Guns the Perkins warp drive and falls off further to the starboard … and then THUD!…we are now in the mud, 3000 rpm and this monster is still coming at us but it now looks like it will just clip the stern instead of being a slow motion cake knife and sawing the good ship EGZS in half.



The now panicked 2nd mate is mumbling about a unknown abnormality on the sensors and headed our way at warp 8 and for all personal to brace for impact.

As this slow motion demolition derby is taking place, down below he breaks out a fiddle (I didn't even know he had one let alone knew how to play...cool)

and starts screaming Et To Brut’e (sp?) This guy’s come unglued and NOW thinks he's Nero and Caesar!! This is going in his personal file to be sure…what next is the question of the day with him… I understand the tourettes syndrome he suffers from, that was on his application when he hired on and the fact he’s taking his bean-o daily helps with his IBS…but these unexpected outbreaks of completely different personalities at the most inopportune moments is like dealing with that Sybil gal!



The BW7 has made contact and the danforth anchor I “HAD” on the stern railing and my grill fall victim to this behemoth. I grab the radio and call for the BW7 to hold course and under NO circumstances deviate from his course as he has tagged us but is being fended off by the ¾ in bar that the danforths’ flukes are attached to…that and the stainless steel grill and of course the blue cover…which now has 2 VERY large air holes in it. Time seemed to come to a screeching halt and I swear I could have read WAR and PEACE from first contact to the end of this nightmare in my minds eye! Had that Capt. tried to swing her wide the stern would have caught us about the first shroud on the port side and peeled back the skin of my lady to the inner layer of fiberglass and possibly chewed out the back side of the bulk heads from the head on back. (exposing my underwear and socks YIKES!!!) The 1st is looking at me for direction and I tell him to hold fast. The container that BW7 was pushing now has a nice deep scratch the full 300 foot length at about the 7 ft mark. Looking UP to the deck of that barge was surreal. We’re finally free of that finger nails on a chalkboard sound (x’s 1000) and I take stock in the condition of the 1st then EGZS and once I am sure all ten fingers and 11 toes are accounted for I answer the hail from BW7. I have a conversation with him and all and all I tell him no foul on his part as there was no way for him to see the 30+ gust that hit at the wrong time in this. We are fine and will live to sail another day. I take the helm and the 1st goes below to collect his thoughts. (I suspect a change of drawers also)



I am backing EGZS out of the mud with a HUGH assist from the wind we are popped free and headed in the right direction. As we approach the Surfside Bridge I call out for any concerned traffic. A hail back from another push boat and he is headed through the bridge with 1000 feet of empties!! I need to get as far to the side as possible. I acknowledge the hail and make a bee line to an area that has a bit of protection on one side and poke EGZS into the mud hard. He can’t get me here….well the wind had a different idea as it kept trying to blow me out of the mud and back in the channel. I put her in gear and goose it up to about 2000 she tries and tries to go with the wind but she holds tight and this coal train of strung out empties slowly makes it’s way past.



3:15 AM On the other side of this bridge is our ALLY-ALLY-IN-FREE spot!

(Bridge Harbor Marina) Come on …how bout a bit of a break the last 700 yards… pretty please with __________(fill in the blank) on it??

(Personally KY makes a champagne or cinnamon flavored .uh…err ..that’s another blog…DOH...sorry)



Round the bend into the safe zone now we have to pull my girl into one of these concrete slips. Hey…no one around...#1 RULE... so it goes as smooth as 40 yr old Bushmills single malt! We tie up and decide showers are in order. Keith takes the men’s and I take the ladies as there are only 2 here and so what ....it’s 330 AM…what’s the odds huh?



I find myself wondering once I am stepping into the shower if there will be anyone around this area I can maybe borrow a come-a-long from…..why you ask?



I think the only way I am ever going to get this pair of underwear outta my As* is to put on my harness with the tether rings on it…clip myself to the spinnaker pole pad eye on the mast, run one end of it around that big tree just off the docks, clip the other end to what’s left of my drawers sticking outta my As* and have the 1st start winching them free…I'm sure I will reach a solid 240* angle to the mast before this fruit of the loom removal technique is completed and I am able to walk normally again! (Also... it may take a couple hrs.... cause they're in there pretty deep)



Showered and squeaky clean, (almost to the med-rare stage from standing in a steaming hot shower for 20 minutes) I head back to EGZS for a good inspection and “maybe” even a bit of sleep…What do I find? No more damage other than the danforth anchor and the cover for the grill!! WOW…thinking my guardian angles were working overtime a couple hours ago…thank you!



What’s that??..Did someone leave the stereo on? From the sounds drifting out of EGZS it was left on some crappy CW station!!??

OMG.. It’s the 2nd and he’s broken out in his own rendition of (Thank God I'm a) "Country Boy" by John Denver...he's has doubled up the meds as I had asked…he's now on a rocky mountain high I guess...damn he plays a mean fiddle....

Got cakes on the griddle ..life ain’t nothing but a funny funny riddle…. Thank God I’m a ……doh…he’s got me singing to it!!

(I wonder if he knows Devil Goes down to Georgia by Charlie Daniels?)



End Transmission

Capt. K



S/V EGZS
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Old 24-10-2011, 11:56   #23
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Re: Gulf of Mexico Passage

Hey Ralph - that isn't the guy I met when I visited you this summer is it?
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Old 24-10-2011, 12:10   #24
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Re: Gulf of Mexico Passage

Probabably. His name was Kevin. Short, stocky guy with lots of tats. Kept his boat farther down our pier. I'm sure you guys met. It's not the same without him around. Bummer.
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Old 24-10-2011, 12:12   #25
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Re: Gulf of Mexico Passage

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Probabably. His name was Kevin. Short, stocky guy with lots of tats. Kept his boat farther down our pier. I'm sure you guys met. It's not the same without him around. Bummer.
Yeah, I met him. Great guy. Damn that sucks.
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Old 24-10-2011, 13:52   #26
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Re: Gulf of Mexico Passage

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I've always wondered -- do all the oil platforms appear on the NOAA charts (if you download the latest version)?

Not all, my charts say

Notice to Navigation: numerous unmarked, and possibly unlit oil platforms abound in this area.
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Old 24-10-2011, 14:31   #27
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Re: Gulf of Mexico Passage

is what ours said also-- folks i am friends with dont go into gulf via teejass --they go to louisiana and out via bourne lake, then mississippi sound--sed it was a pretty trip. then across to wherever they want to sail ..no rigs in gom from that angle.
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Old 24-10-2011, 15:07   #28
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Re: Gulf of Mexico Passage

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is what ours said also-- folks i am friends with dont go into gulf via teejass --they go to louisiana and out via bourne lake, then mississippi sound--sed it was a pretty trip. then across to wherever they want to sail ..no rigs in gom from that angle.
Just to clarify, do you mean taking the Violet Canal to Lake Borgne? I've been looking at that route, and it appears that the entrance to the lake might only be 5 feet... in other words, tight for some boats. There might be some height issues with a 60 ft powerline also.
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Old 24-10-2011, 15:16   #29
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Re: Gulf of Mexico Passage

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Just to clarify, do you mean taking the Violet Canal to Lake Borgne? I've been looking at that route, and it appears that the entrance to the lake might only be 5 feet... in other words, tight for some boats. There might be some height issues with a 60 ft powerline also.

the channel joins the one we used in the lake and makes a 'y' shape near rigolets csx bridge as it joins the channel we used to cross lake.. not pearl river side, headed east, going west. from rigolets csx bridge just on lake side of bridge. i have seen tugs n tows coming thru there, so it has to be more than 5 ft--more like 9-18 ft, or however deep the commercial traffic channels are dredged....dont know it by any other name than icw...
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Old 24-10-2011, 17:50   #30
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Re: Gulf of Mexico Passage

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the channel joins the one we used in the lake and makes a 'y' shape near rigolets csx bridge as it joins the channel we used to cross lake.. not pearl river side, headed east, going west. from rigolets csx bridge just on lake side of bridge. i have seen tugs n tows coming thru there, so it has to be more than 5 ft--more like 9-18 ft, or however deep the commercial traffic channels are dredged....dont know it by any other name than icw...
Gotcha.... I was looking at far west entrance of the lake, your talking about the main channel to Lake Ponchartrain, and that makes all sorts of sense. What I was looking at just didn't seem right, and it wasn't.
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