Monday, May 30, 2016

From May 16-18 2016 failed trip

May 18, 2016

We were heading out for a long trip along the northern Gulf of Mexico on our Lagoon 37 TPI catamaran.  But something happened and disappointment set in!  First the weather had been unkind; so, we had put off our leaving for another day.  Then we encountered the problem that actually sent us back ashore.

The day of departure we left from our marina on Pontchartrain Lake (New Orleans).  A grey day but nothing menacing on the horizon.  We passed through the Hwy. 11 bascule bridge, passed under the I-10 bridge, as also under the Hwy. 90 bridge into the Rigolets.  That's about the time we started getting excited:  we could see the railroad bridge that gives us passage to the Gulf of Mexico and adventures to be had.

Our port engine started losing power.  So, Mike got in the water to check whether a line from a crab trap (yeah, have got to keep an eye on crab traps that are all over the waters of south Louisiana) or other had wound itself onto the propeller.  Nope.  Black smoke and other signs ushered us back to our marina, hobbling on one motor.

Mike is presently fixing the mixing elbow and so forth.  Time to reassess what, where, how of boating.  Aventura has given us four years of marvelous adventures, as did Talisman before her, and even Sassy Lady, our first sailboat.  (See archives).

More to come....

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sunday 5-15-16

It's been 1 1/2 yrs. since we last sailed Aventura out into the Gulf of Mexico!  Not by choice.  My beloved mother fell ill and passed away.  Then the estate settlement issues, etc., etc.  A sad time for sure.

But now the sirens are calling.  Mike has installed a new set of solar panels.  We have the foldable bikes, kayaks and snorkeling gear.  Food and beverages in the pantry and a sense of urgency to explore once more the northern Gulf and its many nooks and crannies!

We'll try to reach some part of the western coast of the Florida peninsular this time.  From New Orleans, our home port.  Can we? Six weeks should be enough to work the weather and other variables.  Any number of possible stops from New Orleans heading East.

The Mississippi Barrier Islands:  Cat, Ship, Horn and Petit Bois.
Marinas along the Mississippi coast:  Bay St. Louis, Pass Christian, Long Beach, Gulfport, and Biloxi.

Dauphin Is., Alabama.  Along the Alabama Canal (ICW inland): Wolf River, Ingram Bayou, Big Lagoon.

Palafox Marina, Pensacola, Florida -- a must.

Destin Harbor, Florida Panhandle.  Also:  St. Andrews Bay, Panama City, Port St. Joe, ICW from Port St. Joe to Apalachicola, inland and pristine, and Carrabelle.  That's as far as we've gotten.

Looking towards new horizons on Florida's western coast:  Tarpon Springs, Clearwater, Tampa region.....

Follow us!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

When the wind is right and the mood is right, sailing is fabulous!  Just like last Saturday 10-17-2015.  We left around 1:00 p.m. on our cat, Aventura, a Lagoon 37 TPI with northerly winds between 13-16 kts. and 1-2 ft. waves. Taking a turn to the West once outside of our marina on Lake Pontchartrain, the wind on the beam had us moving along swiftly.  A wonderful experience for our friends and enjoyment for us, too.  It's what makes sailing fun: good friends and good sailing conditions.

Looking for more such days to set off on our Fall trip!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Testing New Kyak

Testing the Kyak

Exciting!  Getting ready for our Fall trip.  This is our first kyak, and we're considering another one -- two people, two kyaks, right?  Given my mother's illness and then passing, we didn't take a Spring trip.  We're ready now, mostly. Northern Gulf Coast, here we come. And the kyak(s) should provide extra exploration options.

Any suggestions whether a second kyak should be seat on top or seat inside?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Spring trips coming up

The last few months have delivered rain and unappealing weather, plus family visits and other issues.  So now we are so looking forward to our Spring trips.
After making Bimini and mainsail cover, Mike tackled the tricky project of the helm seating. Look how great it came out! And, we just had to have a kayak too for added excitement.
Mike and George, our friend and marina neighbor, are headed off for a couple of weeks of guy fun. Then Mike and I will go for a month long cruise along the northern Gulf Coast from our home town of New Orleans. Stay tuned!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

New canvas and solar panels

A new bimini and solar panels proved convenient and made our last trip more comfortable. Our old Bimini was, well, getting too old and visibly worn. Not able to really continue to protect us from sun and rain as it was coming apart.

The solar panels were notably the difference between running the (noisy) engines when anchored and experiencing the peace and quiet of nature surrounding us. What a difference!

Now Mike and his mighty industrial sewing machine have produced a minimalist, easy to use mainsail cover. It elegantly protects the furled sail without too much hassle. 

Check out Aventura's new look! 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

New Marina at Bay St. Louis, MS

When leaving Pontchartrain Lake and the Rigolets, LA, and entering the Gulf of Mexico, the first marina available to our 37 Lagoon, Aventura, is the Bay St. Louis Harbor & Marina, MS.  It's just past the railroad bridge and before the Hwy. 90 bridge.  It's quickly accessible and convenient  All those times when a marina makes more sense, given weather conditions.  Or simply to enjoy a quaint, historic town with plenty restaurants and retail, all within walking distance from your pier.

For us, Bay St. Louis Harbor or Pass Christian Harbor make sense for the first night or last.  In fact, they're just over 5 mi. apart.  Possibly just a bicycle ride apart.  Bay St. Louis Harbor has joined our list of alternatives to the Mississippi Barrier Islands when weather dictates safe harbor.

Always looking out for new opportunities and planning the next trip along the Gulf Coast!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Aventura Eastbound III

Headed Home to New Orleans!

Thu 11/6-Sat 11/8/14

Santa Rosa Yacht & Boat Club (SRYC) was a pleasant surprise.  Nestled on the north side of the Pensacola Beach Bridge, it's easy to ignore in favor of Little Sabine Bay or other anchorages along the Pensacola Beach side of the Santa Rosa Sound. But SRYC is actually a good stopover: attentive staff; very nice bathroom/shower; use of their Club Room with Cable TV; free pump-out and clothes washing; WiFi; and, really close to shopping and eateries.  We biked to groceries and coffee.  One can also cross the street to eateries nearby, or bike to plenty more.  Of course we needed to take advantage of all-of-the-above right at that point in the trip.  So, we did.  The only minus was the layout of the marina in terms of protection from wind and waves.  Not much protection there because there's a low wall separating slips from the open waters.  But no problem.  We were not facing bad weather.  That would come later on.

Sat 11/8-11/14

When we left on the morning of the 8th at around 11:00 a.m. it was dreary and a bit cooler.  The idea of anchoring in Big Lagoon off Pensacola Bay was  the original plan.  However, as we passed a favorite spot, one which Mike calls "The Cut" (because it cuts through to the entrance/exit to the Gulf of Mexico), we saw a large group of boats.  How so many power boats and sailboats crammed into the small body of water at the foot of Fort McCrae was a wonder.  And then we remembered: the Navy Base across the way (part of Pensacola) was putting on an air show!

Change of plans: pick another spot along the Alabama Canal.  We entered Robert's Bayou at 3:15 p.m.  We had long known about it and even entered to explore it with our previous sailboat (a monohull).  But we were hesitant to take Aventura in with its two hulls/keels (20.3 ft. wide beam) in such a narrow passageway that had shoaling on its east side to boot.  Talking to other sailors and reading reviews convinced us that we could enter without grounding if we took it slowly and carefully.  That's what we did with success and, wow, were we happy.  The Bayou had been cleared of old, abandoned boats that used to populate the precious anchorages.  Robert's Bayou is so pretty with its untouched nature throughout and tasteful homes woven in along some of the banks. Anchored in 10 ft. of water.  Position: 30 deg. 19.423' N/87 deg. 32.033'W

Plus there's Pirate's Cove, a legendary, laid back, rustic eatery.  Drinks, food, and views of the Alabama Canal are good.  But it's the characters that frequent the place that make this a must for transient boaters.  We rowed our dinghy over there twice and enjoyed. We also rowed to the Josephine Picnic Area on another bank, and explored other parts of the Bayou.  Lovely, lovely, lovely!

Tue 11/11/14

We left at 9:00 a.m. thinking of going into Dog River, just off Mobile Bay, but weather reports indicated several cold fronts headed south over the next week or so.  We were doing 7.5 kts. along the AL Canal (a strong current in our favor) and passed up Dog River to make it to the Mississippi Barrier Islands.  We knew we had just that one day and night to anchor at one of the islands, and then we'd have to find a marina along the Gulf Coast for a few days, waiting for another good day to make headway toward New Orleans.  We reached Horn Island, MS just in time for the 6:00 p.m. sunset, anchoring on the northeast side of the Island.  Just past what seemed like a convention of pelicans.  Too many to count.  And settled at a spot where we'd feel the least rocking overnight.  Position:  30 deg. 13.707'N/88 deg. 35.355'W

Wed 11/12-15/14

Once again in Pass Christian Yacht Harbor, the first and last port of call on this trip. We hunkered down for a very chilly few days.  Saturday would bring milder temperatures, wind and waves for our trek back to Pontchartrain Lake and New Orleans.

Forget the bike riding.  Bundled up to the nines, we walked to Shaggy's for dinner one night and to Cat Island Coffeehouse one morning.  Otherwise, it was popcorn, our one DVD, reading, chores, and bonding.  Of course bonding; that's one of the sought after prizes of our sailing adventures.  And, yes, some conversation with other sailors.  That can be interesting and often informative.

Sat 11/15/14

Brr!  Cold day but we had to leave by 7:30 a.m. to make it back to Lake Pontchartrain and our New Orleans home port before dark.  We watched the fishermen congregating in certain parts of the Mississippi Sound, the barges that lumbered along in single file in the ICW, took turns at the helm, and tried to stay warm. Hot tea, hot chocolate and hot soup got us through the nine hours it took to get us there.

The discomfort of cold or dashed plans didn't diminish the feelings of satisfaction and pleasure at adding another chapter to our sailing adventures. So, we're already thinking about when and how to embark on the next trip.

Arrivederci!  Hasta luego!  Until the next time! Oh, and remember to double click on the slideshow (any of the slideshows), if you want to see the pictures and in a larger format.