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Sailing The Gulf

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Port Aransas, United States

We are back!!! This blog has not worked as well as I had hoped. I thought I would have better internet connections along the coastal cities. Patrick and Laura made it to Pensacola on Saturday right on schedule. We departed Sunday 7/12/2009 at 7:30 Am and arrived at the Port Aransas Jetties on 7/16/2009 at 3:30PM. We traveled a total of 1600 miles on this journey. The winds have been less than cooperative and cut the engins for maybe a total of 12 hours the whole trip. The Gulf was a beautiful blue almost glassy at times. The winds where out of the West, due to a stalled pressure system. Guess which way we where sailing? WEST!! We just kept motoring. Tacking with the wind didn't help, because there wasn't enough to sail with. Winds were light at 5 to 7 mph. We were able to maintain a 5.5 knot average heading. Dodging shrimp boats and oil/gas platforms at night was our biggest challenge. This go around the shrimp boats in Louisiana where not as bad, but Galveston was a ZOOOOOO!!!! We traveled 150 to 200 miles off shore and those guys are thick at night. It is very difficult to see which direction they are going and this was the night the wind finally picked up in our favor. Dodging those clowns was stressful!!! It was a good thing we were able to cut the engins off for a few hours, as we were running low on fuel. Our tanks hold about 180 gallons of diesel and we entered the jetties with about 5 left. We were also running short of water as the watermaker part never arrived in Pensacola. The last hall was 5 days and 4 nights. I have decided I am only good for about 3 days and 2 nights!!!!
It was nice to spend time with Patrick. He has grown so much in the past year and a half. He was a huge help! He plotted our course on the charts several times a day and made sure we were on the right heading to come come. He held his 2 hour shifts at night and allowed others to get some shut eye. Trolling 2 fishing lines off the boat proved to be alot of fun. Each time the reel would spin, so would the calamity! We would all jump up, Patrick or Clark would run for the reel and start fighting the catch, the other would bring in the the other reel so we didn't back over the line and wrap it in the propellar. Laura or I would put the boat in neutral and turn up into the wind while the other manned the camera. We caught 3 Kingfish, 2 Bonita, a Jackfish, and a White Marlin, the one that got away. The marlin was so much fun to watch sail out of the water. He faught hard and as we got him close he swam under the boat and the propellar cut the line. We were sailing at about 5.5 knots in 500 feet of water for this show.
Having Patrick around was a nice reconnect for us all. When we get home we have to start getting him ready to move to Texas A&M College Station, I'm gonna miss him (just a little, LOL)!
Having Laura on board was great as well. She also held 2 hour shift at night and was a huge help in the galley. We all took turn with meals and clean up.
When we arrived at Ingelside By The Bay, we found the tides to be unusally low and we were unable to come up the channel to our dock. We turned around and spent the night in Ingelside Cove. We grilled steaks and watched movies, WOW so relaxing!! Friday morning we where able to get the boat to the dock around 7:00 AM. Now the cleanup begins.
What a journey!! Our next cruise will be the Veracruz, Mexico Sailboat Race in June 2010.

permalink written by  mhaleyrn on July 18, 2009 from Port Aransas, United States
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Day 14

Pensacola, United States

The sail from Destin was long @7 hours. On the way we saw an Osprey Airplane with its front propellers that raise up and allow it to land sort of like a helicopter. We also saw some kind of a Manta ray or spotted ray jump 3 times straight out of the water and spin like a top. It ot some serious air as it propelled out of the water. We had a pod of @25 dolphin surf with the boat for about 20 minutes. They were playful and amazing to watch. The current coming in the jetties was strong. we were doing 8 knots by motor, but SOG (speed over ground was only 4.5. We arrived at Pensacola Beach last night @8 PM. We set anchor and had dinner. We invited Tom and Karen of "SeaEsta", a 40' Noresman Catamaran over for drinks. We met them in Destin Harbor and they are the ones who incouraged us to come to this area. We just finished watching the Blue Angels Air SHow. WOW!!!! It was spectacular!!! There are so many boats here and people in the water. Earlier this AM we went to shore and rented a bubble car to check out the area. Nothing but T-shirt shops and hotels. There is a nightlife on the Boardwalk, we heard music into the early morning. We will spend the night here and work our way to Pensacola Yacht Club in the AM. Its time to clean things up and provision the boat as my son Patrick and Sister-in-law Laura are flying in to help us sail back home.

permalink written by  mhaleyrn on July 10, 2009 from Pensacola, United States
from the travel blog: Sailing The Gulf
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Day 12 or 13?

Destin, United States

OMG!! My internet connection stinks! Sorry Ive had a hard time getting a connection today. We ar currently in Destin, Florida. LAT 30 23 LONG 086 30. We are on night 2 day 3, not because we like it a lot here, but because we are waiting on a generator part. We arrived yesterday in Destin around 3:00 PM It was a choppy ride with 3 to 4 foot seas and 10 to 15 mph winds. We were able to maintain about 6.5 knots on the 5 hour sail from Pensacola. We ordered a part for the generator which arrived, but we found it was the wrong part. Winds were not in our favor, so we decided to order another part next day air and wait for it. The part arrived this AM, we were excited to get moving, but as we tried to turn on the main engines we found that their batteries were out of juice. Clark is off to buy new batteries while I wait in the A/C. This place is beautiful, and if you like to fish its the place to be. In the AM the harbor rumbles with the sound of charter boats getting geared up and ready to head out to the Gulf. Where we are anchored there are few boats so we are what the tourist rentals come out to see. All day long it is a constant flow of parasail, glass bottom, snorkel, dolfin watch, pontoon boats, and jetskis. This is rental world here!!!! Also, many of you have been concerned about pirates. We did see some. They are a lot easier to spot than you might think. The Blue Angels are stationed near here and paractice everyday. Tomorrow and Saturday there is a Blue Angels show, so we are headed to Pensacola to jockey a good place to anchor and watch the show.

permalink written by  mhaleyrn on July 8, 2009 from Destin, United States
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Day 12?

Fort Walton Beach, United States

I think its day 12?? We headed out of Pensacola yesterday morning, but there where to many rain squalls. We tucked into a cute cove and spent the day just hanging out and exploring the island next to us. We are currently sailing up the coast and passing Fort Walton Beach. We are on our way to Destin, Fl.(about a 6 hour sail). The generator broke again so we are ordering a part. Once again very little wind and calm seas, so we are motorsailing. The water is dark blue and beautiful. We are in @55' of water, the skies are grey and squalls are all around, though none have come close to us. I took a picture of a water tower in Pensacola, every time I looked it reminded me of a Charms Blowpop. I sure wish I had one of those right now!! Clark has been busy workationing down below in the main cabin. Somebody has to pay for all this fun!!

permalink written by  mhaleyrn on July 7, 2009 from Fort Walton Beach, United States
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Day 9

Pensacola, United States

We made it!! We cleared the jetties at 6:48 this AM. About 15 hours out we had engines full speed ahead as we out ran a rain squall. Still no wind and pushed on. Then it happened, the end of my midnight to 2 AM shift around 1:45AM the wind came barreling at our back @22mlh. A storm was pushing us in at @7.5 knots. Can you believe it, we finally got wind after 4 days and 3 night of motorsailing. We dropped anchor at Spanish Point, a beautiful cove with the whitest sand beach and crystal blue water. Then we ate quickly and went to bed. We where tired! It's 11:45 AM and we are going to check out our surroundings. Our current location is Lat 30 19.205N, Long 087 20.011W.

permalink written by  mhaleyrn on July 5, 2009 from Pensacola, United States
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Day 6,7, & 8

Empire, United States

This is the closest city this site will let me use. If I had to do it again, I would not use Blogabond. Our current Lat/Long is LAT 29 12, LONG 088 46. We have spent 3 days and 2 nights on the water. It is hotter than HELL!!!! The water temperature is 84 degrees and you can feel the heat from the water around the boat. We have had little wind, maybe 5 knots and 0.5 to 1.0 foot seas (almost glassy). One or both engines have been running at all times to keep us at 5.5 to 6 knots. We work the nights in shifts. I get 8pm to 10 pm, Midnight to 2 AM, and 4 Am to 6 AM, Clark takes the other times and we share the days. Dolphin played on the bow one day, we caught a king fish while trolling a green and yellow squid, one lone crab floated by, and I saw the biggest trurtle in the world (he was camera shy)!!! We passed by an abandoned lighthouse off the La. coast and currently we are in the "Dead Zone", no marine life due to the Mississippi River flowing fresh water into the gulf. The water went from blue and clear to briny/brown the closer we got to the Mississippi. We expect to reach the Pensacola jetties tomorrow around 12:00 Noon. It has been so hot!! Clark finnally got the generator working last night and we had A/C to sleep in, it felt so good! The nights around La. produce shrimp boats like fleas, you have to be alert at night and have a sound radar for guidance. I am having a great time despite the slow go and heat.

permalink written by  mhaleyrn on July 4, 2009 from Empire, United States
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Day 4

Seabrook, United States

We are still in Seabrook waiting on the new batteries to arrive. Jimmy arrived safely in San Antonio last night. My sister-in-law Laura picked him up at the airport. We awoke this morning and found it lonely without his presence. Hi Jimmy, we miss you!! I will catch up with the laundry and restock the galley, as we are tossing around the idea of heading straight to Pensacola, FL, ETA 3 days 6 hours offshore at 6 knots. We plan to leave tomorrow at 9:00 AM, so if you don't hear from me thats why! My sister's Lana and Leigh Ann and Lana's husband Bruce came over for drinks and a boat tour we all went to dinner at Baily's in Seabrook for a fantastic food. Great times!!

permalink written by  mhaleyrn on July 1, 2009 from Seabrook, United States
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Day 5

Kemah, United States

We just finished a great dinner sail with Leigh Ann, Lana, and Bruce. The new batteries arrived this afternoon and have been installed and all electrical systems seem to be working. We have decided to set sail in the morning for Pensacola, FL. We expect it will take @ 3 to 4 days. Therefore, I will not have any entries for several days. Keep watching and I will catch you up.

permalink written by  mhaleyrn on July 1, 2009 from Kemah, United States
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Day 2 and 3

Seabrook, United States

What a day and night at sea!!! We awoke in Army Hole only to discover that our weak batteries where weaker than we thought, as in non-existant! Thank goodness our cabin batteries and engin batteries are different. We traveled to Port O'Connor, fueled up and headed for the Gulf. We left the jetties at 9:00AM and headed about 10 Miles offshore. Winds where light about 10 to 12 mph. We ran our Port (left) engine the whole trip to keep the cabin batteries charged. We had only enough juice to run the navigation lights and instruments. The anchor and sails had to be put out and in manually. We cruised at an average of 6 knots and arrived in Kemha/Seabrook at 6:30 AM today. We sailed the boat in 2 hour shifts. I would sail 2 hours and get 4 off to sleep and do whatever. We did not have a transient slip lined up, so we puttered around Clear Lake until 8:00AM, made some calls and ended up in a slip with power at Seabrook Shipyard. Our current coordinates are LAT 29 33 LONG 95 01. My sister Lana lives close by and loaned us a car, we went to West Marine for our first trip of the day. West Marine is the Home Depot/Lowes for boaters. We had a terrific lunch at Joe Lee's and are headed to the airport to send Jimmy home. He has been such a help and full of knowledge and experience to share with us, he will be missed!!!!

permalink written by  mhaleyrn on June 30, 2009 from Seabrook, United States
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Matagorda Island State Park

Port Aransas, United States

One thing about this web site is, if it doesnt recognize the city you are in, it won't let you list it. We are acctually near Port O'Connor. What a day!! Just livin the dream!! Today we motor-sailed up the Intercoastal Waterway to Matagorda Island. Winds where light at 12 mph, with an average speed of 5.5 knots. There where lots of dolphin playing around the boat and several tugs pushing cargo. We had to stay alert. Currently we are anchored at Army Hole. Once an army base, now it is owned by Texas Parks and Wildlife and is a State Park. You can only travel here by water. Our coordinates are LAT 28 20, Long 96 27.

permalink written by  mhaleyrn on June 28, 2009 from Port Aransas, United States
from the travel blog: Sailing The Gulf
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