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Old 01-12-2016, 03:27 PM   #1
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Anyone Done Galveston to Mobile (outside)

We are in Clear Lake for the winter and will be leaving in Late February or early March to return to Florida. We came the GICW but would rather make day hops on the outside if it is possible. 50 to 70 mile days. Has anyone here actually done this? I know there are oil rigs and barges and ships.

Let me be a little more specific about what I mean as day hops. I am not looking for a marina or other facilities at the end of the day. We are totally self sufficient in that we have a watermaker, solar, wind generator, ability to pump over board, and carry more than enough fuel and food for the trip. All we require is a safe place to anchor when it gets dark. I don't want to run at night in this area.

If you have done this or even part of it offshore please tell me your experience.

Thanks
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Old 01-12-2016, 06:06 PM   #2
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We've done it in the other direction in our sailboat. Use the Fairways and it's not a problem.
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Old 01-13-2016, 09:29 AM   #3
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You can not do day hops by using the safety fairways if you use the fairways you are committed to a likely three day offshore passage at 6 knots.

You CAN run along the coast in short hops anchoring offshore in waters of 20-30' in fair weather. You will see lots of shrimp boats anchored out at night too. Be careful choosing anchorages though because the Gulf is littered with buried and unburied pipelines everywhere, mostly unmarked.

You can also drop in to protected waters at the mouths of rivers and bays. Sabine, Calcasieu, Atchafalaya rivers, Vermillion, Terribonne and Barataria bays. Once near the mouth of the Mississippi River you can cut in at Tiger Pass, come in to Venice, cross the river at Pass a Loutre then up behind the protection of the Chandelieur Islands to Gulfport and on to Mobile along the Mississippi Sound. Navigation aids can be spotty in the bay's.

You are in the territory of sport fishermen who make day trips out to the rigs daily without issue. But they are not doing 6 knots though. I am going to make that same trip you are thinking of at the end of March myself. I will be on my boat this week through end of next if you would like to visit to discuss.
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Old 01-13-2016, 07:59 PM   #4
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McGillicutty, thanks for the response. Just sent you a PM.
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Old 02-21-2017, 03:46 PM   #5
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How did it turn out? I plan on doing this in 2017.
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Old 02-22-2017, 01:25 AM   #6
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I made the trip in June 2016 in company with a Carver MY. It was a great trip with no issues. Worst weather we saw was 4' fairly long period seas. Mostly less than 2' seas.
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Old 02-22-2017, 01:36 AM   #7
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What speeds are you thinking about running? You say 50 to 70 mile runs so I figure 6-8 knots. We've made the trip but not at those speeds.
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Old 02-22-2017, 01:41 AM   #8
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We did it at mostly 10kts. Could have gone faster and covered more ground per day, or conversely gone slower and saved some fuel. But I liked the 10kts.
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Old 02-22-2017, 10:54 AM   #9
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We are planning this same trip for early May. Can you give a quick run down of your stops along the way? Did you do Tiger Pass and Venice? Did you stop in Venice or just cross over into the Mississippi Sound? Refuel along the way?
I checked out your blog but it seems to only have pictures, did I miss something?
Thanks,
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Old 02-22-2017, 11:01 AM   #10
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I'm interested in fuel stops also. I have around a 300 mile range at cruising speed. I guess I could go down to 6 knots for the longer stretches, but prefer 10+knots.
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Old 02-22-2017, 11:19 AM   #11
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I'm also interested in details of this trip. Think I want to skip Louisiana this time around.
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Old 02-22-2017, 03:51 PM   #12
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I didn't take too many pics on the route. My passengers did though so I will see what they have and post later.
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Old 02-22-2017, 03:57 PM   #13
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So we left Waterford Harbor in Kemah at 0700 on Friday 24th June. We had in company my friends John and Ladonna on Anytime Baby, a 57' Carver. They had three others on board as did I, so between the boats we had 9 persons. Of the group only two of us had made an offshore passage before. So it was decided that we would do daylight only at a leisurely pace.
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Old 02-22-2017, 04:19 PM   #14
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We arrived at Galveston at 11:30 and both boats took on fuel at Pier 19. There was a boat ahead of us and they would only take one boat at a time. They were also very slow. As a result we did not finish until 13:30.
From there we went to Galveston marina where my rib was on the hard after having had a complete engine tune up. By the time we picked it up and stowed and secured it was 3pm.

Our intent was to run to Cameron at the entrance to the Calcasieu River but that would be a 6 -7 hour run and arriving after dark. So we instead made the short run to the mouth of the SABINE River which is the river leading to Port Arthur, and went inbound to about 3 miles past the jetties. There is a fishing pier on the west side and we anchored just upriver. We rafted the boats together. Be careful in that area because there is a pipeline crossing do not anchor sign just above where we anchored so don't go to far if you are headed upriver to anchor. There looked to be a protected cove upriver on the other side and I would likely check that out if we were to do it again.
The river has a navigable draft of 40' in the channel. We anchored in 15' of water near the bank. No chance of being hit since we were well away from the traffic. However we did roll a bit from wash of passing traffic. The ships pilots were the worst since the 50' pilot boat never slowed down on passing us and threw a huge wash. Ships were a non issue as they were on slow ahead and did not create a wave.
If I were to plan this again, I would have stayed in Galveston over night and gone directly to Cameron next day. There is no reason to go up the SABINE River as there is nothing worth seeing there except industry and stacked oil rigs.
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Old 02-22-2017, 04:39 PM   #15
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Next day (Saturday) we stayed anchored until 2 pm while I tried to fix the engine controls on the fly bridge. They were sticking and not allowing full travel and therefore I couldn't get full rpm. We managed to get them working properly and continued on the journey. Since it was such a late start we decided to head to Cameron.

Offshore the weather was nice with 10-15 knot breezes and a slight rolling sea. At 5pm we were at the jetties and at 6pm we were tied up at a wharf. The town of Cameron is very close to the jetties and makes a horseshoe loop around an island. The ship channel goes straight up past the horseshoe so if you are in the rather large loop you are well protected from heavy traffic and all weather. The entire loop is made up of commercial wharves however with the decline of both the fisheries and oil industries about 70% are abandoned or closed. We picked a rather new shrimp processing plant that looked like it was built and never used so had a nice dock. We fired up the grill and cooked steaks.. I have been to Cameron many times and there is nothing much worth seeing there. For us it was just a place to tie up for the night. There is plenty wildlife to be seen on and around the island though.

I would advise anybody taking this route to combine our day one and day two routes and skip Port Arthur.
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Old 02-22-2017, 04:53 PM   #16
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Day three we were underway by 07:15. Headed down River and out to sea. We stayed about five miles off the coast in about 20-30' of water. It is shallow near the beach. We had a nice day underway with patchy rain showers and smooth seas. We saw lots of shrimpers (30+) and many fixed oil platforms. Not hard to see or avoid.
Wa arrived at the mouth of the Atchafalaya River at 18:30. Caution the eastern jetty was awash and difficult to see. The river is quite wide and 18' deep. Due to erosion some islands have moved or even disappeared. I had thought to anchor behind Eugene Island but when we got to the area, it was gone! It's still on the electronic charts. We anchored on the east side of the channel near marker 36 in 8' of water. Good holding. We rafted up for the night. No problems.
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Old 02-22-2017, 05:19 PM   #17
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Day Four we were underway at 07:30 after a nice breakfast. The day was nice with fine weather. 1-2' seas. Again lots of shrimp boats and fixed oil platforms. We stayed south of the 20' depth line which kept us 5-8 miles offshore. In the afternoon a breeze picked up and it became choppy2-4' seas. At 18:30 we turned in to the Grand Isle channel at marker 7 and headed in to the Sand Dollar Marina where we were all fast at 19:00.
Anytime Baby took on fuel but I still had half tanks on Scot Free. I have 1,000 gallons capacity. There was no charge to stay overnight at the marina. Grand Isle is a goofy little drinking town with a fishing problem. Lots of commercial and sport fishermen and boats, some oilfield activity also. AB paid $2:20 per gallon for gas, much better than the $2:60 in Galveston.
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Old 02-22-2017, 05:49 PM   #18
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Day Five AB was having generator issues which delayed departure until 08:50. The run was direct Grand Isle to Tiger Pass. At 11:06 we entered tiger pass very carefully as there is shoaling at the entrance. We carried on for a mile at about 2 knots and thankfully did not run aground. Both boats bumped bottom at some point though. We must have been off line as 100' oilfield crew boats make that trip every day. Once past that first mile the water depth went to 18' all the way to Venice so we went back to cruising speed of 10knots. It's a lovely trip through the swamp with lots to see. We arrived at Venice at 12:06 and stopped for fuel at the Stone Oil Dock. This is a commercial enterprise and serves the oilfield supply boats and there fore has a huge turnover in volume. I paid $1:72 per gallon and took 588 gallons. AB also topped off his tanks as he had not filled up in Grand Isle.

Once topped off, we exited Tiger Pass in to the Mississippi River at a place called 'the jump' essential to know when calling traffic advisories. We crossed a near empty River with ease and went upriver about a mile and entered a channel called Baptiste Collette. It has 20'+ all the way till it exits the swamp in to Chandeleiur Sound where you are back in the Gulf of Mexico. From here you have a choice to go either due north until you get to Mississippi Sound then turn right behind the barrier islands and head to Mobile or you can go directly to Mobile across the Gulf.

We were headed north so we turned north to go to Mississippi Sound then west again to head in to New Orleans. There are two ways to get to New Orleans from Mississippi Sound, one is to go through the Rigolets past a swing bridge at the entrance then head in to Lake Pontchartrain and then to Lakefront. That is what we did. The other way is to enter the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway and head up the ditch to the industrial canal. Turn right at that junction and head to the lake. Note: at this time, the Seabrook RR bridge is down for repairs and you cannot exit the Industrial Canal to the Lake. It is estimated that the repairs will take until June of this year.
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Old 02-22-2017, 06:01 PM   #19
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So it's a pretty easy trip if you watch the weather. For us the total time underway was 53.5 hours. Obviously if you run at night you won't have to divert up the channels to anchor so you can probably cut it to 48 hours if you can maintain 10 knots. For us, we had no reason to hurry and had a good weather window. So we stopped every night for a toddy and a good nights sleep. Enjoy the trip, it's usually better than the destination. We had a lot of fun on the boats everyone got a turn at steering and learning something new. There was much laughter and fun. At no time was there ever a sense that this was dangerous or stupid. All the land lubbers that were with us can't wait for another trip. Two of them are going to go with me on the Great Loop.
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Old 02-22-2017, 08:45 PM   #20
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That sounds like a great itinerary. Looks like y'all had a blast. Thanks for the details.

My boat only makes 6-7 knots so I need to recalculate for the stops.
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