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Old 03-14-2008, 04:36 PM   #1
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Kemah to Key West

I finally had a chance to get away from the dock and crew on a boat headed for Florida. Here are a few shots of Friendship at the Tabasco factory in Avery Island, Louisiana and *LuLus in Gulf Shore, Alabama. Jimmy Buffets sister owns the place, so it was a pretty neat stop for a parrot head like me. We are now in Pensacola as planned, I will be forced to go back to work next week. *If you guys are interested we have a pretty good log of the trip.

-- Edited by dougd1 at 08:54, 2008-03-31
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Old 03-14-2008, 06:42 PM   #2
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RE: Kemah to Pensacola

I'd love to see the log. Especially interested in route, speed vs. actual miles covered, and stops/anchorages. TIA!
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Old 03-14-2008, 08:33 PM   #3
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RE: Kemah to Pensacola

Ditto here. Did you use Skipper Bob's book?
Steve
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Old 03-14-2008, 09:08 PM   #4
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RE: Kemah to Pensacola

ALrighty....here ya go....Brent and Troy and Jim....I hope y'all don't mind....




We knew were were going to have to run past dark, but the anchorage we were headed for was blocked by a tow and we ended up running until about 10:30 or 11:00, in a busy part of the channel, and it really sucked! It was "as dark as the inside of a cow" as Jim would say, and really hard to deal with. We finally found an old tank farm and tied up to a rough dock, but it worked out.

Next day, Saturday, we plugged along and ended up in Delcombre, La, (pronounced "Delcum" in cajun speak) which is up the Avery canal where Avery Island is, home of Tobasco. The cruising guides talked about a neat dock next to a cajun bar that sounded fun. Reality was an old beat up shrimp dock and a bar that had been out of business since Rita. Turned out ok, but nothing to do with the locals, so we hung out on the boat and went to bed early.

Up and at'em at the crack of mid-morning on Sunday, and off to Avery Island and the Tobasco factory. This was really neat, got to tour the factory, then see the gift shop where you can buy any Tobasco product for about 4 times what you can buy it in the grocery store! The only bargain we saw was what Jim and Troy bought. A GALLON of Tobasco Chipolte sauce for $38. What the heck they are going to do with a gallon of the stuff, I don't know, but they got it!
We left there mid afternoon and made about 20 miles to a neat little anchorage at the Franklin Canal, apparently about 5 miles south of the town of Franklin. A couple of locals stopped by in their little "John boat" and checked to see if we were broke down. Turns out they had been hog hunting (by boat????) and were on their way home. Told us the town was just "10 minutes" away. Hmmm, whose 10 minutes that is, I don't know. Might be worth exploring on the way back though.

We had a pretty easy day today, as we only had to travel about 60 miles to Homa, La. They have a real nice, fairly new town dock with water and electricity for $20. Can't beat it!

We're planning on getting underway at daylight tomorrow to get to Naw'lins before it gets dark. Planning on staying at a place called Seabrook Marine, of all things, and catching a cab to the French Quarter for a beer or two.
Looks like we'll be in the Pensacola area around Friday at out current rate of progress.

340.9 miles traveled so far. Homa is at mile marker 57whl (West of Harvey Lock, which is the lock just west of New Orleans) For reference, Boliver Roads, at the intersection of the Houston Ship Channel and the ICW is mm 350.

So far the only mechanical problem has been the fact that my new battery bank is not performing like it should. Just going to take some time to get it figured out. The boat has done great so far.

Oh, yea, Troy and Jim have done a spectacular job of cooking! Like Jim said, Troy is going to make someone a good housewife some day!
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Old 03-14-2008, 09:09 PM   #5
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RE: RE: Kemah to Pensacola

Jim's version:

Friday, March 07, 2008

We got underway from Blue Dolphin at 09520. The wind was out of the NW at about 16 to 18 kts The temperature is not as cold as was predicted, about 45 deg. We had a quartering sea from the
Seabrook entrance to the Houston Ship Channel. The tide prediction is for a slack tide at 0500 beginning to ebb by 0600 in the Channel. This should smooth out the ride somewhat as we are yawing badly and the autopilot cant deal with it.
We reached the Houston Ship Channel at about 0635 and the turn outbound was really welcome. The wind and seas were right astern as predicted and we have already started to pick up a fair tide of about .4 kts. It should be ebbing at about 1.4 kts as we get to west Bolivar roads. We passed the Shell Island anchorage at 1630. We are pressing on toward the Calcasieu Lock and then to anchor in Black Bayou if possible. It should be full dark by then,. But at least we will have only about 654 miles to go tomorrow and ensure that we make Shell Morgan before they close at 1730. We tied up at the Sweet Lake Tank Farm, near mile mareker 220. It was merely a bunch of barge dolphins but we didnt get arrested or run off. We had a delicious ham and potatoe dinner after we got tied up. Troy made mashed taters and they were great. Off to bed at nearly 2330.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
We overslept and didnt get underway until. 0745. Hopefully we will get to Shell Morogan before they close at 1730. We are making about 7.3 kts, aand with no delays we should make it. Troy made biscuits and gravy for breakfast with sausage and it was great. He will make someone a good wife. Its a beautiful day today. The sun is out and there is no wind, and its starting to warm up. No traffic yet but Im sure we will see some as the day goes on. I soaked some beans over nite and then started them in the crock pot this morning. They are really gassing off, and then I caught troy down there with a bowl in his hand sampling them for lunch .They are really smelling up the boat everytime the hatch is opened. We arrived at Shell Morgan at about 1400, and took on 190 gal. in the stbd tank, and 160 in the port tank. We are pressing on to Petit Anse Bayou and maybe DelCambre and the city dock.
We met one of the local citizens and they said that we could stay tied to the dock and pretend we had engine trouble. The restaurant and club that used to be there is closed since Rita. We had beans and rice and they turned out OK. Early to bed and ready for Avery Island tomorrow morning.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
A casual morning watching TV, and enjoying our coffee at the dock and the quiet outside. Troy is fixing bacon and eggs. The inverter seems to be operating differently on the new batteries, and they appear to lack the capacity of the old ones, although they should be about 10% better. We got underway to Avery Island at about 1045, and then turned in to the Avery Channel and went up to the basin. We at first tied up to a new dock on the island, but the toll keeper at the gfatehouse said no way, go over across the basin by the house to tie up. We got a nice tour, but the factory was shut for the weekend, only operates Monday through Thursday. We went to the company store and bought some stuff, bloddy mary mix, habanero sauce, and a gallon of chipotle pepper sauce. Back to the boat, and we headed down the canal, and hope to get to some type of tie up for the evening, as it is already 1445. We stopped at the Franklin Canal and dropped anchor, but we learned from some locals that we could go all the way to town if we wanted to, about 3 miles. We had leftover beans and rice for dinner and turned on a movie to watch.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Reveille at 0615, and the batteries were very low. Started the genset and then commenced toi playing with the Link2000 panel. We did a master reset and then reentered the parameters. Somewhere along with this process, the status lites went out and we tried several things to get them back on. Troy called Xantrex and got some instructions about disconnecting the sense wires, and ultimately this seemed to fix it. We will keep a close eye on things for a while and see if we have success. These new batteries dont seem to have the capacity that the old ones had. Its hard to believe that they all may be in trouble, but perhaps if they were all from the same manufacturing run maybe. Hauled the anchor and washed it off, the clay came right off very easily. Underway at 0830, on the way to Houma. We made it through the locks at Morgan City with little delay. The rest of the trip was uneventful to Houma marina. We got tied up and washed down and later had steaks on the grill.
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Old 03-14-2008, 09:10 PM   #6
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RE: RE: Kemah to Pensacola

And then:


When we last left our heros, they were tied up in Homa, La at the town dock........................

We had a nice trip from Homa to Nawlins. In the middle of town there is a seaplane port, and we were hoping to see one take off or land, but didn't see them this time. Guess they were already gone this time. Last time through there we had a plane coming down the intercoastal meeting us, taking off just over our heads! It was cool, but not this time.
The day was uneventful until we got to the NO area. We locked through the Harvey lock, which spits you out right into the Mississippi. There was about a 4 knot current in the Miss so it was an exciting 5 mile trip down to the Industrial Canal. Just missed a bridge opening as they have a curfew where they don't open the downtown bridges from 3:30 to 5:45. We got there about 3:20 and it looked we were in for a long wait, but turned out there was a Fire and Rescue boat in the lock that had to get through, so we got to slip under the bridge into the lock when they opened the bridge for him. We ended up getting to the Seabrook Harbour about 5:30, tied up to the fuel dock for the night. Caught a cab downtown to the "Quata'" and ate at one of my old favorites called Coops. Went and had a few beers, then back to the boat.

The last time I came through New Orleans in this boat, it was the worst boating day I have ever had. Don't know if worst is the right word, but it was certainly the scariest. We got up early that morning at the Orleans Marina, in Lake Poncetrain, and had to navigate all the way through the industrial canal an locks in the pouring down rain. Well, my only VHF radio quite working right off the bat. (I learned later that the speaker was just full of water) My backup was a weak handheld that barely worked. There were towboats everywhere, the locks and bridges to deal with, the river to get into, etc. I've dreaded this part of the trip most of all with that memory! What a difference a well equipped boat and experience make! Of course having Jim along who has done this trip many times helped.............. )

Up about 6:30 this morning and on our way again! What a beautiful day! We finally got through Louisiana and into Mississippi Sound. The water actually has started getting pretty At the east end of the Sound it was still muddy, and as the day went on it started turning kind of a greenish brown, and now is actually bluish-green! It shouldn't be much longer until were in the really clear water. I can't wait! We are anchored out tonight in the lee of Horn Island, just south of Pascagoula Miss. This is pretty cool, if you go to Google Maps and zoom in on the coastal area, find Pascagoula. Just south of it, across the sound, you'll see Horn Island. We're anchored about 1/4 the way from the West end, on the north side of the island, just above the little lagoon you can see on the map. You can almost see us there!

Tomorrow we plan getting across Mobile Bay to a Marina around Gulf Shores. We're planning on eating at a nearby restaurant called Lulu's, owned by Jimmy Buffets sister. Should be cool. That will put us about 20 miles from Pensacola. Troy is trying to decide whether to jump ship there, or ride on to Panama City.
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Old 03-15-2008, 07:12 AM   #7
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RE: Kemah to Pensacola

Great stuff, thanks for posting! Sounds like somebody is going to be making lots of chipotle bloody marys!
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Old 03-15-2008, 08:34 AM   #8
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RE: Kemah to Pensacola

Quote:
Forkliftt wrote:

Ditto here. Did you use Skipper Bob's book?
Steve
Yes we used Skipper Bobs book, it has some great information. Not to mention we have Jim, our fearless leader that has done the trip 15 times. I also had a Barway Pilots guide that someone gave me, it covered the ICW from Galveston to New Orleans. Its a guide for tug boats, not cruisers, but it has great info in it.
http://barwaypilotsguide.net/
They have all kinds of notes about water depth, bridges, locks and such.They make more guides and I am planning on purchasing the one that covers the south Texas coast. **

The best place we have found to stay so far is in Pensacola beach at what they call the boardwalk. The city has a free dock that you can tie up to and you can hop right off the boat and check out the bars and recusants. They also have a nice beach and swimming area. I forgot to mention its also spring break here and they still ID me at the bars so hopefully I can hang out with some college chicks!
Here is a quick pic of the morning view.
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Old 03-15-2008, 10:31 AM   #9
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RE: Kemah to Pensacola

Just make sure you get pics if there are college girls involved!!! I think y'all need to hang there for at least a week....the big week is coming up!!!
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Old 03-16-2008, 07:54 AM   #10
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RE: Kemah to Pensacola

I live in Thibodaux, not far from Houma, if any of you folks are stopping there in the future let me know in advance, if I I'm free I'll drop by for a chat or give you a ride to stores and so on.
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Old 03-17-2008, 04:48 AM   #11
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RE: Kemah to Pensacola

Thibodaux, not far from Houma

SEND BOUDAN!!!

This kitchen door Cajan is missing good food.

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Old 03-17-2008, 09:05 AM   #12
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RE: Kemah to Pensacola

Quote:
Steve wrote:

I live in Thibodaux, not far from Houma, if any of you folks are stopping there in the future let me know in advance, if I I'm free I'll drop by for a chat or give you a ride to stores and so on.
Steve Willett
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Thibodaux, Louisiana
Thanks for the offer, I will send this on to Brent, the owner and he might contact you on the way back!!!
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Old 03-17-2008, 11:49 AM   #13
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RE: Kemah to Pensacola

The next installment......


And then there were two..................................

Well, in my last log we were securely (or so we thought) anchored south of Horn Island, in Mississippi. The next morning we awoke to the boat making some strange motions, and I was hearing this strange, very gentle grinding sounds. Sounded almost like sand rubbing against the hull. Now, what could that be?? Maybe, SAND RUBBING AGAINST THE DAMN HULL!!!! Yep, the wind had swung us around and the anchor broke loose. Fortunately we had just gently drifted on to a sand bar, and I was able to just back off of it. I didn't even feel like the props had his, but I'm sure they did to some extent. This big Supermax anchor is the best around for Texas mud, but so far it isn't worth a damn in hard sand. We may have to switch out to the Danforth or Fortress.

Then, on to Gulf Shores Ala, and to Homeport Marina, home of Lulu's. Nice marina, but oddly set up. I guess they dug the marina out of a hill side, so the parking lot is about 15 to 20 feet above the water level. To get in or out of the slip area you have to climb stairs or ride little elevators. The dock carts even have the handles cut off so they will fit into the elevators. Really strange deal. The food was good in Lulus, and the Spring Breakers about had it overran. Overall, it was fun. Ran into a couple that Jim knows from Seabrook, that moved there boat there a few years ago. She was nice enough to loan us her car, so we went to the grocery and restocked our galley.

Late start the next day, Friday, and a short cruise on to Pensacola Beach. I had anchored out by this beach with bars and resturants last time through here, so we decided to try that again, and see what was going on there for the weekend. We needed to stay in this area until Sunday, so Troy could catch a plane out. It took a couple of tries to get the anchor to set, and after the previous nights experience we were a little nervous with it. We were eyeing this new looking dock over by the beach that had one boat tied to it, with lots of room left. While we were thinking about all this, a small sail boat came in and tied up to the dock behind the other boat. I was able to hail this boat, after several tries, and ask the deal, and was told it was a public dock, and you could stay there for a "few days" with no trouble. He was there for the weekend. So, up the anchor comes and to the dock we go! No services, but a secure tie up, and walking access to all the bars and resturants you could want. When we got all tied up, I walked over to thank the guy for the info, and help with dock lines. Turned out it was an 18 year old kid that goes to school and lives on his boat. He told me that the reason it took a while to answer me was he thought I was the Coast Guard, (he didn't hear me identify myself) and I scared the crap out of him! He said he had to "hide all his crap" before he answered me. I thought that was funny as hell! Not sure what "all his crap" was, and didn't ask. My old buddy Jim from Key West, who is going through some training in Ft Walton Beach drove down and partied with Sat afternoon and night. It was a very cool place & great to see him! I plan on staying there again on the return trip. The only trouble we had with this dock, was late Sat night the wind clocked around out of the north and we started getting pounded by the waves coming across the lagoon, and had to get up in the middle of the night and put out more fenders, and adjust dock lines. Just more of the fun of boating!

Well, about noon today, Troy got off to the airport, and Jim and I headed out. We had another easy day, and just ran about 35 miles to Ft Walton Beach. I had heard about this free City dock, and did a little research on a website called "ActiveCaptain" and found the info we needed. Turns out it's a nice little dock, next to a city park. Free water and pumpout, but no electric. I guess you can't have everything! Very nice deal though.

Still the only boat problems is this battery issue. We found one setting on the charger that we thought might be the problem, but now doesn't look like the cure. We're only getting about half the power out of the battery bank that we should. Still working on it. I've always heard that the definition of "Cruising" is "boat maintenance in exotic places". Maybe it's right!
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Old 03-17-2008, 11:50 AM   #14
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RE: RE: Kemah to Pensacola

Jim's version....


Tuesday, March 11, 2008
The alarm went off at 0615, and the coffee began to smel;l shortly thereafter. Brent took his shower and we started topping the water tanks and catching up on some more emails. Underway at 0730, and some light fog. We have about 59 miles to go to Harvey lock. There was some light rain during the night, but it has mostly left by morning. We plan to stay in Seabrook Marine off of the Industrial Canal tonite. We passed right through the Harvey Lock into the Mississippi and went down river to the Industrial Lock. They have installed a floating dock on the west side of the lock for vessels waiting to transit. Well, we waited and soon it was closing in on 1530 which is the curfew for the road bridge. As Luck would have it, there were 2 tows in the chamber waiting to go west and afire boat came in and declared an emergency and made the road bridge. We went on through and then tied to a mooring to wait for the Florida Ave. bridge to go off curfew. We tied up at Seabrook Harbor Marina at about 1730. Troy located a cab and we went off to downtown. We had a great dinner at COOPS restaurant and the walked around some.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Underway at 0730, and we got an immediate bridge opening at the L & N railroad bridge. We had an uneventful trip across Mississippi Sound, we had to change the Racor on the Stbd engine at about 1300, and it was starting to get black. Anchor down at 1800 at the western end of Horn Island, in about 9 ft of water. It took 2 tries to get the anchor to set, but and wind is out of the WSW and we are behind the lee of the island. We will get to Lulus tomorrow nite and some great food. We are having pork chops tonite with corn and mac & cheese again.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Up early to the anchor dragging, yes, the 75lb super max. We had drug into a sandbvar and were able to easily motor off with no damage. We arrived at Lulus around 1400 and got a slip and then went to eatr. We mat a couple from Lakewood Yacht Club , the Stan and Betty Walker. They are living at the marina now for a couple years.. She lent us her car for a grocery run and was very pleasant.
Friday, March 14, 2008
We tried anchoring off :Pensacola Beach without much luck again. Brent called a sailboat that was tied to a pier near where we were and he said that it was a free public pier. Texas could sure take lessons from this place. There was a boardwalk and many and varied shops, restaurants and bars. All of them were independently run and very nice. Nothing like the greedy bastard that runs Kemah boardwalk. We stayed through Sunday noon and then Troy left us for the airport with some friends. We got underway and headed for Ft. Walton Beach and another free city dock, even with water and electric. Well there is no electric, but there is water a d a free pump out station. Must call city manager for permission to stay overnite, 850 833 9504. There was even a man there when we pulled in to help with the lines, again Texas could do better than they do for boaters.
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Old 03-17-2008, 11:52 AM   #15
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RE: Kemah to Pensacola

As you can tell, food is an important part of the story for Jim!!!...
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Old 03-19-2008, 09:08 PM   #16
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RE: Kemah to Pensacola

Here's the 4th installment of my trip log. We're still waiting on weather, but it's looking like heading out of here on Friday is as good as it' going to get for a while. I'll try to make time to post my trip logs on this forum. By the way, the ultimate goal for this trip is to attend the wedding of one of our Forum Moderater's in Key West. Poor Baker, he's going to bite the bullet!

I left out an important detail about our welcome to Florida. I've been studying the boating in Florida thing for a while in anticipation of this trip. Seems Fla is a little money hungry when it comes to out of state boaters using their waters. If your boat is only documented (Federal Coast Guard Documentation) and not registered in any state (read that as not paid sales tax in any state) then you have to register your boat in Florida before you enter their waters. If you are registered in another state and display a sticker from that state, you can stay in Florida waters for 90 days free, but at 91 days you have to register! I made sure I had all my paperwork straight so that "in case" I got stopped and checked, I was ok. Well, we're cruising along somewhere near the Alabama and Florida border, not knowing which state we were actually in, when here comes a Florida water cop. He circles the boat (looking at the name and home port on the stern) and when he sees it doesn't say Florida, on come the lights. Ended up not a big deal, he just ask for documentation papers and such, checks them out, then tells up to enjoy our time in Florida. About a mile down the road, we come across the "Welcome to Florida" sign! Those guys don't miss anything. Kind of reminded me of the old Highway Patrol hiding behind the sign trick. Of course, Texas is no better. Last time we took the boats to Louisiana, just as we reentered Texas there was a Texas Parks and Wildlife guy hiding behind an alligator just waiting to pounce. This boating thing has got to be a big money maker for the states.

Back to our story:

We had a very nice stay in Ft Walton Beach at that City dock. Up and at-em early the next morning and on to Panama City. Nice cruise, but the wind was really kicking up. We had a long (almost 30 miles) cruise across Choctawhatchee Bay with about a 20 knot wind right in our face. Heavy chop but not real bad. This would have been a lot rougher had it not been right on our nose. ( the wind on our beam {side for you landlubbers} makes the boat rock and roll which is very uncomfortable and on the stern {rear for the landlubbers} makes the boat wander and wallow around) As it turned out, we made it just fine, but I was sure ready to get out of it. 30 miles at 9 mph takes forever when it's not comfortable. We get into Panama City around 4:00. We had been invited to use a boat slip behind a friends house there, so we took them up on it. It's a couple I met through the Trawler list, Wayne and Molly Wert. They have a sistership to mine, an Albin 43 just like mine, about a year older. What nice folks! She cooked Corned beef and cabbage for us that was wonderful. We had a very nice visit.

This morning we headed out about 8am for Apalachicola, which is basically our staging area waiting for a good weather window. Our next leg will be somewhere around 170 miles, most of which is offshore across the Gulf, ending up just north of Tampa. This is a cool little town with some touristy stuff and a couple of great resturants. We ate tonight at a place called "Boss Oyster" and I had the best oyster stew I've ever had! We're staying in a little marina called Scipio Creek Marina. They only have about a dozen big boat slips, but have a building where they do the high lift thing and rent spaces in a building and load boats in and out with a forklift. Were going to do some more toubleshooting on the battery problem and wait for the weather to get good enough to make the crossing. Right now is looks like Thursday night or Friday. We'll see.
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Old 03-19-2008, 09:11 PM   #17
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RE: Kemah to Pensacola

Steve, thanks for the offer. I'll let you know when we pass back that way. I figure it will be sometime in the first part of May. Homa has such a nice dock for boaters. I wish more cities would take a cue from them!
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Old 03-20-2008, 09:11 PM   #18
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RE: Kemah to Pensacola

This is the 5th Trip log. AKA "keep your fingers crossed, hold my beer, and watch this"

Well, the time has come, we're about to try it!

We've had a great stay in Apalachicola. This is a cool little town, which apparently was a sleepy little fishing and oyster village until they figured out tourist paid better than fishing. Now the whole town is full of little touristy shops and such. Still a cool place, but I bet I would have liked it better 10 years ago when is was what it was. We've had some great seafood, and got to see all the auto parts and hardware stores! (looking for battery testing equipment).

I've been talking to another boat, Bob & Lynn Williamson on a boat named "Legrace" who was coming down the Ten-Tom and basically intersecting with us. (note to Landlubbers: The Ten-Tom is a waterway that connects the Tennessee River, through the Tom Bigby waterway to the Gulf at Mobile Bay) They are going to do the Gulf crossing about the same time as us, so we decided to try to meet up and "buddy boat" across the Gulf. They got here today and we met them as they docked. Super nice folks, and what a beautiful boat! Jim and I were also just wandering around the docks today and stumbled onto another cruising boat who is in the same mode as us, waiting on weather. It's a couple named Doug and Judy Williams on a 38ft Gulfstar, from some town that's name escapes me at this time, on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. They want company also, so it looks like the three of us are heading out tomorrow.

If the weather still looks the same, we'll head out in the morning. We're going to go down the ICW for another 20 miles or so, to the end of the ICW, then we have one last chance to back out and duck into Carrabelle, or turn right and commit to the crossing. I don't remember if I've told this part, but in case I haven't and / or for those that don't know, this crossing is from here to an island just off the west coast of Fla, called Anclote Key. It's about 20 miles north of Clearwater- Tampa area. At the speed we travel, 7 to 7 1/2 knots or about 8 1/2 mph this about an 18 or 19 hour trip. Somewhere around 160 miles, which means with the way the shore curves, we'll spend a good amount of time over 50 miles offshore, out of cell and radio range. If we get off at Carrabelle, we'll leave there mid afternoon, (in the daylight where we can see the markers and obstructions) cruise all night, and arrive at Anclote Key in the morning light.

Like I said, keep your fingers crossed for us!
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Old 03-20-2008, 10:34 PM   #19
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RE: Kemah to Pensacola

Y'all have fun and keep your hands off my womens.....

Tell Vivian and.....uuuhhhhh....what's his name.....oh yeah....Troy... I said howdy and will see them soon!!!!

Xmas boat parade 04 on your boat....

-- Edited by Baker at 00:17, 2008-03-21
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Old 03-27-2008, 10:06 PM   #20
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RE: Kemah to Pensacola

Brent says:


Ok, I know it's been a long time, but damn, it's been a whirlwind!

Obviously, be made the crossing ok. We headed out about 10:30 on Friday morning. Ran about 20 miles in the last of the protected intracoastal, then out into the Gulf! First few hours was a little rough, 3 to 5 ft seas, fortunately almost right on the nose. As the day went on, it laid down, and by dusk it was down to 2ft or less. Everything was cool so about 11:30 I laid down and took a couple of hour nap. Got up an took over around 2:30 and Jim laid down. By 3:00, the "**** hit the fan" (pardon the language), we were in 5 or 6 ft seas, again on the nose, and it was pretty exciting for a while. It lasted about an hour, then back down to 4's or less. Choppy but bearable the rest of the trip. My friends had invited us to stay at the dock behind their house in New Port Richey, which is only about 4 miles from Anclote Key, which was our original destination, so we went on in there. It was just barely daylight when we went in there. The channel into the area they are in is very shallow, and we hit a couple of times. First time was just sand so no big deal. The second bump sounded like "rock on prop", which it was, but we made it on ok.

A couple of days in Paradise! My friends, Troy and Vivian, were so cool, and the best hosts you could ask for! They fed us, made us feel at home, and lent us a car for errands! Jim and I were pretty beat, so we pretty much laid around on Sat, visited a while and hit the sack. Sunday, our host had family stuff to do , so we fired up and went out to the little sand bar (bar meaning island, not honky tonk) where everyone hangs out. Still using my giant mud anchor, we tried it again. No luck. Finally got it to hang just long enough to sit around a couple of hours and watch the locals have fun and back to the dock. What a beautiful area! I can't say enough about how beautiful the water is down here! When we got back to the dock, we finally broke down and removed the big 75 lb Supermax anchor and put the 44lb Danforth. It sure looks small, but should work better in this sand.

New Crew! My fiends Ron and Karen Parsons flew in Sunday evening. Their flight was delayed, so they didn't get to the boat until around 9:30, so we sat around with our host and had a drink or two, then hit the sack.

Monday, I start working on getting new batteries. After about 3 hours on phone with the manufacturer, I convince then to replace my 8 golf carts that have been giving me trouble. We have to drive down into Clearwater (Largo) to get the batteries, then go to the grocery, head back to the boat and prepare to head south. By the time we get all this done, we pull out from Troy and Vivian's dock about 4:30. Remember when we hit bottom on the way into this channel? Well, we hit again on the way out. Just a little bump, but on the same side as on the way in. That poor prop. May need attention before this trip is over.

We head south, and get about 20 miles under the keel before we stop for the night. Found a nice anchorage just on the east side of Clearwater Beach. We could see the masts of the sailboats at Clearwater Marina. The wind was howling, but the "new" little anchor held like gangbusters! Had a great night, and made plans for the next day.

I'll break here, and do another update asap.

-- Edited by Baker at 23:07, 2008-03-27
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