Thursday, January 7, 2016

Docking Lessons

Sharon had her first docking lesson today. Our friend Ivan was kind enough to spend time with us to do this. He will be back tomorrow for lesson number 2. She docked the boat eight times today. It is difficult for a husband to teach a wife something like that and still have a place to sleep that night so I appreciate Ivan's help. Things are going great. She backed the boat out of the slip and then backed it all the way down the fairway and turned around just before leaving the marina. Our goal is for her to be totally comfortable handling the boat and for me to handle the lines. This just makes the most sense as sometimes the line handler needs to be strong and she is after all a girl (I wouldn't have married her if she wasn't).

Sharon and Ivan.

Approaching the dock.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Keeping the Boat Warm

We have a few different ways to keep warm during the winter. In the keys it is pretty easy as it rarely gets below 55-60. We use a couple of flower pots on the stove top while anchored out or on a mooring and this works pretty well. We also have a Mr. Heater if we get a real cold snap.

Even with a very low flame the pots heat up and radiate a lot of heat.

We only use this one when it gets really cold, like in the 40s.

Since we have been in Seabrook it has gotten down into the mid forties at night quite a few times. We bought a small electric radiator heater that we put in the aft cabin to keep it warm at night. Even on the lowest setting 600 watts it will roast you. We also have an electric fireplace in the main saloon that can be used as a heater as well. While we are plugged into shore power we use the radiator and fireplace.

It has three settings 600, 900 and 1500 watts. I hope we never have to use the 1500 setting.

We use the fire only setting quite a bit even when at anchor but this winter we are using the heat setting as well.
It is cold and windy out right now, but we are warm. Sharon is watching the Rose Bowl in Spanish and I am playing online.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Anchored Out

We have been in the marina way too long. It was time to get out for a bit. We left this morning and went a little ways west on Clear Lake and anchored (I don't know why they call it Clear Lake, it is neither clear nor a lake). It is not the Keys, but at least the boat is pointed into the wind again. It is nice to feel the boat swing and move.

There is only one high rise on Clear Lake and it kinda sticks out like a sore thumb, but I am sure the view from the condos is spectacular.

There are a few other boats anchored here.



Thursday, December 24, 2015

Fuel Prices, Got to Love It

When we arrived in Houston I intentionally only had about 75 gallons of diesel left aboard. I figured fuel would be much cheaper here in Texas than it was in Florida. Much to my dismay it was almost 50 cents a gallon more than I paid in Panama City Florida and the same price that I paid in the Keys. The problem I figured out was a lack of competition. There is only one fuel dock on Clear Lake so they are not too interested in giving you a good price. They are charging $ 2.75 per gallon at the fuel dock. Diesel at gas stations (which includes road tax) varies from $1.86 to $2.19. I could not bring myself to pay the fuel dock price so I borrowed a few cans and off to Exxon I go, $1.89 per gallon. Seven trips with five 5 gallon  jugs. 175 gallons later we now have 250 gallons aboard which should get us back to Panama City with 75 gallons to spare.

Sharon asked me if it was worth the trouble for $150 in savings. I told her there were days in my life that I worked all day long on a hot roof or in an attic and made less than that. It was definitely worth it. I have done this several times before in the Keys but had to load the jugs in the dingy to get them out to the boat, being at a dock made this time considerably easier.

I filled the car up yesterday and paid $1.54 for gas. I love it.

7 trips and a total of about 8 hours.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Made it to Houston

We arrived in Clear Lake on Friday at about noon. We are glad to be stopped. It was a long but enjoyable trip.

44 days
1123 nautical miles
1302 statue miles
300 gallons of diesel
210 engine hours
3 nights in a marina
1 night tied to a wall
1 night underway
39 nights at anchor

The trip from the Keys up to New Orleans was very enjoyable. The 350 miles from NO to Houston area was semi-enjoyable but was work with all the barge traffic. We only found one really nice anchorage along the way from NO and two pretty good ones. The rest were just someplace to stop for the night and leave at first light. That makes the trip a little more stressful as there are not many nice places to rest. We are considering a different route on the way back.

This is a link to a map of our trip.
Houston Trip 2015

Friday, November 13, 2015

Time for a Break

     We are anchored in the Mermentau River. We have been moving pretty good but it is time for a break. This is the best place we have found to anchor since Destin Harbor. We will stay at least one more night if not two. It is so nice to be stopped. It is also nice to only have to use one anchor. On Wednesday night the only place we could find to anchor was in the mouth of a little canal off the ICW. We used four anchors to hold us in place. It was not fun pulling them all up the next morning. It was so nice to just relax yesterday afternoon and enjoy the anchorage. I think I might take the dingy out today and look around.

     We are not near much of anything here which is good. This is the kind of anchorage that I like. The funny thing is that we do not have cell phone service but did find an unsecured wifi to connect to, so we have internet but no phone. That is a first.

     We have been running 9 or 10 hour days and not making bad time for a slow trawler. 958 nautical miles so far. It has been a little over 5 weeks since we left the Keys. I have thoroughly enjoyed the trip all the way up to New Orleans, but honestly the last 220 miles have just been work. Don't get me wrong some of it has been nice. It does seem that the further west we get the better it gets. I can not wait to hit Texas.
     Five years ago when we went down the Mississippi River to New Orleans people told us we were crazy, that we were going to get run over by a barge, there were no services, and it would be a dangerous and horrible trip. I would venture to say that we have already seen more barges in the last 200 miles of the ICW than the entire 800 miles that we were on the Mississippi. I would rather do the Mississippi again than New Orleans to Galveston. I do think it will get much better once we pass the Calcasieu Lock.

Sunrise this morning.

Mess after pulling up four anchors.