Saturday, December 25, 2010

Galveston Trip, GIWW, Morgan City to Lake Charles

The GIWW doesn't change much. It's fairly narrow with barges heading both directions constantly. A conservative daily number is 45+.

There are occasional glimpses of the expansive Gulf of Mexico.

The sea gulls follow closely behind the boats looking for food stirred up by the boats.
A few cable ferries.
Interesting loads being shipped. This one is serious spools of cable but most are hauling refined fuel.
We went through 2 locks. They are not about height differences in the water but are in place to keep the fresh and salt water separated. They have timber walls and recreational vessels like ours are usually allowed to "free float" through rather than mooring to the walls.
We refueled at Shell Morgan Landing and docked on one of the walls. We were told the boat in the corner with the burgundy hull behind us would leave early the next morning around 6 AM, well before sunrise and before we would be gone. As you can see, there was no way with so little room available. I was up early and asked the captain if he needed us to move. "Not necessary, I can get this boat in and out of any spot." He fired the engines up, shoved the boat next to him a few feet away, and hit the gap between us with a few inches to spare. He was good.
I thought this was very cool - a platform boat with very tall spuds. These are floated to work sites, they drop the spuds, and the platform raises itself up the spuds and above the water. The platform is actually living quarters for workers at the work site!
Interesting to see fall colors this late in the season.
Rhonda always loves pics of cows along the banks.
As you approach Lake Charles, you have to go through the Calcasieu Lock, which separates the fresh water of the Calcasieu River from the salt water of the GIWW. Lake Charles is a huge shipping town and we had 4 commercial boats waiting ahead of us for the lock. Before you get to the lock, you also have to pass through a pontoon bridge. The lockmaster agreed to let us follow this tow ahead of us past the pontoon bridge and wait between the bridge and the lock - he would "try to work us in." The barge had lots of trouble lining up for the lock with strong northerly winds. He finally had to pull back out and line up again. It worked out great for us. They let us lock on through and get out of all the commercial traffic's way.
As noted, Lake Charles is a huge refinery town. The ships like below bring in the crude from overseas and it's hauled out as refined fuel in smaller tankers.
We docked at Bridge Point Yacht Club but I won't show you another picture of "HMR" docked at another location! (See last post).

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