Thursday, May 24, 2012

Rockport to Freeport

This leg began with a 35-mile run across Matagorda Bay.  It is huge, open water, and it was a bit choppy.  Our confidence was up again after the repairs and a non-eventful cruise the day before.  We took a look at our paper charts and the chartplotter - looked like two options for crossing the bay.  One route is pretty much straight across the middle of the bay - looked like most of the barges were using it.  The other route hugs the shoreline of the barrier islands which we thought would be a little more scenic and less choppy.  Off we go and everything looked just as it should, all the markers were in place, landmarks looked correct, etc.  About 4 miles into the crossing, Rhonda says "stop, we're in 4 feet of water." (That's a problem with a 4-foot draft).  She was correct (confirmed by mud from the bottom stirred up by our props) but how could this be?  We were in the middle of the channel which should normally be protected 9 to 12 feet.  At this point, we also noted that there were no more channel markers ahead.  So, we decided to backtrack and take another run at it just in case we missed something the first time.  No luck, same conclusion, so we backtracked again.  This was really strange.

Setting all of my ego and pride aside (difficult for me on the water), I radioed one of the barges in the distance and asked what was up.  The captain said "You must be using old charts, that channel hasn't been maintained in years.  You need to use this one."  Well, I know that changes occur and charts are updated periodically.  You can even check for changes between updates, but normally they are minor (except on the Mississippi River). But we've never seen an entire route just disappear!  No doubt though, he was right, my bad, we moved over to the "barge crossing channel" as it was identified on our OLD charts and pressed ahead.  Here are some pics from the crossing.

Rhonda looking good at the helm (above), passing port O'Connor (below), just prior to entering Matagorda Bay

After reviewing my pics from the day, I realized there's not much to take pictures of in the middle of 35 miles of open water.  However, we did manage to catch a few pelicans on marker 30. 

Below, back to the security of the GIWW approaching Matagorda.  

Below, crossing the Colorado River in Matagorda.

By this time, Rhonda has her confidence up with all things mechanical on this boat and I manage to catch a nap on the aft deck between Matagorda and Freeport.

Approaching Freeport, you see lots of tankers supporting the "chemical city."  

I should also mention that with our delay for the heat exchanger issue and having bought only a few groceries for, at most, a 3-day trip, we were out of food!  It was imperative that we make Bridgeport Yacht Club before 7 PM - they promised to cook us a couple of burgers.  We did and it was good.  No pics of Bridgeport, tired, home tomorrow.

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