View Full Version : The trip has begun

Tony B
12-23-2013, 04:11 PM
Well, we finally cut the docklines today. I was starting to think the day would never come. Just one obstacle after another. Anyhoo..... We left Kemah/Seabrook this morning at 7:30 AM. Temp was in the low thirties, cloudy and winds were 20-25 kts out of the north. Very choppy and not the most comfortable trip we have taken. After we went to Galveston to gas up we went on the ICW heading east. Nice thing about the ICW is much less wind and no chops. So the afternoon went smooth - even the sun came out. We made it 2/3 of the way down Bolivar Peninsula and tied up at Stingarees restaurant. The bad news is that they were closed. The other bad news is that tomorrow morning if the tide gets any lower, we will have to stay here.
As far as the boat was concerned, everything worked flawlessly.
This was a planned short day - kinda like a shakedown cruise, but for real.

12-24-2013, 05:58 AM
Are your plans to complete the great loop? I am jealous!

Tony B
12-25-2013, 05:40 PM
We haven't really thought much about the great loop. Maybe someday in the future though.
Day 3 finds us at a casino marina tonight in Lake Charles, La. it's a nice change from anchoring out. Just got back from the buffet.
After 3 travel days I am starting to find myself de-stressed. Traveling at around 6 to 6 1/2 kts for around 8 hours a day I find no need for being a 'news junkie' and don't miss my favorite
violent TV shows. Almost as good as sailing. LOL.

12-26-2013, 06:49 AM
A Float-A-Bout sounds like a wonderful time to me Tony. Please continue posting your progress it will help us frozen in northerners pass the time until spring thaw-out season. :(

12-27-2013, 06:22 AM
There are handy apps for smart phones that allow you to share a Google Maps link of your position, unless that is more information than you wish to share. Of course, if your goal is to truly relax then your smart phone should be in the closet. My wife has threatened to put mine in the bilge.

Enjoy your trip!

Tony B
12-29-2013, 05:30 PM
I need someone to teach me how to use all of the apps.
The original plan was to leave last Feb. and make it up to the northern part of Ky. Lake.
"Things" have a way of cropping up and causing delays so at this point we will settle for making it to Biloxi, Ms. where we have friends and family. Then in early to mid-spring, we will continue on to Ky. Lake. Once there we will settle in for 2014 and plan our 2015. trip.
I started using ActiveCaptain.com and in 5 actual travel days, I found two very serious issues. Not a good average: 40% error.
The first one was a free dock in Port Arthur, Tx. Yes it was free, but it was in the hood. When we got there, there were about 5 or 6 derelicts hanging around on the '1 boat' dock. It looked like the place from the satellite images and was in the right place. When we asked if this was the city dock, we were told that "Honky Park" was that way. Things went down hill from there.
The next issue was this evening. Someone listed a nice little out of the way anchorage off the ICW in La. As we approached, it looked nice and everything was as described but we did not enter. The other side of the ICW looked nicer to me so we did the back and forth sweeping of the area with me driving and the admiral calling out the depth. This way we would know where to drop anchor in a relatively narrow area. As we were sweeping back and forth, I heard two tug/barge tows talking to each other. One guy said "I think they are lost". At that point I got on the radio and explained what I was doing and told them not to worry, I wasn't going in the channel yet. I told them that after I finish sweeping this area, I will cross the channel behind their stern so I wont be in their way. One of the tows answered and told us that I was much better off where I was. the area across the channel that was my original destination would be in the way of barge traffic going to the salt mines further back in that bayou. So we decided to stay where we were at. In less than 5 minutes after we anchored, we saw a tug/barge going up the bayou that activecaptain suggested.
Oh well, I will figure out how to make these changes to activecaptian so now one gets killed.
Anyway, as soon as I get a chance, I will post the trip with photos.
Tony B

12-30-2013, 05:32 AM
The ICW can be a VERY busy place. Just about any place that is big enough for a barge is going to have barge traffic. I went through there 30 years ago and it was a madhouse then, probably worse today.

12-30-2013, 04:43 PM
Bon voyage, Tony and Mrs. Tony! Looking forward to vicarious boat traveling, so keep us posted.

Tony B
12-30-2013, 05:24 PM
thanks to all for the well wishing.
We are having a great time in spite the fact that it is winter. last night we anchored out in a small bayou about 100 yards off the ICW. Was much quieter and much less waking than expected.
Tonite we are in the Morgan City Pleasure Boat Dock in Morgan City, La. - Another ActiveCaptain.com loser. This is probably one of the busiest waterways in the US. We are open to tons of barge traffic and crew boat traffic in addition to other types of boats with no protection from wakes. have any of you evetr spent a night under 2 very heavily trafficked bridges and the one directly overhead is pretty much and all steel bridge? the noise is incredible.
I'm starting to wonder whether most of the reviews were by people that actually did it or by someone sitting in his/her living room and making this stuff up.
Tomorrow nite we will be in Houma, La. and spend several days there relaxing and taking in the Cajon cooking. Also visit with my old boss there and an internet forum boat buddy that I never met.
After that we will be on our way again - this time, doing it the old way. Travel until about 2 hours or so before sundown and look for an anchorage. I have always done best this way. I'm through with active captain.

01-08-2014, 02:38 PM
Tony I ran into a pretty interesting sort of blog. Anyway it may refer you to better points of destination in your journey. It's called Capt. John's American Great Loop (http://www.captainjohn.org/Details.html) and you may find it decent reading if you find yourself with some time on your hands.

01-14-2014, 11:38 AM
What waterway are you using to go North?? I have not been on here for a long while because nobody ever goes anywhere except out to party and back again. Hooray for you. I will be following you from barge to barge, sand bar to sand bar, great anchor spot to great anchor spot and crummy boat dock to crummy boat dock. I know it will be and interesting adventure.
PS I hope your first Mate is enjoying the trip.

Tony B
01-18-2014, 05:31 PM
Bamby: thanks for the info.

Clarencio: We will be going up through Mobile Bay into the Mobile River and eventually onto the Tenn-Tom Waterway into Ky. I just find it alluring that a lake would be named after KY. my kinda place. LOL

Update: I usually run on only one engine at a time except for tight maneuvering areas. The day before yesterday, my starter motor went out on my port engine. We made it to a nice anchorage and I picked a spot that the wind would hopefully help me get out of yesterday morning, and it did. We were at a place called Rabbit Island at the end of the Gulf Outlet Canal. That put us on the last leg of the trip this winter. We were heading to Ocean Springs. Ms. The wind started to pick up and I knew that I would not be able to maneuver into a slip in Ocean Springs and we were near Gulfport, Ms. and their harbor is much bigger. We called Boat US and asked for a boat to assist in putting us into a slip and that is what we did. I then removed the starter motor and brought it to a repair place and it will be rebuilt and ready on Monday afternoon. We are under 20 miles from our final winter destination and so we could almost paddle over there. We also have friends in Gulfport because we lived in the area prior to Hurricane Katrina.
I remember after the storm they were rebuilding the Harbor Marina but I never expected this:

Tony B
01-18-2014, 05:38 PM
Mo' Pics these and the others were taken before and during sunrise. It was 33*F and I'm in my jammies and barefooted taking these photos.

Tony B
01-18-2014, 05:44 PM
I took these this afternoon - after I got dressed.

01-21-2014, 04:53 AM
Tony, you might try these websites for the Tennessee river area. kempter.com riverlorian.com

Tony B
02-04-2014, 05:30 PM
Thanks FLK.
I will be doing a lot of reading once I finish getting my engine back together and my generator running again.

Since this has been such a fun winter, I thought I would throw this out to the Admiral - "How about next winter in the Bahamas?"
To my surprise, she answered with a question - "How far and how to we get there?" I really think she is serious.
Now if we can only get away without any more major expenses.

Jolly Time
02-06-2014, 01:07 PM
Tony, When you headed up the Tenn Tom? I am at Midway Marina in Fulton, Ms. Look me up!! Jolly Time

Tony B
03-03-2014, 06:21 PM
Hi folks

Haven't been on here for a while.
We stayed in Gulfport, Ms for a month for repairs. had to eventually leave because if you stay on boat more than 10 nights a month, you are considered a live-aboard and that is a no-no in Gulfport.
We checked out neighboring Long Beach, Ms. and found a nice slip. When we arrived the next day we were told that that slip was not available and had to take a different one. A 50' slip in Long Beach means 3 pilings - one at the dock end, one in the middle and one outer one. The finger piers are only 24' long. Makes for a very awkward getting on and off and tieing up so we left after 2 days. That's because we were shown a really nice slip in Biloxi small craft harbor. So we went to Biloxi and guess what happened 15 minutes out? That slip was also a mistake and it was taken. I pulled into it anyway.
The port commission folks agreed to that if the 'owner' arrives I will leave. Only problem is that they would not give us a monthly rate. We agreed to the daily rate anyway because of family and friends in the area. the admiral, being overly responsible as she is, gave them a weeks rent in advance. Two nights before the week was up we were told by the Harbor master that we had to vacate slip and find another one. They have not heard from the 'owner' of the slip in over 6 months, don't know when he is coming back but they want it vacant anyway, because this guy "has a lot of money". I quickly asked if that means he pays more? I got a very strange look. When asked which slip I was now going to take I told them one in Mobile Al. I told them that I was willing to pay over $600/mo at the daily rate because we liked the slip but not going to pay that much for the other slips. So, away we went.
The morning we left it was like zero wind and forecast for 4-6 kt winds. GREAT!!. We were not out of the marina more than 30 minutes and still in the channel when the winds kicked up to 16-20 kts.
Withing an hour or so the winds were at 20-24 kts on our nose with 3 to 4 ft chops. After getting battered for about an hour or so more I decided that it would not be wise to enter Mobile Bay in those conditions. If anyone here is familiar with Mobile Bay they know exactly what I am talking about. Anyway, we decided to duck in the Pascagoula River and up to Mary Walker Bayou and get a slip there.
Really nice place out in the country so we decided to stay. I figured, how could you possibly go wrong in a bayou named after a prostitute (true story). So we decided to stay the month and still be within easy driving distance of friends and family. At this point, we are already Mardi Grawed out and just relaxin. Fat Tuesday is tomorrow and debating if we need to see any more parades - I think not but tomorrow hasn't happed yet.

Jolly Time: I will send you an IM with my cell number.

[/B]Will probably begin our northward assault toward Kentucky Lake around the first week or so in April providing the winter season decides to end.

So far it has been a great trip even with the sub freezing anchoring conditions. We have met with several people from different forums so far and am looking forward to meeting some of you folks along the way.

QUESTION...........Does anyone here know the distance from Mobile, Al. to Pickwick Lake, Ms? I'll take it in statute or nm's
Thanks in advance.

Tony B
03-03-2014, 06:50 PM

When we arrived in Gulfport we knew we were going to stay for a while so I flew back to Tx. and drove my van up here. The van not only provides transportation but is also a mobile mini-storage. We will leave it here somewhere until we know we will be somewhere else for a while and then go back and get it.
While travelling we never really needed it. Just about every marina we stopped at, someone was offering us rides for groceries and supplies. Good Karma I suppose. In the past I have always offered rides to cruisers.
Just thought I'd throw that in. If anyone here is thinking of long range cruising, groceries and supplies are not really an issue. Actually to you real houseboat owners, you can store a lot more stuff than a pointy house boat.

Am thinking of buying motorized bicycles to throw up on the roof. Might be fun to have along.

04-08-2014, 12:36 PM
Very much enjoying reading of your adventure!!

04-10-2014, 01:33 PM
Too bad you are not going to motor over to Pensacola area.
The ICW is awesome over this way, and lots to see.

Before you head north.

04-10-2014, 01:35 PM
QUESTION...........Does anyone here know the distance from Mobile, Al. to Pickwick Lake, Ms? I'll take it in statute or nm's
Thanks in advance.

I ran from Pickwick to Pensacola, 550 miles, so I would guess from the ICW / Mobile Bay intersection it should be about 500 miles

04-15-2014, 05:31 AM
With all this rain and snow melting, the current in the Tenn-Tom will be ripping, therefore; so will the floating obstacles. Especially the ones that are under the surface. Bring extra props, as impacts will occur, and you will not see them large water logged trees floating just under the surface.

Tows also kick them up off the bottom, so be very careful when you are near a tow.

Tony B
04-15-2014, 05:54 AM
Thanks for the info Tom.
If the weather holds up, we will be on our way tomorrow morning at 6am.
First stop: Mobile Al. and tie up at a dock.
This crazy weather has us at a standstill.
The flooding up north of here is going to really increase my fuel bill and am concerned about marinas that sell gas might be under water.
This afternoon's weather report will help in my final decision.
I brought my van to Mobile, Al a few days ago and left it in a mini-storage. When I get to my final destination, I will take a Grey Hound bus back to Mobile and get my van and bring it up to the boat.

04-15-2014, 07:19 AM
This is REALLY not the time of the year for running up the TT. Wait a month.

04-15-2014, 01:20 PM
This is REALLY not the time of the year for running up the TT. Wait a month.

^^^^ Yep, what he said.

Come hang in Pensacola a couple of weeks.

Or Mobile, but Pensacola, or Gulf Shores / Orange Beach areas are a heck allot prettier and more fun, than Dog River.

04-15-2014, 01:23 PM
I am concerned about marinas that sell gas might be under water.

Bobby's Fish Camp will be the first to go, and there is no other anywhere near there.
A Fuel Bladder would be my choice, if I had to make the run up the TT now.

Tony B
04-17-2014, 01:33 PM
OK, we didn't leave as planned.
Bobby's Fish Camp is where I planned to make my first stop. I called them up to make sure they had gasoline. Yes they did and still do and will probably still have it for a while. Their docks are under water and so you can figure the rest out. If I can't get fuel, I cant leave here. Then I called the Coffeeville Lock and dam and they said they were 34 feet above flood stage and so we decided to wait.
This afternoon, I met a man at the marina, purely by accident, here in Gautier, Ms. He is from Demopolis and keeps his boat here at this marina. He said that this morning he drove over a bridge and the T-T looked like it was about 4 or 5 miles wide. There were eddys that looked like whirlpools almost as if you flushed the toilet. He said he had never seen it that bad before. He said it would take at least 2 weeks or more for it to clear up most of the logs and debris. It would be disastrous to leave now.
So here is my new dilemma. we are very itchy to leave even if only to Mobile, Al. That would get us a day closer to our destination and we would feel like we are at least now underway. this is also very close to where I stored my van when I thought we would be gone by now. So if we waited in Mobile for a month, we would at least have my van close by. We brought the van there last weekend to be near a Greyhound Bus Depot so I could get back to it from Joe Wheeler St. Park in Al.
Soooooooooooooo................Does anyone here live near Mobile River or is there anyway to find out how much, if any, debris is coming down the river into Mobile Bay. I would assume it is, But maybe not.

04-17-2014, 02:03 PM
there is absolutely no way I would even consider it until I was absolutely sure it was safe.there is a whole summer ahead with calm waters.

04-17-2014, 02:08 PM
The debris coming down will not make it to Mobile, AL.

The Alabama River and Tenn Tom intersection is where the heavy water action is occuring. Then as you travel south the river opens, and there is a huge delta area, with the Tensaw River River forking to the east. The logs and debris will hold up in this Delta area, and not make it to Mobile at the Mobile River.

So if your question is "Can I make it to Mobile without debris impact". I say yes.

Dog River Marina or Fairhope Yacht Club is where I would stay.
There is also a Marina at Point Clear, Alabama, but it is small.

I am 1 hour from there, by vehicle.

04-17-2014, 02:11 PM
The area where Mobile River and Tensaw River splits is near Mt Vernon, AL.

North and South of there you can see the Delta area.

Got Google Earth?

04-17-2014, 02:21 PM

Dog River Marina:


Fairhope Yacht Club:


Eastern Shore Marina:

http://marinas.com/view/marina/4143_Eastern_Shore_Marina_Fairhope_AL_United_State s


The Wharf Marina:


Homeport Marina at Lulu's, Jimmy Buffets sister:


Grand Hotel Marina at Point Clear, AL
https://activecaptain.com/quickLists/marina.php?name=Mariott_Grand_Hotel_Marina_Point_C lear_AL&i=6139510120

04-17-2014, 02:24 PM
Again, if I were you, I would ease into the Intracoastal Waterway, and hang out in that area for a few weeks while the Ten Tom flushes out.

Providing we have no more spring storms, which is higley unlikley.

Lets say you wanted to hang out at Lulu's or The Wharf in Gulf Shores, or even the Pensacola Area.

Motor on over, and I will carry you to Mobile to get your vehicle.
And then hang out in a BEAUTIFUL PLACE for a month.

It will be much better than replacing props up the Ten Tom

04-17-2014, 02:35 PM
Come spend Easter on Pensacola Beach

04-17-2014, 03:22 PM
http://img444.imageshack.us/img444/1456/compuetr2iy8.gif to you Tom. One heck of a nice invitation and gesture.

04-18-2014, 04:15 AM
And more rain is dumped on this waterway, looks like allot too.

Maybe you should do the Loop, around Florida, up the east coast, Great Lakes, and then ride the current down to your desired portage.

Just kidding

Tony B
04-18-2014, 02:32 PM
Thanks for your input and offer to shuttle us to my van.
I wrote the following on the other thread:

This is becoming like an episode on The Twilight Zone. We just cant escape.
Every time we set a new departure date base on fairly decent weather reports, the weather and forecasts change drastically.
My marina monthly fee is due tomorrow and the weather report yesterday was so-so but we were ready to leave tomorrow. Later on during yesterday afternoon, the weather report changed again.
There are now small craft warnings and flood warnings for Mobile Bay. I also called Tow Boat US on two different numbers and spoke to 2 different people. The debris from up river is now starting to show up in Mobile Bay. The next good weather report is Tuesday and by then there will be more debris. So we decided to stay in Gautier, Ms another 3 weeks or so and hope things settle down by then. We are no longer waiting on weather, we are now waiting on debris to pass by.
Eventually we will get there but for now I don't want to risk my props and other collateral damage from logs both floating and submerged. As much as we want to get going we are going to exercise discipline and wait. It's tough but I'll live.

Tomorrow, I will get my van back. My sis-in-law will drive us there. We have already succumb to the idea of waiting.

04-18-2014, 04:07 PM
we went through that 4 years ago and I know how you feel but if you wait it out,your safe and so is your boat......wise decision. there is nothing that scares me more than being in strange waters and broke down or tore up.been there,done that.

04-18-2014, 05:23 PM
Enjoy Gautier, but I would prefer the Red Neck Riveria, offer stands

Tony B
04-19-2014, 04:21 AM
I agree Tom, however, the Admiral is happy here. We are nearby her elderly sister and old friends. Still have lots of ties in Ms.
I appreciate the offer. I might just dinghy on over there. LOL
I miss the Redneck Riviera. haven't been there since just before Katrina. We will be getting our van back tomorrow and we will probably take a trip up the river just to look around.
It should be a fun as well as informative day.

04-19-2014, 10:42 AM
426 miles from Pickwick to mobile bay