Re: jetty hopping:south texas coast
Nice area to sail 2BEL.
Just South of Port Mansfield is the Northern most point of South padre Island. Beautiful place (for Texas coast), and usually fairly secluded.
I just got Back from a 140 NM hop myself.
Planned on leaving Freeport Marina (Bound for Port Aransas) about 3 AM
Last Thursday Morining. Got everything ready, did a little pre-trip double check Wednesday night......and NO power to starter switch, turn the key... and nothing... Several hours later...(with a little frustration), I realized that when I checked my air filter I popped loose trhe ground wire from the cellinoid. Sooo.... Didn't get out till about 10:am Thursday morning.
And the cold Front from the previous days played HAVOC with the usual wind direction. In that area it is usually out of the Southeast (which would have been great). BUT....for the entire trip the wind was out of North east, putting me barely 5 degrees off of a dead run if I went the direction I needed to.
Since I was singlehanding this trip, I am not yet brave enough to attempt a solo spinnaker.... I beat myself up with a wing on wing for a little while, till the swells got past 3' and the 3rd almost accidentle Gybe. (ARRGH again)
It was becoming more like work than a quick little jaunt down the coast... So I took more of a broad reach for a few hours, and relaxed a little.... Then after a little recalculating, I realized this course of action was going to put me in Port "A" too late to catch my ride back home after I get Tied up at my new marina. Soooo.... With great reluctance...and cursing the fact that I still have to maintain a "schedule".... I rolled in the jib...dropped and made fast the main.... and started the diesel.
As I sulked a little, I thought well screw it... if I can't do everything....then I wont do anything.... so I flipped on the GPS and did a split screen with Naut. Chart, and RADAR ( I set the radar to look out 6 miles)... this gives me 2 mile radius circles and Way more time than I need to mke any correction. I then turned on the Auto-pilot, and Let her do everything. Through the rest of that day.. and the entire night, I only had to glance at the radar every 30 minutes or so to make sure no big "red" blips were in my path...
Not exactly Sailing.... but in my mind a some similance of experience.
I did learn 1 very important thing about then 100's of oil rigs out there. Firstly not all of them are on the newest chart, and more importantly several of them (I counted 5) have NO lights at all..pitch black. My RADAR was picking up BIG structures less than 1/2 mile away.... these were invisible to the naked eye at night.
This is a scary fact. If I didn't either have a radar or Know the exact GPS route I was tracking.... There is no way you could get me out there on an overcast night.
At any rate due to the wind direction and swells....my boat (Luna Sea) got to surf quite a bit on the way down. My usual 4.5 knot chug-chug speed was topping out in the 7's and averaging well past 6... So, I still made it TO Port Aransas by 3-ish on Friday afternoon.... soaked in the maraina hot tub... grabbed a quick bite.... slept like baby (having been up for about 40+ hours).
Freeport marina was nice, but for a day sail or a weekend sail, you had the choice of The Gulf or the Gulf. Port A island is a much happier place, much better beaches...not all industrial like Freeport, + in 30 minutes I can be in the
Gulf or I can play around in the Huge Corpus Christi Bay.
**** Still working on my "black water tank and tubing" refit..... then will finish up cleaning the bottom I started in Freeport.... And a few more little this and thats for about the next 6-8 months.... till i make the jump to Progresso and back might do Isla Muheres havent decided 100% yet).
If I end up single handing that trip I am going to invest in some sort of Collision avoidance system I can hook up to the radar....... I must admit barely missing those invisible oil rigs put some fear in me...and I have gone over 50 hours without sleep before but I can't make 4-5 days to Mexico without a little shut eye..... and those little 30 minute cat-naps dont do much for me...
Sorry for rambling too long..... Just got back home yesterday.... already ready to go back..... truth be told....was never ready to leave the boat.....
oh well.....Jobs are very inconvenient for my extracuricular timing.