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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Destinations > Gulf of Mexico > TMCA (Texas Mariners Cruising Assoc)
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Old 08-19-2009
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Tale from the ICW

Let's share interesting trips - adventures? - traversing the Texas ICW. I'll start off with one-leg of a trip down the ICW from Seabrook to Port Isabel.

The second leg of our trip from Seabrook to Port Isabel was somewhat eventful, here is a brief look at the trip from Port Aransas to Port Mansfield - sort of a halfway point between Port Aransas and Port Isabel.
Tim, Barry and I all arrived from differrent directions at the boat Thursday evening, had a great seafood dinner in Port Aransas and bedded down for the night. Next morning, we motored over to the pump out station, then to the fuel dock and took on fuel, water and ice to top up the two coolers and ice box that already had dry ice in them. Easy exit from the marina with a freshing breeze from the southeast - no chance of making the trip offshore with a SE wind. We headed for the intercoastal and Corpus Christi bay - motor sailing making over six knots. [/font]
A couple of hours later we were preparing to go under the South Padre Island Bridge with wind on the beam and having to pass a three boat tow (a tug pushing three barges) - we had just hailed the tow captain for a two-whistle passing when a floatable cushion blew overboard and as Barry reached for it, so did he. While radioing the tug captain that we had a man overboard and furling the headsail, we turned hard alee to get downwind from Barry, who was now comfortably treading water aided by the floatable cushion. Turning alee at about 6 knots rather than making a u-turn in close quarters, caused us to run hard aground in about three-feet of water on the lee edge of the intercoastal - in the meantime, Barry swam over to the now stationary boat, we dropped the swim ladder and he climbed back aboard - wet but otherwise no worse for the experience. Fortunately there was a major fishing tournament going on and one of the little flat bottom boats with a Johnson 150 motored over and pulled us off of ground. In short order we were once again underway.
Six hours later, we made the entrance to Baffin Bay and anchored about 200 feet from shoaling southern shores with good light. Put out two big Danforths each with 12 foot of chain and 100 feet of rode in case the 15-20 knot winds shifted during the night. After vino and tall tales, checked position - riding on one anchor, second rode slack - GPS indicates we are nailed in place. Up at dawn Saturday, made coffee on the SeaSwing stove, weighed both anchors and got underway - drug both anchors alongside the boat for a mile or so to clean them off. Turned back into the intercoastal under motor - wind still on the nose. About an hour later the wind becomes a beat, we unfurl the headsail and pick up almost 2 knots - rest of trip to Port Mansfield uneventful - light rain about half way, wind picks up and we are beating into small, but pesky 4-6 seas - spray over the bow - drowned rats all.
Around four pm we gently bounce over the sand bar at the entrance to Port Mansfield and motor on down to El Jeffe's Cantina and Marina. Take on about 10 gallons of diesel, add 20 pounds of ice and pull into a slip with water and electricity - in no time the AC is cranking and we are taking dock showers in anticipation of an actual meal at El Jeffe's - only burgers, but good ones. We are tied up about 10 feet from the cantina's outdoor patio and to our dismay, a band shows up about 8pm and threatens to play until midnight. Band was LOUDER than good - nonetheless, the crew enjoyed the show with wine on the fantail.
Dawn breaks way too soon, we have coffee at El Jeffe's Cantina, unplug the dock electrical, toss off the lines and back out of the slip. After a short trip up the Port Mansfield channel, we again bounce over the sand bar and head for the ICW, the Laguna Madre and Port Isabel - little did we know what was in store on this next leg.
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Slipped in Bahia Marina, easy access to Corpus Christi Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

Last edited by johnshasteen; 08-19-2009 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 08-19-2009
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That's great stuff John. Keep it coming, dude!
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Old 08-22-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
That's great stuff John. Keep it coming, dude!
Okay Steve, if you insist! Here's the last leg of the above ICW trip. This is the ships log, I didn't take the time to convert it to a narrative:

8:20 am Bump our way out of Port Mansfield and motor down the channel Turned south into Intra-coastal. Making way at 5.5 mi hr in light wind, overcast skies. Began at mile 630, heading for Port Isabel and Paloma’s new home.

9:10 am Mile 635. Winds light to calm. Motoring easily.


10:05 am Mile 640. Winds still light to calm. Overcast. Motoring easily.


10:40 am Brief radio conversation with an east bound sailor who slips his boat in our destination, Anchor Marina. His draft 3’ 8”, ours 4’ 6” +/-. He strongly suggests we hug the green all the way into the harbor and indicates that he bumps his way in. More to the point, he can enter Port Mansfield without incident. Crew member comments that this could become a monumental event.


10:50 am Passing Arroyo Colorado.


10:58 am Mile 645. Increased RPMs to speed up. Slight breeze on very tight beat seems to be helping us under furled sails. Speed up a bit.


11:45 am Mile 650. maintaining good headway. Lots of fishing shacks along the canal. Have had cities of these shacks along the whole way since Corpus.


12:32 pm Mile 655. Steady conditions.


01:30 pm Mile 660. Received more “local knowledge”. Latest one is Commodore of the Port Isabel Yacht club. Both contacts agreed that hugging green side is mandatory. Commodore says there are a couple of 4 to 5 ft draft boats at Anchor Marina. The Commodore did say that TowBoatUS is just 2 blocks away if we need them. Is that an omen?


2:30pm We turn off the ICW into the channel - monument status achieved quickly and easily. Less than 100 ft into the putative channel, on the proposed green side of the “channel” we became rather well enmeshed in the aggressive grasp of the local mud gods. That ain’t the half of it! We’ve been aground in mud before, but this is more like being in dry dock on stands! After a brief phone conversation, TowBoatUS is on the way.


03:00 We are towed down the channel by a an ex-offshore work boat, more likely to be muscling barges around rigs than towing pleasure boats. He needed all the power he had and his boat had twin 80 hp Cat diesels. Multiple bars were encountered as we bounced along the channel. At the entrance to the harbor, we rise at least 1 foot above water line as we ride over three different bars - quite a ride!


03:30 Paloma has landed! We powered her into a temporary slip under full throttle. The front of her keel is nestled gently into the bank until the proper slip comes open this week.. She is sure to be secure for the interim since we are at currently at high tide.

A good trip. Mild adventures were had along the way, but the voyage was completely successful. Third time was indeed the charm.
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s/v Paloma, Bristol 29.9, #141
Slipped in Bahia Marina, easy access to Corpus Christi Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

Last edited by johnshasteen; 10-16-2009 at 10:04 AM.
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Old 11-30-2011
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I guess I am right around the corner from you at the San Pat nav district marina. I wanted to move to the one you are in but the lady there was concerned about my draft. 5.6 feet. Now we're moving to Island moorings. I haven't bumped bottom there yet but it is shallow for us. If you want some real adventure try heading north on the ICW from your marina and going into mine at night. Last time I had to make that turn it was so dark I couldn't see the bow of the boat. Spotlights are useless since the shoals are submerged a couple inches and the wind was dead calm so just couldn't see them. The channel entrance is only 20 feet wide and completely unmarked! Needless to say trying to make that turn navigating by GPS alone and trying to line up a couple landmarks on shore, I missed. Beached her pretty hard 10 feet from safe water. I was so glad my kid was onboard. He's a big farm kid that can throw a hay bale from one end of a 40 foot trailer to the other. ALL day long. He swam our anchor out to the middle of the ICW and dropped it. Then came back aboard and it was all we needed to pull ourselves off. What a night.
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