We left my friend Brett’s house in surfside at 10:14am on Saturday, 11/26/2016. I’d been up since 6:35am doing some last minute prep work and freaking out because this was about to get real. Like…seriously batman, really really real.
If you can’t stand it and want to see the highlight reel – here ya go:
For those wanting detail: I posted this the night before:
It was a night spent honoring my dog Katie Ray, and wishing she was here with me. I felt alone yet invigorated, like this was meant to be and that somehow her energy / spirit was right with me that night.
Brett and I spent two straight days without touching land, we put 21 hours on the engines, and spent 19 hours underway to travel 120 miles to Lake Charles. This life – this boat – will teach you how to not be in a hurry.
Here’s the departure video:
When we take off and point into the wind the camera on the tripod buys the farm and it took me 3 minutes to find the phone. Gotta love real life. lol
I made several mistakes along the way, and although most of the trip looked like the 30 second video below, there were several harrowing moments.
First major mistake (other than letting the phone get blown off the sundeck) was that when I installed the new 8D battery I didn’t realize I’d draped the genset power cables over the top of the port driveshaft. Thank God we run diesel engines – that could have been really bad. I imagine there was quite the fireworks display in the engine room while that drive shaft burned through the hot lead (driveshaft is grounded) as a direct short! Brett fixed this one by the way.
The next major mistake was when we got diesel. I didn’t see the recommended dock (Milt’s seafood processing) but noticed a barge with the word “DIESEL” written on it so I yelled to the guy and asked if he’s fuel our boat. He says yes, but he’s used to doing 25000 gallons, not my paltry little 200 gallon request. Brett was at the helm and wanted to do the docking procedure – I got nervous – REALLY nervous. I was convinced he didn’t know what he was doing, and he says: “You do it”. I take over the controls and holy cow that was the most difficult driving experience of my life.
The current combined with the wind combined with the way the tide affected us differently based on how close we were to that barge was downright FREAKY! I now know what to do, but at the time I ended up bouncing the boat off that unforgiving steal of the barge and scratching the teak on the port handrail. I’d gotten confused as to which engine was in reverse (port) and which one to give some juice too to keep us spinning. Luckily it’s barely noticeable, but I was an adrenaline-filled nervous wreck for an hour after that incident.
Here we are tied up to that barge. We probably saved $200.00 in fuel cost by doing it this way, but it wasn’t worth the stress if I had to do it again. (Give me a nice $3.50 / gallon marina with bumpers, no current, and people helping you anyday)
Here’s a video I shot after the incident:
It took 2 hours for them to fill our tanks (well, 20 minutes fueling, the rest was waiting), which only cost $302.00 in the end. I’m amazed at how little diesel this giant of a boat uses.
As a result of three surprises, we ended up waaaaay behind schedule.
- We expected (based on my trip down from galveston to surfside) to run between 9 and 10mph. In reality we were against the current and the wind the whole way and averaged 7.3mph. (that’s over 25% longer of a trip!)
- We thought getting diesel would take about 20 mins or so – it took two hours!
- We thought we’d leave out by 9am originally, we didn’t leave until 10:05am
All of these factors led us to a decision to attempt to continue the trip on the ICW after dark. This turned out to be a GREAT decision. I’m not sure I’d recommend it to others, but on this night it was perfect. We saw very little barge traffic, the weather was cold, but with sweatshirts on and the propane fire pit running on low on the flybridge it was wonderful. I actually fell asleep for an hour or so while Brett was driving and he had to wake me up around midnight to help him anchor out.
We spent the night on the hook in a little river that hit the ICW. My first time deploying the anchor, and pulling it back up (which would have been very difficult without someone at the controls). PS: I need to figure out what’s up with the saltwater pump in the bow so I can clean the anchor (it’s still covered in mud).
I don’t have any pics of the anchoring, Brett and I were exhausted. I did, however, snap two pictures of making coffee on the new grill while underway at 7:00am.
It was at this point that I realized how truly addicted to AC electrical power I am. Even after my planning I realized I could not grind the beans to my coffee because I’d purchased an electric coffee grinder. Damnit! I ended up using that little inverter I bought at the pawn shop for 20 bucks since the generator wasn’t working. Plus – it seems downright wrong to start the generator just to grind some coffee beans.
Things of note:
- I thought I’d fixed the onboard inverter, I did not. It’s busted. Kaputt. Down for the ole count. Need a new one. It’s more important than I thought it would be.
- I’m now acutely aware of how much power I’m used to applying to my devices throughout a typical day. My bluetooth speaker dies after only an hour at high volume. My iphone dies in 5 hours if used for navigation. Both iPads die in 3 hours if used for navigation. The UPS I bought to run the Verizon business hot spot only runs it for 6 hours without 110v AC power.
- I…am…addicted to modern ‘things’. Wow.
The trip along the way was peaceful and relaxing – you see things and notice things at this speed that you’d never notice going fast (and certainly not when you’re in a car or a truck or a plane!)
Now for one of the coolest videos of the trip. The seagulls were following us for a while and I snapped this video in slow motion. Check it out:
The coolest part of the trip was Brett and I’s friendship developing at a much deeper level. There’s just no way you can spend that much time with one another and not come to a new respect of who they are and who you are in their presence.
On Sunday afternoon I brought my taylor guitar up to the flybridge and started picking a tune or two. Brett demands I record the moment (which I noticed I didn’t want to do because I had electric strings on the guitar and they sounded like crap). Alas – being in the present moment prevailed so I recorded it. Here ya go.
Laeburge gave us a free slip for 2 nights with 50amp service and water. I took the time tonight to just be by myself, the gentle rocking of the boat every few minutes as another ship’s wake comes by. It’s amazing.
Cheers – with much love,