N 29 42.6 W 94 59.856
As much time as I spend working on our boats, and living on them, I don't think I've had a chance to do any sailing at all since June, when Venture had been at Bridge Pointe in New Bern, NC !
Venture has been at the dock here in Baytown, TX since last month, but we didn't get our new rigging parts untill last week, and the finaly got the mast stepped again yesterday. With sunshine and a nice southerly breeze blowing today, it was time to go sailing again, even if just for a day cruise.
The boys packed the cooler with soda, water, a few beers, and lunch. Eugene and I pulled out the main sail, and I re-rigged our roller furling jib. By 11:00 we were ready.
We left the dock and headed out to the Houston ship channel, slowly motor sailing past the dredge operations. They've been dredging the main channel south of the Hwy 146 bridge since we first got here back in September. We used to hear the low throb of the dredge running all night long, but they've moved up the channel a ways, and we can't hear it from the dock any more.
I decided to head down the channel to get some sailing in on Galveston Bay, rather than running going with the wind and taking a tour of the industry east of Houston. Fortunately there was light traffic in the channel as we tacked back and forth into the wind. I ducked into Barbours Cut to avoid a ship coming up the channel, but took care to avoid the security zone at Morgan's Point before heading back out into the channel. We were able to clear the south end of Morgan's Point on the next tack, and had lots of open water at the top of Galveston Bay to play in.
We saw 'Spirit of Texas' heading back for the marina with a load of school kids on a field trip. My boys waved at them at they excitedly waved back. I wondered if those kids would know that my boys get to go to school on a boat every day.
The boys passed around the binoculars and gazed at the mansions along Grandview Ave in East LaPorte while we munched on summer sausage and crackers for lunch.
There were a couple of small shrimp boats operating in the bay. There are refineries and chemical plants all around in this part of Texas. We've seen the dioxin warning signs at the local boat ramp, and I don't think we'll be looking to go for any fresh shrimp around here.
The south breeze was perfect for a lazy reach back towards the ship channel, and we were able to sail wing and wing all the way back up to marker 100, where we turn in to Bayland Marina. This was very convenient, as there was a bit more traffic with several large tugs and barges coming down the channel, and a large ship coming up behind us. I was able to keep to the side of the channel and out of their way.
I watched the depth sounder carefully as we headed back in to the marina. I had no concerns about running out of water with Venture, given that it drafts about six inches with the board up, but one of these days we'll want to take Colancer out of here, and she drafts seven feet. We had six feet of water all the way in, even at low tide. The marina had a lot of four foot readings all around though. We'll want some high water when we leave here.
It was 15:00 hrs when we tied up at the dock again. My four year old Greg had been hopping all over the cockpit when we'd left in the morning, but was lying down and getting ready to nap by the time we got back ...
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(c)Copyright 2006 by Eugene Kashpureff