New Orleans to Houma #55

Wednesday, June 12

Today is our daughter Jenny's 26th birthday. She is big in our thoughts today. She lives in Portland, Oregon where she has completed her second year of law school. We are very proud of her.

We left at 4:20 a.m. this morning hoping to get through New Orleans before traffic got too heavy. It was a beautiful ride through the city.

At some point Ralph added more fuel.

We had two locks to go through….one before we got into the Mississippi River through New Orleans and one when we left the Mississippi and returned to the ICW.

The first one, the Industrial Canal Lock, we had to wait our turn behind a very large barge. Then we went in behind the next large barge. We tied up to the back of the barge. The excitement came when the barge started up his engines to exit the lock. He made an incredible wake and we found ourselves wheeling in circles, the captain driving excitedly forward and reverse trying to keep us from hitting anything. Stephen and Arlene ran from port to starboard with boat hooks also trying to keep us from hitting anything. We regret we did not get a video. It was more exciting than any amusement park ride. We, by the way, did not hit anything.


The next lock was less eventful. We got to go in immediately and had the entire lock to ourselves. However, after the lock opened we had to wait a long time on a railroad bridge that had opened for a train. Eventually the train came and our trip resumed.

One more basculle bridge to go.

By now it was 9:30 a.m. and we were all hungry. Arlene cooked a big breakfast with ham, fruit and pancakes. Before we got to eat there was a slight delay. We had picked up a stray line on our port prop. We had to tie up to a nearby parked barge ( no small feat) and Ralph got into the water to free the obstruction.

After that, breakfast was especially delicious.

We spent the rest of the afternoon motoring peacefully down the ICW. We know we're getting close to home. It's really hot in the afternoons now. We're again grateful that we have the shore powered AC for our evenings rest.

We traveled west through the swamplands of Louisiana. There was lots of debris in the water. Much of it was a plant named Hyacinth that seemed to be spreading everywhere. There were also lots of logs and sticks. We had to be careful driving through the debris as well as make frequent checks of the engines to be sure they were clear of the floating grasses.

We saw lots of industry and many cranes along the way.

We also saw many barges and tugboats. The tugboats all monitored Channel 13 on the VHF as did we. They all identified themselves, their location and the direction of their travel to each other. Ralph did the same, letting them know who we were and where we were going.

We were really happy to see a rain cloud appear before us. We welcomed the relief from the hot sun. The rain never came, but it was definitely cooler for the rest of the afternoon.

We passed several bridges. One of them was a pontoon bridge. It looked almost like a barge itself. This was the first bridge of this sort we had seen in our travels. We also went through a swing bridge.


We arrived in Houma at 6:30 p.m. It was a lovely tie up by a city park with electricity and water with a nice restaurant nearby.

Life is good.

Fair winds,

Franci and Stephen


On to New Orleans. #54

Tuesday, June 11

We left Pt. Cadet Marina at 6 a.m. but not before our friend David stopped by with doughnuts. He had gotten in too late the night before to rendezvous with us. That's southern hospitality. We were pleased to see him again.

We took off down the ICW and it was a beautiful day. The ICW was hopping with lots of barges, fishermen and pleasure craft. We cruised down the ICW most of the morning.

Arlene cooked us eggs with spinach, cheddar cheese and feta cheese. It was yummy.

We invented a way to have shade for the helmsman. The sun in the mornings can be brutal now.

The afternoon was spent going down a canal that led through the swamps and to the north side of New Orleans. We passed a couple of barges and saw one tugboat with no barge. Other than that it seemed we were the only ones going down the canal that day. Franci enjoyed a turn at the helm.


Just before arriving in New Orleans we passed a massive flood gate structure. It's new and no doubt is part of flood control following the Katrina disaster.

We made it to our marina site at the Seabrook Marina by 5 o'clock. We had to go under a lift bridge with a clearance of 50 feet. They don't start working the lift until 8:30 tomorrow morning so we are hoping the tides are in our favor and can get under in the morning as well. We, of course, plan to leave very early.


A neighboring boat helped us identify and dock into our assigned slip. This ws once again a place with RV sites as well. Later, after showers and a few cocktails, we would meet up with the same folks again. We enjoyed dinner together at a nearby restaurant. They had many good stories to share. They have now sold their home and businesses and live on their boat. They own land in the Grand Bahamas and may someday settle there.


Life is good.

Fair winds,

Franci and Stephen


Waterlogged #53

Monday, June 10

Last night we had found an anchor spot close to Daulphin Island following our long, stormy trek in from off shore where we got caught in yet another tropical depression. Before retiring we closed up all the hatches and eisenglass in anticipation of more rain to come. Around 3 a.m. Franci awoke realizing that she and everything around her was wet. The hatch above the bed had not been closed and it had rained heavily. Stephen and Franci arose and took all the wet bedding off the wet bed. Franci put on dry clothes. We were able to put a towel over the wettest spot and with a dry blanket got a few more hours of sleep.

Around 7 a.m. we pulled up the anchor and went in search of the Daulphin Island Marina where we had anticipated getting fuel, water, and ice. We discovered that they were on the other side of a bridge we were too tall to go under. We searched our sources and found that the closest convenient marina with services was in Biloxi, Mississippi. We determined that we still had enough fuel to go the 40 miles to Biloxi so off we went to our new destination.

It was still raining off and on that morning, sometimes very heavy. We were rocking and rolling even in the ICW. We were all happy not to be off shore anymore. We ate a good breakfast with oatmeal, fruit and English muffins.


Late morning the rain subsided and we could see blue skies ahead. Arlene began puttering and cleaning up the boat. This led to a decision to empty water out of the main sail cover which led to tightening the rest of the loose screws. it soon became an all hand's on deck activity and everyone had a part in the action. After all was done, Stephen zipped up the sail cover so if it rains again, water will not get in


We put in a call to our buddy boat friend, David, that we had met at Indian Town Marina in northeast Florida. We had had dinner together one night at the Franklin Lock Campgrounds where we stayed following a day of going through locks and bridges together. David is from Biloxi and we figured he could recommend the best marina for us to go to. He suggested Pt. Cadet Marina and, as coincidence would have it, he expected to arrive there himself that evening. He was just then arriving in Biloxi with the Seal Boat, the boat he was hired to deliver when we met him.

We had tuna sandwiches for lunch and listened to the afternoon weather report. We noted that we no longer saw blue skies ahead. The marine weather station spoke of more thunderstorms to come and put out warnings about a water spout that had been spotted. The storm was not over yet. Down came the eisenglass again.

Eventually we found ourselves arriving in Biloxi.

We arrived at our marina around 4 o'clock. We filled both tanks and every jerry can with fuel and bought 100 lbs. of ice, all that the coolers would hold.

The harbor master, Richard, showed us to our slip. It was very narrow and took a long time to move into. We began by backing in but after discovering that the electrical cord would not extend that far ended up turning the boat around forward. Finally the boat was situated and all the electricity and water connected.


There was still a bit of fumbling yet to do with the AC. It for some reason had to be primed again. When it was finally going, folks put up a blanket blocking the sun coming through the windows and things began to chill down. Happy hour officially began.

Franci took wet sheets and a blanket to the laundry. She also did a couple of loads of wash for she and Stephen. We all got showers and enjoyed the cool of the evening.

We walked to the nearby casino for dinner. The suggested buffet was just too bright for us and, besides, they did not serve adult beverages. We were days behind on our partying at this point. We went to the steakhouse instead. We enjoyed sitting at the bar and exchanging jokes with Amanda, Chris and a friend whoi came into the bar as well. It turned out the bar served sandwiches as well so that became the perfect fare for dinner.

Biloxi, it turns out, is a big gambling town, They used to have casinos on barges but several years ago they were wiped out by the hurricane. They are currently rebuilding the casinos on the water's edge on concrete pilings.. The casinos themselves are immense concrete structures with attached parking garages and hotels.


Life is good.

Fair winds,

Franci and Stephen