Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Ritual on Arrival Night - June 30, 2011

After our 4 1/2 hr drive down from Dallas we arrived at the Portofino Harbour Marina about 10:30pm.

We are hoping that the issue with the forward cabin air conditioning is taken care of. Dean had called a guy that Rob recommended we call... Patrick McAndrew@ True North Marine Service. They opted to do the quicker/cheaper fix to get us by which he figured would work 3 months/6 months/possibly forever. 
They supposedly had it repaired and working.

We arrived at the boat to  a very quiet & calm marina. 
It was 99 degrees down in the cabin and the forward air decided it wasn't going to work for us!
We have no choice but to manage with just the aft cabin air conditioning for the night.

We loaded the fridge & freezer, then poured ourselves a couple of glasses of Franconia (which we filled our growlers  and brought with us from the 5th Wheel) and went out on deck to admire our Beauty! 
~ Our Way Too! ~
{AKA thru out the blog OWT! for short}

 We have been so lonesome for her!

 Dean & I both did our "walk around" just as we did at anchor on our Gulf trip.
 We marveled at how she still looks so BIG to us! I nick named her the BAB (Big Ass Boat!)
Then we walked around her one more time and decided that enjoying our "walk arounds" on arrival night would become a ritual for us as long as we are "Trunk Slammer's".

What is a "Trunk Slammer" you ask?
  It is a person or persons whom arrive for a short period of time to their boat.
 For example...They arrive on Friday night get their goods out of the trunk and slam it shut!
 Then on Sunday afternoon, they load their goods back into the trunk and slam it shut once again!
 Then they leave to go home.
 When we lived on our power boat back home in Whitehall, MI for the summer, that was our term for those that joined us on the weekends!

 We sat on the bow for awhile then went and sat on the sunpad. The music was playing over at the Kemah Boardwalk so we just relaxed with our beer and jabbered about our "To Do" list to get done while we were there for the long weekend!

For starters...she will get a good bath!! It appears I was correct and OWT! had many direct hits from the 
~ Birds of Paradise ~

Since the boat wasn't cooling down very fast we decided to go for a swim and cool off in the pool.
It was a great night to just float and enjoy the stars!
When we decided to get out of the pool, we rinsed off again in the shower, but before we headed back to the boat we took a detour up to check out the upstairs of the club house.
There we met our neighbors! A really sweet couple from Louisiana...
Cody & Cameron.
We chatted for a bit  and wandered back toward J Dock.

They were refitting a very old boat & trying to bring it back to life.
 Bless their's a heck of a big job!!

Come to find out our Boats were bow to bow!
We said our Goodnight's & climbed aboard....

FYI - Fuel Consumption from Gulf Trip!

Just a short post to add this:

The Guys were very concerned about our fuel consumption coming across the Gulf. When we returned it took us a few weeks to get over to the Fuel Dock to fill up and figure what we had used. 

Our Way Too! has a 70 gallon diesel tank.
 We used a total of 46 gallons for our crossing from Tampa Bay Marina to Portofino Marina.
 We run the engine 61.8 hours over the course of 6 days.

So...if our math is correct we came up with .74433 gallons/hour! 

~ 46 gallons divided by 61.8 hours = .74433657 gallons/hour ~

Our opinion is that Our Way Too! is very fuel efficient
 and even though she has great fuel economy she


Settling into a New Home for Our Way Too! June 19, 2011

We hope you have a wonderful day and we "Thank You" for being with us on our 1st voyage!
 We love you!

Happy Father's Day to all!!

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my beautiful sister Kim!!

Dock J ~ Slip 16

Up & at 'em this morning!
 We have many projects & clean up to do to prep Our Way Too! before we leave her today.
 Dean has to be back to work tomorrow!
 I will catch up laundry and get ready to leave for Michigan to take Dad & Randy home.

 First coffee and alittle breakfast...
's pretty bad when I make my Daddy cook his own Father's Day breakfast! Shame on me!! :(

Randy & Dean gave Our Way Too! a really good bath (not just a rinse) to get all the salt off her.
 I could've collected the salt from the lifelines into a bowl and used it in the galley!! 
Everything was white & covered with it, 
even some in the cabin.

Busy as bees getting things cleaned up, stowed, and organized! 
The guys working out on deck & me working down below.

If you look closely at the dock in this photo above,
 you will see that Our Way Too! may not be slipped in an ideal spot!
 We have power lines above us just to our starboard side and I have a feeling that the
    ~Birds of Paradise~ 
will be shedding on Our Way Too! with alot of direct hits!!
(Possibly on our heads too!) 
That means we will have to give her a really good bath every weekend! 

We loaded everything into the car and walked up the dock...sadly leaving Our Way Too! behind.
 We are going to miss her...and can't wait til 4th of July weekend so we can come back!!
She feels like HOME now!

It was an extra long ride back to Arlington as we came upon a bad fire on I 45. Traffic was backed up so we cut across the median and found the back roads to work our way around it.
We were all tired & very ready to catch up on some more sleep.
We had to take Randy to eat at WHATABURGER!

Dad & Randy kicking back in the 5th Wheel resting up for the long ride to Michigan!
Leaving Arlington @ 0400 hr!
They are both eager to get home.

 Dean & I say "Thank you again & Love you both so much!
 We hope you enjoyed the Trip Across the Gulf!!"

Our Arrival Safe & Sound in Kemah, TX!!! June 18, 2011

....tankers, cargo ships anchored, and on into the busy Galveston Bay shipping channel.

About 0100 hour we are all awake coming into the Bay and amazed by all the ships and tankers we are seeing. We estimate 60 to 70 ships anchored in the Gulf waiting to come in to unload or load up. We saw them sitting high out of the water and some sitting very low in the water.

Wee hours this morning, about 0130 hr,  we entered the waters of Galveston Bay!
 Only about 3 hours left of our voyage. We are geeked about our arrival!

I think we are all having some mixed emotions.
 Sort of bittersweet....
We are all tired,
 sort of ready to be back on land,
 but then not entirely ready for the trip to come to an end,
 glad to have had a safe voyage and perfect weather,
 but most of all...
 awed at the thought that we just crossed the Gulf of Mexico!!!

Between tugs in tow...tugs pushing ahead and big ships, we safely navigated the shipping channel to Kemah and Clear Lake.

As we entered the channel marker's to Clear Lake, Rob commented that with the mast navigation lights on, the steaming light and the bow/stern lights on, he'd bet our welcoming committee would scold us for being illegal. (Our starboard/green bow light was out so we turned on the masthead tri color nav lights to cover all our bases. We found out later we don't have a tri color mast light up there!)

As we entered the fairway to the outer harbor for our slip J-16, Dean felt us hit bottom so he backed us out to try it again. This time he had Rob take over the helm and try since he knows the marina better. Rob bumped bottom as well so they decided to back it out, go into the inner harbor of the marina & tie us up to the end of D Dock until the tide comes back in.

0430 hr...Success!!!
6 days later...from the dock in Tampa Bay, FL...
 We have arrived safely to the docks of Portofino Harbour Marina in Kemah, TX!!!
 New address for Our Way Too!
With grateful hearts for the safe & blessed passage of
 Our Way Too! and her Crew
 across the great Gulf of Mexico...
...let the stories begin!! ;-)

We had a wonderful "Welcome Committee" ~ Jay & Todd were awake & on the dock to greet us, they run from the end of J Dock to the end of D Dock to grab our lines, and provide us with our celebratory Rum & Cokes. (Great for Breakfast!) They gave us a hard time about our navigation lights just as Rob said they would!

Todd, Randy, Jay, Rob, & Al
Oh oh...Rob's glass needs a refill!
Our trip was just AWESOME!!!
   We are so proud of ourselves & of Our Way Too!!!
   We had an "AWESOME" crew!!!  
We LOVE Our Way Too!!!! 
She is an AWESOME sailing vessel,
 she has and will take good care of us always!!!
Did I say how much we LOVE her already??!!
1145 nautical miles total and 745 nm from Tampa to Kemah.
We now have 1,251.1 hours on Our Way Too's engine.

Seaknotter's Randy & Jay reunite and chat with Todd!
FYI...Randy is the one whom hooked us up with Jay on "Seaknots"(an online chat for sailors & sailorettes) when we moved to Texas. Jay invited us to Kemah to meet & see how the Texan's Sail! We are blessed to be a part of this group of great Sailors!!
The Crew & Dock Greeter!
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Captain Rob! It meant alot to have you onboard with us on our maiden voyage! You are a great friend & we appreciate everything!! Love you bunches!
 "Captain Rob"
I  love this pic!!
I wonder if he is thinking it was all a dream?!

Father & "Son" :-)
Thanks again Dad!!
Love you!
Another of my Scruffy Great looking Crew!! :-)
Oops....Dad isn't Scruffy! He found his razor!
Bud's for Life!
Scruffy #1 & Scruffy #2!
I love em' both!
Great Crossing Guys!!
Dad say's "Hello Honey! I'm home!! :-)
Dad is greatful to be a "landlubber" again!
After our celebratory rum and cokes, everyone was ready for showers & sleep.
We decided to sleep short, then get up & go out for brunch.
Dad & I were too wound up to sleep so we decided to scout the marina, get our showers,
 & try out the pool.
So that we did, while the rest of the gang took a much needed nap!
My men!!
The "Our Way Too!" Crew at Skipper's in Kemah
Looking alittle more awake & spry!!
And they aren't "Scruffy's" anymore!!! :-)
Her new home Slip J-16
After our brunch we went back to the marina and since the tide was up we moved Our Way Too! over to her new home on J Dock. This time we didn't have any problem getting in there but we are aware that the problem could persist of getting in & out especially during the winter when the north winds blow the water right out of the Bay. Also our channel to enter the fairway to our slip is very narrow. If this side doesn't get dredged we may be stuck in J-16!! We will have to talk to Connie up in the office about a different slip when we return in a few weeks.
Such a pretty Boat!! ;-) A wee bit partial aren't I??

Getting her bath & put to bed for a good rest til we come home to her in 2 weeks! 
Dean cleaning & organizing things before we leave her.
After Dean, Randy, & Dad bathed...rearranged...stowed...fixed and prepped Our Way Too! to sit without us here for a couple weeks, we joined Rob onboard his boat, "Wandering Star" to participate in the weekly summer Galveston Bay Yacht Club Rum Race

Now after 1145 nautical miles of sailing one would think we had enough...but no way!! We were rearing to go. I guess that means we are truly Sailors at heart! I am certainly glad to know that is the case since we do intend to be onboard and cruising full time some day!

Rob's "Wandering Star"
(This picture was taken during one of our "Frost Bite" races this past winter.) 
Wandering Star & her Crew placed 2nd in the Cruising Class!!!  Whooo Hooo!!
We had a great time & it was an exciting race!
 My Daddy's first...he handled being "Rail Meat" just  fine!
Afterwards we all went to the yacht club for the food, fun, festivities and of course the Rum!! ;-)

Dean & I wanted Dad & Randy to experience one of our favorite Texas joints so we left early to take them to "Gilhooley's". It's a well known Oyster Bar & Grill in the area that looks like a dive but it has great food and the best raw oysters! The building has been thru the hurricanes and had water half way up the walls but the business has survived! They dump all their oyster shells in the parking lot so it is paved with them! If you ever go to Kemah...Gilhooley's is worth the little drive off the beaten path!

Dad & Randy were a little bit leary of eating just raw oysters so they ordered other items which turned out to be great too! They did both try the oysters tho! Dad said now that he knew how good they were he would order them next time if he ever came back to visit! His past experiences with raw oysters was NOT good!
Treating Dad & Randy to "Gilhooley's" Oyster Bar & Grill
Two of our favorite dishes here that Dean & I order to share:
Gilhooley's Famous Shrimphooley's
Gilhooley's Famous Raw Oyster's on the Halfshell
Randy's Shrimp Salad
Dad's Burger

After our late bed nite snack (dinner really) we headed back to the boat for a good solid night's sleep! I don't know about anyone else, but this past 2 weeks now seems like a dream to me. If I weren't so sleepy I'd be wishing we were all still out in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico!

I will be dreamin' of porpoises & turquoise waters....

Nite ya'll...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

June 17, 2011 Day 13 " Gulf Crossing"

Wee hours of the morn....

Randy is at the helm......
We let out all the reefs and it's a beautiful night to be under full sail! 
Little bit bouncy as the night goes on but doable and the guys are still in "conserve fuel" mode.

Being the great helmsman he is, Randy keeps a good eye out. He weaves Our Way Too! thru the maze of oil platforms and then spotted a big ole' workboat coming at us. All of a sudden a huge spotlight is on us lighting up our sails & cockpit & some guy hollars on the radio to "Identify" ourselves.
Obviously these guys don't see too many S/V's (Sailing Vessel) out here!!

Randy replied that we were "S/V Our Way Too!...under full sail...enroute to Kemah, TX!"
(If he knew his navigation lights well as a Captain should, he would've known we were legit!)
He said he wasn't sure what we were...said to have a good night...shut off the bright light...turned his big boat sharp to starboard & gunned it leaving us in his big wake!

Well....allrighty then!!

It's a busy night for our Crew keeping a close eye open for rigs, platforms, and Crazy Workboats!
The winds are picking up along with the waves. It's getting a bit choppy and rough out here. 
I take a bunch of photo's to show how the seas have grown but it really doesn't show the height like I want it to. It will give you an idea how choppy it becomes tho.
Guess who is sleeping again!
Looking from the high side!
Looking Forward
Low side
Don't fall out Sleeping Beauty!!
Capt' Randy at the Helm with the Candy Container!
Still sleepin'!
Really...this was taken only a few minutes later. ;-)
We have some Company out here!!
Randy seems to have more energy than the rest of us!
I think it's all the sugar!!
I know what it is!! It's that music he is jammin' to!! ;-) He is always smilin' when he is at the helm too!

Still choppy & rough out here!
This is by far the roughest day we have had on this trip and it's really not that bad. We are all just getting tired and uncomfortable. We are all in dire need of a good hot shower & a full night sleep. Running low on water is NOT a good thing. Dean will be right on that issue when we arrive to find out why!! We are still rationing the drinking water and have had no showers. Thankfully we have wet wipes to freshen us up & get the salt off as best as we can. Today we have just snacked on leftovers & whatever we could find. Too bumpy to cook down below. Whoever said the Gulf of Mexico would be easy?!
Ahh hahh....he moved!
Dad's turn....he is better but not quite!
We think this may be our  "LAST SUNSET" of this trip!

Our Way Too! and her crew sail on into one more night of starry skies, choppy seas, oil platforms.....

June 16, 2011 Day 12 "Gulf Crossing"

A Crash in the Night!!

We are still motor/sailing. It seems the Gulf is doing the usual opposite than we are used to. It is getting choppy & rough at nighttime now. And because of that, we could've had a major catastrophe during the night with 2 of our crewmembers!  Thank God they are OK! 

While Dean & I were on watch...the boat would lurch occasionally when hit by a large wave. All of a sudden my tummy flip flopped when I heard some yelling down below. I hollered through the companionway, "Who's yelling?" and I heard "We both are!!" I could barely make out Randy & Rob both on the floor in front of the settee. Apparently Rob was heading to the forward cabin when the boat lurched and he fell ontop of Randy with a direct hit to his knees as he was lying on his side, sound asleep, curled up on the floor where is was cooler. Rob took the hit directly to his kidney. Both claimed they were OK but I could tell both of them were in really great pain! I was afraid Randy was going into shock as he start to sweat & shake real bad. I kept an eye on them both and kept asking if they were OK. Man they scared me to here we are way out in the middle of the gulf & at night! You can never be too cautious or careful while out to sea. You never know when the unexpected with occur!

It took quite a while for the pain to subside with both of them and a long while before either of them could go back to sleep.
Rob said later Randy was lucky that he (Rob) had lost 100 pounds otherwise it probably would've broken his legs or shattered his knees!

I thank God that they are both going to be OK!!

Those of us in the cockpit really enjoyed the  MoonSet & SunRise this morning. Awesome!!
"Moon Set"
If you look closely at the horizon you can see all the platforms!

"Beautiful Sunrise"

At 0625 hr it appears we are exiting the busiest area of the minefield.  :-) There are still some platforms ahead but it doesn't appear to be as least not for awhile. We shut down the engine after 7.1 hours of motor/sailing. Under full sail we were doing 5.1 to 5.3 knots.
It looks like it will be a partly cloudy/overcast day. The winds are SW @ 12 knots - waves 1'.
We have covered well over 400 nautical miles. 
We get up close & personal with one of the platforms
Zoomin' in....
It is like a mini city up there! and working on one of these platforms out here in the middle of the Gulf!
What if there were a really bad storm? Would the waves reach that high?

About 0715 hr, our phones start receiving texts & ringing off the wall. We must be pulling signals from the Oil Rigs out here. Tom (our Son) called to check on us and my baby Sister Kristy's texts are catching up to us! Hopefully we are not zapped with a really outlandish phone bill next month!!

The water is turning into a murky green color out here! :-( 
I won't be able to see the porpoises as well!
Darn it!!

Randy logpost: 1128 hr: Gettin' over cast. Winds 11 kts 220 degrees; Boat speed 4.9
Position - 28 44.414/w 90 46.165
Waves climbing to between 2' & 4'
Might we end up in some nasty Gulf weather after all?

1445 hr... Lowered all sails & started engine in preparations for 2 Storm cells heading our way, one on each side of us!! I hurriedly fed my crew Brown Rice Salad & the last of our bread rations.

Position - 28 47.6/w 91 07.4
Gale force winds:Waves 6-8'

Battening down the hatches!!
         It's my story!!!

There really were 2 storm cells...And we really did drop sails & prepare for it! 
Winds only about 18 knots & waves 1' -2'. 
Our Way Too! motored on thru...still on her course...right between the 2 cells!
I think we maybe had 5 minutes of rain but it wasn't hard enough to rinse the salt off the boat!

As you can see below Capt' Randy was prepared for the worst!
Lightening dissipater??

As we get closer to the West side of the Gulf we start to see new sights....

Not so pretty weed beds! They are full of unsightly garbage and junk. It's sad to see all this crap in the waters!!

We are careful not to sail through them and load up our keel.

The water has become dark & murky color...

I wonder if the Oil Workers, Tankers and Rigs are most of the cause?

The Crew after the horrible storm! Can you tell they weren't too stressed?! ;-)
Nope...not stressed at all!
I do believe my Daddy is finally feeling much better! He's not over it...but acting a bit more himself again.
For that I am so thankful!
As we head into another beautiful starry night on the Gulf of Mexico....
Back into the minefields we go!!