Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Just after our return from Florida for our Daughter's wedding, we were invited on a week-long sailing trip by some of our dock-mates.  Several boats were planning on a trip East in the ICW to stay at a marina called Sanctuary.  Bruce and I had never been there before and since I am no longer working and am now free as a bird... we eagerly agreed to go.

The winds were forecast to be light Northerly, which would mean that we motor the entire way.  The forecast direction was spot on, but the wind speeds we saw beginning were in the mid 20s.  We closed down hatches and ports as we bashed our way across Aransas Bay to reach the more calm waters of the land locked ICW.  

This was my favorite part as there were birds everywhere to watch.  I even saw some kind of canine creature, probably a coyote, but I wasn't sure and he was too shy to pose for a more revealing photo.  

Some people don't care for ICW travel because of the commercial traffic.  I may change my tune as time goes on, but so far, most of the barge captains have been courteous and we haven't been in too many sticky spots.  It does take all of the helmsman's attention to negotiate the narrow passes at times, but with each one, the feeling of confidence grows.  

We followed our buddy boats until we were able to raise sail, then we moved into second position.  Shortly afterwards, it was time to douse sails and make our final approach to the marina.  There was one nervous moment when the boat in the lead grounded, but they backed off easily and continued on. 

We were all impressed upon arrival by the lush surroundings and well kept grounds here.  This was evidently an upscale  housing development that failed to thrive, but is still limping along in quiet seclusion.  I feel badly for those poor souls who are footing the entire bill for the upkeep of this place.  The nightly charge for staying here with electricity and access to their first class facility  is only $1 per foot.  We will certainly be back here!

We all got settled in and and made it an early night with each boat doing dinner on their own.  Bruce and I were up early, as usual, to enjoy a spectacular sunrise.  It is very quiet here and it's no wonder they named it as they did.  
Even Jezabelle came out to enjoy this unseasonably cool morning as the North wind continued to blow softly.  

I lingered in my spot on the aft deck while Bruce did some maintenance on our folding bikes.  The marine environment is not good for them and they require constant attention.  Once he was satisfied that there was nothing further he could do without new parts, he moved on to the next item on the maintenance agenda.  

Never leave the swim ladder in the water for longer than you must.  We inadvertently left it down before we left for Florida, two weeks ago... and found this upon our return. Lesson learned!  We spent about an hour scraping and still got only about half of these little beggars off.  

We became distracted by the others loading their dinghies into the water for an excursion.  So, we ditched the maintenance and loaded up as well.  Three dinghies were joined by the fourth and off we went in search of adventure.

We exited the Sanctuary complex and headed towards the tiny fishing town of Port O'Connor.  We made a stop on our way at the channel leading to Army hole.  Bruce and I had spent a night anchored a short distance up this channel about a year ago and wanted to check the channel depths.  There seemed to be nothing under about 6.5 ft so we felt confident that we could make it through should we choose to.

Back to the ICW for our continued journey, Bruce and I gradually fell behind the others.  They have newer dinghies with bigger, faster motors.  Plus, we were in no hurry...

We enjoyed watching the birds go about their daily routines and of course I can't help but take pictures.  

We nearly passed a herd of Longhorns thinking they were just cattle... but when Bruce realized what they were, we did a sharp turn and came in quite close.  It was fun snapping their pictures until they got irritated and began to leave.  We felt bad about disturbing their repose so we motored on.  

We made it to Port O'Connor just in time to meet up with the rest of our group already on the return trip.  There was no need to stop so we turned back towards our home for the night, with a short swimming stop on the way.  The day was becoming hot with little wind.  

We ended our day with a nap in the AC followed by happy hour ashore.  Dinner didn't happen as we gorged ourselves on hors d'oeuvres.  I made a new recipe from The Boat Galley Cookbook which disappeared...  Thanks TBG!  Our group had plans to stay at Sanctuary for one more night, then move on to our old stompin' grounds in Ingleside.  Bruce and I decided that we would rather head for new adventures and see if we could get to Army Hole.  

We spent the next morning doing some housekeeping since we had AC and full shore power.  We vacuumed and cleaned in luxurious coolness.  One more item was still on our to-do list for Sanctuary.  We took a bike ride to the freshwater pond to see the alligator.  A short ride got us there where we found this one small fellow laying in wait for the small birds that were failing their initial flight lessons.  We didn't wait around to see how this ended for the baby birds...  Back to the boat we went to prepare for our departure.  We would see how my navigational research skills pan out.  Next stop, the elusive Army Hole...

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