Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Shake down cruise

We have our crew set for this year’s Harvest Moon Regatta. Sunday, we were all there excepting one. Mark and Brenda invited us to sail offshore in the morning. Doug, Bruce and I were happy to go. The weather was so perfect how could we not? If only we could have the same weather for the HMR… I’ve got to brush up on my weather voodoo.

Doug was in fishing mode and practically salivated over all of the birds diving on the fish just offshore. The previous day, there had been no birds and no fish. Today, when we weren’t fishing…there they were. So Mark dug out his one offshore pole and Doug gave Brenda a crash course in tying lures. Mark set up the pole on the back rail.

We went back out to the ship parking lot and trolled the whole way. We have discovered that Doug grew up in the same area as Brenda and Mark. The list of common acquaintances was endless. They talked and talked and talked. Bruce thought Doug’s throat should be hoarse. We are glad that we all seem to get along so well since we’ll soon be spending a week together on the boat.

On the way in, the guys went up on deck to have a serious pow wow man talk. They made their plans while Brenda manned the wheel. I think it’s going to be a great week! When we got back to the marina, Mark dropped us off and they went back to Corpus Christi. Bruce and I packed up and waited a bit for the promised tuna caught by another boat at the dock. We went home and cooked it for dinner. We did get our swim in at the club and wound down with the new season of Desperate Housewives for which I had been waiting and waiting. Another great weekend.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Other people's boats

Saturday we did some household chores in the morning and went out to Port Aransas after lunch. It’s funny… you know the saying that “it’s better to have friends with boats”. Well, that may well be true if you don’t have one of your own, but if you do… it means that you seldom go out on your own. Now I’m not complaining but it has become funny. We turned down an invitation with John on Wet Express to come to Port A. When we got there, Doug, along with Terry and Sherry from Cheers, were waiting for us to go out offshore fishing on Doug's 28' Luhrs.

The day was absolutely beautiful. Bruce drove from the flybridge in order to be able to see the debris floating in the water from the hurricane in Galveston. We passed a hot water heater among other things. We set some lures and trolled for a bit outside the jetties. We caught one little Spanish Mackerel right off and then nothing else but a snarl in our line.
We changed to fake ribbonfish and went out to where the ships were parked. There are a lot more ships out there than usual due tothe situation in Houston I guess.

We trolled right alongside one, then another. Doug told Bruce to get closer. Suddenly, we realized that we were VERY close! Maybe the ship had swung or rocked towards us…whatever it was, it looked like there was no more than three feet between the ship and the outriggers.
Bruce corrected course and we all breathed a bit easier.

Bruce came down to relax and let someone else drive the rest of the way.

We came in and went for a sunset spin over by the Light House on St. Joe Island. It was a good choice! The sunset was a spectacular end to another beautiful day on the water with friends. We had Doug over to our boat for a quick dinner and then we all joined the Sea Flight crew for wine and conversation in the cockpit until way after my bedtime.

Friday, September 26, 2008

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I have added a follow me widget to the blog. You can find it at the top of the Right side of the page. Click it if you wish to check back often to see what we're doing.

A splashy ride from start to finish

Bruce and I sailed with Steve and Jacquie on Cute Shoes as is becoming our usual Wednesday night routine. We had thoughts that we would not go due to high winds but Steve made the decision to try it since the Opti's were out there slugging it out. We can't be outdone by and Opti! (these are little bitty sail boats with little bitty people on them) We reduced sail and went on out there.

The cool weather has arrived... cool to me, anyway... so we were all bundled in our foul weather tops. It was a pretty splashy ride from start to finish.

The race course was 10-1-10-1-10 and finish. This was an unusual course for a Wednesday night race. It turned out to be kind of fun. The waves were big and the wind was too. It did seem to lessen as the race went on. We ended up being the last boat to finish. This was perhaps due to the old sails, the heavy reefing of main and smaller jib used, and the several mechanical mishaps we experienced all at inopportune moments. But we had a good time. Next time will be different!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sunday Sunday

Sunday morning we slept late…nearly ‘till 7am. We spent a long time reading on deck after the mosquitoes went away. When Bruce could stand being idle no more, we got to work on the chores. I made breakfast while he removed the outboard motor from the dinghy so that we could take it home for some maintenance later this week.

The next item on our short list for the day was to disassemble the head on Elan. It has been making a sucking noise after being pumped out and I finally nagged Bruce into doing some investigating. Well, I nagged myself into it anyway. I practically had to stand on my head to get the screws out of the thing. Lucky for me, Bruce had some heavy rubber gloves and the potty isn’t very old so, at the risk of sounding indelicate, there wasn't much... shall we say... buildup. I don’t think I’ll have to amputate anything. Everything checked out OK so we decided it was just the clamps that needed to be tightened. And we... that is..I feel better now.
We went for a bike ride through Island Moorings. We only did about a half hour but it made me sweaty so we went to the beach thinking of a short swim. I sunbathed in the shallows. The water washing in was too cool for me to consider going out in the surf. Bruce tried his hand at surf fishing for a while but to no avail. We left there and headed back to the marina.

We packed up and went home after some sunbathing/reading time. We have the new membership at the CC athletic club and we’re both very gung ho…so we went there and had a swim workout on Sunday evening. A positive end to another great weekend. I just hope that I can keep up the pace!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Day with Doug and Sally

Friday night Bruce and I cooked on the boat.
We wound down with a bottle of our own wine and had a simple dinner. The workweek had been brutal but we quickly switched over to island time.
Saturday morning we woke up early and watched the sunrise with Doug and Sally and discussed the day ahead. We planned to go out on a near shore fishing expedition on Doug’s 28 ft Luhrs. This was his sister Sally’s first fishing trip with Doug on this boat. They invited us to go along and we eagerly accepted.

A fogbank rolled in just as we finished breakfast and so Bruce and I made a quick trip to the IGA. We drove out to the beach and saw the end of the fog coming so we ran back to the marina just in time to jump aboard and head out.

We went just outside the jetties and began to troll small lures. Our targeted prey…Spanish Mackerel. We enjoyed motoring slowly about in 25 to 40 feet depths but no fish were taking the lure. The seas weren't high…only about 2 to 4 feet, but it was a short chop. It was as near to Corpus Christi bay conditions as you can get in the Gulf. We girls striped down and enjoyed the cool breeze and the intermittent sunshine while the guys monitored the trolling.

We gave up and headed for the calm waters of the channel and as we were battling our way through the roughest part, just inside the jetties… I saw that there was a fish on the line. Doug and Sally sprung into action. Sally reeled the fish in. It was a Spanish Mackerel. Doug REALLY knows his stuff!

We motored up the Lydia Ann Channel to look for fish where Bruce and I had been last weekend. We found the waters boiling with batefish jumping out to get away from something. Birds were diving, dolphin were rolling. It was fun. Bruce and Sally both began to throw the lures and Bruce caught several. Unfortunately it was just a bunch of Skipjacks or Ladyfish. They are fun to catch but you don’t eat them. Luckily, they flip off of the hook most of the time to save you the trouble of throwing them back. Suddenly the fish were gone so we went on a bit faster up the channel.

As we neared the turnaround point, the coast guard boat came up and requested permission to come aboard. Doug had seen them working the area earlier so he had all his stuff out and ready to present for the inspection. They were very nice and we chatted while they filled out the paperwork. I didn’t think it was prudent to try to take their picture with them being a branch of Homeland Security and all.

We continued on back to the CC Ship Channel and took a short jaunt up to the Piper channel. I joined Bruce and Doug on the fly bridge. The view from up there is so much better.

I got to drive from up topside. It rocked wildly when a boat passed us leaving a big wake. I can’t imagine how it would be out on the gulf in high seas riding up high. After a while, we headed back to the marina, thus ending a fabulous day on the water.
But it wasn’t over yet. We all went to the beach bar for burgers and fries. Doug brought along a game called “Pass the Pig”. We played it while waiting for our food. It’s won by rolling little plastic pigs like dice and you gain or lose points by what position the pigs land in. Odd…but fun. We had to give Doug a rain check on taking him sailing on our boat. Sally had to catch a plane out of San Antonio on Sunday. We went back to the boat and collapsed into the V-berth for a night of gently rolling slumber aboard Elan.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We don't need no stinkin' new mainsail...

It was back to the races on Wednesday night. Last week’s hurricane scare kept us off of the water but there was a good turnout this week. We had been promised the unveiling of Steve’s new sails. Steve was unfolding them when we arrived.
Unfortunately, my luck seems to have attached itself to Steve and the mainsail was very much too long. This was disappointing to Steve to say the least, but we pulled it down and replaced it with the old stand-by.
We did use the new jib but it will have to be altered as it was supposed to be cut high so as not to need to be skirted in the tacks. It was just a bit off of that so skirting fell to me this week.

It was a cool evening…remnants of the passage of Sunday’s cool front still lingering. I had to bring out my jacket for the first time this year. We had a pretty wet ride.
It feels odd when the air is cooler than the splashing waves. I sat out front and caught every one of them.
We had a pretty good race. We think we beat Kinderspel and maybe did well against Lone Star. We’ll see how it goes when the results are posted. We are still having a good time learning the boat and settling in. We don’t need no stinkin’ new mainsail…

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

That's It!

Bruce and I joined Corpus Christi Athletic Club this morning. I've had it with sitting on my butt all day being flabby. I'm too young to be this old! It seems like it will be great, there are so many things we can do to mix it up. We don't have to do the same things each day and we don't have to do the same things as each other. Bruce can swim laps, I can take classes... and oh the lovely steam room.... ahhhhh....

Sunday, September 14, 2008

We had our adventure after all!

We had breakfast this morning sitting on a bench overlooking the ship channel. Bruce decided we would go out sailing today. The wind was very light out of the west and the sun was bright in a partly cloudy sky.

We put on the headsail and motored out after fueling up at the fuel dock now that it was above water again.

We tried to make our way down the crab man channel but were doing less than a knot…so we jibed around and tried to go towards Rockport.

I got up on deck in the shade of the sail. It was beginning to look like a hot one. Bruce finally gave up on the idea of sailing as we were getting knocked by the wake of the many dolphin swimming around our boat.

We parked the boat in the slip and set out in the dinghy. We thought we would try our luck at beach combing. Maybe the storm surge had beached something interesting.

We saw some strange fish schooling around so I took the helm and positioned Bruce close to them so that he could throw a lure out into their midsts. He got a hit immediately but it severed his line. He reloaded with a steel leader but the fish had gone.

We puttered around looking for them for a while but the wind came up and it looked stormy.
We had just a smattering of little raindrops when they were pouring down just a few feet from us. It was very weird.

We got back to the boat after testing the limits of our little 5 hp dinghy motor. It was fun! We sat in the cockpit having boat chicken as we watched the first cool front of the season blow in from the North. It soon began to look like the rain would get us and the wind was howling. Bruce thought it would be nice to re-tie our neighbor’s boat to ours to keep it from blowing onto the dock and scuffing their sides so he went over to throw me the lines. This is when it chose to begin pounding us with giant raindrops. We finished the job and took refuge inside to wait out the passage of the front. This seemed like a good time for another nap.

It had been a strange and wonderful 4 day weekend after all. We had our adventure!

The marina to ourselves...

We woke up on Saturday and turned on the local TV news to see what had happened overnight. Bill Vessey was down at the seawall in the midst of the “worst ever” waves washing in, so we drove down there and found what? Destruction, carnage…no…just some higher than usual tide with relatively calm seas. I hate media hype! How can they sleep at night?

Bruce and I packed up for an overnighter at the boat and drove to Port A.

There was definitely some storm surge evident in the laguna.

The land around Doc’s and Snoopy’s was all under water.

There was water up to the road all the way to Port A. The streets there were deserted.

The marina was deserted as well.
The water was up over the fixed docs.

Ours is floating but the doorway is fixed so we waded through to get to the boat. All of the boats were fine. We had barely had any wind and had seen no rain as yet.

We put the mainsail and bimini back onto the boat and inflated the dinghy. It was very hot and still so we holed up inside the boat to enjoy the AC and had a nap.

We went down to the beach in the afternoon to see what if there had been any change.
The surf was mad and dirty.
There had been a lot of sand moved around. It’s funny how you know it isn’t right, but you can’t exactly remember how it’s supposed to be.
We walked out onto the jetty a short distance and watched the pelicans chow down. They’re fascinating to watch. They jab their beaks into the water and balloon their craw around the fish catching the water.
Then they drain all of the water out through their nostrils and gulp down the fish. They were having a field day out there with all of the fish brought in by the high tide.

We spent the evening in seclusion relaxing and reading on the deck and went to bed early.