Saturday, March 03, 2012

We Needed Some Boat Time

On Wednesday February 27, we loaded Willie's Tug and headed North on the ICW. Willie, Jake and I were on board with a stocked reefer and ice chest, a couple of changes of clothes, and a general idea of where we wanted to go.  Actually the first two days were planned.  We wanted to be in Island Moorings at Port Aransas to spend the weekend with a few boating friends.  We had actually planned to leave on Thursday, but the weather Friday was predicted to turn nasty with rain and high winds.  So we left a day early in order to be in a safe harbor when the Norther came through.

The first night we made it to Port Mansfield and stayed at El Jefe Marina Y Cantina, one of our favorite places to visit.  The community lives for the fishing industry.  A couple of South Padre Island's fishing boats, we call them head or $20 dollar boats, are now based here because the good fishing grounds are closer.  With fuel prices that makes sense for them.  The cantina at El Jefe's is lively and has great food.  After happy hour on the boat, we stepped up to the cantina for a burger for dinner.  I wish we had ordered a big steak, because a customer of the cantina who was working in the area insisted on buying everyone in the place their dinner.  Anyway the burger was extra good that night and we will order it again.

The next morning we continued up the ICW, now on virgin waters for us as we have not been further than Port Mansfield previously.  We kicked up our cruising speed a few knots as we had about 87 nautical miles to go to Port Aransas and Island Mooring Marina.  At our economical cruising speed of 7 Knots, it would take us over 12 hours to arrive.  We set the throttle to give us a comfortable 12 knots at about 3250 rpms.  Still an easy speed for the 180 hp turbo charged Yanmar engine as our top speed is around 20 knots at 4000 rpms.

Yesterday we found that our Nikon DX40 has died.  This was a birthday present for Willie a couple of years ago.  It has served us well but now needs a trip to the shop.  Hopefully the salt air environment we use it in mostly has not harmed it beyond repair.  We find the phones do a pretty good job of taking pictures.  Even so I hope to find a nice point and shoot in Corpus Christi.

The ICW in this area is long straight runs with little traffic.  We go for hours without seeing another boat.

 As we enter Corpus Christi Bay, the traffic picks up and leaving the ICW for the Corpus Christi Ship Channel we have lots of large vessels making their way toward the Gulf of Mexico.  Here we tread water waiting to tuck in behind the "Buster Bouchard" an ocean going tug pushing some barges full of oil.

A few miles out the channel, we find the small channel into Island Moorings Marina. After fueling up, we take a spot along the transient dock which will be our home for the next few days.  Our neighbor is Buster the cat who owns this nice sailing catamaran.

Next up our time at Island Moorings Marina.

Walldog, Willie and Jake aboard Willie's Tug.

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