Friday, October 31, 2008

Harvest Moon Pictures

Sailing is Fun!

A small sailing craft is not only beautiful, it is seductive and full of promise and the hint of trouble. – E.B. White

******Happy Halloween******

Thursday, October 23, 2008


It's Thursday (I think) and we're in Matagorda. The water is not nearly as nice here as it is in Port A and Rockport. It's starting to look more like home! We made it in yesterday afternoon ahead of the front that blew in around 10:00 pm last night. Tomorrow we will head for Freeport. There's not much to do here in Matagorda but we had a great visit from our friends Robert and Carolyn who live on their boat in Palacious. It was fun to get to see them because they are leaving to cruise the Bahamas in the next few weeks and it might be a while before we see them again. We are so happy that they are getting to live the dream.

One interesting thing in Matagorda Harbor - we are sitting here listening to shrimp clicking on the bottom of the boat. It's a weird sound. Hopefully they are cleaning the algae off the bottom!

We had a little surprise when we docked yesterday afternoon. Two nice men from the boat next to us on the transient dock came over to help us with our lines. One of them turned out to be Ed Campbell author of the "famous among Texas cruisers" book, Campbell's Guide to Cruising Texas. It was fun to visit with him and his friend Brent. Brent Van Sickle heads up an orchestra. You can check out is web site at . We had a great time telling stories while Troy and Brent played guitar and sang for us.

Ed Campbell

Dolphin in Matagorda Bay. We saw many dolphins on this trip and they were fun to watch as they swam along with the boat.

Great Blue Heron along the banks of the ICW

But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep. ~ Robert Frost


We spent Tuesday in Rockport with plans to make it all the way to Matagorda on Wednesday. We would pass up Port O'Connor because a front was scheduled to come in late Wednesday and we wanted to make is across Matagorda Bay ahead of the front. Rockport is a neat little town with more art galleries per capita and less restaurants per capita than I have ever seen in one city. We visited the Maritime Muesum there and Troy and I walked around taking pictures of the many beautiful birds.

Storefront in Rockport
Topaz from the lookout bridge at the Maritime Museum. I know - there's an aquarium there. I was really excited to see it, but it was closed that day.

I know - it's not a bird but I took the picture anyway!

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
~Robert Brault

Port Aransas

We've been having a blast on our vacation with Jim and Nancy. We stayed in Port Aransas through Tuesday and explored the town. One of the interesting and historical places there is the Tarpon Inn. When an angler catches a large Tarpon they put the information on one of the scales and it gets nailed to the wall. The inn has been there for 133 years (if I have my facts right, and that is not always the case). And had some famous anglers over the years.

Tarpon at Tarpon Inn

Front Porch at Tarpon Inn
Franklin D. Roosevelt - 77 lbs - May 8, 1937

Wall of Scales at Tarpon Inn

Port Aransas has beautiful water. You can actually see into the water, unlike home in Clear Lake. We saw many dolphins swimming in the marina and one of the other really cool things we saw at the City Marina in Port A were some Sea Turtles. We were so excited to see them right there swimming around the boats.

We left Port Aranas on Tuesday and had a quick motor over to spend the day in Rockport

Lydia Ann Lighthouse in the Lydia Ann Channel on the way to Rockport

A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in. ~Robert Orben

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Harvest Moon Regatta

Here we are in Port Aransas - we've completed the Harvest Moon Regatta. We crewed on a 51' Endeavor named Topaz owned by Jim and Nancy Brown. There were 129 boats that finished the race this year. That number is down from previous years, thanks to Ike. It was a fabulous sail with a beam reach and following seas (a sailors dream sail). The weather was perfect, just overcast which kept us from seeing the stars and the full moon. I admit that I was a little nervous when I had to be on watch and the night was so dark that I was worried about not seeing one of the many unlit platforms out there in the gulf. We made it to Port Aransas in record time for Topaz.

The real excitement started when we rounded the buoy to the Port Aransas channel. We realized right away that there was a very strong out going current and the winds were light and right on the nose. We managed to make it up the channel with a few exciting tacks. We called the race committee on the radio to let them know that we were approaching the finish line. They informed us that we were almost there and needed to keep sailing. We soon realized that the current had us drifting backwards - away from the finish line! We were going to need to tack again and try to get across the line. Between the current working against us and the light winds right on our nose, we tacked back and forth for about an hour and a half and never made it as close to the finish line as the first attempt. Thanks to the wonderful work of our skipper and his crew, we managed to tack many times and avoid the jetties, the buoys and the many boats that were beginning to stack up in the channel. After a while we realized that the more boats that were trying to tack around us, the more dangerous the situation was with us being in a 51' boat. We were tacking the boat within 25 feet of the jetties. It was quite exciting. Finally Jim asked us if we were opposed to withdrawing from the race and motoring in. We all agreed that it would be the smart thing to do.

After crossing the finish line and catching our breath, we looked back and laughed at the invisible line just before the finish line with about 40 boats struggling to get across. I think there was a period of several hours where not one boat crossed the finish line. Finally the current slacked and boats started to make it in. By then we had already had showers and a cold beer! I heard that a few boats did hit the jetties. It was really crazy out there!





Remember what Bilbo used to say: It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to. ~ J. R. R. Tolkien

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Day at Farmer's Market

Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons. ~Ruth Ann Schabacker