Friday, January 23, 2015

GoM passage Day 3 - Sun Jan 11th

Last night we cut across the De Soto Canyon (SW of New Orleans) and after having to motorsail for a few hours early this AM, to keep our speed in the 6 knot range, we’ve been sailing since around 10 AM when my day watch started.  It’s now 1430 and we’ve been doing a confortable 5.5-6.5 knots with the wind ranging from a broad reach to a beam reach out of the NE.  The seas have gotten larger at 4-6 ft but since they’re now on the port quarter it’s been very comfortable so far today and we’re making good time.  We’ve had a few little rain showers, but so far have been lucky and the big stuff has missed us (knocking on wood as I type this).  BABOO, as always is handling the seas with ease, so it’s very comfortable both in the cockpit and down below, where I’m sitting now while Kara’s on watch, enjoying some chocolate chip cookies that I decided to break out for us as a snack.

It’s been calm enough today that Kara made us a great cucumber, tomato, and onion salad to compliment the turkey sandwiches and if it holds out, she’s promising a little king ranch chicken for dinner, fingers crossed.

Our goal today has been to head a bit to the ESE in an attempt to stay outside (offshore) of the bulk of the oil rigs off the Louisiana coast.  We don’t have radar (yet) and are wishing we did since it would really improve our visibility when sailing at night.  Unfortunately, moonrise isn’t until 11:30’sh tonight and of course gets about an hour later each night, so we’re going to have some dark nights sailing and I’m sure we’ll be straining our eyes when on watch to make sure we no rigs sneak up on us.  Our plan is to head down the coast following the 4000 ft depth contour line to get us outside the majority of the rigs.  There’s still a few we’ll need to watch out for here, but it seems a good compromise between staying (relatively) close to shore and minimizing our oil rig exposure.  We’re still about 2 days (hopefully less) away from where we’ll make our turn to the NW to pick up the “safety fairway”, read rig free zone, that leads into the shipping channel at Galveston.  From Galveston we’ll head north into Galveston Bay to Trinity Bay.  Then West towards Clear lake and finally into our Marina.  They'reth.  Since we had to wait in Tampa for 2 days to let the weather improve, we’re a bit behind what we where hoping for.
supposedly holding a slip for us, though we where originally hoping to be there around the 12-13

This afternoon, while I was on watch, Kara and Blaine fired up the SSB (long range High Frequency radio – short for Single SideBand) for a weather update out of New Orleans.  Looks like tonight should be favorable, with the wind gradually switching over to NW at 5-10 sometime tomorrow morning.  NW wind means it’ll be right in our face, which means we’ll be motoring.  So, heres to hoping that forecast is the worst case scenario and if we have to fight the wind, the lighter the better.

In the meantime, I have a couple hours to relax and maybe catch a nap, while I sit here enjoying the feel of BABOO surfing downwind on the 4-6 foot seas.  Great day so far, here’s to hoping it stays that way.

-       I’m sure I’ll check in again later –Erin

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