Labor Day weekend offered a great opportunity to get some cruising under our belts. We set out for Offatt’s Bayou anchorage on the southern tip of Galveston Island along with two buddy boats from our marina (s/v Pan Cogito and s/v Jolly Mon).
Christie enjoying An Embarrassment of Mangos
About an hour into Galveston Bay, the motor overheated. But, determined to keep going, we tacked back toward Kemah to try to fix it en route. Matt managed to crawl into the smoldering engine bay, while being tossed around by the choppy water, to diagnose and replace the seawater impeller.
We gained a boost in confidence after the engine was resuscitated and ran at the proper temperature. We enthusiastically tacked back toward our original course toward Galveston and set out to catch up with our friends.
Matt enjoying the downwind sail
We eventually got to the anchorage, set the hook and had dinner with Mike from Pan Cogito. The next morning, we set out for the Gulf of Mexico. At over 20 knots of wind and lumpy seas, we managed to still have an outstanding sail. We logged over 9 hours of sailing and more than one soaking from water coming into the cockpit. Though there was motor trouble and restless sleep, the trip helped us learn more about the boat and ourselves when anchored out.
Our first drawbridge crossing
- Going forward, we will need a set of welders’ gloves (more heat protective and arm covering) to work on the hot engine without being scorched.
- Working on the engine underway is like threading a needle while riding a hobbyhorse in a personal sauna.
- The first night in a new anchorage probably means Matt won’t rest easily.
- After showering without a hot water heater, we’re now researching the best one for our boat. Even in the summer heat, it. was. cold.
- Drawbridges operate on their own schedule. And while you’re in a holding pattern (think elephants tracking tirelessly in circles at the circus) don’t be the one to stray closest to the channel’s edge. An unwelcomed shoal will be waiting for you.
- Always fully recharge the handheld VHF. Not doing so may lead to it powering down just as you need it.
- Always monitor channel 16, especially when there are tugs bigger than you around the next bend.
- Leave earlier than you need too. There is bound to be something that holds you up or at best, you get there early enough to get the best spot in the anchorage.
- Ocean spray leaves layers of crystallized salt on EVERYTHING. And while Christie enjoys a good salt scrub, this can be more exfoliation than necessary in one sitting.
- Buddy boats are there to accompany each other, not to play follow the leader.
- You can see your destination l-o-n-g before you get there.
- Know your reefing system BEFORE setting sail as trying to optimize it underway way is nearly impossible.
- Holiday weekends attract the most careless boaters. Get out there early to avoid as many of them as possible.
This foray into cruising is turning out to be pretty exciting. We’re one day closer!