TRAVELING THE DITCH

Since time is the one immaterial object which we cannot influence neither speed up nor slow down add to nor diminish it is an imponderably valuable gift.

 
October 21, 2018
 
We are tied up in the Municipal Marina in Matagorda Harbor, Texas. 
 
We had not planned for a marina here, we had planned to anchor out. Plans....bah humbug!
Weather called for a front to come through last night, and Texas municipal facilities are cheap, so we felt it was worth it to not have any worries about dragging anchor or rocking and rolling.
It did blow. We are feeling good about our choice.
But, back up. I don't want to skip over Freeport, Texas. We stayed there friday night at Surfside marina. After pulling up anchor from Galveston friday morning, we headed down the GIWW, henceforth known as "the ditch". 
So, the ditch is pretty straight on this leg, and we thought we were in for a day of slow motoring. The breeze kicked up...so I thought, let's just throw the genoa up and see.
Yes, we were motor sailing, but she sped right up and soon we were cruising along at 7 knots per hour and sometimes 7.3 to.5!
Speed on the water in a sailboat is a strange phenomenon . 
Imagine if you were driving to work at 9 to 10 mph, and that's how fast we were going. But for us, this is a fast pace. We always figure our travel time for a day at 5kph, so when we get above 7, we are significantly changing our travel time. 
So we arrived at Freeport nearly 2 hours ahead of estimate!
But wait...what did I say earlier about plans?
I call the Surfside Marina and tell them we are approaching the Beach Bridge which they are just on the other side of. He says great! He will meet us at the dock to grab our lines. ..
There's a barge blocking the bridge so we slow down to wait....and wait...and wait.
We idle. We make a couple circles.
The barge is loading some kind of large equipment and they just are not moving....
I call Surfside back and explain we can't get through so the poor guy isn't down there waiting. 
So, here's a travel tip for you. While we waited, we decided to get fuel, as there was a fuel dock on the east side of the bridge. But I called and got the fuel price at Surfside first. Wow! 3.22 per gallon of diesel on one side of the bridge, 3.79 once we went under!
So, we went in. Three guys came out to help us tie in. Everyone wants to know where came from, and where we are going. They told us the barge had been in there since 10 am blocking the bridge!
I do want to stop here and acknowledge that so far on this leg, we have encountered the nicest, most accommodating  people EVER!
Just incredible, gracious, friendly people.
So the bridge is still blocked and there's a restaurant next door so we decide to grab dinner, and of course the "on the water all day effect" made it taste incredible! Again, fantastic service.
We amble out, but Robert sees the barge pulling away and we RUN, to get NeverLand underway and under the bridge, because there is a long line of commercial traffic waiting. If they get to it before we do, we will have to give way to them and wait some more!
We made it! 
Hot Showers, crashed for the night. 
Up at dawn checking the weather. Freeport is where we REALLY wanted to go out to the Gulf of Mexico.
But the weather window is too short before the next front and another small craft advisory. So we opt for the ditch.
Again, we had wind and put the genoa up. Not quite as fast as friday's run. But respectable. And we get there early and there's a restaurant next door with good food, decent prices, and again, fantastic service. 
What I am really happy about is how much easier and stress free everything is getting. We hit bottom a couple times because commercial traffic pushed us over into some shoaling, but by now, we just deal with these things. Calmly. The tug's wake pushes us off. Docking for fuel or in the Marinas, anchoring, bridge openings, flood gates, all of this is just becoming a natural way of life.
A very enjoyable way of life.
So while the weather so far hasn't been ideal, it also is not hot. So for that I'm grateful. And the winds and most of the currents have gone our way. 
And our fear of not being able to sail at all and trudging along at 4 knots per hour in the ditch, was unfounded.
 
We're good. 
Wonder what today will bring?
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunrise in Galveston, Texas October, 2018