Sanctuary....NOT!

I'm sailing away;

set an open course for the virgin sea;


I've got to be free

free to face the life that's ahead of me


On board, I'm the captain

so climb aboard


We'll search for tomorrow

on every shore


And I'll try, oh Lord I'll try

to carry on

-Styx

 

We leave Matagorda, maybe a little reluctantly. But we are hitting the weather window that says, "go now or be stuck...."

While traveling aboard NeverLand, I check the weather every night and every morning. I am checking the marine weather from the National weather service as well as windy.com. and any local services. 

I am looking at the current day's weather, as well as the next three days weather, looking for any potential hazards such as high winds, storm fronts, etc. From there, Captain and I make a decision whether to proceed or take a lay day. Safety is always our top priority and we have absolutely no schedule so we are never pressured or tempted to travel in unsafe conditions.

That being said, there is a big difference traveling on the ICW and traveling on the Ocean or Gulf of Mexico, While we could encounter some strong currents, wind, and rain, crossing the Bays on the ICW, there is considerably less risk or danger traveling this inside route.

There is also a basic difference in our personalities, as I am more inclined to want to stay a bit, and Robert is usually chomping at the bit to get going again. This one was easy. Matagorda was inexpensive, nice and clean and quiet, had a restaurant and showers, but no access to town and no laundry facilities. And we had a weather window between fronts. We needed to move on. 

The dockmaster, Craig, told us about a marina in our next town, Port O Conner, that isn't in the guide books. It is called the Santuary, and is a small no service marina in a condo/housing resort. He said we could just go in and tie up and there is a drop box for their small fee. 

So, we head out super early, as we know this is a long leg across Matagorda Bay and we need at least 7 to 8 hours of sailing time. 

Here's what happens when you don't review your route before you leave......

We get only a little distance away and we see a big concrete wall  blocking  the channel....a lock. Where did that come from? I grab the guide. Sure enough, it's clearly marked on the charts and the guidebook, along with instructions....that it will only open on the top of the hour! Guess what? It's 8:10. 

I get them on the radio just to let them know we are there, and they confirm and tell me they have two tugs coming through from the other direction, and we can go in as soon as they have passed. We can't see through the concrete wall, so we don't realize how long that lock is, inside....it takes almost until exactly 9 am for the tugs to get through there. We spend 50 minutes circling and waiting. So much for our early start! And if we had reviewed the route before leaving, we would have known we needed to get there before 8!

But that's boat life. 

From there things were pretty uneventful and we do get some wind and travel at a respectable pace into Port O'Conner, Texas.

During transit I try with no sucess to reach someone at the Sanctuary. I find a half dozen phone numbers for it and no one answers any of them. I call a couple other places that show slips there and one helpful lady tells me she agrees the Sanctuary is where we should go. 

***As a sidenote and lesson learned, when traveling in areas where recent Hurricane damage is abundant, and by recent, I mean within two years, double check everything ahead of time. A lot of destinations are not rebuilt yet, so guidebooks and internet sites may show facilities that are not available. We have run into this multiple times. Just double check any information for accuracy by phone before making any concrete plans.

This is why you should always have a plan B. We find the Sanctuary, BUT. We try both entrances and hit the bottom both times.  We check the tides and see it's low, and also, it is a full moon, which can create a super low. 

So, although we had been assured by two different people (neither of which had sailboats, by the way) that really big boats and lots of sailboats stay at the Sanctuary, for NeverLand it was not a Sanctuary ...it was a couple hours of wasted time at the end of daylight.

 We have to backtrack to the beginnng of town, two miles against current and running out of daylight, where we had seen another empty marina that the helpful lady said is used for fishing tournaments only. She had told me that we could probably tie up there on a weekday and no one would care because it it only used on weekends. Along the way, we take a stab at a couple anchoring spots, but everything out of the Channel was too shallow for us. We certainly didn't want to run hard aground after dark!

Persistance paid off, and we tied off in a slip without any drama........

........And proceeded to rock and roll all night.

But we were safe, and we have seen worse by far. We managed to get a few hours sleep anyway.

When we popped our heads up the next morning, the cold front had arrived and it was dismal, raining and blowing sideways.

Captain went up and lassoed (yup, lassoed) the other piling, and tied us up more securely so we eliminated some of the roll, and we holed up for another day to wait for the small craft advisory to lift and rather than spend a day in misery. I made some of the best Spaghetti in history for dinner and we played scrabble and listened to good tunes. It didn't suck.

The next morning the weather was a bit better but still not great. But we are cleared safety wise, and untie the lines to head out.

Maybe a little rolly. But still a couple free days, snug and cozy on NeverLand needing absolutely nothing.

That's what it is all about. 

Next stop....

Rockport. 

 

 

 

All colors come from Nature