Dream Away Update 10-Jun-2006


We have safely arrived at our old marina, Watergate Yachting Center, after an uneventful six day passage. We tied the dock lines to the pier around 1700 on the 10th of June.

We left Isla Mujeres on Saturday morning, June 3rd, 2006. We were awakened early Saturday morning with a wonderful rain storm that cleaned off the boat, but the associated wind had us do a 360 degree turn on the anchor. When the rain finished and the anchorage got back to normal, I went into the Port Captain's office to finish the official paperwork, which was completed very quickly. I then went to the Xpress supermarket and got some last minute fruit and groceries, then to the rum store for underway supplies and, on the way back to the dinghy dock, I stopped at a little store that sold fruit and spent the last of my pesos!

I headed back to Dream Away and the crew and I got the boat ready for sea. The crew consisted of the first mate (Kitty), Al Shattuck (a good friend from Texas), and Steve Miedell (a good sailing friend and working friend from the DECSystem10 days at Digital). We got the dinghy and a few smaller items secured, brought up the anchor, and got underway around 1030.

We motored out of the harbor and headed for the Yucatan channel. We were not able to sail, but we were able to motor sail and with the current. By the time we made the turn north, we were doing 8 1/2 knots. This continued for most of the next 24 hours, and we made 166 nautical miles in the first noon to noon 24 hour period.

By 1000 on the second day, June 4th, we were able to shut down the engine and sail. The wind was not blowing very hard so it made for a pleasant, flat ride. We also had the current helping us along. By 1700 the wind had dropped to the point that we had to motor sail again. We did not see many ships after we left the Mexican coast. Around noon, we hooked a dorado ( dolphin fish; Mahi-Mahi ), which we landed and filleted. This fish was 33 inches long and weighed about 25 lbs. The captain insisted on having fried fish for dinner, which we did. It was delicious, and the whole meal was a real treat. There was enough dorado that we also froze some to have for another meal in the very near future.

The third day, June 5th, was similar to the second day. The wind picked up around 1000 and we were able to sail for 12 hours before the wind went fluky and we had to motor sail again. Our second noon to noon run was 126 nautical miles, pretty respectable. At this point, we started to see more ships heading to and from the major ports on the Gulf coast. There are fairways that move ship traffic along the shelf and into and out of the ports. These fairways are used to keep the ships in known lanes and away from the oil rigs. Unless you have been off of the coast of north east Texas and south east Louisiana, you can not believe the number of oil rigs, and the traffic to and from the rigs.

The fourth day, June 6th, was not as good a sailing day. The wind was light, so the first thing we did was take the reef out of the main sail that we had put in for the previous night's run. We also put up the mizzen sail and unrolled the jib. The wind finally started coming off our beam, so we put up the cruising spinnaker. It was pretty and looked cool, but did not help our speed at all. Around 1300 we came upon a seismic vessel that was dragging a seven mile long seismic logging tow. We were asked to go around the ship, which we did. This necessitated taking in the spinnaker and various other actions that were necessary for the course change. By the time that we passed the ship and got back onto our regular course, the wind had died and we could barely sail. By 1700, all of the sails were down and we were motoring on a flat, calm sea, making just 4.7 knots/hour. On this day, we started seeing the deep water oil rigs. The first one that we saw was in 830 fathoms of water! We had a beautiful night as the moon was about 3/4 full. When the moon went down, there are billions of stars to admire in the dark sky.

The fifth day, June 7th, started out as a no wind day and ended as a no wind day. We were in the middle of a big high-pressure system, so, no wind. The captain decided to stop the boat and let out about 200 feet of chain on the main anchor rode to straighten out the twists in it that came from the boat having turned on the anchor in Isla. There were many twists that simply needed to be removed. The good news is that the twists are out. The bad news is that the chain jumped the gypsy on the windlass and all 400 feet of chain rattled out before it pulled up on the safety line that I put on the end. We had to get the chain in. Two hours later, it was safely stowed away, and we got under way again. The remainder of the day was spent motoring, with a little help from the wind.

The sixth day, June 8th, was another no wind day for the most part. In fact, we made better speed with the sails down. We caught another dorado. This fish was a bit smaller than the first, being only 25 inches long and weighing about 15 pounds. Needless to say, we are going to have a couple of nice fish dinners very soon. Towards the end of the day, as we were getting within 25 miles of Galveston, the wind started filling in from the southwest. We were able to motor sail, which was a good thing because, as we got to the Galveston jettys, we were fighting the outgoing tide. Our speed over the ground was down to three knots. It took a long time to get to the Galveston Yacht Basin, which we finally did around 2200. We had planned to anchor just outside the Galveston Yacht Basin, but with the southwest wind, we would be anchoring on a lee shore, and I decided to not do that. I decided that we would go to Offatt's Bayou and anchor there. We made our way there, which was an exciting trip in the dark with unlighted buoys, but we finally got there and had the anchor down around at 0130 on the ninth of June. Before hitting the sack, we had a small tot of rum to celebrate the arrival of Dream Away back in Texas.

Later in the morning, still June the 9th, we decided that, rather than having a lay day at Offatt's Bayou, we would head on up to our home marina. I cleverly remembered that we had arrived from a foreign country, and that we had to check in with Customs and Immigration. After some difficulty, we finally got them on the phone, but they did not know where Offatt's Bayou was, so we agreed to meet them at the Galveston Yacht Basin fuel dock. We raised the anchor and motored back to the Galveston Yacht Basin. Oh, did I mention that this was another no wind day? So, we had to motor the whole way. Our crewman, Steve, who had driven the boat most of the way through the port of Galveston and down the channels to Offatt's Bayou in the darkness of the previous night, was glad to get to see the sights in the daylight. We got to the Galveston Yacht Basin around 1100 and called Customs and Immigration. Their agent had just left to check in another arriving vessel so we had to wait, as it turned out, over an hour. The agent arrived, checked to see that the bodies matched the passports, and welcomed us into the United States. We left the Galveston Yacht Basin, made our way up the Houston Ship Channel and into the Clear Lake area, and were docking at Watergate around 1700.

The evening of June ninth was spent visiting with friends who greeted our arrival, and we ended up going out to dinner and had a great time.

Today is June tenth, and we have spent most of the day visiting with friends who have come to welcome us back. It has really been great to see them, and to get caught up with their news. The next few days will be spent cleaning up the boat, and getting lots of stuff moved off of the boat and into storage. This will be for storm preparation. We have to get a local mailing address, Internet access, telephone service, purchase a vehicle, and find jobs. We will also probably be going to Atlanta to visit with family before we get into the very real serious business of finding employment. So far nothing is certain, but I have several irons in the fire, and Kitty has a couple of prospects working. In fact one of the reasons for the trip to Atlanta is to have Kitty interview for a technical writing job. If that works out, it will be a telecommuting job. I am even submitting resumes to Oil Field service companies as a utility boat driver. It would be interesting to put my 100 ton Masters license to good use. Another outside possibility might be good responses to our applications for jobs with AUTEC which is on Andros Island, in The Bahamas.

We do hope that this update finds you well. I will be getting all of the updates and pictures put on the WEB page as soon as I can get some spare time to work on it.



WEB page http://www.dreamaway.net