MAP OF LEG I
Weather has certainly been the theme of the first leg of this adventure. I have had a lot of it. I left out of Franklin, La after having a fantastic time spending some time with Mary Jo’s relatives. I got to the Harvey Lock and spent the night on the dock at the lock.
0600 Made it through the lock without incident and down the Mississippi by the heart of New Orleans and through the industrial lock. It’s about a 25 mile run from the industrial to the Rigolets and then into the Mississippi sound. The plan was to go to Ship Island. I stayed there on the way over and enjoyed the area. I though I might launce the kayak and spend a day or so. The forecast was for 15 to 20kts from the East. Just before I got to the Rigolets there was a tug with two empties pushed up on the bank. This could mean he is waiting out the weather. I tried calling him but got no answer on the radio. I headed into the bay. The wind was blowing but not bad. There was only about a one foot chop. I kicked C-Lover up to 3600 rpm and was making 18 mph. All was fine for about a 45 min to an hour. Then the wind picked up fast. Before I could blink an eye there were white caps everywhere and those shorts close seas got to 4 feet. The wind had moved more around to the north. I was not that sure of how protested Ship Island is from the North so I made a 90* left turn and headed to Gulfport. I had to drop speed to barely making headway. This is the first time I have pounded so hard that it was uncomfortable on me as a matter of fact my back took a beating. I hit so hard one time that the screws that hold the radar display gave way a it dropped down holding on only by the wires connecting it to power and the reflector unit. I was able to disconnect those and toss the display up in the v-berth. I was still getting beat up too much heading to Gulfport so turned some more to port. This lined me up with Long Beach. There is a protected harbor there. When I got about ¾ of a mile from the beach I got some protection from the land and the seas were acceptable. I am glad I was not trying to go into there at night. I would not have made it. It is poorly marked. All you can see is a seawall barrier that looks continuous.
In actually there are two that run parallel to each other with the opening from the East side. If I had not lost the radar, this would have shown up on the display. I made it in without incident. I considered just staying there for a couple of days a waiting it out. I found a charter boat captain and he said it was suppose to get worse and stay this way for close to a week. He had cancelled all of his charters for the next four days. I also considered have Mary Jo drive over and we would just hold up together at one of the casino motels but she had a root canal on Tuesday and that is now infected and giving her a bad time.
This has been a bad week for boaters on the Gulf coast. While I was in Franklin two boats of teenagers collided killing about four of them. Wed night about 2 miles from where I was a pontoon boat with 5 on board ran into a barge and killed them. The charter guy I was talking to said last week a boat load of four were out around Cat Island and the weather turned to about what it is now. That boat turned over and one of them drown. They have not found him.
Since I have traveled this part of the water on other occasions and discretion being the better part of valor, I had Mary Jo bring the trailer to Long Beach and I loaded C-Lover and returned to Pensacola. Total miles traveled by water this leg 1730 miles. Total Engine hours 208.