Enjoy episode 4 of our travels. We toured an alligator farm outside of New Orleans and had a blast! We spent most of the day there and T. Mike Kliebert let Aubrey hold all of his animals. She is convinced “her people” are in Louisiana and I am just happy I was able to get her out of there without (1) her leaving me for a guy in the swamp or (2) her trying to sneak another animal aboard Miss Lone Star!
This next episode was day 4 of our travels and you can already see the relief in my eyes, as the boat captain. I was a little more confident but still giddy like a kid (or Quagmire from Family Guy- giggidy giggidy). We came through the dreaded city of Intercostal City, LA and into Houma. It was nice in its own way but it was hot as the Sahara. We met some cool kids and had fun at the city marina, by our lonesome- but it was time to go.
The Intercostal was unremarkable until Morgan City, LA- where it got beautiful. We saw bald eagles, bogs, swamps and tall trees. The ICW came together with a river and it was big. We mooted on towards New Orleans and I hoped, against hope, that we could get through the locks and make it to our marina by night-fall. We did and it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Up and down by 12-15 feet and through the Mississippi was something I will remember forever. It had a 20 knot current and was over its banks by 50 feet on that day. It was massive and scary but we made it down the lock to the marina, where we resided for 4 days. We explored, rode the trolly cars and went to an alligator farm in Hammond. It was still hot but we didn’t care and the French Quarter was much more tolerable with Onyx leading us.
This is a true account of our travels.
We set off a little late at 10:30AM but we got off just the same. The boat was clean and polished and we had plenty of fuel to make it. The day passed much faster than the previous ones. I called ahead and booked a slip in the Seabrook Marina on the Industrial Canal, just east of the lake.
We were zipping alone for the entire ride but things got really interesting as we got closer to New Orleans. There is apparently a spot, that no one can see on the map where a coonass lives in an RV on blocks just shy of the banks of the ICW. He is a mean coon ass and he looks like Popeye. I had my trusty video camera out as the scenes flew by then I heard a bunch of hollering and what I thought was a gun shot. Kind of hard to mistake, when you are me. I immediately slowed and moved the engines to idle. “What could be the matter,” I thought to myself.
I look over and see Popeye the coonass in metal jon-boat and he was holding his fist in the air. He was shaking it, intermittently with flipping me the bird. About 5 of his kin were scampering somewhere between the RV- clothes line and the skiff that was revving. It all seemed to be a mistake and strange, at the same time. These guys were mad and wanted to kick my ass, there was no mistake. It was comical at the same time.
I yelled, “sorry.” I assumed that I did something that pissed them off and they wanted to try to board Miss Lone Star like some old school river pirates (my assumption). Popeye replied, “get over here!” as he kept shaking that fist. His kin continued scampering to the boat but couldn’t get aboard because of my 3 foot wake that was overtaking the 12 foot boat. “I didn’t see your house or boat,” was my response. “Get overhear asshole,” was his response. “Fuck no,” was mine. I figured that it was time to figure some things out. Aubrey comes up an assesses the situation. She looks at me for the second time on this trip asking “should I get the guns?” with her eyes. I say not yet with mine. I continued idling alone to make sure there were no further houses or kin upstream.
The boat never pulled out, which was a good thing because in the midst of all of mine and Popeye’s exchanges one of his kin said he was going to kill me, thus expressing his intent to do me in. I figured, worst case would be that they would give chase as fast as a supped up 20 hp Mercury could run and possibly pull alongside me, if they used nitrous. If that were the case, they would’ve gotten a warning spray of 5.56 bullets (silenced) off their bow. I would assume that would be enough, but hell this is Louisiana who the fuck knows. I’m happy to report that they let us be and we kicked it back up to a smooth 26 knot cruising speed with no further incident.
I saw two bald eagles just outside of Houma and the trees are gorgeous. We passed the most beautiful swamps I’d seen thus far. Traffic was light and barges were easily passed. We didn’t see another pleasure vessels. We are the only pleasure vessel that has been on the ICW so far.
We made it to the Harvey Lock at 2PM. We got though in just less than an hour and I have to say that it was supremely impressive how we were transported up 5 feet before entering the Mississippi River! We exited and saw that the river was running about 50 feet over its banks with a 20 knot current. We watched as the biggest transportation ship You ever say booked it down the river going 25 knots. That river is so amazing in its strength. We made it to the Industrial Lock and waited for about 2 hours to pass though, down 5 feet this time.
We made it to our marina and it was really nice. We’ve travelled 370 miles so far. We got a long slip. They have a nice loaner truck to use for errands and great facilities. The laundry room is nice with new appliances and the showers are clean. The people are warm and friendly. I would definitely stay here again. We stayed 4 nights total and explored the city and the surrounding areas, as much as we could. Tomorrow we are off to Dauphin Island, Alabama.
Many of our readers have asked about details of our plans, departure dates, etc. I am always surprised at the amount of people who lead or are looking to lead the cruising or liveaboard lifestyle. We leave in two weeks and we are so excited!
Move The Boat!
I made arrangements with a boat transporter to pick up our boat at the marina ship yard where it is being repaired. I must have a lot of faith in God that he will see our boat through its last repairs. I am lucky to have met up with a lot of nice people who seem to understand that we have tight time constraints and must leave on a certain date! The boat will be placed on a lift and set it into the trailer. It will travel from Austin to Seabrook Boat Yard at the mouth of Galveston Bay. We had to contract separately with the yard to off load and launch our boat. We will stay a night and pick up our tender from a few harbors over. Our plan is to leave the next day towards Louisiana.
Cost: $2000 to transport and $410 to offload and launch in the water
Day 1,2– Galveston Bay to somewhere in Louisiana. Assuming the boat checks out mechanically we will cruise under full-power along the Gulf into Louisiana. Our boat loves to go 30 mph (and is most fuel-efficient) so we have a luxury most cruisers don’t have. We will try to make it to Houma, LA. I’m sure we can get there in a couple of days and it is 180 miles away but I think it is doable, depending on the vessel traffic once we enter the ICW. We have 150 miles of open water and I know we will make good time. 30 miles in the ICW with no bridges to open or locks to go through.
Aubrey really wants to check out Louisiana and I hear that Houma is a nice place so we might stay an extra day to check it out. Fuel will be a top priority. We can anchor in a few places or use a nice dock for about $9 per day.
Day 3– Houma to New Orleans. This leg of the trip is about 85 miles on the ICW. I don’t know what kind of time we will be able to make and there will be a lot to see so I am open to the possibility we make good time or not. There is a lock we must pass through below the city. Our boat doesn’t need a lot of clearance and it looks like we don’t have any low bridges to contend. Happy me. Continue reading