Featured Image - Sailing from Houston Kemah to New Orleans

Cruising Kemah TX to New Orleans (Part 2)

Early in the morning we went ahead and departed the Galveston yacht basin. From here we headed eastbound on the ICW and crossed the very busy Houston ship channel. After passing through the Houston ship channel we entered the intercoastal waterway ICW and passed Stingaree Marina which is one of the places we had initially intended to stop. Unfortunately Stingaree didn’t have any available spaces as it was Fourth of July weekend and they also said they no longer could handle the depth needed for of our boat.  This part of the ICW is a little bit plain. There are spots where there is grassy plains and wetlands on the sides of the narrow waterway.  There are also a lot of other areas where it’s open to the north into Galveston Bay.  It really is deceiving however because it looks like you could just cut directly across, however most of it is only 1 to 3 feet deep.

If we actually could cut across that part of the bay we easily could’ve saved three hours off of our trip 9maybe four) to arrive at this particular place.

The girls settled in pretty well at this point.  The water calmed down quite a bit once we actually got into the ICW and out of the Galveston Bay and Houston ship channel area. Because of that they were able to comfortably sit down below and play on the little foldout tables (TV Trays) or sit in the cockpit and relax.  As it got later in the day they even went down at one point and watched a movie in the air conditioning.

Our plan was to actually stay the night at the Port Arthur yacht club which is right near Sabine Pass. We called them on the telephone to see if they had any slips available given our experience with Stingaree Marina, And they said no problem they had about 50 or 60 open slips in the Marina and if they weren’t open to just pull into anyone and we could work out the details in the morning. They went on to tell us that there was actually going to be a Fourth of July celebration that the city was putting on in that park attached to the Marina and yacht club. They were going to have fireworks and hot dogs and hamburgers for kids and play items for the kids to play on. This all sounded great and given that it wasn’t that long of a run today we are anticipating that we would get there around 2 or 3 PM.

As we passed Sabine Pass (which is the water way that goes south from the ICW to the Gulf of Mexico this signaled us being within a mile of our anticipated destination.  As we got close I could see the RVs and the boats and mass on the right and slow down and look for the market entrance. Unfortunately I didn’t see an entrance anywhere as a matter fact all I saw was grassy banks all the way along the ICW.

I contacted the yacht club again on the phone and he told us that the only access to the yacht club was actually from Sabine lake not the ICW. If you look at the second photo you’ll be able to see just how far that was going to be to remedy you have to go back about a mile west then head down to Sabine Pass south for the Gulf of Mexico about 7 miles or so then turn and go up into Sabine lake and go north about 9 to 10 miles. At this point we get a little bit of math based on speed and number of miles and realized that if we did this we want to get there before dark and we would have to turn around and do the exact same backtrack in the morning.

I felt really silly not actually noticing this as I plotted our course on the chart plotter and even used software that has maps on it. For whatever reason I just assumed the entranceway wasn’t marked and trusted the person we spoke to there a little too much.  Even though we told the person at the marina that we were heading eastbound on the ICW I didn’t clarify that I wanted to enter from the ICW and he was assuming we would be altering from that course. In the end it is absolutely  not the other person’s fault, but rather mine. As the Captain ultimately I was in charge of making sure that our route was planned accordingly.

Because of the distance this was going to be, we started to look for alternate places to anchor or berth at a marina for the night.  We found the Sabine Pass Port Authority Public Marina.  (That is a mouthful).   We have found that city owned Marina’s are some of the best ones you can get on a trip like this.  They are usually pretty inexpensive, they have power and water and most of the time they also have pump out facilities.  In the case of this Marina it was $46 for the night with 50amp power.   The link to their website is http://www.sabinepassportauthority.com

We arrived as the sun was setting and it was a very narrow approach.  The wind was blowing pretty hard away from the dock we were to tie up on and there was not much room to turn around but I really wanted to because my prop walk in reverse was going to make the wind situation even worse.

At least if I was facing the other direction I would get some help from my prop walk.

The person that worked at the Marina happened to be walking the docks when we arrived and was kind enough to catch a line and hold it secure around a pole while I used it as a spring line to throttle up parallel to the dock and we were able to get a bow and stern line on.  (There was about a 60 foot sailboat just down wind from my by 50 feet and I didn’t want to be swapping insurance information with them with the wind as it was.

We secured the boat and settled in for a beautiful sunset.

The next day we got up fairly early with a goal to make it to Lake Charles. We had a couple different options for places we could anchor or even get a slip at a marina.

Because this was still one of the first times taking the girls, we decided it would be a good idea to still look for a Marina and contacted the L’Auberge Casino in Lake Charles. We were actually pretty excited this was the day we would ultimately leave Texas and cross into Louisiana for the longer part of the trip.

It was truly hot as blazes today and Chasity went down below quite a bit and played in the air conditioning just to say stay cool. About every hour, she would pop up into the cockpit, put on her harness and lifejacket and ask “Are we Louisiana yet”

We were able to do a little bit of sailing today to which was really great. In our experience last time we’ve made transits on the ICW it was very rare that we could do any sailing at all so the fact that we actually had enough wind blowing over the trees in the shoreline to sell was wonderful, it wasn’t enough to shut off the engine so we did motor sale but we little throw the sales out and it was something we haven’t done a long time on this boat show is really really cool to sale for a while

When we arrived and tied up, we all washed up a little bit and went in site to the front desk to pay for the night.  The power was already on, we had filled the water tanks and were looking forward to having dinner in the restaurant there.  We were going to go into one of the steakhouses but they were getting ready to close at 9pm so we couldn’t do that, but did end up eating in their Southern Cuisine restaurant and it was really good too.  Charity got Chicken and Waffles and i had Shrimp and Grits.  (It doesn’t get much more souther than that).  The link to the Casino is https://www.llakecharles.com

In the video below you can see Part 2 of our trip.  Check out the others as well as this is a 5 or 6 part series (the number will be determined based on the footage
You can also check out the whole playlist here Sailing to New Orleans Playlist on SVDreamChaser’s YouTube channel

If you are receiving this blog via email or on a device that won’t play the embedded video, click this link for the video directly on Youtube.  The link is https://youtu.be/M5VOjePM0VM

Also published on Medium.

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