Things are going really well. The boat is great. We do have a leak around the rudder post but I think it will clear up once we replace the packing in the packing gland. The engine is running great( knock on teak!). The engine paint is flaking off like black snow. The heat from the engine fire ruined the paint. Today, since it is a day off from traveling due to bad weather, Brian will do some engine maintenance and clean out the raw water intake. I’ll clean the engine room once he is done. So far there is no evidence of any coolant, oil, or fuel leak since the fire, just lots and lots of black flakes of paint. I want to keep the engine room very clean so we can spot trouble quickly.
Scupper is doing very well. He has not touched land for almost a week. He uses his potty mat, but sometimes just pees on the foredeck. We praise him whenever he goes to the bathroom on deck, he gets an extra special treat with his praise if he hits his potty mat.
Brian is great, he is really in his element and nothing seems to faze him! He can stay at the helm all day if need be. I’m doing much better then I expected. I rarely lay down during the day. I’ve gotten a few breakthrough head pain due to the increased activity but not too bad ( breakthrough as in it breaks through my medication used to controll my pain). Im taking the helm more and more as I feel out how much I can handle.
Leaving our anchorage, Calcasieu River, Louisiana.
Approaching Calcasieu lock. Great to see another sailboat, a Tartan 37! Owner just bought her, taking her to her new home port of Lake Pontchartrain.
Luckily we did not have to share the lock with barge traffic, just the sailboat. We did not have to tie up, as soon as we were clear of the gate, the lock master closed it up and opened the other side. We motored right through.
Right after the Lock is the Black Bayou Pontoon bridge( dead ahead). We called them on the VHF to open it up for us. It is a swing bridge, so it sweeps open using cables and weights. No waiting, the bridge attendant had it opened for us as soon as we reached it.
Black River Pontoon bridge opening up.
The forecasted sunny day, very foggy..!
It was usually about 1/2 mile visibility. We estimated we had about 90 seconds from visual contact of barge to collision. Since they have limited maneuverability, it is our responsibility to stay out of their way. They are working, we are playing. We kept to the south bank, downwind side of the channel. The tow barges like to be on the upwind sid, the north bank, for more control. This rule held true except for two barges about an hour after this picture was taken. The two barges were on the south side of the channel but appeared to be in the channel. The first barge called me on the VHF, seeing that I’d planned to pass him on the one( port to port) like normal traffic protocol. In the dense fog, he looked like he was in the channel and moving slowing. The tow boat informed me he was aground on the south side, and to pass on the two ( my starboard to his starboard). If I did not heed this advice I would of been aground too. I thanked him profusely for warning me. This was my fault, I should of called him the minute I saw that he was not high on the north side of the channel like all the other barges. Don’t know why they both grounded downwind, the only time I’ve seen this on the trip.
When the fog cleared a bit, Brian filled the fuel tank with two jerrycans of fuel(12 gallons). We estimated that we had about a half tank of fuel but wanted to keep the tank topped off as best we can. We keep a fuel log with engine hours and fuel added. Rain Dogs Fuel tank holds 40 gallons of diesel, plus we have 18 gallons of diesel in the jerrycans on deck. We have the new jerrycans that have the fancy spouts that prevent air locks, ( so no vents on these jerrycans). They are crap!! Every time he tried to pour the fuel the spout would close on him. He ended up just pouring straight from the can bypassing any spout. We have a West Marine fuel filter funnel, works great.
Mermentau River Anchorage. Great protection from all sides. We hit the anchorage just as the fog started to thicken again. Will wait out the storm front here, should be able to get back on the road Sunday.
Slowly heading East. Next stop should be the Shell Morgan Fuel Dock, Vermillion lake,about 45 miles down the ICW.