Gulf of Mexico Crossing Details
Valt & Sandy
Mon 3 Jun 2013 17:32
Valt napped a bit, then after dinner I went to bed. I did not have a chance to prepare travel food, I.e. chili, stew, casserole or such since we moved the date up early due to weather. We had egg sandwiches. At midnight I awoke for my watch. We'd passed 85 miles so far. Valt briefed me on the trip and took another checkout before going to bed himself. He also brewed me a pot of coffee. The AIS and the radar showed no traffic at all anywhere 24 miles of us. Four chart plotters showed our position in several different ways. They were our eyes out here, but we still scanned the horizon with binoculars. It seems however, that the shrimp boats are exempt from AIS requirements. But they are lit up like Christmas trees. We never go outside during our watch if one of us is sleeping.
The stars were out in a miraculous way as can only happen at sea, away from civilization and lights. The bright stars allowed us to even see the horizon. At 50 miles out there is no land in sight. The moon was due to rise at 2:40am and I was eager to see her. During a night crossing we turn off all interior lights and dim the electronics to save our night vision. The wind gauge showed almost no wind, maybe 2-3 knots, but it had shifted a bit from the NW to the ESE. Yes, I know, no NW winds were forecast.
There are several huge towers along the route, maybe used for weather. We pass within a couple miles of 3 or 4 of them. We mark them on the chart plotter for reference, but they are far enough off our route to be no worry.
Big dragonflies beat insistently at the door, begging entry. They sure were a ways from land.
Occasionally a faraway boat's running lights can be seen, but none on our route.
The moon showed up on schedule, its puny half moon casting more light. The tower lights winked as we passed. The sea swooshed by. Night crept into morning. As we got within 3 hours of Appalachicola, the 3-4' swell switched to the SE, on our tail. Of course, not all the swells turned at the same time, so we had some pretty confused seas. Still 5 knot winds, no wind waves. At Government Cut we noted deep water going in, then 100' past marker G3 and before the rangefinder it was just under 7'. This was at high tide, 1.5'. Once inside, we tied to the Apalachicola City Wharf. No electric, no water, but calm, with town access. We rated it a good crossing.