While Mary and I have a few years of sailing in Galveston Bay and Trinity Bay under our belts, we always turn west right before Galveston island and catch the ICW towards Offats Bayou or Harbor Walk. We’ve never ventured south past Galveston Island and experienced the Gulf of Mexico.
We always just assumed we would be out there at some point when we eventually sailed to Mexico or Florida or wherever adventure was going to lead us. We just hadn’t really given it to much thought … until we hitched a ride on the Tina Marie Too a few weekends ago.
It was a very calm day, and it was Tina’s birthday, so we set sail with our friends aboard their 56′ Carver for an afternoon trip to Galveston where diesel was rumored to be $3 per gallon. The weather report stated 2′ seas, but to give you an idea of how calm it was that day, these guys ran by us doing about 65 mph.
And this guy was getting towed around on a stand-up paddle board … one-handed.
So after an uneventful trip to Galveston, we stopped at Pier 19 where we were unable to procure this mythical $3 diesel due to the fact that the fuel dock had collapsed. Undeterred, we cruised over to the Galveston Yacht Basin and filled the beast with diesel that was still marginally cheaper than what was available in Kemah. (As I watched the numbers spin on the pump, I was reminded how thankful I am to be a sailor.) Then our captain said, “The weather is so nice, let’s take a cruise into the gulf!”
We pulled back into the ship channel and headed south.
Porpoises were frolicking everywhere, as if to say, this plan is wonderful, join us in the blue water — join us in the freedom of the ocean.
I never realized how long the jetties leading out of Galveston were. We passed shrimp boats returning with their day’s catch. We passed fisherman pulling in redfish and trout. We kept looking over the sides, trying to decide if the water was clearing and turning blue.
Then the rolling started. Now remember, these were only 2′ seas, and we were on a 56′ vessel. However, I could still see the panic in Mary’s face. Then the ship wake caught us at the wrong angle. The Carver slammed into the water, jarring us all and knocking all the glasses off the table, breaking one behind the captain’s chair.
There was nothing in front of us except a line of ships that stretched all the way across the horizon.
“I think it’s time to turn around,” said Tina. I could see the relief in Mary’s face. We made a wide turn and headed north back up the ship channel into Galveston Bay.
Mary turned to me and said, “I’m not sure I ever want to take our boat into the gulf.”
When the adventure begins, it looks like we’re taking the ditch to Florida.