"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

November 30, 2014

Nov. 29 – Rockport, TX

Rockport Harbor

"At the beach, life is different. Time doesn't move hour to hour but mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides and follow the sun." —Unknown

A little work and a little play...that's what's been keeping us busy these days. We've been getting a few project done on the boat between playing with our grand wonders and visiting with friends. Besides doing a little decorating and a lot of enjoying of our new home, the following projects have been completed:

Fixed the horns
Teak oiled all interior wood
Fixed the spot lights
Fixed entertainment system and installed new TV
Replaced bulbs in all lights fixtures
Fixed wet bar
Cleaned boat exterior and removed ICW mustache

We've picked out tile for the galley floor and have a sofa we'd like to order for the saloon but those things will have to wait until we have more time next year. We're enjoying our new town and spending time with family, but our time in Texas is flying by fast. Only four more weeks until we'll be heading back to The Pearl.

Stan and I have literally been in hundreds of towns while cruising and we both agree Rockport truly has EVERYTHING we look for in a great stop. In fact neither of us could think of one other place that we’ve been that offers so much so close to our boat. The only thing missing are our cruising friends.

Our son trying to figure out where some wires go...I think he likes the boat.
Stan working on the spot lights
Stan working on the saloon AC unit
We finally have a chair in the saloon...all we need now is a sofa.
We're going to use nice dishes on this boat...Wedgwood dishes that belonged to my great grandma. 
A couple of friends came and spent the weekend with me on the boat...a great place for a girls night out.
Views from our beach...a great place for a morning walk.

November 10, 2014

Nov. 9 - Our New Neighborhood

Rockport Harbor

"The ocean has been singing to me, and the song is that of our life together..." —Nicholas Sparks

We've been in our new home for a week and it feels wonderful. Not only is it close to family but the marina is located in a great area of town, with all kinds of activities and amenities close by. Located around the harbor is the a Texas Maritime Museum, Rockport Art Center and Sculpture Garden, Aquarium at Rockport Harbor, the Bay Education Center, Rockport Beach, four bait stands that sell fresh shrimp, oysters and crab, a fishing pier, and the Festival Grounds where a lot of the festivals and Market Days are held. Just a block away are little boutiques, a winery (Winery on the Bay), restaurants, art galleries and antique shops. I know you can't provision a boat at these types of shops but they're fun to wander through. For real provisioning a large grocery store, liquor store, drug stores, Wal-Mart and several marine supply stores are with in a few miles, all very doable on a bike. Rockport offers cruisers just about everything they need and it’s a very cute little town with wonderful views of the water. 

Pictures of the harbor that were taken from the top of the Maritime Museum in 2010. We brought The Pearl here for Seafair and had a wonderful time.
We're enjoying being able to park right in front of the boat.
The Aquarium at Rockport Harbor...just steps from our door.
 The Sculpture Garden at the Rockport Art Center...just in front of our boat.
Flamingos...our favorite bait stand to buy shrimp and crab.
Texas Maritime Museum
Lighted jetties for fishing
Part of Rockport Beach...a great place for a morning walk.
A view of our boat from one of the piers in the harbor
A great early morning view from the aft deck

November 3, 2014

Nov. 2 - Rockport, TX

“It’s better to sit in a boat thinking about God than to sit in church thinking about fishing” – Kevin McGarr

We made it! 1707 miles from Jacksonville, FL to Rockport, TX in 25 straight travel days. We had fantastic weather...mostly clear blue skies and light winds. The last two days were the windiest, but still very comfortable and we only had rain one evening after we docked. We couldn’t have asked or dreamed for better. Now that it is over it seems like a blur of activity and it's hard to remember where we've been…that's one reason I keep this blog.

We pulled into our new home marina about 1:30 and there was a little confusion where we were going to dock. There is no dock help or dockmaster here on the weekend, but Stan had talked to him on Friday about a slip. The two slips we were told were available were obviously taken. There were several others available but only one had 50-amp power. It wasn't the best choice for docking in strong southeastern winds but with the help of our son we finally had her securely tied into her slip by 2:00. We've been told they'll equip a better slip with power for us, but we don't plan to move for at least a week since the weather and winds are expected to worsen.

It felt wonderful to be "home" and even better to see family. We spent the rest of the day visiting with our son Eric and his wife Courtney and playing with our grand daughter Mayven. She loved playing on all the stairs we have...up and down all evening. I'm sure she will sleep great tonight. The only thing that could have made the evening better is if our other son and his family could have been here. But we plan to catch up with them soon and collect more grand wonder hugs.

We'll relax a little tomorrow and then start the projects that will make Texas Pearl feel more like our boat. Stan has a long list of improvements he wants to work on and I have a lot of decorating to do. As the improvements are made I will update the blog, but it may not be daily again until we return to The Pearl after Christmas.

Still a lot of barge traffic on the ICW
Oystering boats heading into San Antonio Bay.
Rockport Harbor 
Our new home
Our view from the aft deck
Family onboard 

November 2, 2014

Nov. 1 - Port O'Connor, TX

The Sanctuary
Miles to Rockport, TX - 46

We're home! Back to where we began our cruise in 2011...well ok, that's not quite true. We didn't return to the exact spot, but we are in the same county and that feels wonderful. It truly felt like we were home cruising across the bay...we're in familiar waters where we've explored for a lifetime. Our cruise today was short, but included crossing Matagorda Bay in 15 knot winds. Not too bad since the wind mostly was on our stern, but it made steering more difficult and the bay choppy. It looked like chocolate milk until we got to the inlet near POC. I love watching the dolphins in the bay, but with today's conditions it was impossible to see them.

We are docked in a subdivision called The Sanctuary...very pretty faculties, but no help on the docks. The high winds made it difficult to get tied up but we made it. Not the prettiest attempt, but we were securely tied off. After docking we found out our electric pedestal was being used by another slip owner. Most of the boats here are large fishing boats with no one on them and they all use two 50-amp cords. Each slip is only equipped with one...see the problem? So we walked around and found another slip, with power, then untied the lines and started all over. Good practice I guess but not fun with the high wind. What a work out.

My Dad drove down from Port Lavaca to have dinner with us. A nice treat to have him onboard and show him around. Whenever he comes to dinner he brings good wine, so we enjoyed our down time on the aft deck with good company and a nice class of wine. A great way to reflect on a long cruise.

Looks like Texas to me
There a lot of bait (fishing) camps in POC
Port O'Connor sits on the ICW and close to the gulf, so there are a lot of beautiful vacation homes in the area
The Sanctuary Marina
Relaxing and catching up

November 1, 2014

Oct. 31 – Matagorda, TX

Matagorda Harbor Marina
Miles to Rockport, TX – 79

“Unless you walk out into the unknown, the odds of making a profound difference in your life are pretty low” –Tom Peters

We're getting close...tonight we are docked close enough to our home town that friends, Joan and Jim Auld drove up and had dinner with us. They travel in a RV and have tried to meet up with us several times in the past years on the east coast, but timing just hasn't worked out. It was fun having them aboard and going out to eat. We also had time to visit with an old high school friend and his wife who are moving their sailboat back to the Houston area. This trip has definitely been different than the trip going east on The Pearl in 2011On that trip we didn't see any other boaters on the docks until Tarpon Springs...this trip we've met people at every stop. I'm not sure if that's because more people are boating again or the time of year, but it's been fun meeting new people.

Tomorrow we'll be back in home waters as we cross Matagorda Bay. Our plan is to stay in Port O'Connor tomorrow night, which is right on the ICW. Our home is at the upper part of Lavaca Bay, which flows into Matagorda Bay. Stan grew up fishing these waters...so we will technically be home tomorrow. What a great feeling that will be.

This is DOW Chemicals in Freeport...I like their lighthouse
These are Rosette Spoonbills...most had their heads down and hiding from the wind.
This guy had his eye on us all the way past the bridge
We've had several lock that were having work done on them...all barge traffic is held up at them during the day, but we've been allowed to pass. Not a lot of space but at least it didn't hold us up.
The ICW is very close to the gulf here.
A little bait camp on the ICW
This looks like a fun little place
A map of our home area