Saturday, April 22, 2006

Gulf of Mexico Sailing Passage

I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Finally, I'll get to do some serious sailing for the first time since Hurricane Katrina, even though not on my own boat. I'm going to help my friend Artie Vaughn take his boat, Halcyon, across the Gulf on a direct passage from Biloxi to Ft. Myers Florida. This is the Pacific Seacraft Orion 27 that I built a new bowsprit and anchor platform for, as I described in a previous post here:

That job took a lot longer than expected, and among other projects delayed Artie considerably in his plans to sail south and spend as much time in the Bahamas as possible before hurricane season rolls around again. He's still determined to get there, if only for a few weeks, so we're going to make this passage as direct as possible. I'll return to my many projects here when we get to Ft. Myers, and he will go on across the waterway to the east coast of Florida, and then over to the islands, if only briefly.

I'm looking forward to a few days out over the horizon. The ability to do a crossing like that is the main reason I started sailing after so many years of sea kayaking. Offshore voyages are the best reason to own a good, seaworthy sailboat, and Halcyon is certainly one of the best built and best equipped 27-footers I've ever been aboard.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Leaf River Cottonmouth

I was lucky enough to catch this guy out in the open, sunning on a sandbar just the the other day when Travis Easley and I canoed the Leaf River in Jones County. Most of the cottonmouths you see along the rivers are well-concealed in bushes or lying on branches or snags, making them difficult to photograph. This one let me walk up to within a few feet and take all the photos I wanted before leisurely turning around and slithering back into the river to disappear in the muddy water.