Monday, September 2, 2013

First overnight cruise with TMCA

Hi all,

The first time we attended the Texas Mariner's Cruising Association was several months ago with our friends and neighbors Barry and Barbara. They invited us and introduced us to the whole group, which included probably around 60 to 70 people. We had a good time and told them we'd think about whether we would join. 

We attended our second meeting several weekends ago, and we decided to join the group that evening. So we paid our dues, had a great time at the meeting, ate lots of food, visited with friends Walter and Jeannette and Barb and Barry and others, listened to a guest speaker, and enjoyed embibing in a few drinks. 

The very next day was our first "designation-oriented cruise". We sailed from Kemah to Baytown, which is only about a 2-3 hour cruise. But it was important for us to get the feel of going to a new place, dock in a new slip, and deal with the Galveston Ship Channel traffic: BIG Ships!!! Don't get in THEIR way!!! We learned how to navigate across the ship channel while attempting to judge how far away the big tankers were before we headed across. Some tankers were moving so fast, we had to wait until they went by us. After they passed,  we pulled out behind them and went across the channel. Easy, but just picking up all the tips we need for being in different places with ship channels. They can be a bit intimidating. We also had to  figure out how to get to our destination with the wind coming straight at us the entire time. For us, it was a 4 hour trip. We had quite a bit of tacking to do to catch the wind in our sails. It was an eye-opener to realize how long it took for us because of the tacking, and it brought with it the awareness that we don't have much control over time while on the's all up to Mother Nature and her wind. We thought we'd probably be late arriving at the marina, since we made it there by abour 4 pm. It was fine, though...people were continuing to arrive till after 7 pm. Here's a shot of the marina...

Bayland Marina

Here are some of the boats that were there:

From left, "Mele Kai" and "Sofira"

This is Clare and Bob's 49' sailing vessel, "Sofira"

Walter and Jeannette's Power yacht "Mele Kai"

There were about 10-12 boats in the group, some sailboats, and some power boats. We met interesting folks and enjoyed our time visiting on the docks before dinner started. The theme of this particular cruise was "Celebrate National Catfish Day: Catfish Fry"...and guess what! They fried catfish! Much to my husband's dismay. Yes, that's right, he doesn't like fish!? It was fine though, as he made himself a ham and cheese sandwich, and all was well with the world. The catfish was very good, (I eat fish), and all the many side dishes people brought were delicious. (Even picked up a few recipes to add to my "easy onboard recipes" file from Pinterest. Thanks, Jeannette!)

After dinner, the commodore brought out an  ice cream maker and after waiting "patiently" (NOT) for several hours, we had homemade ice cream with peach crumble. So tasty and refreshing! Then we all hunkered down in our chairs on the dock facing due north and watched "Captain Ron" on someone's sail  under the stars. Loved it! A fun time was had by all!

Next morning, people gradually arose to the lovely sunrise, and drank coffee as we all went from boat to boat, greeting folks and looking at their boats.  Clare and Bob invited us and Walter and Jeannette, aboard their beautiful 49' boat, named "Sofira".  It was so roomy. Even has a small workshop in the aft part of the boat, which the guys drooled over. Here's a picture of Walter and Jeannette visiting with Clare...that's when Clare invited us aboard.

Jeannette, Walter, (whose boat is on the left) and on the right boat is Clare

From left: Walter, Jeannette, and Paul

 From left: Clare and Walter

me sitting at their table

From left, me and Clare

From left, Walter, Bob (Clare's husband) and Paul

Everyone was called for breakfast at that point, so we all met on the docks once again for crockpot cooked eggs mixed in hash browns with cheese. We couldn't get enough of that dish. Very good breakfast for a group of people. There were plenty of leftovers from the night before as well; bagels, toast, pie, rolls, and of course, with all that, the ubiquitous coffee! 

Breakfast is served!

Breakfast on the docks

After resting, visiting, and letting the food digest 
we each took our leave and headed back to Kemah. Paul and I arrived there after 2 1/2 hours of sailing (still lots of tacking involved due to the wind behind us...a bit nervous about possibly jibing), and on the way Walter and Jeannette passed us in their gorgeous "Mele Kai", and took pictures of Paul and me in "Sea Casa" under sail. He sent us the pictures today to Paul's email, but Paul is outside helping our neighbor. We're looking forward to checking them out. They may possibly be "the" picture for our "boat information cards". We  appreciate when people give us their cards, because I tuck them away in my business card holder for future reference. We both decided we needed to have our own cards to hand out, so I've peeked on Vista Print to see which design we want to use.  We're waiting to see if the pictures that Walter and Jeannette took will be an inspiration for our cards!! Thanks again for doing this...very thoughtful and we really appreciate it!

Here's one picture that Walter took of us under sail:

As new members of the TMCA, we are definitely looking forward to many more cruises, while practicing our boating skills and meeting new cruisers. This was a fun first trip for us. Thanks to everyone for your courtesy and warm welcome. 


  1. Yay for you! Some day you'll look back on this first trip and wonder what the big deal was, when you're used to lots of new places (because, travel, after all, is what boats are for). Then you'll remember that this first trip is what got you started on this crazy path we're all on ... and smile.

  2. Yeah! Cudos to both of you! It sounds like you are having a great time and learning a lot, two requirements of life. I really love getting your updates and wish you would sail to Costa Rica!

    Be well, be safe.


    1. Hi Victoria...we do hope to see you in Costa Rica. We do plan on stopping there...unless we find no marina. That would be a kicker, if we couldn't find one.

      We are practicing our sailing and working on the boat. We ARE learning...lots! And we are having fun, too. Sailing is work at first...until you get down how to do all the basics of it, then you have more time and energy to enjoy it. We're close approaching knowing the it's just practicing while under sail now.

      Hope things are going very well in your businesses. Busy lady, you!!! ;) As I said before, I miss your magnificent massages. People who haven't met you, don't know what a real massage is until you've given them one.

      Take care, and keep in touch.

      Diane and Paul

  3. Hi Dan and Jaye,

    Thanks for your encouragement. Yes, we most likely will look back on our first designated cruise and say, boy, that was easy! We're mainly trying to get more miles and experience under our belts...because we intend to leave this base in November and start our journey to many new places. We may be looking for our dream home while traveling, too. Hope all is well there. Are you planning a trip before the winter comes zooming in on us?

    Great to hear from you!
    The best to you both, and have fun!

    Diane and Paul