Thursday, May 16, 2013

Horn Island

We spent a very peaceful night at Petit Bois island on Wednesday. It was a bit windy, but we were well protected from any wave action. We both awoke around 7:00 am, feeling refreshed and looking forward to our last day at the barrier islands before heading home.

When I got ready to take Duke in for his morning constitutional on the beach, Paula decided to come along. This is unusual for her, as she usually prefers the evening beach visits. But this was such a beautiful beach, white sand, pristine, that she could not pass up the opportunity to have one more walk on it. We all piled in the dink and headed ashore.

We walked in a different direction than yesterday, west, to explore further. We came across a tidal lagoon, with a small inlet connecting it to open water. The tide was out, so we were able to wade along the inlet back to the lagoon. It was chock full of fish. We could see large Redfish swimming along the edge of marsh grass, and schools of speckled trout over in the lagoon. Where the heck is my fishing rod when I need it?? I won't make this mistake again! I have marked this spot on my chart and intend to return here in the future.

We waded further back, and spent quite a while watching the Redfish swim up to the shallows to feed. Duke somehow ended up on the opposite side of the inlet from us and was barking as we tried to encourage him to jump in and swim over. He would have none of it, and eventually found a shallow spot where he could get in and walk over to us. He had been chasing ducks in the marsh and was covered in mud. When we got back to the beach we had to pull him into knee deep water so we could rinse all the stinky mud off of him.

We decided that was enough fun for the morning, and got into the dink to head back to the boat. It was our good luck that we caught the dolphin's morning feed on the way back, so we had a repeat performance of the night before. Nature is just so awesome!

We did not have far to go to get to Horn Island, so we were not in a hurry to get underway. But, the wind was starting to pick up and we thought it best to get moving. We had the anchor up and were westbound by 8:00 am. We only had a couple of hours to our next anchorage, and had nice conditions, so we thought it called for Bloody Mary's. Paula was bartender while I ran the boat. Once drinks were in hand, she started breakfast. She had a special meal planned for our last full day on the water; her special homemade corned beef hash. Man, I love that stuff! She puts a couple of fried, or poached, eggs on top and I am in heaven.

She had the hash well underway as we passed out from behind Petit Bois and crossed Horn Island Pass. Well, perhaps Bloody Mary's and breakfast were not a good idea while underway. The wind had really kicked up, out of the south, and nice size waves were rolling in from the gulf. Paula ended up having to stand in front of the stove to hold on to the skillet so it did not slide off. Fortunately, this did not last long, and 30 minutes later we were in the lee of Horn Island. So we were back on the Bloody Mary/corned beef hash plan.

We decided to stop at an anchorage we have not used before. It was closer the east end of the island, and we were ready for breakfast. We eased in close to shore and got the anchor down. It set quickly, and we were set for the day. Or, so we thought.

After a couple of more Bloody Mary's we were feeling pretty good. Our good friends, Alan and Peggy, called to check on us. They were concerned about the wind, and if we were getting beat up by it. We responded that all was well, we were safely anchored, and the only issues we had were we were running out of vodka, coffee, and dog food. Alan graciously texted me and asked what kind of coffee and dog food we needed. I replied we have enough to get us back to the dock tomorrow. Thanks Alan, you are a great guy!

After our morning libations, we needed a nap. We zonked out around 1:00 pm, and woke up just after 3:00 pm. Now, the wind was really blowing! Even though we were a couple of miles from the east end of the island, the waves were wrapping around and we were doing a bit of rocking. Not uncomfortable, but noticeable. I elected to raise anchor and move further west along Horn Island to a spot we had used before. 45 minutes later we had the anchor down in a spot much better protected. While the wind was still blowing 20-25 knots, the wave action was much less.

Another trawler that was anchored a mile or so to the west saw us come in and anchor here. I guess they were getting bounced around there, because they pulled up the anchor and headed our way. They stopped about a 1/4 mile east of us and dropped anchor.

Shortly after arriving here, a Mississippi Marine Patrol boat passed by, and stopped to check us out. He had his binoculars out looking us over. I waved at him, but got no response. I thought he may come over to talk to us, but he just continued idling by. He did the same for the other trawler that had just arrived. I'm just glad we had not gone to the beach with Duke yet. This is Gulf Islands National Seashore and no dogs are allowed ashore. This holds true for the other barrier islands, too. But Horn Island seems to be the one they enforce it on more than any other.

We waited a couple of hours to be sure the officer would not return. Around 7:00 pm we took Duke ashore. This is an absolutely beautiful island, and full of wildlife. Duke wasted no time in locating it. There are rabbits everywhere here, and there were several grazing at the top of the nearby dunes. As soon as Duke saw them he kicked in the turbos and went flying after them. They scattered to the grass flats behind the dunes. By the time I got to the top of the dunes I could see Duke a 1/4 mile away leaping through the high grass like a gazelle. Rabbits were scattering everywhere. There were so many Duke did not know which direction to go. I spent a half hour trying to call him back, and ended up just having to wait for him to wear himself out. He finally returned, panting hard, and came up to me with his tail between his legs. He knew he was in trouble.

Paula had been waiting on the beach and was relieved to see me return with Duke. Now that he was safe, she felt she was justified in telling him he was a "dumb ass dog" for running off like that. He was covered in marsh mud, yet again. So he got dragged out into the surf for some much needed rinsing off. He was not happy, but Paula told him "if you don't like, don't run off next time!". She was pretty pissed.

We all got in the dink and headed back to the boat. The tide had dropped since we came in, so I had to paddle a good way out before I could lower the outboard. I think we were all ready to get back to the boat, at this point.

Time to get back to the boat

We have had enough excitement for the day. Duke is exhausted, and is sound asleep. So is Paula. I am heading that way shortly (it is 11:00 pm). Keeping my fingers crossed this wind abates tonight. Last time I looked it was blowing at 25 knots!

1 comment:

Scott Kolek said...

Wow 3 posts in one day, I had a lot of reading this morning over my coffee. :)

Love the stories and adventures! Sorry you guys had to cut things a bit short, but looks like you guys had a heck of a time anyway!