Boating Adventures | "It's the Journey, Not the Place" | Article and 8 Photos by Vicki Totten

Not all boating adventures involve spending gobs of money to go to some exotic location. One of the joys of living on the Texas coast is that you already have access to miles and miles of ocean, plentiful beaches, and abundant and varied wildlife - all for free. Throw in a few friends, some good food, and some unpredictable Texas weather, and you have the ingredients of a good adventure. While our recent Ingleside Adventure might not sound as impressive as our earlier sailing trip in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), it was a great reminder of what the Texas coast has to offer. And, best of all, the cost of our adventure was just a $30.00 slip fee.

Our friends were carrying lots of crew, making it possible for us to actually pass them!

Even though the five hour boat trip to Ingleside's Bahia Marina was only 20 miles, there was still that same element of excitement that comes with any new experience. Our 33' sailboat Alegria was crewed by my husband, me, and one other couple, Mel and Mike. We left the Rockport Harbor at the same time as another friend's 38' boat that was loaded up with six crew for the all day journey.

Making our Way Toward Ingleside

After all, sailing adventures are often better if you also have plenty of crew to help out. This helps assure that your boating adventure doesn't become a boating disaster. In addition to keeping the sails trimmed and avoiding having a collision with an oncoming barge or ferry crossing in front of you, the Captain is always paying attention to the depth, so your boat doesn't end up becoming grounded. We had two close calls during this trip. The first one was as we were coming into Ingleside, when we suddenly felt a "bump" and knew our 5'3" keel had just made contact with the bottom. Luckily Stan was able to back us off of it quickly and get back into deeper waters.

Sailing is a great way to test your teamwork skills.

The second close call was on the trip back when we were attempting to give an extremely wide barge more room inside the channel, only to discover that the GPS chart that said we had 10' didn't match the actual depth, which showed we had less than a foot under our keel. While both incidents caused my adrenaline to start pumping, neither of them resulted in us actually getting grounded. It's all part of the adventure.

It can sometimes be a bit nerve wracking to pass one of these.
Crossing my fingers that the ferries crossing in front of us are paying attention.

Luckily, however, not all of the items that demand our attention on a boating adventure are related to averting disasters. For example, there is the group of dolphins that suddenly are swimming right next to your boat, coming up just long enough for you to take aim with your camera before they disappear. Or the seagull that swoops down and emerges with a fish in his mouth. Or your attention might be drawn to the sudden appearance of sandy beaches or a majestic looking lighthouse.

Then there are those items that you can't possibly ignore - like the speed boat that passes you at full speed, their wake causing your boat to suddenly feel as though it is going through a storm. And in the midst of all this, there is the fun of having great conversations while listening to music as we sail along, and of making and eating a meal together while underway. Even the making of lunch is an adventure of its own. There is nothing like trying to catch the jar of mustard that is rolling across the counter or the loaf of bread threatening to fly across the cabin, all while trying to keep the knife you are using from doing any damage to you or the food. Again, it's all part of the adventure.

By the time we all arrived in Ingleside late that afternoon, there were seven boats and almost as many cars packed with members who came to celebrate the end of our trip with a pot luck meal together. It was also fun to experience what it would be like to be docked at a different marina. This one not only had a swimming pool, but also a store where you could buy food and beverages, along with a covered deck for all of us to gather under to enjoy our pot luck meal while swapping tales about the journey over.

Celebrating our Arrival with Food and Good Company. 

These boats solved the problem of a missing slip by sharing one.

And at the end of the evening instead of driving home, there was just the short walk over to our docked boat, where we were able to get relief from a hot sticky Texas summer evening thanks to our nice cold marine air conditioner.

The trip back to Rockport the next morning provided us with yet another level of adventure, since a sudden rain storm caused us to delay leaving Ingleside. Once we were able to leave, the storms kept surprising us with bursts of rain that managed to keep us soaked, even with our rain gear on.

But even with the unexpected surprises, or maybe because of them, the trip still felt like an adventure, one that we will surely take again. After our BVI trip we were a little worried that we wouldn't appreciate the Texas coast as much. Thankfully, that didn't happen. After all, all of the same elements are in both places - ocean, birds, fish, and boats. Plus, each time we take the boat to a different place we are reminded of how much we have learned in the four years we have owned her. And now we can add yet another item to the things we have learned - that to have a great boating adventure, you really don't have to go all that far. Oh, and that a great boating adventure is as much about the journey as it is the place.

There's nothing like a beautiful sunset to end a great boating adventure.

Vicki and husband, ceramic artist Stan Irvin, are both retired professors who have discovered the joys of Rockport and living part-time on their 33' sailboat, while exploring new sailing destinations and adventures.

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