Bayou Black to Barataria Waterway, Lafitte, La.

With only 27 miles to cover to Houma we still got an early start from Bayou Black. The weather was to be possibly stormy this afternoon so we wanted to get in and settled early. Another issue is the depth of the canal the marina is on. It shallows to less than 6 feet in a short distance once we enter so we need to tie up close to the waterway at the end of the bulkhead or very close to it. With a few days of bad weather coming our concern was that others would also be seeking shelter and the available space would not be there. We did take our time and arrived 4 hours later at around 11:00 AM and found only a couple of very large house boats and a couple of small sport fishing boats. But the trip to the municipal marina was not without a little excitement. Well, just a little, since almost the entire waterway between Houma and Black Bayou is covered with floating Hydrilla. So we spent most of the trip dodging floating islands of green vegetation and just trying to avoid running over the larger pieces. There were some areas where it was almost impossible to not run through the stuff. We did manage to arrive without incident and had our usual spot near the end of the face dock that makes up the marina.

The Municipal Marina is located in a small Canal sandwiched between twin high rise highway bridges with the marina on one side and the morgue, a bank and a hospital on the other. The marina consists of a long face dock and a very nice adjoining park. There is no office here and you need to call the dockmaster that lives across the street from the park next to a florist. Jessica took over as dockmaster for her parents, the Ellenders. They may come to the boat or ask you to come over to the house, I suppose it depends on how busy they are. The fee for dockage is only $20.00 per day and that includes water and 30 or 50 amp electric. There are no facilities such as showers or restrooms, just a very nice, peaceful, setting adjoining the waterway. There are trash cans and a pump out, however. It is an excellent spot to wait out weather heading west, or especially east before getting into the New Orleans area.

Jessica directed us to the new laundry mat three blocks down on the right on Park Ave., which is the same street the marina is on. There are also 2 convenience stores in gas stations on the other side of the road from the laundry. If one crosses the walkway bridge and under the West bound side of the bridge, then turns right, you will be on Main Street. The Coffee Zone internet cafĂ© and well as other restaurants are located some 4 -5 blocks away. Jessica also provided us with the number of Tommy’s cab service who will come and take you shopping at Walmart for $7 one way. It is not within walking distance. The downtown area is pretty deserted with only a few shops and offices. There is a large government building and the hospital, but not much else. Everything is pretty much out of town and a cab is needed. Our stay here was for a couple of days as some serious weather passed through, especially over New Orleans. It is though a powerful supreme being is really pissed at that city. They had torrential rains and winds to 100 MPH estimated with some of the storms. Lots of damage and power outages. We saw some rain in Houma but not much else. The weather stayed north of us. We were joined by four other cruising boats, one power and three sail, while we were in Houma. We are keeping an eye on Fridays conflicting weather reports to decide if we will move on or wait till Saturday.

Well, Friday morning just before sunrise the rain and thunderstorms began so another day at the dock was in order. That is not necessarily a bad thing since it might mean just a day of relaxing and watching some movies. The rains continued into the afternoon and finally cleared around 3:00 PM. The forecasts calls for clearing tonight and what looks like a good weather window for the next couple of days. We will see how that works out.

Saturday morning was fantastic. It was sunny with light winds and cool temperatures and looked like a perfect moving day. We had a brief wait for a few large tows to pass before we could back out into the canal but by 7:25 AM we were again under way. The day was pretty uneventful. We had a pontoon bridge about 8 miles up the waterway and a lift bridge a bit further on, but both opened on request and the rest of the day just cruised by. As we neared the Barataria Waterway we began to see signs of civilization again. Small fishing boats, air boats and even a very large pleasure yacht went buzzing past us. The barge traffic was also much lighter. At around 2:00 PM we turned off the GIWW onto the Barataria Waterway and headed a bit down river. The old Fleming fuel dock that we used to refuel going west has closed and been sold to an airboat rental company. Large airboats now take folks on tours and the noise is incredible. But that eliminates a good fuel stop and possible overnight stay. All of the guide books say there is another small marina with fuel in the same general vicinity. When we called them to ask their location, we were told they are 10 miles down river. That would be a 20 mile round trip for fuel so we decided to pass. We figure we have enough fuel to get across the Mississippi Sound and Mobile Bay to the next fuel stop if we motor all the way, heaven forbid. There is a marina in the Industrial Canal in New Orleans if we really needed to stop. After a couple of attempts to anchor along the waterway banks, we chose a spot about a mile south of the GIWW on the starboard side heading south. There are a few houses that we are anchored in front of and we are getting a pretty good WiFi signal from someplace. This will be home for the night then off to New Orleans and points east. Two locks and several bridges will make tomorrow a busy day.

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