Monday, June 19, 2017

Mississippi Storm

We are underway in Mississippi Sound between Gulfport and Biloxi, Mississippi. This morning found us docked at the municipal marina in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi (map), right at the old downtown waterfront.

Post-storm sunset from our anchorage at Half Moon Island.

Yesterday's cruise from Half Moon Island was short and pleasant. I was a bit uncertain coming in to Saint Louis Bay, since my chart showed soundings of 7' and even 6', although we were at a tide of +1.5' on our way in. The bay turned out to be deeper than charted, always a pleasant surprise. We were tied up by noon, having opted to get an early start so we could get plugged in and have air conditioning.

Approaching storm at Half Moon Island.

The Bay Saint Louis waterfront has come a long way since the last time we passed by, in Odyssey. The municipal marina is new in 2014 with nice new docks and pedestals and a full-enclosure breakwater. And a half dozen restaurants and bars have opened up overlooking the harbor. We had dinner at The Blind Tiger, a burger joint with several patios including one with a nice view of Vector. We could easily have stayed another few nights and sampled more places, but we needed to move along.

Vector at the Bay St. Louis marina. Tower houses electrical panels, keeping them above the storm surge zone.

That, of course, would be due to the aforementioned Investigation 93L, which now has over a 90% chance of hitting the gulf coast as a tropical cyclone. The last model runs mostly predict a landfall west of us, although a couple of the models still show a more easterly (and faster) landfall. We felt the harbor at Bay St. Louis was not protected enough.

Our view from dinner at The Blind Tiger. Vector is center frame.

Accordingly we dropped lines this morning for Biloxi, where the municipal harbor is protected to the south by Deer Island, and has a better breakwater to the east. Also, while there are plenty of restaurants in Bay St. Louis, there isn't even a convenience store, and no public buildings are made to withstand a direct hit from a hurricane. In Biloxi we'll be next door to two casino resorts with restaurants, shops, and even a spa, and the hotels are hurricane-resistant if we need to evacuate the boat.

Redeveloped waterfront in Bay St. Louis.

First we needed to make a stop in Gulfport. Here, too, is a nice new municipal harbor, and Gulfport has a real downtown (albeit a long walk). We contemplated spending the next couple of nights here, instead -- the marine forecast says we're not moving anywhere tomorrow. But Gulfport is even less protected, and we don't want to walk a mile through storm conditions to get to services. The harbor does have the cheapest fuel on the coast, though, and we needed to take on 350 gallons to get us all the way to southeast Florida.

We had to wait for the CSX rail bridge on our way out of Bay St. Louis. Normally the bridge closes for a train; this time it was a Hy-Rail pickup truck which you can see to the left.

We came in to the harbor only as far as the fuel dock (map) and started to fuel up. For whatever reason, the marina's credit card processing was down and they were working on cash only, so while I pumped fuel, Louise got a ride over to the bank from one of the dockhands and came back with enough cash to cover the fuel we needed.

Gulfport municipal marina, looking towards town from the fuel dock.

The stretch of coast from Pass Christian, which we passed this morning, to Biloxi is lined with beaches, and on a very calm day, cruising just two miles offshore, we have a good view of them, and US-90 behind them. Long-time readers know we've passed through here many times and we have a special fondness for this stretch of coastline. It's nice to see the recovery continues now, even a dozen years after the coast was decimated by Hurricane Katrina.

Latest model run. Tracks are now all clustered west of us (updated since I wrote the post text).

My display now says we'll be in Biloxi in an hour. We've booked at least two nights at the marina since we will be pinned down tomorrow, but we suspect we may have to extend for a third night as well. Heavy winds move in tonight around midnight, so we'll be doing a storm tie-up either on arrival or right after dinner. My next update here will likely wait until we are on our way out of Biloxi, headed for Dauphin Island and Mobile Bay.

1 comment:

  1. Yikes! Stay safe. Looks like you are keeping a close eye on the storm. (I didn't even know there was one brewing.) Enjoy your postings!


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