Mobile AL to
May 26th Day 11
off at 0830. A slow travel day because of the slow - downs for swimmers, water
skiers, fishing boats and etc…All along the river there are lots of sandy
swimming areas. And this being a holiday weekend, they were packed. We were able
to get right in to the Coffeeville
lock and locked with a large tow. This lock has floating bollards and we
were raised about 10 feet. But it was uneventful except that it was hot waiting
on the bow to take care of the lines. I did finely wise-up and get a good pair
of line handling gloves which make things much easier. After locking through,
Bobby’s fish camp was just up the river and we decided to stay there. We were
hoping for some of Bobby’s famous catfish, but alas it was Sunday and they
weren’t serving. We were able to get fuel and ice and tie up for the night..
Just after we tied up, a nice big thunderstorm hit. It was a nice feeling to
already be snugged down for the night and to just watch the rain and relax. We
had an easily prepared Taco night. Were unable to get satellite connection
because of the trees. Bobby’s fish camp is a campground and there were lots of
people in their RV’s and travel trailers. The dock were we anchored is small
and luckily we were the only boat there.
got an early start because of our long day ahead. There was another boat the
same size as ours tied up in front of us.. We talked to them as they fueled.
They were from Florence, Alabama and had been down to Mobile for the weekend.
The told us they arrived around 9:30 the night before and had to deal with 2
different thunder storms and had quite a time getting docked in the dark. We
were very fortunate to have missed all that. Richard and I slept right through
their docking. We really must have been tired.
current was quite strong today and slowed us down. Once again Richard and I are wondering what happened to the
wildlife. The scenery was really pretty. Not nearly as many people swimming and
arrived at the Demopolis
lock and Dam and were allowed to get right in. In the book “Nitty-Gritty
Cruise Guide to the Tenn-Tom” we noticed that the Demopolis Yacht Basin
Restaurant was stated as closed on Mondays. So I put dinner in the crock-pot. We
arrived to our slip around 5:45 and a very nice gentleman was waiting to help us
into the slip. He told us that the restaurant was open on Monday-Saturday. He
gave us all the scoop on showers (only 1) bathrooms and the Laundromat. Also
there is a courtesy Van that’s provided.
lucked out again cause a tremendous Thunderstorm hit just after we got settled
down and snuggled in. We realize that our luck with storms won’t hold out
forever. But it’s nice while it lasts. We decided to make tomorrow a Lay day
and get some shopping and laundry done so we planned to spend another night in
note about the lower Tombigbee. It is full of very tight turns and frequently
you will see a North bound tow nosed into the bank. 99% of the time it means a
southbound tow is coming around the turn. The tows here monitor channel 16. and
use place names to indicate their position, so keep the chart handy.
is also a nasty bend between mile 184 and 188. Travel 3 miles to cover 1000
yards, also hard to find the channel, as depth will vary between 30 feet and 8
feet due to shoaling.
has been another widely variable item cost from 91 cents at Shell Morgan in
Intracoastal City to 1.54 at Bobby’s fish camp.
May 29th, Day 14
all day. We didn’t get to Laundry, but had lunch in their restaurant and
shopped at Wal-Mart via the loner car. We got several things accomplished, but
no one came to check out the boat like we’d ask. So Richard went to the engine
room and noticed that the fuel filter had water in it. He emptied it out and we
hoped that had been the problem all along. We decided to leave the next day.
early, pumped out, checked email, then on our way. Still very little wildlife,
but lots of nice scenery.. White
sand stone cliffs and nice trees. We passed through 2 locks, The Heflin Lock
(Where we were raised 36 feet), and the Bevill lock.
Both times we were in in less than an hour. In the Bevill lock, we tied
up to a tow… which was quite an experience and I had a long talk with one of
the guys who helped with our lines. He works 15 days on and 7 off. He says
he’s been doing this for 15 years and loves it. He’s been all over the USA
on Tows. It was interesting that when the gates opened and we were ready to
leave, the Tow started moving with us attached. I looked at Richard and he just
shrugged. Standard procedure if you tie to a tow in a lock is for them to pull
you out then cast off the lines.. We again learned something new. What an
Adventure. We arrived at Marina Cove and tied up. Once again a tremendous storm
hit after we tied up. We lucked out again. We were tempting fate..
June 1st Day 17
cast off at 0730 with 5 locks ahead of us for the day. We were actually able to
make through each lock with only minimal wait we called ahead to each lock and
most of them were open and waiting for us. The following is a list of the locks
and mile markers and a bit of info about each:
a snake locked through with us
windy and lots of debris in lock
very windy, banged up the bow
windy leaving stern banged up
arrived at Midway Marina at 6pm a long day but we expected it and were please
that things went so well. We had a cocktail, showered and decided we were too
tired to walk to the marina restaurant, so we ate leftovers and bunked down.
June 2nd Day 18
we had heard about the May fly hatch, but until you’ve experienced it, it’s
truly indescribable. The boat was literally blanketed
in Mayflies that look somewhat like a small dragonfly. They cling to
everything (see the photos of the boat). They were all over the aft deck and
everything there. We tried spray, didn’t phase them except some died so now we
had a carpet of dead Mayflies. I walked up to the office and it was like snow
with Mayflies everywhere. The Dockmaster said this was the worst hatch he’d
seen and there were some people who canceled work for the day due to the
Mayflies. The Dockmaster said there are only 2-3 days a year when these
creatures hatch. I asked what was the purpose of a Mayfly and no one seemed to
know but it was nice to talk to the people in the office and have a good laugh
yet knowing the cleanup of the bugs that was ahead.
fueled up called the Lockmaster at the next lock and headed out. We weren’t as
fortunate this day and we got a late start as well. We left Midway around 10:45
and when we arrived at the Rankin lock but had to wait almost an hour. We had no
problems locking through here, but the Mayflies were everywhere at the top of
the lock. We were raised 30 ft. and the Flies awaited us at the top so we
battled them as we left the lock.
a list of the locks for today:
no problems except flies
see note below.
Whitten we had big time wind problems. We were to lock in behind a big tow and a
pleasure boat, but the first attempt, the wind kept blowing us away from the
bollard. We backed out and tried again, I managed to get a line around the
bollard the 2nd attempt, but was unable to get it cleated, and the
wind was too strong for me to hold the boat. So we backed out again, by this
time, Richard felt we had held up
the tow long enough so we backed out and waited for the next opening. So here we
were again with another hour wait. This time we changed all the ball fenders to
the Port side and when we entered the lock, we let the wind push us gently
against the lock wall. I was able to easily get both spring lines on the bollard
after the lock, we entered Bay Springs Lake. It’s very beautiful here. Be
careful on weekends because the lake is loaded with recreational boaters.
cut is a relaxing although not a lot of scenery. The channel is uniform depth
and no bouys so it is a relaxing end to the Tenn-Tom
made it into Pickwick Lake and Aqua Harbor around 8pm. Unfortunately, the
transient dock faces the lake so there’s lots of rocking and rolling going on
when you tie up there.
did sample the marina restaurant. Beware, this is a dry county, but the workers
in this restaurant seem to look the other way if you want to bring your own cup
or mug. And believe me, we saw some BIG mugs. We also noticed someone walk in
with a bottle of wine.
There is quite a walk to the Laundromat, showers, and restrooms…It’s a nice building, but it’s way up on a hill.
We slept well knowing we would be here
for 3 nights so we snuggled in.
June 3rd Day 19
slept in a bit and woke around 8:30. We peaked outside to see if there was
another hatch..Thank goodness, no Mayflies. We had intentions of biking to the
restaurant. It’s open for Sunday breakfast 7-11am but the skies opened up and
it poured so we decided to stay put for awhile.
notes from Richard:
can be very intimidating in high winds. We had steady 15 from SW and gusts to
20. The locks make good wind tunnels and cause a lot of swirling.
from that caution, we have found a system that works pretty well for us.
use 2 21” ball fenders placed 1/3 and 2/3 of hull length and a long fender at
the curve of the bow. All fenders are on the rub rail. The captain brings the
boat close to the bollard at the front fender and the line handler passes the
forward spring line around the bollard and then back to it’s cleat. The
captain can then use outside engine and line to bring stern in and the line
handler loops aft spring line around bollard and back to it’s cleat. Most of
the time the boat rides evenly up or down but the captain can control any swing
with the outside engine and shut down the inside engine, which pleases the line
per gallon 1.1
40.5 (includes laydays)
fuel cost $1.30
Engine Hours 650