Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Making our way to Mobile...

December 20, 2007 - The trip from Columbus Marina down to Demopolis will forever be ingrained in our memory. The weather reports we saw as we left Columbus that morning were calling for light rain with occasional thunderstorms. It rained lightly for a while…then started pouring. As we were going thru Bevill Lock I was outfitted in Goretex jacket and pants and water was pooling on the top of my boat shoes. Nasty stuff.

But, we thought that was our last lock for the day and we’d be warm and dry soon at the anchorage we’d selected, Sumter Landing. As we approached Sumter Landing, around 2:30 PM, it began to storm with lighting and thunder. The winds were whipping around from every direction, it seemed. We aimed for the center of the entrance and found very shallow water. We actually had to enter more from the downstream side to get into the pool…but when inside we had around 10-12 ft. Wayne let out the anchor while I struggled to keep the boat “in place” while the wind was doing it’s thing. @#$%^^^@#$&&& !!!

The anchor set…but after watching the position for a few minutes we decided to pull it up and reset a little further out in the center of the area. As Wayne was retrieving the anchor the winch seized up and quit. Wayne pulled the anchor on up…and found about 2 feet of sticky black mud packed around it. With the winch acting up…and time a-wastin’ with the wind playing havoc with the boat…we decided to abandon the anchorage idea and go on down to Demopolis. But, as Wayne says, the water gods weren’t through with us yet.

As we were trying to thread the needle out of the area…leaning towards the downstream side…the wind slammed us up close to the bank and we got mired in the mud. We tried to move and couldn’t. Tow Boat US, we thought. No cellular coverage. We hailed Heflin Lock, the one downstream, and ask the lockmaster to call them. He did and came back with the info that there was NO coverage for 50 miles either way. Our option was to have someone from Columbus Marina or Demopolis come and get us out. We chose Demopolis and he said he would contact them. Meanwhile we decided to try again to get out. The wind had died down some. We made it out!! We called off the cavalry…and decided to go for Demopolis, one lock and 50 miles ahead. Didn’t seem to be much choice…

We made it to the lock by 4:00 PM. The lockmaster said that a towboat, Chippawa, was headed downstream behind us and had priority through the lock. We should wait for it to go down. We sat there for a few minutes and Wayne decided to ask if we could go ahead of the tow. The lockmaster said he’d be glad to ask if the towboat captain wanted to relinquish his right…and he DID! We got through the lock by 4:30 and headed out at max speed (read: 20 mph).

A night run was never in our plans. We had one hour of light and two hours running in the dark. We made it to Demopolis Yacht Basin by 7:30 PM and were both completely wrung out from adrenalin rush. A day off on the 21st was much needed!!

December 21, 2007 – Day at Demopolis Yacht Basin. We got a few supplies with the courtesy car, did a little laundry, cleaned up the boat, received oil that Wayne had shipped in… It was nice. We were tied up against a dock just across from the fuel dock. This afternoon Wayne spotted a towboat fueling up and decided to go over and ask for a tour (he’s wanted to do this for some time now.) The captain gladly took him aboard and here’s a picture of Wayne in the towboat pilot house. I was shooting it into the afternoon sun, but if you look closely up in the pilot house the outline of a person you Wayne.

December 18 we did 3 locks and stayed at Midway Marina. The guy that helped us tie up was so helpful. One December 19 we were at Columbus Marina after 4 locks. Very nice place. We borrowed the courtesy car and did a small run into town.

Lucy spends warm days on the bridge with us...but when it's chilly outside we let her stay in the salon. She's not wild about rough waters or faster speeds(well, 20mph, for us.) So far she's holding up well. We still haven't anchored we haven't had her try out the Poop Deck.

They don't call it Goat Island for nothing.

Grand Harbor Marina at the top of the TennTom was a lovely spot to spend an extra day. We borrowed the courtesy van and went in for provisions before we caught up on laundry. Our day off was gone before we knew it! We've learned already that we do not want to do a big provisions run AND big laundry load in one day. It's good to check out the laundromat facilities ahead of time, too. Grand Harbor had one working washer and several dryers so the process took a little longer than we would have liked.

Goose Pond sunset December 13. Goose Pond was a beautiful area. We met a couple who had attended the Loop conference with us in October. They have stopped at Goose Pond for a while before returning to their home in Alabama.

December 13, 2007. Water and sky for a beautiful scene leaving Hales Bar the next day.

Hales Bar Marina, December 12, was a dreary site. The picture above is a shot of the abandoned Hales Bar Electrical plant. The river channel is on the left of the picture and the marina in the foreground to the right. The colored roofs you see belong to a line of floating cabins that the marina rents. Getting into the marina was a real scary deal. We were having a hard time communicating with the person in the office. We thought we saw what needed to be done...but at one point she said, "turn now!" We did...and weaved our way into the north side of the fuel dock. Not the way you want to do it. We fueled up and then made our way gingerly back out and along the front of the cabins to the correct entrance. A very helpful guy came out and assisted our tie up. It had begun to rain.

1 comment:

jhemp3 said...

Great blog, I have anchored at Sumpter several times but thank goodness with no such difficulties. Pam and I look forward to keeping up with you guys.