Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Columbus, MS, to Fairhope, AL

Wednesday, October 27 -

After six days at Columbus Marina, Columbus, MS, we've moved on down the Tenn-Tom to a lovely anchorage at Sumter Landing. (Some of you may remember our last experience at Sumter Landing in December '07. This was our way of "getting back on that horse.")

The weather was fickle today. We ran in and out of rain...sometimes MAJOR rain. Tomorrow morning we'll set our sights on Foscue Creek below Demopolis, with a stop at the Yacht Basin for fuel.

Thursday, October 28 -

Beautiful day on the water...no rain! The night was very peaceful and we were up and heading out into the main channel by 7:30...just as Bulldog Sally was passing by our anchorage. (They anchored a few miles up the river.) We had about an hour wait to get through the Heflin Lock. For the rest of the trip the scenery held our attention. Last time we passed this way it was dark, so we were really impressed with the cliffs along the water.

We were docked at Demopolis Yacht Basin fuel dock by 3 PM. Fueled, watered, and walked (Lucy), we left the dock at 3:45 and found our way down to the Foscue Creek anchorage right before the Demopolis Lock. Bulldog and Crossroads were already in the creek...and we were later joined by a fourth boat.

We anchored pretty much in front of the dock that belongs to a Coast Guard Cutter, "Wedge." That evening one of the employees at the Coast Guard station came out and said he thought we'd be fine there for the night...that the cutter wasn't due back until around noon the next day. He did say that if the boat came back, we'd have to move because it needed all that space to turn around and get docked. We'd stayed out that far because one of the boats in our group had touched ground not too far into the pocket of water beyond the dock. The night was calm, though, and the cutter didn't come home before we left.

Friday, October 29 - Up early and headed for the Demopolis Lock, we were in the lock by 7:25AM. We had four boats in the lock that morning and we were the last ones on the starboard wall. What a show!

Today we're headed to an anchorage at Bashi Creek, mile 145. No locks today after Demopolis, so it made for an easy trip. (BTW, there aren't any more marinas down the way, either. There's a place called Bobby's Fish Camp where you can tie up to a dock alongside the waterway, but we did that the last time and decided to do anchorages this time.)

We arrived at Bashi Creek by 3:30...and proceeded to take another hour and a half to get comfortable with the anchor placement. The wind was blowing straight into the creek, and there was a current running opposite that. We ended up setting a stern anchor and having Breaking Away, another boat anchoring there, help straighten the bow of the boat with their dinghy. I kinda liked the place...very "Heart of Darkness." Wayne, however, wasn't crazy about the place because of the difficulty in setting anchor and positioning a boat of our size in the channel.

There's a recreation area near the creek with boat ramp, small dock, picnic tables, trash can...what more could a cruiser (with dog) ask for?

Saturday, October 30 - Foggy morning! But so pretty....

It took a while for us to be able to pull up anchor and move.

As we left Bashi Creek we met Blue Angel and Sea Estate who had anchored a couple of miles up the river. We traveled with them to the last lock on the Tenn-Tom, Coffeeville Lock. Unfortunately, when we got to the lock we had a tow going down and one coming up. We were there by 12:15, but didn't get through the lock until 2:15. We only had about 20 miles to go to our anchorage for the evening, Old Lock 1 at mile 100. As we came through the lock at Coffeeville we saw that the water gauge was up by 3 feet. Good news for anchorages down the way that might, otherwise, not offer us enough water.

Another great anchorage at Old Lock 1. We joined our neighbors that evening for a sharing session...and learned how to make "little beers." Yummy!

Sunday, October 31 -
Shout out to all the goblins out there! Alex is going to be an astronaut and Ryan...an alien.

It looked awfully cloudy this morning when we got up. Blue Angel and Sea Estate were out way before us...we got a dog. :-) We'd originally planned to anchor at Bates Lake, but were hearing that the entrance was too shallow. Blue Angel called back later in the day and confirmed the shallow conditions. They were going to the Alabama River Cut-Off to anchor. We were thinking we'd try an anchorage we'd heard about on the way down: David Lake. See, we had visions of motoring through Mobile harbor on Monday and the further down we could get, the better.

[Here's where we're seeing that your days would be a lot different if you were living aboard a boat, as Blue Angel's crew, Jim and Sharon, do. For us it tends to be a push to the next destination. For them it's less urgent. They tended to travel fewer miles a day than we...and they ended up sitting out the weather in the Alabama River anchorage with Sea Estate. They planned to take their dinghy's back up the river to Bates Lake and explore by boat that way. We're trying to loosen up, but I think we both look forward to being in Florida so much, it hasn't happened yet. We'll see if it DOES happen.]

The sky cleared up and the ride was pretty good. We got down to David Lake and opted not to stay. The setting was, Kay, "soul crushing." Murky surroundings with a rusty old building and deserted industrial site. We went on down to the Tensas River anchorage, mile 39, and were pleased with the decision.

Monday, November 1 -

We thought we would take 21 days to get down to Mobile Bay...and today we made it! We had to wait until after 9:00AM to leave due to fog. The trip through Mobile Bay was quite different this time. Last time was Christmas Day 2007 and very cold and crisp. The Bay was deserted. This time, there was plenty of activity around.

Our aim was to get to Eastern Shore Marine in Fairhope, AL, for one night, then head on down to the intercoastal on Tuesday and wind up at Bear Point Marina. The trip across the Bay was so easy. There were no waves and no wind. We got into Eastern Shore around 3PM. I took the courtesy car to the local Publix and brought home steamed shrimp for supper. (Thanks to Sea Estate for that little tip!) Life is good!

Looking at the weather forecast, we decided to stay at Fairhope for a few days. Rain, wind, and waves were coming...and we were ready for another break. We'll be here probably until Sunday and will get back with you when something happens. :-)

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