Thursday, November 11, 2010

Salt Water Here We Come

Ok Tenn Tom we are ready for what you have to throw at us.  We need to be in Mobile by the 9th of November to pick up my Uncle Ed who is going to cruise with us for about a week.  Everyone says we are crazy to try and get down it so fast but we are up to the challenge and ready to go.  At our first stop, Grand Harbor we got to see our old friends Andrew and Sallyann from Freedom.  We last saw them when they completed their loop at Green Turtle Bay.   After a nice night of visiting with them we were ready for an early morning start down the river.  Little did we know mother nature had another plan for us.  FOG!!  You would think coming from the Grey Lady (Nantucket) we would be used to this but river fog is no joke.  Our first day we waited over 3 hours for it to clear long enough to run safely.  We had heard even if we got to the lock in the fog their was a good chance the lock master would not lock us down if it was too thick. We went to Midway marina the first night took on some fuel and got ready for the next day.  Day two we ran from Midway to Columbus.  At Columbus it was getting very crowded and we had to wait over an hour and a half outside the dock for a boat to fuel up with 1000 gallons.  They wanted 1600 gallons but the marina did not have enough fuel.  The reason we had to wait was that the marina was so full we got the last spot just off the fuel dock and their was no way for us to tie up safely with the other boat fueling.  In the days after we left we hear that boats were rafting 2 and 3 boats deep there because their was not enough dock space.  We were thankful that we had pushed on and were determined to stay ahead of the crowd.  After a night at anchor we went to Dempolis.  There we took the courtesy car for what else- Jack Daniels.  Here is where the real fun begins.  We are going to run two very long days to get this river over and done with.  We did 120 miles the next day.  Thinking we could do this all by dark was a HUGE mistake.  We ended up pulling into an anchorage in pitch black at mile 100.  Anna was very scared and kept saying how silly we were to take such a huge risk.   All I can say is thank god for the radar.  Without the radar there is no way that I would have found the opening to anchorage channel..  As we headed in with 2 spotlights going we kept wondering what we would find.  Thankfully we found Felix.  Felix is a catamaran that is doing the loop.  They were kind enough to hail us on the radio and give us direction to a safe place to throw the anchor.  We had of course read of the dangers of the river at night but never would have thought it would be so dark and eerie.  Ah well lesson learned.  The next day was just 90 miles to a great anchorage where we could hear the owls calling. Of course we could also hear and feel the local fishermen blowing by us at top speed but hey we were in their space.  Now Mobile here we come.  That is one very busy port and we were like an ant going through there with all the huge boats.  It is a truly impressive sight to see those huge ships.  You can not help but to reflect on all the hurricanes that have come through there.  Overall the Tenn-Tom is a very beautiful river.  We had heard that is was ugly but did not find that at all and would gladly do it again over something like the Illinois or the Ohio rivers.  We will be picking up Uncle Ed in a day  or so and then heading towards Florida with a stop in Pensacola for the big air show.

See those little spots in the water?  They are baby deer swimming across the river during our early morning cruise
Holy Deer!  See them jump back onto the bank after their swim

The output of these factories is very impressive

Look at all this coal waiting to be loaded onto the barges

Great use for old tires

One of the last barges we saw on the Ten-Tom

The scenery is sure starting to look more tropical

Here is some of the greenery along the banks near the start of the Tenn-Tom

These spillways look like little waterfalls along the way

Early Morning Sun just off the dock in Columbus

Creepy early morning fog near the dock in Midway

Water overflow from the the last lock we passed through

Lock #114 for us!!! No more locks until the East Coast.

The view inside our last lock.  We will celebrate this later on

White Cliffs of Epps were very cool to see

Felix was our savior in the anchorage at lock 100.  Here is a great morning shot of them

Mobile Bay and civilization here we come

We feel so tiny in our small boat amongst all these large boats

The dry docks are just huge

The city of Mobile

This is a truly amazing port

Leaving Mobile and heading out into the bay.  We are keeping our fingers crossed for a smooth ride

This is an old ship that they use to dock emergency drills on

The view of Mobile Bay from the marina.  You can just see Mobile in the back.

1 comment:

  1. Little cold out there this week? Musta felt like home.
    Invite is still open for T-giving, if you guys make it in time.