Cruising

Moving on up

We are currently in Grand River, Kentucky at Green Turtle Bay Marina/Resort. While here at the dock and around the area we’ve met and talked with many people. We’ve also passed out quite a few boat cards. When handing the card to someone I tell them that our blog site is on the back side of the card, however, I have not been too diligent about updates but plan to add more soon.

Now I am keeping my promise.

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Heading out of Turner Marine meeting some others that are heading north also

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We are now heading UP river.

 

Here’s what we’ve been up to;

Mid-April we left Turner Marine in Mobile AL, after spending the winter, and started North. Our first night we anchored in Bates Lake and had a couple tell us that when the tide went out it would be too shallow to get back into the river. So, up anchor, and back downriver a couple of miles to the Alabama cutoff. Now, many others anchor here and sing its praises, however, when we dropped anchor it would not set. After pulling it back up we realized that somehow our anchor chain had wrapped around a log. Cynthia kept the boat in place while I was tried to get rid of the log. Finally we got the log alongside the boat and loose. Now, we were able to set the main anchor. Then climb down onto the swim platform to set the stern anchor.  (Setting a stern anchor keeps the boat from swinging.) We were alone in the anchorage and had a pleasant evening. I was real tired and had no problem getting to sleep.

The next morning we pressed on up river and made it to the Coffeville Lock and Bobby’s Fish-camp for the night. An easy evening with dinner at Bobby’s and another early night.

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View of Bobby’s Fish-Camp from the boat, It’s rustic.

 

From Bobby’s it’s 100 miles to Demopolis, the next fuel and dockage. We decided to stop in between. We passed a good anchorage at Bashi Creek before noon, but did not want to stop that early, so we pressed on looking for a another spot to anchor for the night.

We found Chickasaw Bogue and bumped our way across the bar into deeper water. We anchored in about 7 foot of water, but when the boat would swing the depth would vary. It was decided to set the stern anchor again, so back onto the swim platform and another toss of the stern anchor. While I was on the swim platform Cynthia noticed we were moving, the main anchor had not set properly.  With Cynthia at the helm we raised the main anchor and moved forward to make another attempt at setting the anchor. This time we let out extra chain and gave a good tug to make sure it dug into the mud. Then back to the swim platform and a toss of the stern anchor.  To set the stern anchor I went back to the front and pulled in some of the extra chain to set the stern anchor. This had us staying in one place and not moving too much.

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Looking into Chickasaw Bogue

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Checking the movement of the boat

Tired I sat on the back deck and watched a tree to make sure we were not moving. We were glad that we spent the extra time getting the anchors set because, later that evening a storm front passed through. The winds gave the anchor chains a good tug, but we moved some but stayed pretty much in the same place. That was our first Thunder Storm at anchor. Not something I would like do on a regular basis.

In the morning we reversed our anchor process to release the stern anchor then moved forward to pull the bow anchor. With Cynthia at the helm we started out of Chickasaw Bogue and promptly ran aground, and of course, here comes a Tow as we are trying to get off the bottom. I took over the helm while Cynthia contacted the Tow on the radio. With some extra reverse thrust we backed off the sandbar and with help from the tow captain we angled our way back out into the main river. Demopolis was our stop for that evening and the rest of the weekend.

I had developed a cough and told Cynthia that it was from breathing exhaust fumes while trying to set the stern anchor, she didn’t believe me.  From the beginning of our trip up river we had set our sights on Columbus, MS as a rest stop, because we both like the area and the people. Neither one of us thought our stay would last as long as it did.

The day after we arrived in Columbus Cynthia took me to an Urgent Care facility to figure out what was the matter with me. We found out we both had this seasons flu and bronchitis. Me about ten days ahead of Dearest. After lots of tests and armed with prescriptions we arrived back at the boat,  medicated, and went to bed, for a week.

Our first week in Columbus was gone before we knew. We put our heads out for short periods after that but for almost 3 weeks we stayed on the boat and tried to get over our sickness. Finally we started to feel better and thought of moving up-stream again.

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Making waves again, it feels good.

 

From Columbus north, the Tom Bigbee river has plenty of marinas to make easy days of 50 to 60 miles. Allowing us to be in and tied up well before the sun has begun to set.  We entered Pickwick Lake through Wilton Lock and found the current changed direction and is now running  with us, adding extra speed for less fuel. We made Aqua Yacht Harbor in Iuka, MS our address for the next couple of nights.  

From Aqua Yacht Harbor we entered the Tennessee River,  Pickwick Lock and Dam took us off Pickwick Lake and continued the Tennessee River. Two 60 mile days have us at Pebble Isle Marina, and a great place to spend the weekend.

The last few days of travel has Cynthia having back pain, making it hard to move around and giving her problems while handling lines.  By the time we reached Green Turtle Bay on the North end of Lake Barkley she was in serious pain. Now, with chiropractic care and after a couple massages, she is on the mend, but we don’t want a relapse. Because of this we have signed on for a month here and will remain at Green Turtle Bay until after July 4th. That should give us time to heal.

In the mean time we are trying to figure out what to do, and where to go next. But that is another story.

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Cruising

Cruising; Demopolis AL to Mobile AL

It has been quite a while since I’ve posted to the blog. I just looked up the last date of publication and it’s been 3 weeks. A lot has happened since then, many books have been read, and some miles traveled, holidays observed and I’ve had another great birthday.

Since the last post we have traveled the lower Tenn-Tom Black Warrior River and arrived in Mobile, Alabama. We arrived at Turner Marine on the Dog River the Monday before Thanksgiving. We knew that we needed some engine repairs and our first priority was to get in the queue for the diesel mechanic. We met with Brent Davidson that afternoon, while the engines were still warm. Brent climbed all around the engine looking for our trouble spot and found what we thought and knew was to be a major project. Seems like one of the gaskets had pretty much let go and oil was making a steady drip out of the engine. Most of it, thankfully was caught in the drip pan under the engine. We scheduled to start work December 2, a week after we arrived.

But wait we still need to tell you about our trip from Demopolis AL to Mobile. While the north was getting hammered with snow a cold snap was pushing south. We decided to stay in Demopolis until the cold passed. We had temperatures in the 20’s and it’s good to be able to plug into shore power and run the heaters when it get that cold.

The run from Demopolis to Mobile was over 200 miles and we expected it to take at least 3 and maybe 4 days to cover the distance. We had run into a group of Loopers that were getting ready to make the push. While at the Demopolis Yacht basin a meeting was scheduled to see when people were traveling and at what speeds. The next to last lock on the river was just a few miles south of the marina. Boats were scheduling days and times when to head for the lock. The lock masters like to put as many pleasure craft as they can through the lock. But, if there are tows in the area they have preference. On Thursday November 22 eight boats left at sunrise to head toward the lock. We had planned to be part of the armada, however, one of our engines wouldn’t start. No clicks or engine turn over from either helm. I radioed the others and let them know we wouldn’t be along and not to hold the lock. Then waited for the marina to open to look for a mechanic. I had traced wires, tightened connections, and checked starters and coils, even gave the starter a smack with the hammer. Nothing. I figured we were going to be in Demopolis a while longer and paid for the extra night at the dock. The mechanic arrived we looked at connections, tried a remote starter, then looked at the dash. I started to pull the cover off and he stopped me wanting to just look at the console. Made a quick adjustment and said “try it”. I turned the key and lo and behold it started. The shifter was out of neutral. Boy! That is a humbling experience.

We left the following day with 4 other boats. Passed through the lock before 8:00 A.M. And proceeded down river. The shift to daylight savings time and being in the Central Time Zone had sunrise at just a little after 6:00 A.M. But dark by 5:00P.M. That day we traveled 90 miles to arrive at Bobby’s Fish Camp.

Entry to the restaurant

Entry to the restaurant

Bobby's Bath House?

Bobby’s Bath House?

Bobby's front porch

Bobby’s front porch

Bobby’s Fish Camp is located right on the river and consists of floating docks that will accommodate 3 or 4 boats. If more boats arrive they raft off the first boats. We tied up on the dock and were advised to let them know at the restaurant that we were there and they would just add the slip fee onto the meal ticket. Bobby’s is an experience that we enjoyed. The restaurant has most anything you want as long as it’s catfish. Personally I’ve had my fill of catfish. Whether deep-fried or Cajun fried it is still not one of my favorites.

Foggy morning on the river

Foggy morning on the river

Coming out of the fog

Coming out of the fog

Passing early in the morning

Passing early in the morning

While at Bobby’s we were told of heavy weather predicted and decided to stay an additional night. We did this so as not to have to anchor out in weather that was supposed to be severe with high winds and possible tornadoes. The heavy weather never really developed they way it was forecast and after a day we left Bobby’s Fish Camp and headed toward the Coffeville Lock and Dam, the last lock on the river and an anchorage hopefully at a place called Bates Lake.

Discussing the weather

Discussing the weather

Although we did have some heavy rain during the day it was pleasant when made Bates Lake. We arrived at Bates Lake about 3 o’clock that afternoon. We had been advised to approach from down river and try to stay in the center of the channel, it could get shallow. It did and we bumped bottom on the way in, but passed into the lake area without problems. With Toots we like to anchor close to a boat ramp. It makes it easier to get her to shore for “walkies”. We checked our charts but no boat ramp where it was shown. There were a lot of fish camps on the lake and not any place to take the dog to shore. Just as we were turning around and getting ready to head to the anchorage area I received a call on the radio, “Bright Angel, Bright Angel, are you looking for a place to anchor?” There were no other boats in sight. I thought that it was possibly someone still on the river. The call came again, “Bright Angel, I’m to your west, look west.” I looked West and there is a man in his pajamas waving from his deck. I waved back and he said “You can anchor right there.” I explained that we needed the launch ramp for the dog and he said, “Just anchor there and you can bring the dog to my dock and walk her anywhere here. I own this land and it fine to walk the dog.”

Getting ready to drop the anchor

Getting ready to drop the anchor

Fish camp on Bates Lake

Fish camp on Bates Lake

Fall color in full

Fall color in full

We had a chance to talk with our host while I walked Toots. Turned out he was a retired captain with the Corps of Engineers. He was the 5th generation to live in the same area. A very helpful person and gave us better information on the channel for our passage back onto the river. We entered the river without bumping bottom and had plenty of water under the boat. Bates Lake was a beautiful and quiet spot to anchor.

Another Bates Lake view

Another Bates Lake view

Early morning fog on the  Spanish moss

Early morning fog on the
Spanish moss

Tug boats pushing freighter into it's berth

Tug boats pushing freighter into its berth

Astral Ship yard

Astral Ship yard

Mobile Convention Center

Mobile Convention Center

Waterfront view

Waterfront view

Shrimper in the shipping channel

Shrimper in the shipping channel

Lots of birds looking for a handout

Lots of birds looking for a handout

We left Bates lake and had just over 40 miles to travel until we reached Mobile and the Bay. As we approached Mobile we began to hear more radio traffic between tugs and tows. We expected and had been warned of the major traffic in the Mobile River just prior to entering the bay. Again Dearest and I were over stressed at the possible traffic on the river. It turned out to be minimal, only about 6 tugs moving barges and a couple pushing a freighter into its spot on the wharf. What was stressful was the trip down Mobile bay to Dog River. This was the first time back in big water since we left Lake Michigan. The waves were only about 2 feet and not a problem but it was quite hazy and channel markers were difficult to make out. Some fishing boats were using the channel for shrimping and being in unfamiliar waters makes for a difficult time. Thankfully Cynthia was there with the binoculars looking for the channel markers from the Mobile Shipping Channel to the Dog River channel markers. I learned earlier that Mobile Bay has some very shallow areas and the bay will only be about 10 feet deep on average. We had just come from a river where when the depth dropped below 15 feet we thought it was shallow. We made our channel without problems and headed into Turner Marine. We have been here since and still will probably be here another week until we have all our projects completed.

First priority is the repair to the leaking engine. Then onto the rest of the list.

Until next time, and I promise not so long a wait. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and your up coming holiday season is a good one.

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