Tenn-Tom Waterway to Mobile, AL
WE'RE FINALLY HEADING SOUTH!
Strong winds were predicted today, so we decided to only travel the
36 miles down the Tenn-Tom to Bay Springs Marin. And, sure enough,
the winds picked up to 25 MPH when we reached Bay Springs Lake just
above the lock and dam. We were taking the wind off the starboard
side, and "Golden Lily" was leaning toward the port side. This is a very
quiet marina, no cell phone or internet access. "Sandpiper" is docked
one dock over from us, and we will be heading south with them through
the locks tomorrow.
We turned on our AIS system to find out there was a tow just going into the Whitten Lock, the first
lock of 3 we had to do today for our 18 mile run to Midway Marina. We had to wait for it to lock
through, then once into the lock, waited for 5 other boats to come. It was an extremely long day
waiting for tows to lock up and down. It took us 6 hours to do this trip today. The marina is mentioned
as a 4 anchor in the cruise guide, however, nothing is good here. We had a narrow channel and went
over the tops of weeds which looked like Christmas trees. It's advertised as having internet and cable
TV, but that doesn't work either. We are ready to leave here by 0600 hours tomorrow. It's very over
rated and low on our list of places to stay. The next lock is just a mile south of us, so hopefully we
won't have too much traffic tomorrow. We will see!
NOVEMBER 10 "THERE'S ICE ON OUR BOW!"
Yes, this morning there was ice on the bow of our boat! It was THAT cold last night. We also got up at
0430 to get things ready to get underway by 0600. However, there was fog, so we waited a half an
hour. It was still foggy, but it was beginning to lift and we could see the buoys. We headed out with
"Sandpiper" in the lead. We were very lucky not to have hit any tows along the way with the four locks
on our 59 mile trip to Columbus. Each lock was ready for us when we arrived. We locked through with
the same boats as yesterday, and one new boat joined, "Lin Z Lee" from Iowa. It was an easy ride to
Columbus Marina where quite a few looper boats have already docked. We had dinner out at a local
restaurant with 3 other couples. We signed up for 2 nights here since they are forecasting heavy rain
for the next two days. It's a good place to stock up on groceries, do laundry, and clean up inside the
Scenes along the Tenn-Tom Waterway
|Click on the pictures to enlarge for details.
Golden Lily and Sandpiper got underway at 0830, and the lock was ready for us to lock through the
Stennis Lock. A large blue heron perched itself on the lock fence as we locked down.
As we left the lock, I got a good shot of the Stennis Dam.
We had a short,slow, and easy ride to Pirate's Cove Marina. Along the way we first saw a Golden
Eagle and then a Bald Eagle on the tops of the tree branches. There were also cormorants drying their
After we arrived at the marina, we went along with "Sandpiper" in the courtesy van for lunch at "Down
Yonder". From outside it was very plain, but inside was quite nice and homey with red and white checked
tablecloths and excellent southern cooking...fried okra, turnip greens, southern fried chicken, chicken
livers, fried sweet potatoes, and smoked chicken. Then we drove over to the visitors' center for the
Tenn-Tom Waterway which is in a reproduction old house with a beautiful garden overlooking the river.
We then took a tour of the Montgomery Snagboat which was used long ago to pick up deadheads and
trees when they first built the waterway. Jim and Robert had a good time in the pilothouse pushing the
leg pedal to sound the horn!
Tomorrow we are heading to Demopolis, AL and have the first of 2 very long days: 88 miles and 2 locks,
so we will be getting underway by 0630. The weather forecast all week was predicted to be rainy and
stormy, but that never happened and we waited at the marina. Today was great, but tomorrow the
forecast is 50% chance of thunderstorms. Do we believe it?
NOVEMBER 14 - DEMOPOLIS, AL
We got underway just before sunrise. The full moon was hidden behind clouds, but it was just light
enough to see. Sandpiper had called the lock just before 0600, and he would have the lock ready for us
right away, so we headed out along with a Nordhaven. We were lucky to have hit both locks without
waiting, and our 88 mile trip was completed in just 9 1/2 hours. We arrived in Demopolis at 1530. We
had dinner at the restaurant here at the marina...food was pretty good. The weather forecast was
wrong again: It did not rain during our trip. The sun was out the whole day, and we had some clouds.
Tomorrow a cold front is supposed to be moving south, bringing 25 MPH winds and very cold weather.
Today it was in the 70's, so cold will be a big shock. Tomorrow's trip to Bobby's Fish Camp is 98 miles
and 2 locks which means a VERY early start!
On today's trip we passed by white rock cliffs. On our way to Houston, TX a few years ago, we
crossed over the bridge you see in one of the pictures. Jim wanted to see the Tenn-Tom Waterway. At
that time, I remember thinking that we would never get our boat there, but here we are!
Three boats got underway at 0600, Golden Lily, Sandpiper, and Istaboa when the Demopolis Lock just
3 miles south from the marina was ready for us. We had that 88 mile run to do, and we did not want
to get stuck waiting for a lock. The ride took us around winding turns on the river.
We spotted another bald eagle, although it's hard to see in the picture. The eagle
is on the dead tree. We arrived at Bobby's Fish Camp at 1500. There was a boat alreayd
tied to the dock and they moved it back so we could fit. Istaboa rafted to us, and Barbara
rafted to Sandpiper. We had dinner at Bobby's Fish Camp Restaurant where they are supposed to
have the best catfish, and yes, it was delicious! There is no electricity here, so we are all running the
generators since it's going to be VERY chilly tonight. Here are some pictures of Bobby's Fish Camp:
Restaurant Cabins Golden Lily and Istaboa rafted
The lock was ready for us at 0600, so all 6 boats left Bobby's Fish Camp to find major fog after we
exited the lock. Here is our boat on the GPS map. Mobile Bay is at the bottom.
It soon lifted and we were on our way 130 miles to Mobile Bay. There wasn't scenery along the way
other than low trees, dead trees, and sand banks, however, we did see 2 more bald eagles. Sandpiper
and Golden Lily arrived at Dog River Marina in the dark and very tired!
Scenes along the Tenn-Tom/Black Warrior River Entering Mobile, AL