Mobile , Alabama - November 27, 2007

After having spent nearly a week in Chattanooga, TN, (our last log update) we retraced the 250 mile journey we had made up the Tennessee River to reach the junction with the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, known as the Tenn-Tom. Along the way, we anchored at Little Cedar Mountain for a very quiet night and then went on to Jackson State Park Marina in Scottsboro, TN for a couple of days. Olga and Dana biked into town while we were there and checked out the bargains at the Unclaimed Baggage Center, a complex that fills an entire city block where they sell off things that were left in airports, train and bus stations around the world. Trust an American to come up with a way to make a buck out of other people's leftovers!

Just before turning into the Tenn-Tom, we met up with again with m/v 5 th Quarter who had made their own detour to Nashville, TN to visit the Grand 'Ol Opry and other sites in this city that is the home of country music. With the 3 boats back together again, we rafted up in a beautiful anchorage in Panther Creek, TN. Although we didn't see any panthers there, we did enjoy the fall colours which were really starting to turn by this point. Coming from Canada where the colours are over by mid-October, it's hard to believe that these are only coming into their full glory in November. We continued along the Tenn-Tom to Columbus, MS splitting our time between marinas along the river and anchoring out with our two buddy boat friends when we found nice spots off the waterway..

In Columbus, Mississippi, we stopped at a great marina. With m/v TwoCan as our neighbours and with the encouragement of Joe and Jan on m/v 5 th Quarter, we did a(nother) major renovation project on the boat. Basically, we sanded down all the exterior teak to bare wood and applied four coats of new varnish. The boat has never looked so good! For good measure, we painted our aft bench and gave the inside floors a new varnish finish. All of this work took two long weeks, but the weather was perfect to doing these chores. TwoCan had their own set of projects and it seemed that we were competing everyday for who could do the most work before sundown and cocktails. We left Columbus on November 20th and four long days later, we arrived at Fairhope, Alabama in Mobile Bay for a couple of days of rest.

In the upper part of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway there are some nice anchorages, however as you flow south on the Tombigbee River and eventually the Mobile River, the anchorages are much further apart and not always pleasant. At one anchorage, it was so narrow we were touching both shores with our anchor over the bow and a line to a tree on the opposite shore to hold us in place. At five in the morning, a big tow boat came into the creek and plowed its bow into shore. A half hour later, an ambulance came to the boat ramp nearby and they offloaded an injured crew member. Within minutes they were on their way. Kind of spooky to see this happening in the dark morning.

In both Columbus and Fairhope, we had stowaways on board. Columbus Marina has a dock cat named RT (for Rat Tail since it was chopped off in an accident). RT visits every boat that comes to the harbour and invites himself aboard for a bowl of milk. In Fairhope, we were welcomed by Chuck, the local dock cat. Chuck used to be a live-aboard until his master married and moved to land. He did not take to the new apartment and within hours his master brought him back to the marina where he was adopted by everyone. He has his own dog house and the office takes up a collection to feed him and send him to the vet when needed. Chuck is smart enough to invite himself on boats around dinner time and he stays the night all cuddled up on your bed. If you happen to be in bed as well, he will purr all night.

We are now out of the river system that cuts the central USA from north to south. Since entering the river waterways at Chicago , we have put on about 1,600 nautical miles on our bottom and stopped at 41 different harbours or anchorages. The scenery changes everyday and so do the currents and commercial traffic. It was a wonderful experience but for us, the real highlight was the Tennessee River . The other rivers (Illinois, Mississippi, Ohio, Cumberland, Tombigbee, Black Warrior and Mobile ) were interesting in their own way but not as breathtakingly nice as the Tennessee and the lakes that connect it to the other waterways.

From Mobile, we will make our way along the Florida Panhandle to Fort Meyers. Most of the journey is along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway with some outside passages in the Gulf of Mexico. Should be an interesting trip! Starting in mid-December, we're planning to spend a month in Punta Gorda near Fort Meyers, so we should have time to post another log update to report on that leg of the journey sometime after Christmas.

Olga and Andre on board m/v Mystic Bond

The Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway to Mobile, Alabama
November 2007

TwoCan, 5th Quarter and Mystic Bond at anchor

End of day cocktails and consultation

Some days the temperature drops quite a bit at night

TwoCan in the biggest (i.e. Wilson) lock at 109 feet

Even locks have wildlife

Olga teaching Mike to sew on his $8.92 sewing machine

5th Quarter's going away party

Joe admiring his Gold Looper flag which he can only raise once they reach Tampa, FL

Of course, Jan gets the good stuff; forget the flag

RT comes to visit at Columbus, MS

Had to sniff around everywhere

The bowl of milk is a tradition to get accepted at the marina

Andre goes for a ride on a paddle wheel boat

Sunset in Demopolis, AL as the next cold front moves in

Tricky entrance to Aberdeen harbour; lots of deadheads

The white limestone cliffs along the Tombigbee River

Some morning mist on the mountains in Tennessee

The fall colours were very muted this year

A new neighbour at Bashi Creek

Offloading an injured crew member the hard way

Meat on the hoof on the shores of the Mobile River

Downtown Mobile, Alabama

Cruise ship Holiday docked in Mobile, AL

Chuck and Andre in bed at Fairhope, AL

 

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