Monthly Archives: November 2015

We made it across the Bay


Sunday was a lovely day, very little wind and waves, so no excuses for not having pictures.  We left shortly after 9:00 and followed “Touch of Class” through the channel leading back to the shipping lane.


Here’s a  view of Mobile  in the distance, hardly a ripple in the water, not like Thursday when we arrived in Dog River.


Since it was a nice day we took our time going about 6-7 knots and enjoyed the sunshine.


We saw a fair bit of traffic in the shipping channel, and shrimp and sailboats farther out in the Bay.



At one point we had a couple of dolphins following the boat.IMG_4210

Here’s a view of us leaving Mobile Bay and another one entering the Gulf Inter coastal waterway.

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We arrived a Saunders Yacht works  at 3:00 and tied up to their  dock.

It’s now 9:00 Monday morning, and a technician is already looking at our battery/electrical issue.

Crossing Mobile Bay

We spent one night at Grand Mariner and then crossed the Dog River to get gas at  Dog River Marina and spent two nights there.


Here’s a view of the Dog River Bridge at sun rise,



Here’s the view of Grand Mariner Marina Friday night, with one boat all decorated for Christmas.  Speaking of Christmas- I heard my first Christmas song on the radio on Nov 25th– that’s a little too early.

Here’s  a 112 foot yacht at Dog River, which was just down the dock from us.


and more birds.  I  beginning to think the Herons are following us.



On Black Friday we went to West Marine and bought more charts and ropes. We went to Walmart on Saturday for groceries.

We plan to pull out of here by 10:00 and cross Mobile Bay  (~ 30 miles in open water) .

Off the Rivers at Last and into salt water

Update of November 24, 25   and 26

Due to a fog delay, we didn’t get through the Demopolis Lock until 8:35, a 2 ½ hour delay as we had hoped to lock through at 6:00.  There were 6 powerboats (Adiamo, Hop on Board, India Jayne, Touch of Class, Longfellow and a sail boat- Beluga locking down.  Following the lock the boats spread out depending on how fast they travelled.  We had planned to stay with “Touch of Class”, so we followed him for most of the day at a more leisurely pace.  At mile point 173, we passed the James River Paper Mill, which Andy recalls his dad going there as a troubleshooter  back in the 1970’s.

We ended up anchoring at mile 145, Bashi creek, in about 11 feet of water, there was lots of debris and branches when we entered, but we went slow- 2 anchors were set and then “Touch of Class” rafted to us and set another anchor.IMG_4096 IMG_4097We weighed anchor at 6:02,

IMG_4101and continued down the Tombigbee-Black Warrior River.  We cruised by “Bobby’s Fish Camp”, where many of the faster boats from yesterday had spent the night tied up to his dock.  Didn’t look like we missed much, although there was a damaged boat on the shore- not sure how long it had been there.IMG_4108IMG_4107

IMG_4110We arrived at Coffeeville Dam, mile 116.6  – our last lock until  Florida–  just before 9:00, however the lockmaster had the lock set up for a northbound tow, so we waited an hour and ½ to lock through. Saw lots of herons/cranes and a few pelicans while we waited.IMG_4114

IMG_4121  In the lock, we were joined by “Touch of Class “and “Beluga”.  The river meandered back and forth —in several places if the river had a straight cut through the bush, many miles could be shaved off the trip.  I saw a drawbridge, that looked like it was still in operation.IMG_4126There was a lot more tows on the river than we’d seen in the last few days.  One tow was moving some dredging equipment and was over ¼ mile long, with a couple of auxillery tugs to help steer it.IMG_4130 IMG_4131   We kept in contact with “Touch of Class” throughout the day and had decided to go to Three rivers Lake at mile 64, we anticipated arriving there at 15:30,  so we changed the anchorage to the Alabama cut-off at mile 52.8.  We arrived there at 16:30 and set our anchor,  but with over 100 feet of chain we didn’t feel too secure as there was a 5 knot current in the river.   We weighed the anchor and went back to Bates Lake at mile 53.8, it was just becoming dark at 17:00 when we set our two anchors  in 13.0 feet. “ Touch of Class”- Jaime and Connie arrived about 15 minutes later.     Andy called and confirmed that we had three nights of dockage at Grand Mariner marina near Dog River.  I guess we’ll be spending American Thanksgiving and Black Friday in Mobile Alabama on the Gulf Coast.

We left at  6:15, as we hadIMG_4136  54 miles to Mobile and then another 12 to the marina.

It started out as a nice sunny day with hardly a breeze, but the wind picked up as we got closer to Mobile.

At mile 45 the Alabama River joined into the Black Warrior-TomBigbee River; and the river was re-named to the Mobile River—it’s hard to keep score- and know where we really are.  At Mile 10 we left the Mobile River, I think,  took a cut off  channel, only to rejoin the Mobile river at Mile 7.  Once we got to  the bridge downtown we were then at Mile 0, and now on the Mobile Harbour/Shipping  Channel-we followed this to  Red Marker 65 and then turned right to get to our Marina on the Dog River, ( we’re far from Saskatchewan- so not that Dog River)

Once we got into Mobile Bay there were some 2 – 3 foot waves peaking at 4 that rocked the boat a fair bit.  I was happy to turn west to get out of the pounding waves- it was too rough for me to take pictures- so you have to trust me that it was bad.

We went through several industrial areas, with paper plants and a steam plant.   I saw some big equipment “mighty machines”, and took a picture of these for Jack, as one had his Mom’s name on it.IMG_4140

IMG_4139Here’s my first glimpse of  Mobile,IMG_4150there were many things to see along the river and I took pictures of many ships, and even found a few birds that didn’t look like Herons.


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We’re at Grand Mariner Marina, and will be here for a couple days.


Moving South… in search of heat it was 27 F here!

We spent a couple of days here in Demopolis, but the plan is to leave early tomorrow.  We hope to  go  over 90 miles to Bobby’s Fish Camp, which is the next place with a dock that we can tie up to.  With the river running high and swift, we’d like to be somewhere secure or in a good anchorage.  We only have a single lock to go through and that is about 3 miles from our present location.    We will be traveling with “Touch of Class” and “Longfellow”,  two boats that travel at about the same speed as us.   There are now about  6 or 7 other looper boats  here in Demopolis,  4 of them arrived today- everyone is in a hurry to get down to the Gulf for Thanksgiving, so I expect the river will be busy tomorrow.

We have a flock of Canada geese  hanging out at the Marina- so we feel right at home- just like Boundary Creek.IMG_4087 IMG_4090With the cold weather the last few days the trees are quickly changing to more familiar autumn colours,  but very few of the trees have completely lost their leaves.

IMG_4084We won’t have internet until we get to Mobile- so there won’t be updates until the end of the week.

The boat’s latest issues fixed?? moving on to Alabama,

On Nov 17 and 18th we were still at Midway awaiting engine repairs.

IMG_4044Had a storm front move through Tuesday  afternoon  the winds were gusting > 30 mph, made for a very rocky sleepless night as the boat fenders kept hitting the dock.  We attached a 4th rope to make us more secure.  Finally at about 2:00 the rain started, so the winds died down, it rained until almost noon.

We’re patiently waiting for the boat mechanic to come and put the repaired starter in and change the oil in the two engines.  The starter was installed, the armature had shorted out- whatever that means.  Everything seemed to work and we were ready to resume our adventure in the morning.

Wednesday, November 19th

Wanted to leave early this morning, and were up and ready at dawn, however the marina was fogged in.  Must have been all the rain from the day before.    We were travelling/following another boat called Paper Moon and when the fog cleared up enough to see across the river at 7:35 we finally pulled out. We were in contact with Fulton lock which was 3 miles away  and knew they could take us whenever we got there as well they told us there were no tows on the river  for miles.  This information was good news as we only went about a mile down the river and the fog was once again very dense. It was slow going we couldn’t even see Paper Moon at times.IMG_4047At 8:40 we were through the Fulton lock, but the fog continued to stay at the surface.  We made it through the Wilkins lock at 10:50, and the fog continued to linger, but not as dense. An hour later we were through the Amory lock—with no other traffic on the river the locks were usually ready and waiting for our descent.  Our final lock for the day was at Aberdeen, mile 357.5, and we were through it by 13:20.  We pulled into Columbus Marina mile 334.8 at 15:30 and docked for the night.  The boat next to us was “Dream Catcher” with Dick and Pat who Andy had met earlier on the Illinois river system- Joliet city wall .  We had dock tails on their boat a little later—my first dock tails with Loopers.  We also met Kit and Pam, from California, and Randy.

November 20th

We had decided to leave early (6:00), once again following Paper Moon through the Columbus lock which was less than a ½ mile away.IMG_4057Because of the rain storm from earlier in the week, there was lots of debris in the river pulled in because of some flash flooding, as well as foliage that looked like pond lily pads.  When we got to the lock they said there would be a bit of a delay as they prepared the lock and removed debris.IMG_4058We  drove into the lock which was very “green”, and still had logs and other debris. We were on our way by 7:15.  It was a bright sunny day but there was a cold wind at times, depending on the direction the river took us and LOTS OF DEBRIS.



IMG_4062We entered Alabama and made it to the Tom Bevill Lock mile 306.7 by 10:00 and once again locked through with Paper Moon.  This lock was once again green with floating foliage; we did hit a log in the lock, but no major damage.

We continued to meander down the river and decided we would anchor out at the Sumter Recreational area at mile 270, which we reached at 13:45.  It was a well sheltered spot in 11.5 ft of water with a campground nearby.IMG_4069 We relaxed on the back deck and read our books for awhile in the sunshine.  I once again tried fishing, as there were fish jumping everywhere- but no luck.  Not sure what I would have done with a fish if I had caught one.

November 21st

Had a great sleep, the boat hardly moved at all.  There was no rush to leave early today as we’re only going 50 miles to Demopolis, and only have one lock- the Howell- Heflin which is about 4 miles away from our anchorage.  Andy put the generator on and warmed up the boat, while we waited for the mist to clear up.  Started the engines at 7:45, made it through the Lock by 8:30, perfect timing as a northbound tow was just coming out of it when we arrived.  It started out as a sunny day but soon became overcast.  Once again there was lots of debris, however as we went along it changed from the green foliage to lots of logs and broken branches.  Only saw a few fishing boats on the river but the people were wearing camouflage and orange toques, so we may have  mistaken fishermen for hunters.   Saw these cliffs, which looked quite interesting.

IMG_4080Saw quite a few herons sitting on the debris, but the sound of the boat usually scared them off before I got a good  picture.IMG_4083We arrived in Demopolis, Mile 216.7 at 1:30.    There are a few other looper boats here, and we met Jamie from “Touch of Class”, who had left Midway last Saturday.  He’s been here for a couple of days and may not leave until Tuesday.  The rainfall and storm from earlier in the week had caused the rivers to rise by more than 20 feet, so traveling through the  lower lock at Coffeeville at mile 116.6 is not recommended.  We’ll stay put here for now.

In the past three weeks we have gone 650 nautical miles which is equivalent to 750 statute miles and that was with sitting in Fulton for 6 days.   We are still 230 statute miles from Mobile Bay,  with the river delay, we still hope to make it there by the end of the month.

What’s wrong with these pictures?

IMG_4041Nov 14 IMG_4043 Nov 15This is the same view from the port window, two days apart.  Yesterday it was extremely foggy here and no one considered leaving until after 8:00,   when we  finally went to start the engines to pull out, the Starboard would not start.  We called for a maintenance person to come take a look, but they are unavailable until Monday. So we are still at Midway Marina in Fulton MS.

Andy cleaned all the battery terminals and topped up the water, he suspects the starter is jammed.

Yesterday as the Admiral, I volunteered to scrub the decks– it was a lovely day and I was out there in shorts.  So far today I’ve defrosted the freezer and will do some more cleaning and possibly laundry.  Not sure how long we’ll be here, but at least there isn’t snow on the ground!

We dropped 144 feet in elevation and made it to Midway

We left Grand Harbour at 6:30- there was a little mist on the water of Pickwick lake, and we saw several cranes/herons that were using the green channel markers as a perch.IMG_4015 IMG_4018 After about 6 miles, Mile 444 we had to stop and pull over to the edge of the channel—the fog/mist had settled in and was so thick we couldn’t see very far ahead. We knew there was a tow, as well as another larger (63 foot) boat behind us- so we waited. Once the two of them passed, we followed them, with the captain of the “Leader” tug, going first.IMG_4019For most of the day we were in a group of 4 pleasure craft, the 63 foot “Nauti times”, from Ottawa ON, a 40 foot Albion trawler  “Renny Roo” and a Chris Craft “Touch of Class”. We locked through the Jamie Whitten Lock, which was an 84 foot drop, Here’s the before pictures looking forward and aft….IMG_4021 IMG_4023Here’s the same two views,  after locking….


IMG_4028An added benefit of this lock was a second shower– whether you needed it or not.IMG_4032

Our next look was  about 6 miles later –the Montgomery Lock, which was only a 30 foot drop and finally the Rankin Lock,  another 7 miles downstream which again was another  30 foot drop.  We went through an area that had lots of stumps in the water, thank goodness the channel is well marked.

IMG_4037At about 2:00 we arrived at Midway Marina at mile 394, near Fulton MS. We fueled up, and then moved the boat—seems we are still having  electrical  issue with the starboard engine. Maybe the boat was telling him that it didn’t like being run so hard as we tried to keep up with Nauti times! We borrowed the courtesy van and made a grocery run to Walmart and then had supper at the Waterfront restaurant at the Marina.

Another River & State… Goodbye Tennessee Hello Mississippi!

We got off to an early start, leaving the Marina at about 6:30 we went  back to Dave and Kathy’s house so we could take a picture of it from the water and to our surprise Dave was up and taking a picture of us. Here’s Dave’s picture, IMG_0243Picture taken by Dave Looney

IMG_4000and here’s mine…..  When Kathy sent the picture- she said it was rare for him to be up that early.  Great picture thanks for sharing.

We continued on down the Tennessee River and saw a number of  towns and campgrounds.  I think we met 3   tows today, but saw a number of  boats with people fishing.    Here’s what the weekend homes look like along the river, all the Rv’s seemed  to be covered by metal clad roofs which we suspect must be needed to provide shade.  Houses were built on stilts in the event of flooding.IMG_4004

IMG_4006We made it to Pickwick Lock and Dam   just after noon, and were able to lock right through.  With the current, wind  and 55 foot rise it was tough securing the boat to the lock wall and both of us had our hands full.    We then crossed Pickwick lake, to the  start of the Tenn-TomIMG_4012this waterway  was completed in 1985 and  connects the Tennessee river with the Tombigbee River in Demopolis Alabama.  We now have approximately 450 miles, and 341 feet of elevation to go down ( this means lots more locks- Yipee!!) until we reach Mobile Bay.  I’ve include a map and factsheet.

.Tenn-Tom map 2

Tenn-Tom Quick Facts

  • Length: 234 miles
  • Depth: Minimum 9-feet
  • Number of Locks: 10
  • Inside Lock Dimensions: 600′ long by 110′ wide
  • Tow Size: 8 barges in a single lockage
  • Total Lift: 341 feet
  • Bridge Clearances: 300′ horizontal, 52′ vertical
  • Termination Points: Mile 215, Tennessee River; Mile 217, Black Warrior River

We’re spending the night at Grand Harbour Marina, and once again are planning an early start as we’d like to tackle a few of the locks tomorrow, and get into a marina as the weather man is calling for a “FREEZE WATCH”  over the mid- south which means that the sub-freezing temperatures will kill crops and vegetation!  It’s got to be true I heard it on the radio!IMG_4013 IMG_4014

Remembrance Day, Riverstone TN and new friends….

We left Cuba Landing after having paid for our nights lodging,  here’s some views of this marina.IMG_3988 IMG_3991

IMG_3993    There was  a little mist as we left the Marina,IMG_3994A relatively uneventful day on the river,  the water was like glass when we started out, but the winds picked up as the day progressed.   I started learning the memory work that I will need to know for Installation in May.  Only a 2 tow day.  Saw some interesting houses and rocks.IMG_3997We arrived in Riverstone Marina at 14:15, and parked beside another Canadian boat that had been here for several months.  We met a couple of guys, when we first docked, Dave and Walt.  Dave was quite interested in the great loop, and we gave him a  boat tour, and offered to show his wife the boat as well.  He later brought her by for a tour and docktails.  We were then invited back to their custom built country home on the hill overlooking the river.  Walt and his wife Kathy came over and we had “Rocktails” on their patio carved out of limestone as we watched the river flow by.  What a great evening!rocktails NOv 10We hope to get an early start in the morning and get to the Tennessee/Mississippi border.

Cuba Landing TN

After our previous night in an anchorage, we slept well tied up in Paris, although a little apprehensive about what the mechanic might tell us in the morning. Justin arrived just before 9:00, and it didn’t take him long to diagnose the problem—which was some loose wires to the Port cranking battery.  He went on his way and we walked up to the Paris Landing state park Inn for a late breakfast.    We then filled up the water tank, and left at 11:40.   We saw some interesting sights….IMG_3981

IMG_3980 These are referred to as federal moorings.IMG_3984An old bridgeIMG_3985 IMG_3987Cuba Landing Nov 10Our plan was to go to Cuba…..Cuba Landing Marina at mile 115.  We arrived just as the sun was going down at 16:45, a rather uneventful trip as we did not meet a single tow today, only some fishing boats and some birds.