Sunday, December 20, 2015

Our Tombigbee-Black Warrior-Alabama-Tensaw-Mobile River Trip

Please, just don't ask me to tell you what river I'm on anymore.  Downstream from Demopolis, where the Tombigbee river meets up withe the Black Warrior river, the name of the river seemed to change to whatever creek or river we happened to pass.  Thankfully, all the water flowed toward our destination, and so getting lost was not an issue.

"Mobile or bust".  Hmmm, maybe not the best mantra.  How about "Mobile or get stuck in the mud somewhere along the way?"  One of our ongoing issues was the depth of our keel, 6 feet, which restricted where we could go, and especially out of the channel when we wanted to stop for the night.  We had marinas that we had to plow into and out of, marinas and anchorages that we bumped bottom trying to get into, and dropping water levels that made us worry about getting stuck out of the channel until the next rainfall!

Ok, maybe that doesn't sound that treacherous.  In the end, we learned to locate our stop early in the day, and then stop, because it was never guaranteed that there would be enough depth at a later stop.  This meant that to make the most of the daylight hours, we needed to be up and underway at first light.  This was typically around 6:30 around here.  While this slowed our daily progress, it did leave us more time in the afternoon to plan for the next day's travels.   It also is the only time since we quit working that I've seen Kristen get up before 6 am.

The overall river did improve in appeal in the lower stretches, I think because it finally transformed from a ditch to a river.  The barge traffic increased all the way down, and coming up on a barge in some of those hairpin turns made our AIS invaluable.  We knew they were there before we could see them, and we could contact them on the radio to let them know we were around the bend, and to look for us!

Anchorage along the side of the river, in literally an indentation in the shore!

Old lock #1 - our favorite anchorage along the river.  It was in an old river channel that contained one of the early locks.

Old lock #1 at sunrise, as we were leaving.

We had a mysterious sighting of the invisible (wo)man!

Oo-la-la, white cliffs and bridges!

And for your pseudo-video pleasure....our first video!  It's a time lapse video of our passage through our final lock on the Tenn-Tom.  We shared the lock with our new friends on Sequacious, who we met at Bobby's fish camp the night before.
Link to our video of Coffeeville Lock

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