Walmart, WiFi and Water Heaters

The first rule of a boat: keep the water on the outside.

Simple rule. Not always easy to follow, what with rain, waves, condensation, intentional holes through the hull to take in or eject water, and other uncontrollable forces like, say, torpedoes or icebergs.

The opposite applies to water heaters: Keep the water on the inside.

Simple enough also, except when rust finally has its way and a leak opens up.

So far we’ve accomplished the first but failed on the second: our water heater back home developed a serious leak and needed to be replaced.

This is when friends and family shine, as I have always understood. Tremendous thanks to Chris, Rob, Doug, Brian, Ricky and Lindsay for each taking a part in diagnosing the problem and getting a replacement installed. Special thanks to Chris and Rob for slogging through the plumbing bits. I agree plumbing is the second worst activity known to man.

Lindsay and Ricky are once again in hot water, in the good way.

Walmart, on the other hand is a bit of a revelation. Loopers develop a special fondness for these Super Centers. Most marinas limit courtesy car use to a two hour slot. This is not enough time to stop at several specialty shops and still get back in time. The solution is the all-in-one shopping Mecca: Walmart.

First, other than actual boat parts, there is little a looper needs which can’t be found somewhere under the massive roof.

Second, they have free, FAST WiFi.

When anchoring, the only choice is usually to hotspot a phone and gnaw into the monthly data allotment. Marinas all offer free WiFi, but this is an empty promise. The usual bandwidth is totally inadequate for sharing among a few hundred boaters. The result is minutes to download a single email, if it comes through at all. Updating apps and navigation charts is data greedy, so forget doing so on a marina system.

Enter Walmart. Take your phone and tablet with you and log into their system when you enter the store. Start your apps updating and your charts downloading and they will be done by the time you check out. Voila! Problem solved.

The Admiral pulled rank and said I had to include this photo to give the post a “human touch”. Phooey.

The Marinas on Dog River are packed with looping boats. Some are leaving their boat here while they return home for the holidays. Some are having work done. And many, like us, are provisioning before heading east along the gulf coast.

There’s Endeavor, peeking out from the front of the right line of boats. (Drone shot done the old-fashioned way: from a tall bridge.)

On the other side of the bridge is Mobile Bay, with the channel markers visible: green on the right, red on the left. Binoculars are often needed to locate the next set ahead. Stray out of the channel and you may develop a special relationship with the bottom.

When we were preparing for the loop we stocked up on movies. In the first three months we have watched three movies… there is so much other interesting stuff to do. The 3rd, which we watched last night, was “The Lady in the Van”, a true joy. Maggie Smith at her finest.

Special Porpoise

My first porpoise sighting happened this morning while sailing from Gaillard Island to Dog River Marina.  In honor of the classic movie, The Jerk, I am declaring it my Special Porpoise.

Broaching only a few feet from the cockpit,  it checked me out but did not hang around long enough for a photo.  I wore my head strap mounted action cam for the next hour hoping it would show again.

Then it dawned on me they are the more intelligent species: it got me to be a nerdy headgear-wearing dork for passing boats.  Probably chittering with porpoise laughter somewhere.

Mobile Bay is uniformly shallow.  The single digits you see throughout are the depth in feet.  The main channel to the right is a comparative canyon, typically 45+ feet deep, to accommodate ocean going ships.  This morning we started at the blue dot and ended at the red arrow, sailing all but the main channel.

On the way, we passed an ocean-going tug towing a barge.  Be honest, doesn’t the old refrain “I think I can, I think I can” come to mind?  I talked to the captain and they are headed for Puerto Rico and on to the Dominican Republic.  A long way to drag such a weight.  We have heard stories of boats cutting between the two at night and snagging the cables.

We are settled in at Dog River Marina for four nights, surrounded by a number of other looping boats.  We rise and fall twice a day on a 2 foot tide, so we have to leave the dock lines a little slack.  We will provision and do some sightseeing before heading east along the gulf.

I bought a new DSLR camera today and am working through the lengthy owners manual.

Those of you who know Peg will recognize her “yes-I’ll-smile-for-your-new-camera-but-then-please-let-me-get-back-to-my-project” smile.  The nesting instinct is strong with this one.  She’s gradually turning the starboard berth into her woman cave.

And this is my “wow-my-first-buzz-cut-in-50-years-feels-weird” smile.  Peg wields a mean set of clippers.

Passing Fancy

We got the boot this morning and had to leave our berth at the Mobile Convention Center.  The rather disorganized security team realized the Coast Guard had the dock reserved for some sort of soiree.  Security used their finest southern charm to gently ask us to move along.  Not a problem, as we slept little last night with all the traffic passing by and had already decided to relocate.

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As we were prepping to depart, two Gulf Coast Ducks passed close to us.  Each child aboard is given a duck call and the cacophony was comedic.  We waved at them and took their photo while they did the same to us.

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Duck start out with a waddle through town, probably a good way to drum up business.

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On the way down to the bay we passed some rather cool port icons:

A futuristic looking cruise ship passenger loading ramp.

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Immense dry docks: basically boats to  lift other boats out of the water.

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This empty one has a pickup truck to show scale.

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The Uncle John Semi-Submersible drilling platform.  As ungainly a ship as can be imagined.

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And the USS Shadwell, a landing ship built in 1944, now relegated to serving as a test and training platform in the development of fire models and other damage and control systems.

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Once out of the city, Mobile Bay ahead stretched to the horizon. Cancun is out there somewhere straight ahead… tempting.

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And then the big boats started passing us…

To start things off, Forrest Gump came past, towing half the bird population of Alabama.

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Then the Advantage Sky, shown in yesterday’s post, came from astern.

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Keep in mind this ship is almost exactly the size of three football fields laid end to end.  It drafts thirty feet so they have to stay in a narrow channel cut through the bay.  You can see the easterly red marker in the photo above.  We are sticking close to the westerly green marker.  The AIS display shows on the current heading he will pass within 489 feet; his CPA or closest point of approach.

On this snap from our chartplotter you see us (black) approaching our turnoff past the triangular island.  We are going 4.8 kts in 27 feet of water.  Andvantge Sky is doing 9.1 and will catch us in 26 minutes and 23 seconds, long before we reach the turnoff.  The boat behind him is Bay State.  More on him later.  At this point I have spoken to both boats and we have a plan for passing.

At the calculated time. Advantage Sky appears on our port quarter, slipping smoothly by.

The pass is a little more complicated.  Approaching us both is a Coast Guard Boat doing 11.4 knots.  AIS turns both icons red since both boats fall within a collision course range I have set.  Not to worry, the range I have set is tight and the boats are farther apart than they seem on AIS.  The CG boat passed to the other side of Advantage Sky.

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This is what the final product looked like.  Easy Peasy.  Does look like the CG boat is going to be roadkill, doesn’t it?

Advantage Sky was traveling empty, you can tell by the amount of red waterline showing, and caused us almost no wake or rolling.  A few minutes later, his wake caused large breaking waves on the nearby island shore.  A few minutes later echos of those waves off the shore caught up with us, pushing us ahead in a surfing motion.  The sea is a strange beast indeed.

A few minutes later, Bay State executed a similar pass as we were starting our turn to starboard (right) to go around the south shore of the island.

Then, we were passed a few minutes later by Bow Flora, heading toward the main channel then south to follow the other two.

The local judges scored us 65 points.  We blame the Russian judge for the low score.

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We are anchored tonight on the northwest shore of Gaillard Island (lower right side in photo above).  The island is man-made from sand dredged to maintain the shipping channels.  It is a sanctuary for brown pelicans, so we are prohibited from going ashore. Endeavor is sitting in about 9 feet of water, with a soft breeze rippling the surface.

For a while after dark  Coast Guard helicopters seemed to be doing night vision training flights overhead, flying in pairs with one using navigation lights and the other dark.  Once they leave, the world around us is the definition of peace and quiet.

Mile Zero

We made it!  The inland river section of the Great Loop is behind us.  Endeavor has counted down to Mile Zero, right in downtown Mobeeeeeeele, Alabama.  We are on schedule to enter the Gulf of Mexico next Tuesday and continue toward Florida.  In between we will be staying at Dog River Marina to do some provisioning and sightseeing.

This afternoon the Crews of Folly (Janice and Harley), Sea Mist (Rene and Michael) and Endeavor toasted the milestone with champagne aboard Folly.  Though traveling the  inland waterways was a true adventure, we are all eager to get on to wide open spaces along the coast where we can let our boats do what they do best:  pile on miles using nothing but the wind.

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To get this far we traveled seven different rivers: St. Croix, Mississippi, Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee, Tenn-Tom and Black Warrior/Tombigbee.  We’ve touched nine states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama.  The other two boats came from Canada through Lake Huron, Lake Michigan and the Illinois river before joining the Mississippi. Oddly, the two routes differ by less than 20 miles!

Here are some stats on the trip so far:

Rivers: 7
States: 9
Locks: 42
Total Miles: 1758
Total Fuel Cost: $464.16
Cost/Mile: $0.26
Average MPG: 11.9

Our low fuel use was helped by river current on the lower Mississippi as well as the dozen days we’ve been able to sail.

Due to the intense summer heat we stayed in marinas more often than planned: 56% marinas and 44% anchoring out.  I had planned more like 25% Marina/75% Anchoring.  I’m assuming we will be closer to the ratio as the trip continues.  A night at a marina on these rivers typically costs $1/foot, so $34/night for us.  Even so, our monthly expenses have been much lower than if we were living at home.  Most marinas have showers, laundry, fuel and a free courtesy car for shopping runs.  The cars vary from good condition to somewhat scary but are all appreciated greatly.

To get to Mile Zero today, we made an easy 16.6 mile run down from Big Bayou Canot.  As we approached Mobile the scenery quickly shifted from continuous trees to more open marsh grass bayou.

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Then we were in the thick of it.  Industry.  Massive ships.  Heavy traffic.

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In a short stretch coming into to downtown our AIS system showed fifteen separate ships on the main channel and another two on a connecting river.  The light blue shapes represent commercial boats.

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Luckily few were moving… enough to keep things interesting.  One feels truly tiny among such giant vessels. To put this experience in perspective:

  • Imagine a crowded city street
  • Where many of the cars are the size of a football field
  • And you are the schmuck weaving through in a Prius

Along the way we saw a couple variations of the lifeboat central in the Tom Hanks Movie, Captain Phillips.  I know, I’m twisted, but the second one looks a lot more fun to launch.

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We also spied the local fishing hole and pelican crib

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The Mobile Bay Convention Center offers free two-day docking along their wharf, so our little flotilla is tied up here, being rocked by wakes from every sort of craft, from freighters to barges to Army Duck tour boats puttering past outside our window.  The tour guide’s monotone narration comes wafting in with each pass.

Such intense change from the tranquility of our morning anchorage.

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The main advantage of this site, other than free dockage, is Dauphin Street a few hundred feet away, letting us walk to visit downtown mobile.  The three boat crews had a wonderful lunch at Pizzeria Delfina before doing some sightseeing.  Downtown has some interesting parts, including music in the park and this section smacking of New Orleans.

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The other advantage is these cool military ships being built directly across from us. I. Want. One.  Hang the expense, doing the loop would be so cool…  I wonder if my concealed carry license covers automatic deck cannon. Hmm.

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The convention center security guard tells me in the left structure above, they build the front half of a hull in the left opening and the rear half in the right.  Then they pull one hull half out, turn it around, and weld it to the other half. Even tonight we see welding sparks flying in the buildings as they build another set of hulls.

River traffic continues tonight in this busy, busy section.  We must also be directly under an airport landing pattern.  The planes swoop so low we can hear the in-flight movie. Hoping this settles down soon or this will be a lurching, noisy night.  Maybe the quiet bayou was not so bad after all.  Don’t it always seem to go you don’t know what…

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Croc Tanks

Proper deck shoes have protection built in around the toes, to prevent stubbing toes on solid deck fittings in the dark.  Crocs, while ugly, serve the same purpose.  Those cheap hunks of plastic are like little army tanks around your feet.   What one should never do is go on deck at night in gym socks.  Just sayin’.

The local fog is setting a natural departure time each morn, burning off about 8am.  As the days get shorter our little international flotilla eagerly awaits the start each day, especially on long mileage days.


Last night the flotilla anchored about 1/2 mile up the Tansas river, off the Tombigbee.  Endeavor put out bow and stern anchors to stay in place as the tidal water came and went.  Folly and Sea Mist had arrived earlier and rafted together pointing in opposite directions, each with their bow anchor out.  This effectively mimicked our anchor set up and kept them steady.


In the afternoon all three dinghies went out to look for gators.  These reptiles are proving elusive as they slip away quickly when boats approach.  We saw one at a distance and later the Folly crew photoed another before it headed for the water.


Later in the evening three motor cruisers anchored closer to the Tombigbee.  They are visible on the right shore in this sunset photo.

By the way, the admiral wants credit for telling me to run up on deck to catch the sunset.

In my gym socks.

In the near dark.

Just sayin’.

As we left this morning Peg was out in her PJ’s and bare feet scanning the shoreline for wildlife.   She reported only dozens of herons and hundreds of turtles.


Along the way we found Waldo, his brother Darryl and his other brother Darryl.


This evening we anchored in Big Bayou Canot (Canot is old French for dugout or canoe). We had high hopes the anchorage would let us see farther into the surrounding area but no, while exotic, we are still blocked by a wall of trees.

We are at mile marker 16, with mile zero being downtown Mobile.  Tomorrow we will be stopping at a free dock downtown.  The crews of all three boats are ready to see something other than trees for a while!


Folly tied their stern to the trees and then added some bright life jackets to warn local fishermen not to cut between them and shore.

There are a number of fishing camps up and down the stream, some looking active and some not so.

Big Bayou Canot has a piece of sad history.  In 1993 an inexperienced barge captain became confused in fog and went down the wrong channel.  His barges ran into a railroad swing bridge, displacing the rails 3 feet.  Shortly after, an Amtrak train with 220 passengers crossed the bridge at 70 mph, destroying half of the bridge, killing 47 and injuring 103.  The bridge was (Picture from AL.com)

To balance out the sad bit, tonight’s soothing photo is Bambi and friends visiting us at Three Rivers Lake

We here at Whatashipis.com believe in balanced journalism – Ed.

Up Creek, With Paddle

And oars.  And rum.  Yup, oars and rum because Pirates!  Arrgh!

We spent the last two nights at the inlet to Three Rivers Lake.  Internet was non-existent until we hoisted an iPhone up the mast in hot spot mode.  Then we could exchange a few text messages.  I love ropes and pulleys!

The cruise from Bobby’s Fish Camp included a mad dash by most of the fleet to leave the dock at dawn and get to the nearby lock before an upbound barge arrived.  Otherwise everyone would be delayed a couple of hours, eating into the day.  Boat after boat peeled of and headed down in the waning morning fog.

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We said our goodbyes to Mimi and she powered out ahead of the pack.

As we exited the lock we passed the upbound barge, waiting patiently on the RDB (Right Descending Bank).  River Boaters use shorthand to indicate which bank of the river is being discussed.  Terms like East and West, or Port and Starboard mean little on a river winding like a pretzel.

Once past the barge, the power boaters were off, burning massive amounts of fuel speeding to the next stop.

Peg caught Janice on Folly catching us catching her.

We are seeing a lot more sand in the river and it is affecting how the oxbows form.  The inside of each oxbow (bend) is usually a flat beach with shallow water.

The outside is usually an eroded cliff.

We are seeing more gulls as we approach the Gulf of Mexico.

And other adorable wildlife.

This cat slunk by on its way north.

The tree root systems have been getting wilder and wilder.

And the man-made structures weirder and weirder.

Our Canadian friends once again elected to anchor near a bridge.  We continued on.

We stopped at the inlet to Three Rivers Lake (MM64), anchoring in the first part off the Tombigbee river.  We arrived near dusk and anchored behind this boat, Summer Song.  We said brief hellos across the water then set about making supper and settling in.

In the morning Summer Song was shrouded in fog, along with an uncomfortable looking heron.  I took the dinghy over and met the owners, both retired from airlines and shuttling their boat to its winter home.

The mornings here are moist.  And a half.

Peg sewed these waterproof seat slipcovers to shed rain and dew.

Her current project is new fruit storage nets.

The second day we had moved forward to where Summer Song had been and Peg got this shot.

The tiny inlet we were in leads about 1/2 mile to a beautiful lake.  We took the dinghy and explored, getting our first real taste of bayou scenery.

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And yes, we had our first contact with an alligator!  I spied this one swimming up the creek as we went toward the lake, so we puttered along behind.  He would surface to check us out then submerge and keep going.  We lost it near the lake entrance.  It was a shy thing and maintained a distance of at least 25-30 feet.

A while later we found one, maybe the same one, sunning itself on the shore near where we lost the first one.

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On the second day we experienced a traffic jam, bayou-style.  I heard the thrumming of tugboat engines and looked out to see the Kimberly Ann had pushed his barges up on the beach outside our inlet.  I took the dink and chatted with the captain as he waiting for another tow to pass.  I asked a few questions about tow driving and then the subject turned to gators.  In his best southern drawl he offered if I waz to ketch one, he’d be happy to fry it up tasty.  Yum!

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Traffic Jam:  Endeavor (Black), Kimberly Ann (Northbound, Crimson White (Southbound)

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We’ve arrived at the junction of the Tombigbee and Tansas rivers.  Folly and Sea Mist are here as well, having skipped past our last anchorage: it was too tight for their liking.

If any of today’s topics were in any way alarming, here is a soothing butterfly to calm you. We here at Whatashipis.com do not wish to add any stress to your world. We’d rather concentrate on oars and rum!  Arrrgh!

You Know, Alligators

We’ve been in the backwoods of Alabama without internet for a couple of days.  Man, it’s hard to go cold turkey on a 2016  election Twitter addiction.

An action packed two days it has been.

Dawn Patrol

We left Dempolis at dawn on Thursday with a convoy of four other boats.  Light morning fog was still on the water until the sunrise chased it away.

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The Demopolis lock came up a mile later.  Hope this gives a sense of the distance these locks drop us.

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Bashin’ to Bashi Creek

Our plan was to travel with Folly and Sea Mist from Demopolis (MM216) to a possible anchorage below a bridge at MM164.7.  This region has been in a drought and the river levels are low.  Many of the creeks and offshoots listed in our guides are either too shallow or don’t exist. Along the way we saw many cormorants, herons, eagles, turtles, and even a brief glimpse of a river otter as it checked us out.  And, you know, lots of logs looked like alligators.

Our cell phone coverage dropped away as the number of homes along the river decreased.  This stretch of the river is remote and beautiful with striking scenery around each bend.

And bends there are.  The Corp of Engineers allows this part of the river to follow the natural progression, resulting in a constant change of direction for the mariner.

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Folly and Sea Mist motor a knot or so faster than we do, so during the 51 mile trip to the bridge they gradually got out ahead of us.  Arriving at the site we found the two sailboats anchored close to shore downriver of a bridge abutment.  They had used their dinghies to run lines to shore where they tied off to trees.  This kept their bows pointing out toward the channel and their stern to the shore.  A 48′ trawler, M’Lady II, was anchored close by with a stern anchor taking the place of a line to shore.

Something about the anchorage did not sit well with me.  Maybe the lack of room.  Maybe the closeness to barges passing at night.  I don’t know.  I know I have learned to trust my gut and Peg agreed we should move on and try the next candidate.  This was a bit of a risk: the next site was 15 miles further and would put us in at dusk.

The next site was between the red and green markers on the “Ridge Creek” oxbow on the chart above.  In our guide it is called Mile Marker 149.  What we found looked good:  a wide spot on the river with a section of shoreline consistently about 16′ deep for maybe one quarter mile.  We had heard about a third site at Bashi Creek but it we were not sure it was deep enough, and it would be dark if we went there.  So we started the anchoring process at MM149.

Then Joan called me on the VHF radio from Panchita.

Joan and Ted had left from Demopolis this morning but went even faster in their cruiser.  Thus they were able to reach Bashi Creek (middle-right on the chart) during daylight.  She told me there was good depth (about 8′) and if we wanted to run down there they would guide us in with flashlights.  Plus, they had seen an alligator there.

So we came to put in a 71 mile day on a boat moving about 6 mph.

Peg and I have run many times at night and are pretty confident in our team skills, so we decided to go for the creek as it afforded off-river anchoring.  MM149 looked good, Bashi sounded safer. And, you know, the alligator.

Bashi Creek was several things:  plenty deep, narrow, buggy, protected, and alligator-less.  The booger had skedaddled and was hiding somewhere.

The narrowness of the creek meant using both a bow and stern anchor: there is no room to swing at anchor without hitting trees.  We entered in blackness using our spotlight and their flashlights to illuminate the nearby shores.  I set the anchors, thanked Ted and Joan, and we went to sleep.

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Bashi Creek the next morning

During the night  a weather front came through and wind howled up the creek.  I woke up at 2:17am, went out to check the anchors and decided we were safely held.  Good thing, because any dragging would have put Endeavor into a creek bank.  Unlikely to cause damage, but a nuisance if it happened.

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Close Quarters!
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Wind blow down
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Panchita up the creek

We found out in the morning Folly and Sea Mist had spent a safe, but rather bouncy and rolly night at the bridge

Blowin’ in the Wind

The morning brought two nice surprises. The first was more of the fall colors highlighted in sunrise.

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The second was wind letting Endeavor stretch her legs with the spinnaker.  We sailed faster than we normally motor, hitting a peak of 7.2 knots with about 13 knots of wind abaft our beam (meaning the wind was coming from back to the left or right).  With the meandering of the river the sail took constant attention but the reward was a fast, quiet, non-polluting trip to Bobby’s Fish Camp.

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Bobby’s Fish Camp

Bobby’s Fish Camp is one of those Must-See stops on the Loopers’ itinerary.  It is basically a restaurant along the river with a 150′ long dock.  Bobby’s Fish Camp was started in 1956 to serve river traffic and is known for the best fried catfish in the state.

Truth be told, the meal was meh.  I had the Seafood platter (shrimp, catfish, oysters, crabcake, hush puppies, etc.).  Peg had the whole catfish.  Everything was deep fried and pretty much tasted alike.

But the real draw to Bobby’s is, I believe, the chaos of docking.

The 150′ dock is first come-first served, with additional boats rafting out from those already on the dock.  Panchita and Endeavor arrived first in today’s pack and then the mayhem started.  Boat after boat arrived and the game of Tetris began.  Our little group agreed the sheer novelty of the activity was exciting. In the end, there are four boats rafted out in the first row. Then in the second row, Endeavor is one out from M’Lady and the two Canadian sailboats are rafted out from us, for a total of four. Two more in the last row for a total of 10.

And all done with a wind blasting down the river and barges passing by.

The record, I’m told, is 17!  When the main body of Loopers come this way things get crazy.  We are glad to be ahead of the pack.

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Then comes the real surprise of the day:  tied up behind us it the 125 foot “Mimi” from Stillwater, MN, our home grounds.  Owned by the Hubbard family, the boat is on its way, with a crew of 8, to their winter home in Florida.  Those who have spent any time on the St. Croix will recognize her.

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The pictures will show how carefully this professional crew maneuvered this 159 ton craft to within inches of our radar dome and our neighbors dinghy.  I had every confidence in their ability to … buy us a new boat if they sank ours.

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Mimi tied off to the surrounding trees

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Tomorrow we head south again with 10 days to go before we can enter the Gulf.  The next few days will be at remote anchorages.  So if you don’t hear anything for a few days it may be lack of internet or, you know, alligators.

My Cousin Vinny

A short bike ride into Demopolis took us to a quaint downtown with echoes of “My Cousin Vinny”:

“No self-respecting Southerner uses instant grits. I take pride in my grits.”

“Ya got mud in ya tires”


“This Craftsman Model 1019 Laboratory Edition, Signature Series Torque Wrench had been calibrated by top members of the state and federal Departments of Weights and Measures, to be dead-on balls accurate. Here’s the certificate of validation.”

“Did you say two ‘yutes’?”

“Does the freight train come through here at 5:00 A.M. every morning?

Kidding aside, downtown Demopolis is a mix of the old and curious.  That’s Admiral Curious on her bike.

Old and decaying

With new life sprouting up here and there in the historic district.

More Odd Socks

From the day before, Folly sent this eerie picture of Endeavor at Rattlesnake Bend.

Several more boats arrived at Dempolis today, including Wes and Becky on Nauti CS-ta.  They are from Red Wing, MN and sort of looping in sections.  Their plan is to turn right at Mobile and head for New Orleans.

Close Quarters

Coming down the Mississippi and Ohio were good training for the Tenn-Tom.   Down here if a tow driver politely asks you to “hang back a bit” while he “slides around this here bend” the sane response is to hang back a bit.  Thus we found ourselves idling close to shore yesterday awaiting a tow rounding  a 90 degree corner.  He took up almost the entire width of the river making the turn, power-sliding like he was on Wisconsin ice.

Close quarters can also be a blessing.  The Tenn-Tom is largely man-made and is deep close to shore.  This lets us get close and personal with the fantastic fall foliage… no stop it, no more alliterations for a while.  The unique cliffs along this section brought out the colors.

As well as numerous trees hanging on by, well, a root.

We settled for the night last night in “Rattlesnake Bend”.  Alas, no rattlesnakes to be seen.  Plenty of bends.

A short while later our  Canadian friends arrived in Folly and Sea Mist.

Peg and I went exploring in the dinghy up a nearby creek and saw several alligators, or at least logs looking like alligators.  We went until shallow water forced a retreat.  Here again, the fetching foliage was fant…  nice. Aw heck, fantastic.

The creek where me and my Missus went gator watchin’.

The sunrise this morning brought a mist on the water creating a serene scene.

The moon kindly posed for this shot.

So we were left with the quintessential quandary: stay or move on.  Faced with a shortage of Cheerios for breakfast, a major crisis for me, we elected to move on.

Getting into Kingfisher Marina required close quarters serpentine steering at the entrance to avoid a cable anchoring a dredge.

And so Endeavor is now at Demopolis, Alabama, home of Superman’s second cousin, Fred Kent.  We will be here through Wednesday night to watch the debate, then hightail it into the wilds of Alabama for a week to recover.