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Monday, May 28, 2018

Saturday May 26--Last day on the 5/18 trip

This was our last day of the trip, and with not locks to contend with, it was a no-stress, easy 50 miles to Demopolis. It was probably our best wild-life watching day of the trip, with deer, hogs, eagles, osprey, and a raccoon that played peek-a-boo with the camera and wouldn't let me get a picture of him.

We pulled anchor this morning and stopped at the main river channel to let a towboat and his load get by. There was a thick fog to our south, but the tow captain said it was pretty clear about a mile below us so we idled along until we cleared the fog.

If you look really closely through the fog, you can see the tow pushing barges coming up the river.
It was a beautiful day to be out on the river! You never know what you'll see around the next bend.

We turned the boat around and watched this eagle for several minutes before he got tired of us and flew away.

He didn't want to give us a frontal shot, but did let us snap a few side profiles.

Buzzards (or vultures?) are common sights too. This one was drying his wings. Not as pretty as the eagles, but ...
We arrived at Kingfisher's Bay marina early afternoon, and Anna Marie was there to catch our lines and welcome us home. It was a great trip and somewhere along the Tennessee-Tom between Demopolis and Columbus I left all my stress and worries. Therein lies the greatest part of river cruising!

Glenda Says:
Even with the threat of storms last night we slept good.  Awakened to several fishermen putting boats in at the boat ramp near where we anchored.  Had a little fog but not enough to hamper our leaving.  It was a good day for wildlife.  We saw beautiful deer, more wild hogs and got great photos of eagles.  A lot of yelling takes place when one of us sees something to "get the camera".  Inevitably the one with the camera doesn't  see the animal.  You just have to laugh.  It is hard to explain the rush you feel when you see God's creation out in the wild doing what He made them to do.
Just beautiful!

We couldn't figure our what these two young bucks were eating in the sand, but they obviously liked it!

Wild hogs bring us mixed emotions. We love to see them, but then remember that they are invasive, destructive, and very costly to our farmers.

It seemed the trip was over very quickly.  Just as we were about to get to Kingfisher marina it began to rain just a bit.  That was the first rain we had while the boat was moving during this entire trip.

Friday, May 25, 2018

May 25–heading back down the waterway

We got ready to leave this morning and called the Stennis lock to ask about a lock-down. The lock master said he was about to bring up a tow and would be ready for us in about 20 minutes. Perfect! We untied and got Genesis turned around and headed past "Tessera", who's owner was on the dock waving us goodbye. Tessera then followed us out to the lock wall, where she turned north toward Kentucky. You meet so many people as you travel on the river - its always fun to hear their stories, and EVERYBODY has a story!

"Tessera" is the sailboat in the center of the picture. Last night's storm clouds in the background never reached us.
Sunrise this morning as left the marina in Columbus. 

We are waiting at Stennis lock as a tow and his barges (left) exit headed north. The workboat tow (the "Tenn-Tom") on the right is anchored to the side of the entrance.

We made great time going downstream today, and actually made it through all three locks, leaving only 50 miles between us and our homeport of Demopolis. The weather was just what you want on a river trip - just enough cloud cover to keep the heat down, but still a beautiful day.

A first for us! This juvenile eagle is in the middle of getting his "adult" colors. His head is almost completely white, but his tail is still the mottled color of young eagles. His body will be completely black when fully mature. 
The same eagle, showing his underside is not the mature black yet.

We saw lots of people getting a head start on Memorial Day weekend - fishing, skiing, swimming, and just enjoying the river.
We got through our last lock, the Howell Heflin, about 5:00 and anchored in the oxbow just south of the lock. The female lock master told us that she did not expect a heavy current from the dam, and that we should have a peaceful night there.

We anchored in a gusty wind that pulled our boat in the opposite direction of the current, but after about 30 minutes it calmed down and we swung 180 degrees, where the mild current kept us stationary all night. The storms that radar showed all around us dissipated and all we got was a gentle drizzle - we didn't even have to close the portholes! We slept good, serenaded all night by the frogs and birds (and an occasional "grunt" that sounded familiarly like an alligator).

Glenda says:
We got off to an early start today.  I had Daisy out walking at 5:15 this morning.  I was able to make me some coffee before Tom disconnected the power from the boat.  We were out of the marina and almost to the lock by 6:00am.  We waited just a few minutes and then we were in and out and on our way.  The breeze kept us nice and cool today.  I saw lots of turtles and birds.

Seeing turtles always makes us miss the grandkids - they LOVE to see turtles sunbathing along the river.

You never know what you're gonna see on the river!

  I caught sight of a young eagle and this time Tom got some good photos.  I fixed some chicken and rice for lunch.  With the breeze blowing through cooking did not heat up the pilot house.  We were making good time.  We ended up getting through all three locks before we stopped for the evening.  We have not seen any rain on this entire trip but now I am listening to thunder rumbling and hear spinkles of rain on the boat.  It may storm but the anchor is secure.

Storms danced all around us for the entire 5 days of this trip, but we never got more than a light drizzle.

May 24—today we rested

Glenda says:
We decided to spend the day in Columbus today.  We woke up early.  I got a decent cup of coffee from the nice man here at the marina.  The sky was overcast and the air felt comfortable.  We watched a beautiful yellow bird flit and trill around the boat.
Does anybody know what kind of bird this is? He was really pretty and loud. Sorry the picture is so blurry, but he was fast, too.

It was a good start to the day.  We walked  Daisy over to the recreational area near the lock and watched a fisherman for a bit.

We cleaned up and took the courtesy car ( it has new tires 😉 see Septembers post) into town.  We had another delicious meal at Harveys.  I had honey salmon with asparagus and rice.  We made a walmart run and picked up a few things for the trip back tomorrow.  We rested the afternoon.  Then walked back over to the lock area.  I actually got my 10,000 steps in today!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

May 23 2018–better late than never

Last night I posted that we would only have a short ride to Columbus Marina today. That was my thought when we took our time this morning and didn’t pull anchor until 9:30. When we got to the lock, I realized that I had looked at my charts wrong. We were at the Tom Beville lock, and the Columbus (Stennis) lock was another 30 miles away! 

At the Beville Lock, we arrived as the "Vincent W. Sapp" was entering the chamber to lock up. As soon as he was through and the chamber was emptied, the motor vessel "Let It Ride" and our Genesis locked through.

After some quick caculations, it appeared that we could still make it to Columbus before dark, IF we didn’t get delayed at the Stennis lock. The wild card was the tows and barges. We had been just behind the tow “Vincent W. Sapp” all morning, and had to wait about an hour at the Beville lock for him to be locked upstream ahead of us. We needed to up our speed and get far enough ahead of him, that the Stennis lockmaster would take us up ahead of him. I set the throttle at 2,000 rpm, which yielded about 7.5 mph. The Vincent W. Sapp was doing just over 5 mph, and we passed him when he stopped to let another tow get by in a tight bend in the river. 

When we were about 2 miles from Stennis, I called them by radio and requested a lock upstream. The  lockmaster said he had a northbound tow in the chamber, and would get us as soon as that one exited and he could empty the chamber. 

As we rounded the bend and the lock gates were in sight, I saw two familiar boats - the motor vessel “Let It Ride” that we locked through at Beville with, and the sailboat “Tessera” that left Demopolis just behind us Tuesday morning. Tessera had passed us this morning while we were still anchored. Both other boats had been waiting awhile at the lock, but after a few minutes the lower gates opened and we were given the OK to enter the chamber at about 5:40. As we were entering we heard the Vincent W. Sapp telling the lockmaster that he was approaching the lock. Whew! If they had taked him first, we would have been waiting another hour or more!

Genesis, Let It Ride, and Tessera were all planning to dock overnight at Columbus Marina. They normally close at 6:00 pm, but the manager said he would stay to guide us in and help us tie up. The channel leading to the marina is narrow and twisted, so he talked us through our arrival by radio. He did a good job at guiding us, and two of the three boat captains did a good job of following directions. The other captain (yes, me) missed a critical marker and grounded his boat. 

After about 20 minutes of futile attempts to unstick Genesis from her greasy mud bed, the marina manager went to get another boat to try and pull me out. As he left, I decided to give it one more try. SLOWLY I felt Genesis move a couple of inches. Little by little she slid backward through the mud to deeper water. I manouvered to the correct side of the marker I had missed earlier, and made it to the dock - minus a ton of pride, but otherwise unharmed.

Out of the mud and safely docked at Columbus.

He was just soooo cute!!

Glenda says:
I woke early this morning and made some instant coffee.  I will not fall for that “ convienience “ trap again.  That stuff is awful!  Tom slept in.  I did my quiet time up top and watched the fish jump.  I was hoping to see my groundhog friend again but he didn’t pop up.  We did not get out on the river till about 9:30.  There were more tows about today and that slowed us down a bit.  It was a nice day on the water.  I saw several does grazing on the bank and there were lots of fishermen and pontoons.  We arrived late at the marina and Daisy and I both were ready to get off the boat and walk a little.

Tuesday May 22, 2018. Columbus Trip.

We drove to Demopolis yesterday to get the boat ready for a few days travel on the Tenn-Tom. We pulled out of the slip and took on 100 gallons of diesel fuel at the fuel dock, then tied up back in our slip and turned on the air conditioner!

It always takes longer than expected to prepare for a trip. I loaded all the tools I thought I might need, then replaced two fans that had worn out and quit working. It took almost an hour to fill the freshwater tanks, and by the time  Glenda finished a thorough cleaning of the inside of the boat, and we made a Walmart run for groceries, we were both worn out.

This morning we untied and headed north at 6:15. The water was smooth and quiet. The owner of the sailboat “Teserra” (from Kentucky) was preparing to leave just behind us, also heading north to Columbus. Last night, he and I discussed possible places to anchor tonight. Genesis is a little faster than the sailboat, but we both plan on staying at Columbus Marina on Wednesday, so I’m sure we’ll meet up again.

The lone eagle I saw today didn’t hang around for photos, and neither did the LARGE alligator that Glenda spotted first. Overall, it was a great day on the water - mostly overcast and not too hot as long as the boat was moving. No rain so far.

We got through the lock with no delay, and anchored at Windham’s Landing at mile 286, about 70 miles from Demopolis. Tomorrow should be a short day - about 25 miles to the Beville lock, and the
Columbus Marina is just on the upper side of the lock.

Glenda says:
I am so thankful to be back out on the  water and with a new knee to boot.  It makes all the difference in the world getting around the boat.  It feels a little tight but nothing near as bad as the arthritis pain l had.  Still it takes a lot to get going on any trip.  But just as soon as we begin cutting through the water early in the morning its worth the trouble.  I strained my eyes all day looking for wildlife and was rewarded relatively early.

I saw this young doe grazing around on the bank.

I also saw a large alligator  skimming in the water against the current but he submerged before we could get a picture.  But we did get this nice photo of a big wild hog.


The breeze was pleasant all day and the sun often disappeared behind the clouds luring me out on the deck. We ate a lunch of ham wraps and chips.

Daisy was sleeping by the back door but did not warn us that a swift had flown into the galley chasing a dragonfly.  We just happen to look down from the pilot house and see it desperatly trying to
get out the window.  Tom caught it and it flew safely away.

I hope he didnt use any “fowl” language when he told his friends about his mishap. 😛

We arrived at our anchorage around 5.  Then my fun began as I watched a chubby groundhog enjoy
his supper on the bank.  I’m telling you this is better than Wheel of fortune!