Grand Harbor- entrance to the Tenn-Tom Waterway

One night at anchorage to unwind.  The cool night brought a mist of fog in the morning.


Next day, a short 5 mile run to Grand Harbor Marina.   It is located on Yellow Creek and is the at the entrance to the Tenn-Tom Waterway.   Finally- our route will officially begin on the waterway that will take us 450 miles south to Mobile Alabama and the Gulf of Mexico!!

One evening we took the van to do some shopping and found a recommended restaurant (it was advertised on the side of our courtesy van.

Freddy T's Beach Bar

Plus it gave us a feel of being in the beach side restaurants we hope to find in Florida and the Bahamas.

Freddy T's Beach Bar



Somehow the décor missed the mark , and the food at Freddy-Ts was 50/50.   Two had good meals, two were not.

Freddy T's Beach Bar


First Day on the Tenn Tom Waterway


If you are not familiar with the term Tenn-Tom watch for my separate post to better explain the history and location of this water way.   And don’t feel bad- we had not heard of it until we decided to take rivers from Chicago to the Gulf.    Many folks including us, thought it meant going down the Mississippi to New Orleans.     Were we in for sweet surprise to learn that we would only be on the Mississippi for 180 miles; and instead would find our way to  here- the entrance to the Tenn Tom Waterway.      This will be our route for the next 450miles; and it may take about 2  weeks to get to Mobile Alabama.Rail Lines Serving the Tenn-Tom Waterway Region



At 7 am a dozen boats left Grand Harbor in a bit of fog to allow time to pass through 3 locks and xx miles and arrive at Midway Marina before dark.

The days are short- sunset is at 6PM.

Leaving Joe Wheeler

lock on Tenn Tom

Our first challenge was the first lock- the gate mechanism malfunctioned and it wouldn’t close.   While they fixed it, we all waited in the lock chamber.


By then 2 more boats arrived and they reopened the gates to let them come in and raft off our boats. 1.5 hours later we are exiting this lock with a large group of boats.   One sailboat joined us; and we learned later the owner bought the boat for a dollar and is doing utube videos to promote a selling raffle tickets.  He will hold a drawing and give the boat away in Florida!

James Whitten lock


The morning run sets the group for the day- we go about 8 to 15 miles between locks and the lockmaster knows to wait for everyone.  extra time to take photos- Today we have Miss Bailey in our group!

James Whitten lock

This makes for another day of jockeying between the fast boats and go-slow boats.  It doesn’t matter the speed; we all lock through together.  So the first boats to arrive end up waiting up to 45 minutes for the slowest boat to arrive.      Dave explained that each boat has a sweet spot- and one of the other captains later told me that he would be in and out of gear to go as slow as we do- his boat needs to do about 10 to12 mph minimum.     We leave a lock, and watch them slowly disappear around the bend. Then join them in the next lock!

Luckily the next two locks are uneventful, each drops us about 30 feet.  Pull in, tie to the bollard and 20 minutes later we are on our way.     A month ago, I would not have predicted that we would describe locking through as uneventful!    I barely take photos any more.

Several shots of wildlife and unusual sights along the way

along the tenn tom


along the tenn tom

along the tenn tom



and some boaters have a keen sense of humor:

James Whitten lock


While the locks are uneventful, arrive at a marina with over a dozen boats is an event!   These river marinas are mom and pop places- so they stretch to have enough dockhands to help guide the boats to their slips.    Midway notified us by radio that they would assign each boat a number, rather than try to  remember boat names. Then each boat would enter the channel when called up and would be helped into a slip.   We called off by name and length, then got our number.  We were boat six.  Behind were assigned numbers 7 through 11.

All smooth except the second boat in front of us didn’t have a radio on so didn’t hear the instructions. The next boat only needed fuel and ice not a slip, the boat behind us wanted to pass due to an overheating issue.   Needless to say the “system” failed and boats were everywhere!!


We still arrived in time to order pizza delivery and get all settled in for one night of rest, then back on the water in the morning!





About mnsailors

Our blog will highlight our travels along America's Great Loop. We sold our sailboat on Lake Superior for a Trawler to do America's Great Loop in 2016.
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