Alligators and Tides

The marinas are behind us , and even the anchorages are few and far between.   After a 71 mile day, we were happy to arrive at Bashi Creek .


The creek is narrow just as described in our guidebook.  It is a popular spot and we had it to ourselves.

moonshadow  bashi creek 1

Yesterday’s flotilla had squeezed 10 boats into this little creek head.  We had two boats easily anchored in the center of the channel.   Ribbons had been tied to the branches about 200 yards into the creek; we guessed they marked the beginning of shallow water, so that is where is dropped anchor.



kayak bashi creek

Without a stern anchor, our boat drifted to the edge and nestled up to a tree branch.  It is that narrow.

We finally had a chance to air up the kayaks and Colleen took a paddle down the creek.    We also explored the creek with our dingy .

10-31 tenn tom waterway (1)


As we departed Bashi Creek our binoculars were scanning the shoreline in hopes of seeing an alligator. 

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Yes- not too far down the shore, we spotted one sunning on the sand.  And then a glimpse of another swimming along the shore line.   


Alligators Bashi Creek

They blend in with the shore line; we took several photos thinking it might be an alligator only to look closer and find a photo of a log!

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By Passed Bobby’s Fish camp MM # 118

Known for its fried catfish and being the last fuel spot before Mobile.   Bobby’s Fish Camp is a step below Hoppies as far as amenities, and we didn’t need fuel or fried fish so decided to pass by.   The dock is short; so boats raft off.  They charge $1.50 a foot whether you are at the dock or rafted off !  (This is not Thompson Island style rafting) this is a borrowed arial photo:

bobby's fish camp arial view



Based on feedback from a boater that had passed through this area a few days earlier, we prepared to look for an anchorage along the side of the river.    Last week we had discussed this possibility and decided we would not anchor on the side of the river; preferring more protected anchorages up a creek or in a bay.

Well, times change; we are at a long straightaway in the river, and are going to pull to starboard, and motor in behind the green buoys marking the channel , drop anchor and spend the night just beyond a sandbar.  Dave dropped the dingy in the water to  position our stern anchor and drop it.  This will keep our boat straight and not allow it to swing around into the channel.

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Should be fine, we checked reviews on line at Active Captain.  One review by a boater quoted his conversation with a tow captain “you will be fine, our barge will run aground on the sandbar before we would get close to your boat”.   The advice was to radio the first tow captain that comes by and they will alert other tows that a PC (pleasure craft) is anchored.  We were pretty confident there would be no traffic as we had only met one barge all day.

First barge late afternoon- we hailed him on channel 16- confirmed that he saw us and he offered to contact any barges he met coming from the north.

Turned on our anchor lights and went to sleep.    4am – second barge.   5am – 3rd barge.  By now we looked to our south, and saw a barge nosed to the shore – he was parked to allow the others go by!

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Here comes another tow!   You can see the spot lights shining on the shore line a mile away; and as they sweep by our windows we know that they are aware of our locations.

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Dave talked to a captain and was assured that they saw our anchor lights way down the river and would slow down.  According to our AIS screen the barge was going 6 knots and slowed to under 4 so the wake wouldn’t rock our boats.  (we were anchored with Enterprise; and neither of us have transponders.   We receive AIS so can see the other boats on our screen; yet those boats don’t see us)

So up early, and a good time to take sunrise photos!

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Coffeeville Lock and damn mm# 116.6

This is the last lock before Mobile Alabama.

Even the birds know a lock is routine as they perch on the gates!


10-31 tenn tom waterway (103)


Tides and brackish water from this point south.  Tides are up to 1.5 feet in water level change and mean the current is against us half the time.

Lessons learned:   don’t anchor based on water level in high tide.  When the tide goes out, you may be sitting in mud.          When tied to a dock, tie slack lines if it is not a floating dock- to prevent your boat from getting hung up as the water level changes.

Be aware of the tide tables!


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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