Midway was a quick stop; the next Columbus Marina – the day included four locks and 59 miles of travel time. We left Midway Marina on October 26th at 7am and locked through Fulton, Wilkins, Amory and Aberdeen locks by 1 pm! It was another clear day with the typical light mist in the early morning. Each lock dropped and elevation of about 35 feet in about 30 minutes start to finish! Who would have predicted that locking through would become routine?
We arrived at Columbus Marina at Mile Marker 335 at a respectable 3:45 and joined several other looper boats at an impromptu BBQ dinner in the evening. The Harbormaster and owner T. Caldwell (known as T) had ordered BBQ pulled pork and fixings to serve up an appreciation meal to the loopers. Much appreciated!
We stayed an extra day here to go tour the Waverley Plantation – the photos are posted on a separate post of that day.
The marinas are becoming more infrequent on this portion of the water way. Good thing we like anchoring- The challenge will be to find anchor spots that are not too shallow. The word has been that several spots that have been silted over at the entrances due to the low water levels from lack of rain this summer. Reports are appreciated from boaters we meet that travel a day ahead of us; texts and emails come back to us saying what works and what doesn’t.
A good example is Sumter Recreation Area. The entrance is shallow but several boats have made it work so we opted to try it. and it was worth poking across a shallow sandbar at the entrance. Our confidence was high, as there were already two boats anchored in the bay!
Plus we arrived early enough to grill dinner.
So glad the anchorage worked out as we had locked through the Stennis and Tom Bevell locks and traveled 65 miles to arrive here! Two boats we traveled with stopped an hour prior at Cooks Bend Cut off at mile marker 277. Both anchorages were great- we had the advantage of one hour less with the sun in our eyes the following morning!
Yes the fall colors are beautiful, but we need to keep going south!
The Turkey Vultures still gather along the waterway.
At one bend, we encountered a barge that had taken the corner too tight and ran aground on a sand bar. The tow captain suggested we do a slow pass before he would rev his engines and get himself unstuck.
The iconic telephone booth along the river- just to break up the scenery I guess.
Wild life, Barges, Industry and ….. a telephone booth?
The next morning we entered the river just as Miss Bailey and Mikee Likes It passed by our anchorage (they had stayed at Cooks Bend the evening before) . The five boats from our anchorage got in line and we all headed for the next lock- the Heflin Lock at Mile # 266.
Had a beautiful sunrise as we headed out of the peaceful bay. Had a slight wait at the lock as a tow was locking up before us.
We passed by the beautiful white cliffs.
we also saw turtles:
DEMOPOLIS_ END OF THE TOMM BIGBEE WATERWAY
we arrived at Demopolis about 2:45 . this will be the last marina before Mobile Bay. We took on 100 gallons of diesel fuel at $2.35 a gallon. Today logged 53.66 miles.
This is the end of the Tenn -Tom Waterway. The Black Warrior River enters the Tom Bigbee River so we are now on the Black Warrior Tombigbee waterway for the remaining 217 miles to Mobile. Another busy arrival as there were 10 boats checking in today.
This location is on the 32nd parallel and has become a holding area for many loopers prior to November 1. Our insurance requirement for avoiding “Hurricane Season” requires us to be north of the 32nd parallel line before November 1 . To entertain the boaters, the marina was hosting a Halloween party and trips to town while they waited for insurance to kick in. Always an excuse to have a party!
There will be two more locks on this portion – the Demopolis lock and Coffeeville Lock.
The Demopolis marina is called Kingfisher Marina. They have a golf cart for getting around the marina, and also a courtesy car to borrow for the all important run to Walmart.
We were happy to see the pool was also still open so we spent a few hours relaxing.
Aside from the insurance clause, there were 15 boats ready to head south on October30th. by 6:45 crack of dawn they were pulling away from the docks. From our vantage point it looked like a few close calls in the fairways as they all pulled out at the same time to jockey for positions at the next lock.
We chose to stay one more day; and it worked well for us as we left on Halloween with two boats and found the anchorages empty when we arrived. All worked well.