Salty air ain’t thin; It’ll stick right to your skin, and make you feel fine…….JB
Leaving ChattTown was a good news bad news situation. The good news was we were completing another milestone with our 10 stay stop in Chattanooga and continuing our adventure. The bad news was this was Hank’s last stop. His home is in Chattanooga and his “Great Loop” was over. Hank completed 4,500 miles and 6 months on his journey. Always up for an adventure Hank was a pleasure to be around and made many friends on the Loop.
Our run down to Grand Harbor, Alabama from Chattanooga was probably the most scenic of the entire trip so far. We departed Chattanooga on 01Nov13 at the peak of the fall foliage. As we cruised through the Tennessee Gorge the intensity of the fall colors were mesmerizing.
We stopped overnight again at the free dock at Shell Mound State Park and spent another night tied up at Goose Pond Marina and Ditto Marina as we travelled the Tennessee River to intercept the Tombigbee and our turn south to Mobile. We stopped in at Grand Harbor Marina to take on fuel. We met up our friends Chris and Lynn from “Let’s Drift”. We borrowed the courtesy car and had a great dinner at a local restaurant. Chris is a retired detective from Toronto and Lynn is on a years leave as a doctor at a university hospital. We have shared many marinas together and always have a good time when we meet up. We spent about 10 days on the TennTom which was 450 miles of man made cut with very few anchorages and no marinas after Demopolis, Al. We love to anchor out but these anchorages were tiny creeks which required a stern anchor to keep from hitting the banks.
We did have to slow for a deer crossing in front of us.
Another time, we saw an 8 foot alligator floating dead in the river.
At one anchorage a fisherman told me to be careful taking Mango ashore because of the alligators that sun themselves on the banks of the creek. We did the obligatory stop at Bobby’s Fish camp and are glad we did. We had dinner ashore and the fried catfish was the best we ever had.
We finished our LAST LOCK on the Tombigbee at Coffeeville. This was lock number 144 for us. We have just 2 locks left on the Okeechobee Waterway before we reach home in April.
Entering MobileBay was another milestone as we were greeted by a pod of porpoise. Welcome back to our beloved salt water!!
We had not seen a porpoise since entering NY Harbor in June. We never tire of watching them frolic on our bow and in our wake. We stopped in at Turner Marine for some repairs.
We rented a car and drove 2 hours to New Orleans for the day. We had a great lunch at a popular restaurant and spent the day walking around Bourbon St.
Once again we were underway for our next milestone Carrabelle, Fl where we will cross the Gulf of Mexico to Tarpon Springs, Fl. We anchored 3 days in beautiful bayous along the coast line and spent a night tied up at the Pensacola Naval Air Station Marina. The Blue Angles did a fly over as we docked. What a nice touch! We stopped in at Scipio Creek Marina at Apalachicola, Fl after a 50 mile run in 30 MPH winds. A lot of the way was in man made cuts so the wind wasn’t too bad. Apalachicola is a nice small town and Looper friends Carl and Dottie from “Down Time” were also there.
Weather was not good for our last 32 mile trip to Carrabelle and was worsening. If we did not go that morning we would be stuck for the next 5 days. Our decision to go was based on advice from local shrimpers who said it would be rough but doable. Also, we heard a Thanksgiving feast was being planned by Loopers already in Carrabelle waiting on a weather window to open. Off we went.
The first 3 miles we had 30 kt winds on the beam. We took one roll of about 40 degrees. Cabinets opened up and stuff was thrown everywhere. The next 30 miles was very rough but our bow was into the waves and we made if safely to Cquarters marina.
Hopefully, we will cross the 170 miles across the gulf next week. It will take us about 22 hours. Melesia and I will take 4 hours watches at the helm through the night. We plan to arrive 20 miles offshore at sunrise so we can watch for crab pots as we close in on the coast. This will be our longest leg at sea. Wish us luck!