Monday, December 3, 2007

Another Major Milestone: Reaching the Gulf Coast!

Hello All-
Yesterday we arrived in Mobile Alabama (link to GoogleMap)! We have just completed the whole Inland River part of the Great Loop; this part began 'way back in late August when the Winnie W. passed thru Chicago. In our time on the Illinois, Mississippi, Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee, and Tombigbee Rivers we have gone from flood to low water, scorching summer afternoons to frosty mornings, mountains (well, at least some big rocky hills) to swamp. It's been a wonderful time offering beautiful sights, new friends, and cruising challenges entirely different from those of coastal waters.

This photo shows the waterfalls below Demopolis Lock & Dam, which we passed early in the morning while the (relatively) warm river water was sending fog into the chilly morning air. The dam is visible in the right background.

This photo is one of Doug's rare shots, taken from the dinghy. It shows one of the last anchorages we stopped in while traveling the Tenn-Tom Waterway, a little place called Bashi Creek (link to Google Map). This creek is nice & deep. Fishermen seem to like it. However it is a bit narrow! We rafted up to Bob & Sue on Tom-Kat, using each boat's bow anchor in opposite directions so they could hold the boats in position.

If a cruising boat swings around a single anchor here, it could hit the sides.... not a disaster since there is only slight current and it's well sheltered from wind... but branches knocking against the window would be a rude awakening and bugs & snakes could crawl onto the boat!

Here is Tom-Kat leaving Bashi Creek on another chilly & foggy morning. There is barely room to squeeze by the other cruisers who decided to "stay home" a bit later.

Here's another in our long long series of "More Beautiful Scenery" pictures. A white crane is reflected in the totally still water as he hunts along the riverbank. The lovely creek in the background is too shallow to make a good anchorage.

Now here is another wildlife shot, only the "wildlife" involved is a mixed herd of cows. Were they thirsty? Were they just enjoying the feel of river mud squishing between their toes?

Heading south down the last few miles of river, the city of Mobile looms up head!

Now we are back in salt water, and we have to pay close attention to the weather... in fact, it's been a long time since a 'Marine Forecast' applied to us. Case in point, the arrival of a cold front.... accompanied by headlines about snow storms up North... brought 25 knot winds to Mobile Bay and we stayed sheltered in port. This was a good time to catch up on some maintenance chores on the boat, so Doug spent most of the day in the engine room.

Tomorrow, we plan to cruise the Winnie W. eastward along the Gulf IntraCoastal Waterway towards Florida! Best wishes- Doug & Kathie

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