Real time update: We are now in Orange Beach, Alabama. We made it down the river and through Mobile Bay safely. I have had a hard time keeping up with blog posts due to limited internet connectivity, so the one below is the first in a series that I have written but not posted. I have decided to post some pictures and updates on Facebook more in real time and then update the blog as I am able. Let's go back to Monday, November 15th...
We waited until November 15th to leave Kingfisher Bay Marina in Demopolis, Alabama for many reasons. The main one was the volume of boaters heading south. We were very concerned that the limited anchorages would be full, and make it difficult to find a place to safely spend the night. It was also hard to leave because of the many friends we made in the two extended stays we have made at KBM. It also didn't hurt we were paid up until the 17th. We still believe it is the best place to escape the hurricanes along the gulf coast.
|SHIFT ready to go from our slip at KBM in Demopolis and a beautiful sunset.|
I went to the captain's meeting the night before departing. There was a large group planning to depart the next day. We decided to skip the first locking of the day. There was just too many boats and it was also very foggy. I also did not sleep well thinking about the journey and had I forgotten something? Pretty typical for me.
We said goodbye to Fred, the owner of KBM, and his staff and pulled out of the marina at 8:00 am. We made the 3 mile journey to the lock and waited for our turn to enter. It was just us and one other 27 foot boat that is doing the great loop called Mickey.
|A beautiful day and beautiful fall colors as we waited for the lock at Demopolis.|
|The Foscue Creek COE campground that we stayed at 3 years ago before buying the boat.|
The lock has a drop of 45 feet. When we got to the bottom we looked up and saw the top of our mast was at the top of the wall that we could look over just minutes before. All went smoothly and soon we were on our way down the river. We had a relatively short day planned of about 41 river miles, which are statute miles. We travel at about 5.5 knots, which is about 6 mph. That is very slow, but it does give us the opportunity to see lots of wildlife and beautiful fall colors along the river.
|We had already dropped about 2 feet.|
|Down we go!|
|A look up the mast. A 40 foot drop.|
Just as you exit the lock you can look to your right and see the cascading waterfall.
A note here about the new prop. It is working as I expected, but I think it is negatively impacting our fuel economy. I plan to consult with the manufacturer to see if some tweaks are in order. I can't wait to go sailing with it to see if we can get more speed under sail.
We made the trip to mile 177 without incident. When we approached our planned anchorage we noticed 2 other boats were already there. The good news is that there was plenty of space for us to safely anchor. Another boat even joined us just before sunset. We did not see a single barge(called "tows" around here) all day, but had 5 pass us during the night. Each one gave us a pretty good rock, and woke me up, but the anchors held well and we both got plenty of needed sleep.
|Calm spot for our first night on the river.|
|Looking down the river at dusk|
|The 4 boats in the anchorage under a near full moon.|
In my next entry I will write about the second day of our trip and maybe the 3rd. They have been some long days, but we are making good progress to open water.