Sunday, June 2, 2024

North to Demopolis, Alabama

 It has been over a month since I wrote in this blog. As I wrote in my last entry, we made it to Gulfport, MS on April 18th and prepared the boat to leave for a while as we waited for the lock in Demopolis to reopen. We left Gulfport on April 23rd in the truck and drove to Russellville, Arkansas to see our son and grandsons.

We took Connor and Cameron out to dinner and then went for a walk at one of the beautiful parks in the area.  

We stayed the night in Russellville and were able to visit with our friends Dick and Cathy the following morning. It is always good to catch up with them. 

We then made the drive up to Missouri and got to see more of the grandkids at Shannon's house. Then we headed to the ranch in Mansfield. All was good with the trailer at the ranch. That is always a concern. We settled in and promptly came down with a bad cold. I recovered just enough to make it to my friend Noah's wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony at a very nice venue. It was great to see a number of friends and family and to enjoy the happy occasion. 

What a great looking couple. Noah and Lauren.

After getting over my cold, I started spending much of my time riding my dirt bike with friends at the ranch.  I still love to ride my bike and we have way too much fun. 

Here is a shot I took to commemorate a ride that Max and I took on his 71st birthday. We had a blast on a perfect weather day.

Next up was the High School Graduation of our granddaughter Isabella. That included her final band concert, the senior awards ceremony and then the actual graduation ceremony. 

Isabella receiving her rose as a graduating senior.

Is playing her flute. She hopes to continue playing in college.

We are so proud Isabella. She is NHS, and recieved a number of awards and scholarships. This young lady will change the world. She has decided to go to Cedarville University in Ohio to study Civil engineering. 

We returned to the boat in Gulfport on May 23rd. I had asked for recommendations from the marina for a diver to clean the bottom of the boat. The one I reached told me that he would charge me $250 for the first visit. That is about double what I normally pay. I made the mistake of agreeing to the price. He came out on the 24th and told me he couldn't clean the bottom it was too bad. He cleaned the prop and running gear and only worked for a half hour. I questioned him and I became frustrated. I just paid him and he left. I got ripped off and went and told the marina to never recommend him again. It was a frustrating experience, and I could have handled it better, but it was a bad start to the trip. I was now very concerned how slow we would go and how much extra fuel we would use. 

The lock at Demopolis was now open and we had a perfect weather window to go. So, we rushed to get ready and sailed out of Gulfport Harbor on Saturday, May 25th. That was the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, but we would be in mostly open water, so we didn't think the pleasure boat traffic would be too bad. 

We sailed 48nm to Dauphin Island. It was great to have the motor off all day and have a great day for sailing up the Mississippi Sound. 

Beautiful sailing conditions out on Mississippi Sound

We were up and moving before sunrise on the 26th heading into Mobile Bay. The wind picked up a bit and we had between 15 and 20 knots right on our stern. 

Lots of commercial traffic to keep track of as we sailed into Mobile Bay.

We kept our mainsail up as we entered the Mobile River and sailed right through downtown Mobile. We did finally start the motor and cruised along at over 6 knots with both wind and current behind us. We anchored our second night at Big Bayou Canot, just 10 miles north of Mobile. We did see a fair amount of pleasure boaters enjoying the long weekend. 

The wind died off on Monday and we cruised north at between 4 and 5 knots against the current in the Mobile then Tensas and finally the Tombigbee Rivers.

Sunrise over the calm water of the Mobile River.

There were sections of the river that we had all to ourselves and then we saw some sandbars that were loaded with boats and people enjoying their final day of the long weekend on the river.

We stopped at Three Rivers Lake on our third night as a strong thunderstorm approached. We had great protection in the very small lake, but the storm mostly missed us anyway. We had some nearby lightning and a few strong showers, but no heavy wind or hail. We motored 48.8 nm that third day and were now at mile mark 64.6 on the river. The river mile marks are in statue miles. We measure our progress in nautical miles. We averaged only 4.3 knots on the day. 

A very calm river on Tuesday May 28th

The river was totally different on May 28th. There was zero wind and all of the people on the river had gone back to work. It was a very long and eventful day. We motored into about a knot of current most of the day. We had to open a railroad lift bridge that took about a half hour of waiting. I think they forgot about us after they told us we had to wait for a passing train. Then at the end of the day we went through the Coffeeville lock. Our first of the trip. We made it to our anchorage at Okatuppa Creek at about 6:30 pm after a 54.4nm day. We only averaged 4.2 knots. We were a bit tired and very ready to stop. 

This was our anchorage after our 4th day of the trip at river mile 124. It was very quiet and calm. This was just a bit north of the lock at Coffeeville and there was very little current. 

We had a very nice sunset after the long day.

We put all of our solar powered lights on deck to give us as much visibility to the passing tows at night. We awoke the next morning to find the deck covered with small gnats. Kim spent an hour cleaning that up as I motored north. The 5th day did have less current and no bridges or locks. We saw lots of alligators in the water and many beautiful birds. It was my favorite day. 

Another beautiful calm day on the river

We stopped at one of our favorite anchorages on our final night. We Made it 45.8 nm at an average of 4.7 knots against the lighter current.  Mile 177 is right in a 90 degree turn and normally has plenty of room. The river is very low, so we had to get into about 6 feet of water and set two anchors to hold us out of the main channel. It rained a bit overnight and we did not see any tows come down the river, so it was a good night.

We had some rain predicted on our final day, but that just kept it cloudy and much cooler. We even put on jackets for part of the trip. We made it to the Demopolis lock at about 1 pm and locked through without issues. It was then a short 3mile motor up to Kingfisher Bay Marina. We went 33.8 nm the last day.

This will be our home for a couple of weeks. We are scheduled to haul out on Tuesday, June 4th. We will stay on the hard for 4 days. It will be interesting to see how bad the bottom really looks after the incident with the diver in Gulfport. Our speed up the river was acceptable, and we only used 40 gallons of fuel. I am happy with that. We will clean and then sand the bottom. Then we will give it two coats of bottom paint. I also need to service my feathering prop and replace the packing on the shaft seal. It should be a busy 4 days. We will rent a car tomorrow and drive to Gulfport to get out truck and bring it up to Demopolis. Our life can be a bit complicated. 

We are expecting to leave Demopolis around the 15th of June and head to Kentucky Lake. This will be a new experience for us. We have never been north of Demopolis on the Tenn-Tomm. Come back to see how that part of the trip goes. 


  1. I bet it was nice to see the family, but I find it hard to believe that you have a daughter graduating!

    1. That would be granddaughter. Yes, we are that old. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Another exciting adventure in the books!!
    To bad about the cleaning diver. We've experienced a few of those type deals. "We" had a very good experience at your Ozark Ford dealer when we headed up to Mt. Grove over the Memorial Day weekend. I'll tell you about it later. Great photos btw.
    Dick & Cathy

    1. I hope your experience in Ozark was not too expensive. The adventure will resume next week as we head further north to Kentucky.