|Looks great...but the temps hovered in the low 40's|
We have been on the move in search of warmer weather and maybe a peek at some sunshine! So let’s get the word out…the sun is still shining…somewhere.
Heavy clouds, strong winds and MUCH cooler (below freezing) temps so we begin the new year with a dirt day. Laundry, cooking & getting the Lower Place ready for several days of anchoring is second nature. Yes, it’s a glamourous life but someone’s gotta do it.
Brrrrr….I see a pattern…..another dirt day at Kingfisher Bay Marina in Demopolis AL!!! Super COLD, sleet and snow but the heat on board works and we have plenty of groceries. It’s just another day in paradise. We are still planning to travel with Lucky Enuff and Copacetic if our lines aren’t frozen to the docks in the morning.
So much for an early departure! Fog and commercial traffic at the Demopolis Lock 3 miles from the marina allowed us to stay warm and tied safely at the dock until 9:05am. It was 32°, cloudy and dreary with a wind chill of 22°! COLDEST cruising day EVER or should I say “yet”…it wasn’t long and we were tied up in the Demopolis Lock headed down river with Lucky Enuff and Copacetic. The flood current gave us a nice push, a real blessing since we had 70 miles to our first anchorage and a 2 hour delayed start.
By 3:30 pm we were anchored in Bashi Creek with Lucky Enuff rafted to us and Copacetic anchored across the channel. And what an anchoring event that was!!!! Wind was opposing the current, we (correctly) dropped our anchor against the current and before we could get it set the wind turned us 90° putting our stern in the trees! WHAT A MESS!! But we HAD to make things work…darkness was coming & 2 other boats needed to get secured. Charlie dropped the dinghy while I gathered lines and we tied our stern to 2 trees – one port and one starboard AND our bow anchor stayed set in the channel.
Then Lucky Enuff reluctantly inched their way toward us to raft since their confidence of not swinging into the trees was dampened. And Copacetic opted for the “outside the channel anchorage” across the river (smart move)!!
After an hour or more of cutting tree limbs, branches and vines off The Lower Place darkness fell with the temp and while not ideal - we “made it work” for the night.
A very frosty (29°) 7:15am departure brought fog, clouds, some wind and lots of tow traffic!! Eventually the fog lifted and temps inched above freezing and the sun popped out for several glorious moments of much needed Vitamin D!! Lucky Enuff and Copacetic needed fuel at Bobby’s Fish Camp and a sail boat was docked there waiting for the Coffeeville Lock and everything fell into place!! Charlie spoke with the lock master and he said he would work with us. There was no commercial traffic at the lock, the sail boat headed that way and we followed at idle speed. Lucky Enuff finished at the gas dock and Copacetic tied off for fuel. From our first approach to Bobby’s Fish Camp until Copacetic was secured in the lock one hour had passed and the Coffeeville Lock master was closing the doors!! YAY!!!! FINAL LOCK on the river system!! We are now cruising in brackish (soon to be salt) water, looking at tide tables and factoring in changing current!!
By 3:56pm we were all anchored in a semi straight line at 3 Rivers Anchorage. It has the feel of Bashi Creek but a lot more room. It was nice to be settled before dark!!
A surprisingly EARLY departure of 6:55am can only mean ONE thing…no FOG!!! The temps were above freezing and we had a light wind all night. Today is the day we will see Mobile Bay – Industrial end North. Lucky Enuff and Copacetic will be seeing all this from the water for the first time…I remember how amazed I was at all the sights!! It was super cloudy but a very easy transition to the mouth of Dog River.
We turn up the River one hour after low tide (of course) and made our way to The Grand Mariner Restaurant and Marina. While Charlie & I have eaten here before this would be our first opportunity to dock. What a GREAT experience!! Easy lay along dock with plenty of pilings to secure the boat. It was a joy to step off the boat and walk, walk, walk!! And the laundry facilities were clean and available AND we shared a GREAT meal in the restaurant with the crews from our buddy boats!! YAY!!!!
In the land of tides and currents we were anxious about leaving The Grand Mariner…add in a slight gusting wind and YIKES!! But getting off the dock with the help of Bill the Dock Guy made the entire event a non-event…YIPPEE!!!
So on a falling tide The Lower Place, Lucky Enuff and Copacetic headed down Dog River to the Mobile Ship Channel then left on the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW)…all without incident, drama or damage. Did I mention there was a small craft advisory on Mobile Bay?? Of course there was…cause that’s how we travel!!! With 1’-2’ seas & a rogue 3’ every now and then, we were actually taking them on the bow and the sun was in FULL SHINE MODE!! It was a wonderful bay crossing and a full Vitamin D kinda cruise…finally!
Lucky Enuff peeled off at Home Port Marina and The Lower Place and Copacetic floated on to Wolfe Bay to anchor for the evening. The day was so nice and it just felt right to keep moving and let The Lower Place have a little sun time in a beautiful anchorage. So at 2:07pm the anchor was set with 120’
of rode and the crew was having leftover spaghetti for lunch.
A few hours later we heard the familiar sound of a dinghy motor…so happy to host Copacetic on board for Anchor Time!! So much fun!!! And we missed the sunset photo!
OK, I am determined to get this posted TODAY!! We have been in the boon docks, enjoying banjo music and spotty cell service but today we made it to FLORIDA!!!! As much as we enjoyed the river travel, crossing Mobile Bay and the beautiful Alabama Coast there is just something about the Emerald Coast of Florida and tonight we are anchored in Destin Harbor!! First time for us to be here and while a little tricky coming in – it sure helped that the place is in full “off season” mode and it was a Thursday afternoon!
We departed Wolfe Bay anchorage at 7:07am with Copacetic and met Lucky Enuff in the ICW. With no commercial traffic or lock delays to consider we dropped the anchor at 3:10pm (still central time).
AND OF COURSE....the cell signal in the middle of this anchorage isn't strong enough to load this lengthy post WITH pictures!! I'm sorry...perhaps my next post will be a story of pictures when I have a stronger signal.
Until then stay healthy and God Bless!