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 The United States is served by an extensive inland waterway system unparalleled in the World. Completed in December 1984 after 12 years of construction at a cost of nearly $2 billion, the Tennessee-Tombigbee   Waterway is one of the most modern components of this world class transportation network. It provides a low cost and energy efficient trade link between the Sunbelt states and 14 river systems totaling some 4500 miles of navigable waterways that serve mid-America.

As we journey down the Tenn-Tom waterway, the little map at right will help you recognize the various Lock &Dam locations that we reference.  These locks are rather large at 110 feet wide and 600 feet long.  Surprisingly, however, this does not always seem to be the case when you are fitting 8 boats at a time in the lock!  During windy days, things can certainly get interesting.

 Now, for more of our adventures on America's Great Loop, scroll down for the daily logbook entries below.  This portion of the journey has its own peculiar challenges!





Friday, October 16, 2009
7:30 a.m.  Departed Grand Harbor Marina/Counce, TN
4:30 p.m.  Arrived Midway Marina/Fulton, MS
Distance travelled:  56 miles
Weather:  Low 49  High 54; windy & cold, sun for approx. 10 minutes but no rain!

Today began our journey down the Tennessee Tombigbee waterway which links the Tennessee River to the Gulf of Mexico.  Before arriving at our marina for the night we had to go through 3 locks, Whitten, Montgomery and Rankin.  There was a total of 8 boats travelling through each lock.  Since there was no barge traffic, each lock was ready for us when we arrived.  The lockmasters on the Tenn-Tom request that as many boats as possible lock through at the same time.  As a result, at the first lock we waited for approximately 45 minutes for the 8th boat to arrive and lock down with us.  It was cold and windy on the water today but we were grateful that there was no rain.  Six of the boats all came into Midway Marina for the night.


          Here is the Midway Marina that we are currently at.

      Here is a shot by Brenda from the top of our boat showing some of the other boats in Whitten Lock with us.

Saturday, October 17, 2009
7:15 Departed Midway Marina
1:00 Arrived at Aberdeen Marina
Distance travelled:  35.8 miles
Weather:  Low 45, high 54; cold & windy again, approx. 1/2 hour of sunshine

The lockmaster wanted us all at the lock by 7:30 so we were up and underway by 7:10.  We had to transit 3 locks before arriving at our destination marina.  There were 6 boats from the marina so we travelled in a group through each lock. We travelled through each lock without delay.  Coming into Aberdeen Marina is an experience as you have to travel a winding s-shaped curve through old stumps before you even seen the marina tucked way back in.  However, the channel is well marked and it is quite pleasant at the marina.  We all got diesel fuel here and that whole process took 2 hours.

This is the entrance channel to Aberdeen Marina.  That is a left side green marker on the entrance,
and the channel hooks left around behind the trees at the right side of this picture.

This is the rather unique fuel dock at the Aberdeen Marina.  Best diesel prices on the Tenn-Tom 

Sunday, October 18, 2009
8:50    Departed Aberdeen Marina
12:00  Arrived at Columbus Marina
Distance travelled:  23.2 miles
Weather:  Low 44, high 65; cold north wind but sunny with blue skies

Since we only had 1 lock today and a relatively short distance to travel, we left later than usual. Again, we had a wonderful day on the water.  Upon arrival at the marina, we learned that Larry & Theresa Valentine (Lauren Grace) were here. They were at our marina for 1 month this past summer.  Later, Susann & Alan Syme (Kaos) arrived.  We met them 2 years ago at Chattanooga.  It was nice to see both couples once again.  After settling in, we walked with Nancy & Bill & Stella (dog).

One small group of many groups of pure white pelicans that live near the Columbus marina.

Monday, October 19, 2009
Weather: Low 44, high 75, sunny with blue skies

We are still at Columbus, MS.  Today the girls used the courtesy van (it only quit once) and made a grocery run to Walmart.  Most marinas have a courtesy car - usually they are old beaters but so far they have also served us well.  At lunch, 6 of us took the van to downtown Columbus for lunch followed by a quick walk in the town and then a short drive to see some of the Antebellum homes.  In this restaurant, you simply order by "meat and 2 sides" or "meat and 3 sides" etc. You then circle the meat and the sides you want on a menu copy, and thus tailor your meal.  The food is absolutely excellent.  The guys then used the van to do their shopping run to town.

Satisfied customers leaving the Cafe on Main restaurant.  Wonderful home-cooked food.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Weather: Low 44, high 78; sunny with blue skies

Another beautiful day in Columbus.  As a group we took the courtesy van to Proffitt's Porch for lunch.  It is in the middle of nowhere and although they have a varied and excellent menu, they are noted for their red beans and rice with andouille sausage.  Sharon, Delila, and Brenda walked after lunch.  The rest of the day was spent doing laundry and other house keeping tasks.  Brenda made chicken chili to share with everyone tonight for dinner.

Tomorrow we are heading down river and will anchor out tomorrow night so we may not have any internet service to update our website.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009
7:00 Depart Columbus Marina
3:00 Arrive at anchorage -  Cook's Bend at mile 277
Distance travelled:  58 miles
Weather: Low 47, high 79; sunny with some high cloud cover

Today we had 2 locks; we were delayed by 1 hour at the first lock while repairs were made to the gate.  Otherwise, we had an uneventful and pleasant journey to our anchorage.

Thursday, October 22, 2009
7:10 Departed anchorage - Cook's Bend
2:00 Arrived Demopolis Yacht Basin
Distance travelled: 61 miles
Weather: Low 60, high 81; windy, sunny with increasing clouds, front moved in, rain at night

Today was a warm but very windy day on the river.  Again there was a fair amount of debris in the water.  Although it was windy, we all arrived at Demopolis and got settled in without incident.  Tonight 12 boaters went into the town to the Foscue House for dinner.  It is an old home (1840) which was converted to a very casual style restaurant.  Except for enclosing a porch, the house is the original structure.  I guess you can tell by now that 'loopers' enjoy gathering to eat together to share stories and experiences.

These are the white limestone cliffs that we see on this portion of the Tenn-Tom. 

Here is a picture of our marina, Demopolis Yacht Basin

Friday, October 23, 2009
Weather:  Low 64, high 81; clouds in the a.m. with sunny skies the remainder of the day

We are enjoying a full layover day at Demopolis. Today we did laundry and other boat tasks. Ken & Brenda and Bill & Nancie took a 2-hour walk into the downtown section.  There are some very old and architecturally interesting buildings but like many other downtowns most of the buildings are empty.  Tomorrow we are leaving at daybreak as we have a long day to our anchorage (approx 90 miles).  We may not have internet or cell service for 2 to 3 days.   

Here we are on our walk in a nice little park in the heart of Demopolis.  Pretty little city.

Saturday, October 24, 2009
6:40 Depart Demopolis Yacht Basin   TT Mile 216
4:00 Arrive Anchorage - Okatuppa Creek  TT Mile 123
Distance travelled:  93 miles
Weather:  Low=54, high=64; clouds with some wind, changing to sunny skies in p.m.

Although we left at daybreak because we had a long travel day, we were delayed at the lock as 12 boats were all locking down at the same time.  However, the lockmaster was organized and the whole procedure went smoothly.  For the next 100 miles there are no marinas and very few suitable anchorages.  We anchored at Okatuppa Creek which was an excellent anchorage.  All 5 boats fit into the narrow anchorage and there was actually room for more.  Since leaving Demopolis we have been travelling on the Black Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway but the whole waterway is generally just known as the Tenn-Tom.  The shoreline during today's travel has varied from sandy looking beaches to tree-lined shores with more spanish moss appearing in the trees.  We were tired when we arrived at our anchorage and went to bed at 8 p.m. (in the boat world, 9 o'clock is referred to as 'boater's midnight').

Last Dragon and Blue Angel in Okatuppa Creek anchorage.  Tight, but protected and pleasant.

Sundancer in Okatuppa Creek anchorage.  He was last in and that is the Tenn Tom in the background.

Sunday, October 25, 2009
9:00 Depart anchorage - Okatuppa Creek  TT Mile 123
3:30 Arrive anchorage - Three Rivers Lake       TT Mile 63.8
Distance travelled:  59.2 miles
Weather:  Low=46, high=73: very foggy morning then remainder of day sunny with clouds & blue sky

Although we were up early and had planned to depart at 7 a.m. we were delayed until 9 a.m. due to very heavy fog.  We went through our last lock today on the Tenn-Tom Waterway. Instead of dropping down the normal level of 34 feet we only dropped about 8 feet as the water level on the Tenn-Tom is quite high.  We have gone through 19 locks since leaving home.  We have been extremely lucky at the locks as we never had delays due to barge traffic.  In fact, we have not seen too many barges since leaving home.  We will anchor 1 or 2 more nights before arriving in Mobile depending upon the water conditions in the Gulf of Mexico.  

No, the forest doesn't normally grow out of the river!  The water is very high.

This is the somewhat narrow channel leading to the Three Rivers Lake anchorage.

Once into Three Rivers Lake, the anchorage is lovely.  From near to far is Last Dragon, Blue Angel, Sundancer, and Watauga.

 Monday, October 26, 2009
7:30 Depart anchorage - Three Rivers Lake   M63.8
1:00 Arrive anchorage - Tensas Cut-off         M12.2
Distance travelled:  51.6 miles
Weather:  Low=54, high=68; sunny with clouds

After another wonderful anchorage, we are on our way at 7:30.  It was a good day on the water.  There continues to be some flotsam due to the high water level.  We saw a huge construction project at one point along the river and reportedly it is a German steel company who is locating here.  

This is a small part of the ThyssenKrupp plant being built in Alabama near Jackson.

Almost looks like Yucca Plants on the shoreline down here.

Anchorage at Tensas River Cutoff was wide and inviting.  Lots of room for many boats.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Still at Tensas Cut-off anchorage 
Weather: Low=63, high=75; rainy changing to high clouds & generally overcast

Because the weather in Mobile Bay did not sound great, we decided to stay at our anchorage for another day.  However, Blue Angel decided to leave today as they need to get to Panama City.  Due to illness in the family, they will leave their boat in Panama City and travel by car to Michigan.  Sundancer (Ray & Delila) decided to leave as well and follow Blue Angel as far as Lulu's on the intracoastal.  Both boats reported back that travel on Mobile Bay was smooth so I guess we could have gone after all.

Our good friends Jim and Sharon Angel on "Blue Angel" leaving Tensas cutoff.  We're sorry to lose  them.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009
7:30  Depart anchorage at Tensas Cut-off   M12.2
11:30 Arrive Eastern Shore Marina/Fairhope, AL
Distance travelled:  28 miles
Weather:  Low=58, high=74; foggy, then sunny

Approximately 45 minutes after we left our anchorage we had to stop due to very heavy fog.  We had to stop and wait for 45 minutes for the fog to lift. Once the fog lifted we were on our way to Mobile Bay.  It was rather exciting to pass through Mobile and into Mobile Bay.  We have now completed the TennTom portion of our voyage and are beginning the next phase of our logbook.  We are now in salt water with tides.  Our trip across Mobile Bay was quite pleasant with just a light chop and we arrived in Fairhope, AL before lunch.  Thankfully, we only had to dodge a few crab pots.

Entering the Mobile Bay Harbor from the Tenn-Tom is pretty impressive.

This is a picture of the Convention Centre on the waterfront.

This is a company called Austal that builds these high-tech low radar profile ships for the military.

This ends the Tennessee-Tombigbee part of our adventure.  From now on, the Panhandle will be the section we will report on.  Use that button on the Logbook page.

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