11/17/11 Columbus to Anchorage at Sumter Recreation area
We pulled in to the anchorage and found Last Dance already anchored. We pulled up to a small dock at the boat ramp and found it fairly shallow and lots of vegetation growing in the water. We chose the dock so that we could get Duke off the boat easily, but that meant not using the generator (depth and vegetation) for heat and it was VERY cold (28 degrees). At 2am, Duke was so cold on the floor that he crawled into bed and under the covers. There was a thin coat of ice on deck when we arose.
Demopolis is the last marina before Mobile Bay. We stocked up on water, fuel and groceries. This will be our last meal out at a restaurant for a few days. Demopolis Yacht Basin has completed an entire new section with multiple docks and a state of the art building with restrooms. washers/dryers, and an activity room. Very nice! They are currently digging another harbor. Shingebiss is wintering here. They will go home to Minnesota for Thanksgiving and then return with their car.
We got an early start since it's 70 miles to the anchorage (many bends and bows to the river). The actual distance as the crow flies is only 32 miles. We are traveling with Happy Hours V and Salty Paws. At the Demopolis lock, we were asked for the first time for our boat registration #. Fortunately, we got it from Becky, who is managing our mail, a week ago. The lockmaster said it is for "customs". At 3pm we were near Bashi Creek and we had 4 boats in our caravan. We'd heard that a couple of other boats were already there, so we were concerned there would be no room and the next available place to stop was Bobbie's Fish Camp, 27 miles down river. When we go to Bashi, there were no boats anchored, so Last Dance, Happy Hours V and Adagio got settled. Salty Paws went on to Bobbie's Fish Camp..hope they made it before dark. At the entrance to Bashi Creek was a homemade sailboat (made of bamboo & sticks) with a rudder controlled by a string attached to a steering wheel. The young man, Zachary Aldridge, said he was getting his life together. He had cruised from Tuscaloosa, but was originally from Chenoa, IL. He looked and dressed like Johnny Depp in the Pirates movies. He asked if we'd seen his friends in the raft. This was the couple we saw near Pebble Isle, weeks ago. He said they are now 4 days ahead of us. It was a quiet night--10 hours sleep.
11/20 We left early (7am) and it was foggy with 1/4 mile visibilty, which cleared after 1 hour. The river here snakes back and forth adding miles to the day. We waiting 1 1/2 hours at the "last lock" on the Black Warrior. Since it was getting late, we decided to anchor out at mile marker 100 (the old lock).
Just a note: since leaving Traverse City, Michigan in August, we have gone through 36 locks and we've travelled 2260 miles on the water. We should arrive in upper Mobile Bay on Tuesday.