Sunday, January 26, 2014

Columbus, Mississippi to Mobile, Alabama

After leaving David in Florida, we returned to the boat in Mississippi. We had a good journey with good weather. Because we had the rental car until Monday and we had returned to the boat on Saturday, we decided to visit a Wildlife Refuge on Sunday (Gary is so good with visiting these places. He knows I really enjoy them. I guess a happy me is a happy Gary!!). We drove 45 miles each way to see nothing, zilch, nada not a dickie bird. We did see bald cypress trees which I find fascinating -

               It is amazing how they can grow in water and not drown.
We left Columbus on Monday with nice calm waters and weather 60 degrees. Since then it has been very cold both during the day and night, often into the teens.
We passed an historic Snagboat, the USS Montgomery which was built in 1925 and was the last of the steam-powered stern wheelers to ply the inland waterways of the south. For nearly 60 years, the Montgomery laboured to keep 7 of the south's major rivers navigable (info from "Skipper Bob Chicago to Mobile") by snagging debris and obstructions. She retired in 1984.
There were a lot of turkey vultures on her funnel and on the top of the boat. Perhaps they knew the boat was dead in the water or dry dock!!
Again, we passed and met several tows along the River (The TomBigbee) and saw several barges being loaded with cargo. We did pass one of the largest cranes we have seen on the river but could not tell what she was loading.
The part of the river we are travelling along is very monotonous, devoid of housing and things to see. We did pass some white cliffs with some nice reflections-

Prior to leaving our anchorage at Demopolis, I had the thrill of my life - no, not that kind of thrill!!! We had a tug come into the marina and Gary asked the captain if I could have a tour. I have always loved tugs and diesel engines. One of my earliest memories is of crossing the River Humber on the Ferry Boat the Winfield Castle or the Lincoln Castle and going below to see the engines. I loved the smell of the diesel and the sight of those big pistons going up and down. The Captain of the tug agreed to let me have a quick tour but poor Gary had to stay on our boat and fill it with water.

The lock at Demopolis had a large waterfall to its side showing why the dam and lock had to be built. I think that was the greatest amount of water being moved at the side of the dam that I had seen on the whole of our journey.

It was so cold going through the locks that I had to ask Gary for a blanket to keep me warm despite a camisole, turtle neck sweater, cardigan and jacket.

After I pulled up the anchor earlier in the week and wrapped the rope that prevented the anchor chain from hitting the side of the boat around the railing, I got back inside the warm boat quickly. Within 10 mins icicles had formed on the rope showing that it was still well below freezing outside.
The river had a current that was with us allowing us to motor at lower revs, save diesel and motor faster.

The Tombigee now the Mobile River is also tidal and must have had a huge tidal surge at one time judging by the huge branch stuck in some pilings at the side of the river (middle of photo).

I am now a blond. Why am I a blond? I had planned to let my grey hair grow out as I am fed up of having it coloured every month. Gary does not want me to go grey so I bargained with him - shave off your grey mustache and I will colour my hair. Well, he won't shave off that piece of hair that has been attached to him for over 40 years so I am going to go grey. To help the grey not be as noticeable I had my hair highlighted at a Walmart in Mississippi. The girl did a very nice job with colouring and shaping my hair. I did not tell Gary I had had it done and you should have seen his face when he picked me up. So far, it is not true that blonds have more fun!!!!
In my hand I am holding what I think is the most useful piece of equipment aboard the boat. It is a remote control that can steer the boat but not stop or brake it. It can be taken outside so that it looks like no-one is steering the boat if both of us are outside. I use this a lot as I do not like bending down to use the other piece of equipment that steers the boat (the helm and autopilot).

Well, we are now in Mobile, Alabama waiting for good weather to cross the gulf. We may be here for a while depending on the weather, Gary's Mom's surgery and if we can get Gary's cousins to visit us for a while.

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