More than two cents worth of wisdom

Trip Start Oct 17, 2009
Trip End Nov 15, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Alabama
Friday, November 13, 2009

On November 11, we pulled into Demopolis, AL marking the end of the Tenn-Tom and the beginning of the Black Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway. We now had only 216 miles left before Mobile. There were forecasts of heavy rains and winds and flooding due to Tropical Storm Ida so instead of anchoring we opted to get a slip at the Demopolis Yacht Basin marina. 

We had chosen to anchor out the entire trip up to this point, with the exception of Hoppie's which hardly counted as a marina. So, staying there was a change of pace with access to stores and ultimately a bar with live music where we hung out with other cruisers, many having made this trip multiple times.

The following day we left in the afternoon despite many doomsday-like warnings of flooding hazards. But after listening to the weather forecast, checking the Army Corps website to look at river stages and calling the USCG, it seemed like the river conditions were more mild than those we encountered on the Mississippi. 

 As we were deliberating, an old salt in a legitimate captain's hat threw in his 2 cents: "I've traveled all over, sailed my boat round the world. I don't give a shit about this damned river. It don't matter where you are in the world, people'll always say the same thing that it ain't safe to leave. Safer to stay in the marina. Always the same thing. Life's like this: If you want to go, then just go."

So we set off and the river conditions were as we anticipated. The lack of good anchorages led us to stay overnight at an emergency anchorage just outside the navigable channel but we were encouraged when we called the first tow who passed and he replied that we were "tucked away good". 

The following day, we enjoyed our fair share of playing driftwood dodgeball and were moving right along at about 10 mph. We passed through our final lock at Coffeeville Lock and Dam, making a total of 28 locks between Lake Michigan to Mobile Bay. That night we stayed at an anchorage at the site of the old Lock 1 lock and dam. We played frisbee in the adjacent park  as another gorgeous sunset took place.
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