-E.B. White

Thursday, April 30, 2009

We eventually crossed Mobile Bay to Dog River and spent the night tied to docks at Grand Mariner Marina. The restaurant was open (yeah!!!) and we enjoyed a big plate of spicy crab claws - their specialty. We called Demopolis Marina to find out flood stage up there. They claimed the water levels had dropped and we should have no problems coming up. So we left at 6:15 AM Easter Sunday the 12th to head north. Another front was coming thru with more rain so we decided to plunge out into the choppy, rough bay rather then waiting till who knows when to leave. After passing downtown Mobile we entered the Blackwarrior River where the current slowed our progress to 3.9 MPH - UGH!!!. Anchored at 6:30pm in Bates Lake - long 12 hour day to make 62 miles.

Downtown Mobile

Just try driving 3.9 MPH sometime!

Our plans (there's that plan word again) where to make Bobby's Fish Camp today, but due to more rain the small dock was pretty much flooded. This forced us to travel in the dark to mile 123, Okatuppa Creek, arriving at 8:00 PM and traveling 70 miles and one lock in 12 1/2 hours. Tuesday the 14th we made 54 miles in 11 hours and anchored at mile 177 which is basically behind the bouys on the side of the river. The water was so deep we had to reset the anchor 3 times before it finally took - our log says we anchored at 5:10pm, 5:20pm and 5:30pm. Rick slept with one eye open watching for tows and communicating with them as to our location. The current seems to have slowed down a bit during the night - we will see what tomorrow brings. Wednesday the 15th ready to go at 6:30 AM, but anchor had set so hard in muck and weeds that it took about 15 minutes to get it up. Made 68 miles and one lock in 12 1/2 hours. Anchored at mile 245.2 along side the river bank. Thursday we made another 68 miles and two locks in 11 1/2 hours and found a nice anchorage at mile 313. The waterway is very high, carrying alot of debris and missing lots of bouys. Friday 17th of April we made our destination, Columbus Marina in Columbus, MS. We will spend a few days cleaning and Rick plans to pull the transmission to bring back to Minnesota to rebuild. Another good winter aboard Broulee. Enjoyed all the new people, dogs, old friends and new friends we met during this adventure and look forward to home at Bald Eagle Lake.

Fortunately this one missed us.

Railroad Bridge at Epes mile 247 on Tombigbee Waterway

Lots of barge traffic. These two guys tried to make a Broulee sandwich!

Passing a tow - one of us is on the wrong side of the red - hope it's him - water was so high - guess it doesn't matter.

Turbulent water at Demopolis Dam - it was like riding a surf board as we entered the lock.

Last sunrise before docking at Columbus - we will certainly miss this. Till next year!

Columbus Marina - oh something new - it's rainning - we feel gills sprouting. Nice to be in a covered slip.

Transmission is out - thanks T. Caldwell and Jimmy (gang at Columbus Marina) for lending your muscles.

Off to Minnesota - think we will need a bigger rental car.

Deb's Happy to be going home.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Whew - made it across the gulf (30 hours) leaving from Tampa on Saturday, April 4th and arriving Carrabelle, Fl on the 5th. The first 8 hours of the crossing was pretty rough 3-4 foot choppy waves. Seas flattened out around 4:00 pm and the rest of the trip (till 2:00pm next day) was big gentle rolling seas. As we approached The Dog Island channel we were socked in with fog and thank goodness for radar which allowed us to cautiously get inside St. Georges Sound. We had hoped to stay one day, but ANOTHER front was coming and because the Sound kicks up a bit in wind we stayed at the Marina until April 8th. Today the 11th we are crossing Mobile Bay to Dog River and should be at Grand Mariner Marina around 1:30 pm. I'm not using the plan word - but, our thoughts are to fuel up and leave Sunday morning to start heading up to Columbus, Ms where we will leave Broulee for the summer. It's been a good winter and look forward to Bald Eagle Lake.

Izzy found a nice little hiding spot during the crossing - a cabinet in the pilot house. (Fred our cruising cat used to curl up in here also.)

Moorings Marina - Carrabelle

Called the Forgotten Coast (now more so then ever - lots of vacant homes and businesses), Carrabelle is a fishing port, as well as a stopover for cruisers. It is completely water-oriented. It's principle industry is seafood processing, and one of the delights available here is shrimp bought directly from the boats just returning from the gulf.

The trip west thru the intracoastal waterway was pretty much uneventful - a little scary at first as we left St. Georges Sound and were only traveling at 3.5 mph. They have had alot of rain down here and the flood waters and tide were working against us. Later in the day after the tide changed we made up for the slow pace and where actually doing 11.2 mph - WOW! Very difficult at that speed to play dodge -um with all the debris coming at us.

Our favorite stop at White City was under water so a late night anchor spot at Panama City was our best bet. Arrived just as sun was setting and enjoyed a beautiful sunrise the next morning.

The 10th proved not to be a good day to cross Mobile Bay - severe weather predicted. Anchored at Orange Beach mid-day and enjoyed a nice relaxing afternoon on the hook.

Are we there yet?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The lines have been cut - we finally pulled out from our safe haven at Legacy Harbour Marina after saying goodbye to all our new friends and old friends. It's been a good winter, but time to start thinking about grandkids, gardens, and getting Izzy back to her own big yard. We left Monday the 30th of March along with friends, Rick & Pam on "Tourist" a 48 ft. Sea Ray who were headed to the Bahamas (I think Broulee wanted to go with them - I know the captain did).

We had a nice slow paced uneventful day and anchored at an old favorite spot at Cape Haze about 50 miles north of Ft. Myers. Joni you will remember this anchorage where we regrouped after our FIRST terrifying time going aground in Oct. 2000. Nice quiet night, however Izzy could not figure out where the dock went and the evening docktails people.

Headed out next morning to continue our journey north when Rick spotted a trawler approaching heading south with bikes up top. He then turned to me and said "did we put our bikes up top?" Oh, crap!!!! Our first thought was to just leave them, then we started figuring out how much was invested in bikes, seats and locks versus fuel to go back and the bikes won. Rick remembered that some friends from the marina had talked about going out to Ft. Myers Beach which would save us some time not having to go back up the Caloosahatchee River. They agreed to meet us at the beach with the forgotten bikes. We had not done the beach thing before and it turned out to be a fun experience.

Bike rescue - thank you Donnie and Marilyn - we owe you one or maybe two.

Izzy loved the beach - she got to dinghy ashore everyday for her daily walk. Much more relaxed in the dink now - she likes to drag her paw in the water saying look at me mom - wheeeee.

The girls shopped a little bit and the guys headed for the pier.

 Busted. Rick & Donnie caught eyeballing the beach babes.

Donnie & Marilyn (former trawler people now on a 40 ft Carver called Kasey's Choice) leaving just ahead of us from the Ft. Myers Beach anchorage. We had a great couple of days and time to head north (again) for our possible crossing of the gulf to Carrabelle hopefully Saturday and Sunday.