Day's log for Monday, September 3rd, 2001 - Mobile, AL
It turned out I did not do the best job anchoring. Overnight a big wind blew up and pushed the boat across the passage. It wasn't very far so I didn't notice when I got up periodically to check my position. During my start I noticed that it was ridiculously easy to pull up the anchor. I put it in gear but it didn't move. I wiggled back and forth and finally the boat pulled free. When I got up to speed I noticed Andrea Lynn going slower than usual for 1800 RPM. I looked over the stern and saw a crab pot float. This was not good.
I tried to free the float by pulling on it. I noticed it was stuck to the rudder. I pulled the other side with the boat hook but it was stuck fast. I got in the dinghy to pull but couldn't free it. A guy came near who harvests the crab pots. He kind'a looked at me like what in the heck is that boat!? But he didn't come over and say anything to me about the crab pot. I then cut the rope in two places, tied a line in between, and dropped the float. The float promptly sank below water. I had done the best I could. Why did I bother? Because someone makes a living off these pots.
0930 - tied up to Mobile waterfront at the Convention Center. I sort of picked a spot to tie the boat up to. There were no signs that said "No docking". A guy on a bicycle said I could not dock where the riverboat takes tourists for rides but I was ok where I docked.
My experience was a bit disappointing. I found Mobile to be almost totally immobile due to the Labor Day closings. There were a few people out walking in the park and such. The guy on the bike stopped for a chat - said that my boat was a nice boat and asked if it was my home. I told him it was for this cruise. He said that only Burger King, Arby's, Subway, and McDonalds were open. I was in no mood for any of these. I then continued on. I saw some homeless men laying in the sidewalk. Someone I thought might be a panhandler said "Hey" to me. I just continued on. I then saw a bank teller machine. I moved $300, then $2700 from savings to checking to pay bills. I thought "holy cow, I've burned through $6000 already!". I also withdrew $160 in cash in case I needed it on the Tenn-tom somewhere.
1000 - left dock
1010 - passed mile 1.0
1110 - passed mile 7.0
If you just looked at the chart it would appear that there were many side rivers making the proper channel difficult to distinguish. That is actually not the case. The industrial waterside quickly gave way to woods, woods, and more woods. There was absolutely no sign of human habitation except for the occasional fishing boat, tow boat, and powerlines.
1139 - passed mile 10.0
1203 - passed mile 12.0
1208 - passed towboat "Tim Parker"
1215 - hailed 14 mile bridge
1220 - passed through bridge
1235 - passed "Herndon R"
1239 - passed "Tim Parker" again. He was picking up the second part of his four barge load to take through the bridge.
1256 - passed mile 16.6
1321 - passed "Bill Jr"
1334 - passed mile 20.3
1415 - brief rain
1445 - passed mile 27
1453 - boat with no name passed
1500 - a big thunderstorm loomed
1522 - passed towboat "Brook"
1614 - reached mile 35
1700 - passed mile 39.1
1735 - passed towboat "Voyager"
1749 - passed mile 43.3
1758 - passed mile 4(kudzu).0
1813 - finished Mobile River and entered Tombigbee river
1815 - the sun finally came out. For a while there were lightning strikes and they were getting close. At one point they seemed to be following me up the river and striking where I had been 15 minutes before.
1834 - passed mile 47.0
1915 - now getting dark
1919 - passed mile 50.7
1935 - increased current
1945 - I noticed on the chart the Alabama River cutoff at mile 52.8. The Waterway guide said that was a good anchorage. I watched for it but almost missed it completely as it was now nearly dark and the cutoff angled back south from the main river. I turned around and very slowly eased over to it. There was a party barge with one guy. He tooted his horn. It seemed he was warning me about what I was about to do. Then he continued up the river. I eased Andrea Lynn slowly into the channel until it was well inside and out of sight of the main river. Thus it was protected from towboat traffic.
2003 - set anchors fore and aft in Alabama River Cutoff and secured the motor.
The sounds of the wilderness were quite a contrast to the constant machine noise of the Mobile waterfront. There was splashing, gurgling, bubbling sounds in the water and buzzing sounds in the woods. It was very dark. I had dinner then turned in. The mosquitoes were out in force. Later at night I heard an eerie hum. I looked out and saw a beam of light across the river. I heard a loud, deep humming sound. It seemed like some kind of big leviathan out of the movies. As it passed I saw it was a towboat with one barge.Prev Home Next