Archive for January, 2015|Monthly archive page

Six Days On The Boat And I’m Gonna Be Home Tonight

In old boat, On the river, Uncategorized on 25/01/2015 at 14:15


Last week on January 13th I got a call from Joe Bru. Joe had been looking at a sailboat for a few months up in Florence Alabama. I had been up there a few times with him to check it out. I also drove his son and him to Florence to bring it down as far as Columbus Mississippi. Lot’s of driving later and bad weather they arrived after 135 miles on the Tenn-Tom waterway and the boat was tied up at Columbus. We picked them up and I thought it would be next month and then the boat would be brought the 350 miles to Mobile Alabama. The whole trip is 6 hours by car 9 days by water

Well the phone call came. It did not come next month it came on the 13th. “ We have a weather window and we need to leave Thursday.” He spoke like it was the last chance to see a close friend before he dies. He was hot for this boat and he had a grandbaby on the way in a few weeks and he wanted it home like we all would if it was our boat. But it wasn’t my boat and 24 hours notice is a bit much for a 6 day 350 mile trip down the Tenn-Tom.

However, I am made of  a tough polycarbonate material and not particularly the sharpest knife at the butcher shop.

This boat has no depth gauge, an engine that leaked at the freshwater cooling impeller seal and bad batteries. Last but not least it possessed no VHF Radio. But as we joked with Joe, “ It has really good upholstery.”

The game was on. I packed and grabbed my stuff . I took my heater, my GPS, my computer, my annotated charts my storm suit and fancy life jacket.  I took my hand held VHF, a spoon and a knife and a pan and a cook stove. By accident I grabbed the wrong clothes pile and ended up with 4 pairs of clean under an one clean t-shirt. I guess for a man that’s actually a good ratio.

Below is joe on day one 1/15


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Above me on day 3

The thirty foot 1969 Morgan. A beautiful boat with good upholstery

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The weather was quite cold in the mornings but the days were perfect. Highs in the 60’s and sunny. Old Joe could pick a weather window


Above is a screen shot of a satellite image of the river. Note the switch backs all over the place.

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Above: IBID. Check your Latin.

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Falls below Demopolis Lock and Dam are beautiful. This trip was the first time I had locked trough with another person. Piece of cake. I will hear no more complaining from folks not locking through alone.

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Mile marker at Barron’s Landing which is real challenge if there is boat traffic. This anchorage is not for weekend boaters

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I told you what I brought along. Well after the last trip when Joe’s son unpacked the boat he took some needed things like silverware. Joe with the gift of gab – he did talk me into the trip-managed to get a spoon from the lockmaster at Tom Belvil Lock.

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The old I had to walk to the  nearest phone. It was uphill both ways.

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At bobby’s fish camp We found this old Matthews. This was a 1968 wooden boat. All boats have a story. From what I gather a gentleman purchased this boat somewhere back up the river about a month and a half ago. No one knows where. He started to bring it down the river and got caught leaking fuel in one of the locks and got the big fine from the coasties. He was stuck at Bobby’s for three weeks. Being stuck at bobby’s is like vacationing in a  parking garage: not a lot to do. The part came in and it was the wrong part. The fellow told the grounds keeper he could just have the boat. He gave it to him and left. Well the grounds keeper tied it up and in the first week of January when the river flooded it foundered.


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Every time we went under a bridge Joe was worried we would hit it. All bridges on the river are 52 feet tall. I however encouraged his paranoia.

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Sometimes a picture doesn’t do it. This scene was very beautiful. The rocks were all glistening with run off and the reflection was a perfect mirror image. This scene went for about a mile. you could see the thin sheen of water shining and flickering as it rolled over the shale.

We made it in 6 days. The boat held up although we had to bail the bilge quite a bit. Boat didn’t have a bilge pump either.

Six days And I was home .

Well I haven’t been all cruising down the river. I have volunteered one day a week at the Food Bank. I sort food. They have 18 million pounds of food in the warehouse. I can sort about 800 to 900 pounds a day. These are great people.

bru trip 2


I also built a shelf for my outside galley. As you can see I had this gizmo made from an old TV wall mount. Couldn’t put a darned thing on it for fear of failure. So I built a shelf that folds down like a table leaf.



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You can stand on this one. I have to dismantle it and sand and finish the wood.

In my last post I showed work on the port lights over the galley.

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Now I am going to put a light over the sink and close up underneath.

Well ,we are all caught up.

Carl Sagan spoke for me.

“ For me it is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring”

Dr Brad standing by on 16

what’s a boat trip without a sunrise

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