Posts Tagged ‘Demopolis Alabama’

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


bru trip 3

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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No More Long Johns

In On the river, Uncategorized on 30/11/2013 at 14:54


I left Foscue creek and headed south. Next stop was Kemps landing.


As I went through the Demopolis lock it was 25 degrees and you can see the the fog coming off the lock walls. This stuff froze and fell as very tiny sleet on my boat.



The next 10 miles looked like white chalk and pines. It was very calm for a change and the water was really flowing over the Demopolis dam.



Here are two deer swimming the river. they turned back halfway and it’s a good thing because the other side was a 40 foot bluff.


This a picture of the remains of the Rooster Bridge. In 1979 when the water was 59 feet above normal pool a tow boat was swept under this bridge with the water about 3 feet from the roadway. The tow was flipped on it’s side and actually righted itself and kept floating. People on the shore were ready to see three crewman go down with the boat. They all lived with only minor injuries.


As you can see the SOG or speed over ground shows 10 mph. I am running 2200 rpms and usually this will give about 7.5 mph. This boat has never gone  10 mph unless it was dropped from a crane.


I think this can is going about 9 mph


Frost covered at Kemps Landing


The Tom Bigbee River to me looks a lot like the Ohio only the water has that clouds in your coffee thing going.


This is Bashi Creek. This is one of those few anchorages along the waterway. The water was backed up because of the higher water in the river. There was a lot debris going back and forth in the creek. By the morning the water had dropped and the creek was clean as a whistle.


Ahead is an actual hill. One of three along the whole route from here down.



My stop today is the famous Bobby’s Fish Camp. I had to get off the boat. I had been on the boat for a week all except 20 minutes at Demopolis Marina. Bobby has passed but the family runs it. I got fuel for the generator. I got some water and later I am going to have catfish in the restaurant. It’s a little pricey at $1.50 a foot with no showers but they are truly the last stop before Mobile 119 miles away.

They are very friendly and helpful and you feel at home right away They are even trying to find a pipe wrench so I can stop the leak from my packing nut. By the way my anchor light is dead. You think they could make something that could be outside for twenty eight years and would not wear out. Now that is cynicism. I rigged something up to get safely to Mobile

Tomorrow I go through the last lock of the  “ dirty dozen”. When I go through I will be 4 feet above sea level and subject to the ebb and flow of the tide from Mobile bay along with the water dropped over the dam.

Well time for an adult beverage and then some grub.

We’ll talk when the next cell signal allows.

Dr Brad standing by on 16.

This Weather is a Turkey

In winter in the south on 27/11/2013 at 07:32


AP Demopolis Al.

Reports have come in from river travelers near Demopolis Lock and Dam that freezing temperatures and high winds are causing travel to be unsafe. George the monkey mentioned at 6:00 AM CST.


“I ain’t leaving this heater for nothing no how.” he was quoted as saying yesterday afternoon as the winds gusted to about twenty five miles per hour and temperatures started to drop.


He recommended Foscue Creek and the Coast Guard Station to hunker down as he put until thanksgivakhah and then move on in the sun and lighter winds the next day. Many captains are taking his advice partly due to a dead cell and hotspot zone for the next 75 miles. Afternoon rain mixed with wind made only the foolish remain on the water.


As he steered Dr Brad into the safety of the station and a good anchorage. He was heard saying, “ This is safe but the average temp this time of year is 60 degrees. This sucks.”


This is Dr Brad reporting live from the Black Warrior section of the canal for the Associated Press.

Standing by on 16 and scanning all emergency weather radio traffic.


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