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Monday, March 26, 2012

Swamp Tour - Monday 3-19-2012 - Up the Tensaw River

Today was a fantastic day on the water. We left 5 Rivers this morning at about 8:00 am, and headed up the Tensaw River. It was 65 degrees with a light fog, and the water was as smooth as glass. There were no sounds except for the water lapping against the bow of the boat and the birds singing from both banks. When we passed by the Osprey nest that we spotted yesterday, one was on the nest and the other was standing watch a few limbs over. 

This is a view of the osprey nest at the Blakeley and Apalache River. Quite a structure!

We made it under the Tensaw CSX Railroad bridge without the operator having to open it. We did wait until this train was passed, though, before going under it.

Our next stop was at Cliff’s Landing, about 15 miles upriver. Cliff’s Landing is a public landing next to some assorted fishing camp type structures and the River Pub, a classic riverside beer joint. Luckily they had a few bags of ice, and we replenished our ice chests before heading up river again.
The Pub is just what the name implies. We couldn't find anything inside for lunch, but we did get some ice.
The weather was great, and as we passed Blakeley State Park, we were disappointed to find that there was no access by boat. The only boat dock was an extremely small structure, and the park’s tour boat was parked there, leaving no room for another boat.

I was on the phone talking with a friend a few hundred yards upstream of the tour boat when a bald eagle flew out of a tree and soared upstream about  100 yards and lit in another tree. I had to apologize later to my friend for yelling so loud into the phone! This eagle allowed us to get closer than any other one I’ve seen, and I was able to get some good photos. We also saw two hawks, that I believe were the red-tailed variety (look at the photos here, and if I’m wrong, someone let me know).
According to the locals, this is one of a nesting pair of eagles at Blakeley State Park. We did not spot the mate or the nest.

This is (I believe) a Red-Tailed Hawk. Leave me a comment if you know for sure.

We had planned on staying at Hubbard’s landing, but when I was unable to get them on the phone, we changed plans and docked at Lower Bryant Landing. It’s a trailer park/campground/boat ramp facility, and is not really designed for transient boat guests, but we worked it out. The drawback was there were no showers. They grumbled a little, but Abby and Glenda donned their bathing suits and made do with 5 gallons of lukewarm water from the solar shower.
I lost count of how many people stopped by to say Hi, and ask if there was anything we needed. It was without a doubt one of the friendliest places we’ve visited. Abby even sold a copy of her book to a gentleman who was riding his 16 month old grandson on his golf cart. Abby autographed the book to little “Preston”. I hope his Pop enjoys reading it to him, and I got the idea that Preston and his Pop will spend a lot of time on their own boat as Preston grows up.

I really enjoyed talking with the gentleman who had just launched his modified old Navy whaleboat. He had recently purchased it and installed a new diesel, and he was trying to get the prop shaft aligned properly.

Total mileage for today was only 27.2.

Glenda Says:
We got up with the sun this morning but that was later than usual since the sun is not coming up until about 6:30.  After a quick cup of instant coffee and hot chocolate we got on our way.  You can tell a difference in the river as you go further north.  The cypress trees are beautiful .  We saw a pair of nesting ospreys early this morning.  Just a couple of hours later we watched a bald eagle soar through the sky and land in a tree near the bank.  It is always awesome to see them.   We waited a few minutes at the CSX railroad bridge uncertain if they needed to open it or if we had enough head room.  The keeper came down and by radio said he believed we could make it.  He wanted to get a good look at the boat.  He grinned and asked several questions about the boat as we went under.   
Cypress trees are everywhere in the Delta!

Passing under I-65 on the Tensaw.

 Abby and I are keeping our eyes on the banks hoping to catch sight of an alligator.  Since we were puttering along so slowing Tom let us climb up to the front of the boat and ride.  Daisy was crying inside she did not like being left behind.  We decided to stay at a place called Lower Bryant`s Landing so our day of travel ended rather early.  We explored the neighborhood.  It seems to be a mix of permanent residents, weekenders and campers.  I was disappointed there was no shower house.  Abby and I ended up using the solar shower in our bathing suits (which is never very satisfying).  Several nice people ask about the boat and Abby even sold another of her books.  I’m sat on the bank watching the sun set and fought mosquitoes.  But after the sun went down they disappeared and the stars were amazing.  “The heavens declare His glory”!  If only human beings had the sense enough to declare it.  Ahhh, this is the lifeJ

Abby Says:
Today started when Daisy was the first one up. She was sitting on the floor, while we were still asleep. Then she started whining. She woke me up. After a few seconds I picked her up and laid her right beside me. We laid and I petted her and in within fifteen seconds it was time to get up! For breakfast I had hot chocolate and a granola bar. Later we saw a Bald Eagle!!! Later we saw a Red tailed hawk. We thought that we`d stay at a place called Hubbard`s Landing, but Papa had been trying to call them for three days and they still didn`t answer. We had no idea what it was like there. On our way to Hubbard`s Landing we came across one of the boat ramps, docks, and small houses. This place is called Lower Bryant`s Landing. Here I even sold another of my books to a man who bought it for is grandson! A lady who lives here said that if we needed anything to walk over to her house then she pointed to her house. Sometimes a boat would pull up and the person would ask about the our boat. Tonight for supper we had dumplings.     

Daisy the dog says: Today started when I was the first one up. I was sitting on the floor, while everyone else was asleep. Then I started whining. I woke everyone up. After a few seconds Abby picked me up. Within fifteen seconds it was time to get up! For breakfast I had to eat dog food. Later everyone was up and looking out the window with these little things that click. Of course I didn`t know what was going on because everybody was too excited to pick me up. Later GG and Abby climbed on top of the boat and I cried because I missed them. My day went on like this until we stopped at a place and I got to use the bathroom. We sat outside until it got dark then I climbed in to bed!

The countless "shanty houses" on the Tensaw. There are all shapes and sizes.
An old 26' Navy "Whale Boat" is given a new life.

Abby and Daisy take a break on the floating pavillion at Lower Bryant Landing.

Abby doesn't pass up a chance to get in the water - even when it's a little too cold to swim.

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