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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Swamp Tour – Sunday 3-18-2012 - North Across Mobile Bay

From Tom:
By 6:30 this morning we were trailering the Knot-So-Fast from Ft. Morgan to the ramp under the Hwy 59 Bridge in Gulf Shores. The 10 minute drive had us hopeful that fog wouldn’t be a problem, but as we got about 3 blocks from the ramp, we hit a wall of fog that covered the ICW, reducing visibility to a couple hundred feet at most.
Fog on the IntraCoastal Waterway, Gulf Shores

We launched the  Knot-So-Fast and motored East very slowly along the bank for about 200 yards to the “Tacky Jacks” restaurant pier and tied up. Glenda and Abby went inside for breakfast and I walked back to the boat ramp, got the truck and drove it back to the house to wash the saltwater off the trailer.  

Our neighbors Danny and Nancy Reynolds were kind enough to give me a ride back to the restaurant, where the fog situation had not changed. We visited with Danny and Nancy for about 30 minutes and when the fog began to thin we cast off the lines and headed West toward Mobile Bay. By the time we exited the ICW canal into the Bay and turned Northwest, the fog was almost gone. The water was almost flat – only a ripple or two. Combined with temperatures in the upper 60’s, the lack of fog and wind made for perfect boating weather.

At 9:30, with everything quiet and the four-stroke humming quietly, I could have almost gone to sleep. Then out of nowhere, the biggest dolphin I’ve ever seen blasted out of the water about 3 feet in front of the boat! He came completely out of the water by 5 or 6 feet, then surfaced once more about 50 feet away, and disappeared. His jump caught me and Glenda off guard, and it took us a few seconds to catch our breath.

 As we crossed the Bay, staying about a mile out from the Eastern Shore, the South wind and waves picked up a little as the day went on, but made for a comfortable and mostly uneventful ride.
Abby took a few turns at the wheel while the Bay was calm.

Approaching the Mobile Bay Causeway.
After crossing under the I-10 Bridge into the Blakeley River, we stopped to stretch our legs and give Daisy some “grass time” at the “5 Rivers” facility (a State facility that operates as a welcome and educational center for the Delta area).  Since it was still early (about 3:30 pm), we continued North around the point and then South-West down the Apalache River to Picard Pass to the Original Oyster House for a supper of alligator, shrimp, fish and chicken.
One of the few other boats we saw on the Bay. In the background you can see Middle Bay Lighthouse.

On the way back to 5 Rivers we noticed two Ospreys and a huge nest at the point between the Blakeley and Apalache Rivers. After rounding the point and taking a few pictures, a Marine Police boat pulled up beside us and wanted to make sure we knew about a large sand bar and shallow water on our starboard side.
One of two ospreys near their nest at the point where the Tensaw splits to make the Blakeley and Apalache Rivers.

We anchored out between the main pier and the canoe rental pier at 5 Rivers and watched the stars for a while before the mosquitoes drove us inside.

Total mileage for the day was 46.8, at an average speed of about 5.5 mph.

Abby Says:
Today started when GG and Papa woke me up at about 6:00.We went to put the boat in at a boat ramp under the High Way 59 canal bridge and we went to Tacky Jacks to eat while Papa went to drop the trailer back in the neighborhood. GG ordered a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit. I got a pancake. When the waitress came with our food, the pancake was so big, me and GG had to share it, and we still didn`t finish it!  We told the waitress that we needed a takeout box for the biscuit. Then we shared the pancake. When we finished there was still small part of the pancake left. Then waitress said, “Do you want to take this to Hubby too?” GG and I laughed after we said no and the waitress went back into the kitchen Then we headed off! Daisy and I laid down most of the day and sometimes we went outside. Later we stopped at 5 rivers, and went to the bathroom. 5 rivers doesn`t let you stay overnight at their dock. So we anchored out in Sardine Pass. I slept good in a sleeping bag.

(The following is translated by Abby, since she is the only one who claims to understand Daisy:)
Daisy the dog says: I had fun exploring through the trees with Abby at 5 rivers! There was a college student who had a dachshund at home who was the same color as me, and the college student still she thought I was the prettiest dachshund she had ever seen! ( I mean woof.)

Glenda Says:
Ok - end of day 1 of Spring Break 2012---Abby and I were able to enjoy a nice breakfast at Tacky Jacks under the intra-coastal waterway bridge while Tom took the trailer back to the house.  You should have seen the look on Abby’s face when they brought her the GIANT pancake she ordered for breakfast.  No problem  -  I just helped her eat it and saved the biscuit I ordered for Tom.  Danny and Nancy from our neighborhood were nice enough to drive Tom back up.  We were off on our adventure by 8:15.  The journey over the bay was relatively uneventful. 
The Grand Hotel at Point Clear

We had a couple of dolphin sightings but they were quick and did not reappear.   I did see what looked like a prehistoric creature right on the surface of the water as we were passing by Point Clear.  It was long with a wide bill like thing.  I think it was some kind of gar.  Of course everybody else missed it.   
The Mobile skyline from the northern part of Mobile Bay.

I always wax reflective when I am out on the water.  God’s creation is so majestic.  I am thankful that all he wants me to do is to know him.  These trips with Tom, Abby and Daisy help me with that (on all kinds of levels.) If I can just spend my life trying to know God, he’ll take care of the rest.  You know there is a lot of relief in that.    We ate too much at the Oyster House.


  1. Awe, I love this! I went to Mobile this spring break and went over that part of the water where I-10 goes over! So cool:) and the intercostal waterway too! Mobile is awesome! See you tomorrow Mrs. Smitherman!

  2. I love this, Mrs. Smitherman! I can just hear you saying all of this when I'm reading!