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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Demopolis Trip - Sunday 11-10, 2013

Enjoying the sunshine!
Glenda Says:

Boy!  I slept good last night.  It was a little chilly but the little electric heater came on and off just enough to knock the cold off.  We slept late for us and it was 7:30 before we headed off.   The instant coffee was not the best, but it will do in a pinch.  We decided against going through the lock this morning.  There was A LOT of barge traffic.  We went instead up the Black Warrior.  The sunshine warmed up the day nicely.  We explored a couple of inlets.  Its always fun to go through a narrow shalllow opening and end up in a wide beautiful lake.  We stopped to see the little red steel tug we saw last year.  The family remembered us and waved us in.  We got a tour of the little tug, met the children and had a nice visit.  We left with an invitation to come back and eat with them sometime.  It is fun to meet nice people. 

Once we squeezed through the small opening, it opened up into a HUGE lake!

We explored an inlet on the way back and found a Corp of Engineers boat ramp/campground.  Tom nudged the boat ashore and we jumped off  to strech our legs.  We got back into the marina before 3:00, went for a quick walk and drove into town for supper.  We had a few minutes to talk to marina resident Buell.  Buell is 90 years old and still lives aboard his boat.  He is former Navy and a nice gentleman.  It is opportunities like that, that make boating so much fun.  I try to remember, everone I meet is an immortal being. 

Seeing these white herons made us miss Abby - she loves them!

From Tom:
We radioed the Demopolis lock this morning while we were following a really large towboat, the Claude B, pushing several barges, that was also headed downstream. I didn't think that the lockmaster would allow us to lock through together, but I asked him. He stated that due to the low level of water, the tow would likely have to really push to get out of the lock, and this would make it rough inside the lock for our little boat. He called the tow Captain and asked his opinion, and the Captain said he would try to make it as easy as he could on us if we wanted to try it. We waited behind the Claude B until an upstream towboat was about to clear the lock, but the more I thought about it, the more uneasy I was, so I radioed the lock again and told him that we'd just make alternate plans rather than lock through alongside the tow and barges. I didn't really want to be trying to hold our little boat tight to the bollard in the middle of the blast from the tow's 2,000 hp engines.

The Claude B, about to enter the Demopolis Lock.  I wasn't comfortable sharing a lock with him when he might be dragging the bottom and pushing hard to get out on the lower end.

We had a great day exploring the backwaters of the lower Black Warrior, though. As much as I'd like a bigger boat, there are advantages to having one as small as ours. Since it only draws about 18" of water, we can go almost anywhere without worrying about grounding her, and even if we did, we could just jump off and push her back into deeper water!

The advantages of a small boat - you can go in skinny water and nose up the bank almost anywhere.
I wanted to include a photo from 10 seconds before this one, when Glenda was trying to climb back on the boat from the bank. But she threatened mutiny if I did.

Glenda has already told about meeting Buell, and we also got a chance to talk with Fred, the owner/manager of the marina. Fred is legendary for his knowledge of the river and his ability to provide great customer service. It was great to finally meet him.

We probably traveled around 25 miles today, and pulled back into the marina along with 5 boats that were traveling together on the "Great Loop". Maybe one day we'll be writing this blog while on the Loop ourselves!

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