Saturday, March 22, 2014
Today was the first day of the first extended tugboat trip for our 7 year old granddaughter, Dani.
After watching the weather forecast over the last few days, we chose to do our Spring Break trip on the Mobile-Tensaw delta.
The delta is a fantastic place, which defies any simple description. There are places, such as the Mobile River downtown area, which are super-heavy industrial/shipping port locations, yet just a few miles (or less) away, you can find yourself in small creeks or bayous that seem to be a million miles and thousands of years away from civilization.
In contrast to the white chalk cliffs of Demopolis, which is less than 200 winding river miles North of here, there really is no "bank" on the rivers and creeks here. The water's edge is roughly delineated by cypress trees with huge trunks and palmetto plants, both of which would be right at home in a dinosaur movie. But as you cruise closer to the waters edge, you realize that it's an illusion, as the water, although dotted with plants, doesn't end where you thought it did. It just turned swampy enough for the undergrowth to get too thick for you to see very far, and once again, you realize how tiny we humans are when compared to all of God's creation.
Dani saw her first wild bald eagle, and her first two wild alligators today. As a "Papa", I'll always feel blessed that I got to be with her when she saw these majestic examples of America's wildlife. When I was her age, we were all told in school that both these species would be extinct by the time we were adults! I'm so glad for the comeback they've made, although I have to admit that I sometimes think we need a size limit on the gators - the big ones are scary!
Anyway, we launched at the Mobile Delta Marina, at the North end of Dead Lake. (You can see the marina/campground from I-65, at about the 25 mile marker.) We cruised slowly down Dead Lake and then
down Big Bayou Canot to the train bridge and on the way back we took a detour through a narrow pipeline canal to Catfish Bayou. Dani enjoyed the sights and getting a chance to take the wheel.
|Dead Lake is teeming with wildlife.|
We got off from Montevallo by 6:00 am. That's not bad! We were in the water before 11:00. The day is perfect. Sunshine and low 70's. Just what a tired old teacher needs. There seems to be a
lot of fishermen out but we are getting lots of compliments on the boat. As always God provided great beauty and impressive sights. We got great photos of another juvenile eagle. We saw it on the way down to the railroad bridge at Big bayou Canot. This is where many years ago there was a tragic accident where a tugboat hit the train bridge. We ate a turkey sandwich and snacked on the boat as we meandered through Dead Lake and on down the bayou. We got back to the marina around 4:00 and drove back up to Stockton to The Stagecoach cafe and ate WAY too much at their buffet. I'm gonna have a hard time remembering I'm suppose to be dieting. The marina is nice and this time there was no misunderstanding about our accomadations. I really need this break. It is such a blessing to be able to share these memories with my grandchildren. All my tensions just melt away on the water.
We woke up early but the trip down did not seem long. I slept a little after I ate my biscuit. I was excited about my first trip on the tugboat. Papa let me drive the boat! I was good at it. G.G. Said that on this trip taking care of Daisy is my job. I liked seeing lots of white birds. Papa said some were herons and some were egrets. I saw some turtles too. But my favorite was seeing the big alligators. I ate 2 helpings of baked beans, some green beans, grilled fish, fried fish and a BBQ rib for dinner. Then had ice cream for dessert. Then papa bought me some m&ms. This is better than Disney world. I can't wait to spend my first night on the boat.
Woof! I'm just mad I missed the alligator. I couldn't see over the side of the boat and nobody would pick me up!
|Dani's official job on the trip was to take care of Daisy. She did a commendable job.|
|The fixed train bridge over big Bayou Canot - site of the Amtrak train crash that killed 47 people in 1993.|
|Life is Good!|
|Dani loved seeing the variety of birds in the delta.|
|Dani writing in her journal.|
|This was the 3rd alligator we saw, and the first that hung around long enough for us to take a picture.|
|Dani was especially fond of the white herons and egrets.|
|Our first eagle sighting was this juvenile.|
|He was gracious enough to perch here very still so Dani could get a good look.|