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Month: November 2020

Dingy Dinghy (motor)

Dingy Dinghy (motor)

23-NOV-2020 Monday – Desoto Point, Bradenton FL to Twin Dolphin Marina, Bradenton FL   (4.3 nautical miles 4.9 statute miles)

27°30’00.1″N 82°34’17.3″W
27.500026, -82.571457
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Along the Way

The Bait sign went up about 6:30 AM and fishermen on their boats came in like Mary to chocolate.

The dinghy motor quit working. I really don’t like it when Dale say “Oh F_ck” when he is working on the dinghy. He spent the better part of this morning trying to get it going with no luck. He called around and found a marina slip for tonight and a motor doctor in Bradenton who would start work on our dingy dinghy motor today. We were off.

Really???? Who had the right of way?

We ‘Ubered’ to Manatee Marine. Dale had to sweet talk the Uber driver into letting him put the motor in his trunk. Wente worked on the motor for while then gave the starter a pull. It started on first pull!!!!! Woo Woo!  It had looked really dismal about three hours ago.

We called Uber for a ride back to the marina. The Uber driver came, took one look at us and the motor, turned around and left. The owner of Manatee Marine took pity on us and drove us back to the boat. Thank you Manatee Marine!

10,000 steps Evening walk around the town.

Drolleries and Yuks

Where do you take a sick boat?
-To the Dock

A Fever

A Fever

22-NOV-2020 Sunday –St Pete Municipal Marina, St Pete FL  to Desoto Point, Bradenton FL  (18.7 nautical miles 21.5 statute miles)

27°31’22.0″N 82°38’28.1″W
27.522763, -82.641151
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Dale’s been telling me for the last 3-4 days “The wind is going to lie down. The wind is going to lie down. The wind is going to lie down. I’ve checked Windy. The wind is going to lie down.”

I suppose if you keep saying that long enough eventually the wind will lie down.  The wind laid down this morning. It was a great day for crossing Tampa Bay. Waves were under a 6 inches.

Heading into the Sunshine

There WAS sunshine immediately after we crossed under the bridge!

This was marked as a fishing location so, of course, we needed to stop.

My first though was that I was running yes dear aground! It looked like rocks!

There were several ‘fevers’ of rays in this fishing location. Each fever easily numbered well over 50 rays. (A group of rays is called a fever.)

The best radio hail I heard today was some guy asking to be ‘waked’. His boat was stuck on a sandbar and needed assistance to roll off. LOL.

Neighbors

Our anchorage is just off a main thoroughfare. It was a road race until the sun settled. It is Sunday night of Thanksgiving week so it really wasn’t unexpected. It’s going to be a busy on-the-water week.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

The Sunshine Skyway Bridge, at 4.1 miles long and 19 stories high, is the western hemisphere’s largest suspension bridge. The Travel Channel ranked it number 3 as one of “The 10 Best Bridges of the World.”

Because of the high number of suicides attempted from the Sunshine Skyway, the State of Florida installed six crisis hotline phones along the center span of the bridge.

Courigan’s Irish Pub

Courigan’s Irish Pub

21-NOV-2020 Saturday – St Pete Municipal Marina, St Pete FL     (0 nautical miles 0 statute miles)

27°46’05.2″N 82°37’41.8″W
27.768111, -82.628272
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Along the Way

First on our agenda was the St Pete’s Farmers Market. We were just where we wanted to be. Ground zero. Right there in downtown St Pete for the farmers’ market and the Dali Museum. We were feeling pretty smug about not having to pay $5.00 for parking to come to this farmers’ market until we remembered we paid $106 for our boat slip.

We bought a little of everything, but not everything.

The last thing I needed on yes dear… was an expensive pottery bowl.  I bought one anyway. The artist is holding the one I bought.

Half the fun of a farmers’ market or art festival is the people.

Dali Museum!!!!

The Dali Museum had a new exhibit grand opening today and was all sold out for the next few days. ☹ We’ve been there before and had wanted to go back. I guess we will have to do it another trip. This is a MUST DO if you have never been there before.

We rode the free Jolly Trolley to escape the drizzling rains. Turns out we’d already walked most of the route yesterday, and more.

Neighbors

Propane canister motor. It uses a propane can just like your Coleman lantern or grill. Dale says they’ve been around for a while but I have seen one. Just attach the can and away you go. (There is no can in the motor picture below, but you can see where it goes.)

Look at ALL the junk piled on this boat. It’s truly junk. Are marina fees cheaper than storage fees? Interestingly, there are two pedestal plant urns with live flowers blooming in them.

Next time were are in the ‘Burg ….

I want to go to Hellview Cemetery. Dang. I didn’t find out about it until tonight. Early natives said it was near a “Gateway to Shadow,” believing that the Hellview Cemetery area was a portal for evil.

Courigan’s Irish Pub

Today’s blog (and yesterday’s) was brought to you from Courigan’s Irish Pub. The marina does not have internet and Courigan’s Irish Pub is the closest place with internet we could walk to. All for the price of 3 on tap Guinness and a hors devour.

To the ‘Burg

To the ‘Burg

20-NOV-2020 Friday – Belleview Island, Belleair, FL to St Pete Municipal Marina, St Pete FL     (29.9 nautical miles 34.4 statute miles)

27°46’05.2″N 82°37’41.8″W
27.768111, -82.628272
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Along the Way

Sand Key runs ~14 miles along the ICW from Clearwater Beach, Belleair, Indian Shores, Redington Beach to Madeira Beach.

There are many vestiges of Old Florida along this stretch. Old Florida is alive and well if you look closely.

Transitional Florida

Madeira Beach

Looks like Hurricane Eta cleared out a few boats around here.

The Florida Finger

Canal depths in the ICW aren’t as deep as the canal depths on the rivers. I suspect it’s because there are no tows through this area.

St Pete’s Beach – Once again I am astounded by how many rich people there are in Florida

Dale hailed the bridge before we crossed under. They requested he wait for the crane barge to move to the other side before we went through. After our slow pass through BOTH the bridge workers and the crane hailed him to thank him for his consideration in hailing them and his courteous slow passage.

Boca Ciega Bay – You know it’s a shallow bay if there is a heron standing in middle of it.

I got to thinking about the name of the bay, Boca Ciega, and wondered what it translated to. Blind mouth.  Hum. That then got me thinking about what Bota Roton translates to, rat’s mouth.  The untranslated names see so much more romantic.

There ain’t no sunshine on the Sunshine Bridge.

St Petersburg

About town

and into the evening….. By 8:00PM you’d never know there’s a COVID-19 pandemic in Florida!

St Pete’s Pier – The 26-acre Pier District just opened on July 6, 2020. This year! The old pier closed in 2013. The walk to the end of it is about .3 miles.

Neighbors

Floccinaucinihilipilification

If you want to be hip and cool DON’T call St Petersburg the ‘St. Pete.” Call it “The Burg.” And yes, you call the locals “Burgers.”

Dumb as a Sponge

Dumb as a Sponge

19-NOV-2020 Thursday –Turtle Cove Marina, Tarpon Springs FL to Belleview Island, Belleair, FL     (19.3 nautical miles 22.2 statute miles)

27°56’28.5″N 82°49’05.5″W
27.941259, -82.818189
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Low Tide

Low tide was at 9:00 AM. We had to wait it out till mid, rising tide before we could leave the marina without grounding. It was 2:00PM when we left.

With time on our hands we walked Dodecanese Blvd one last time, stopping for lunch at Yianni’s. We also grabbed to-go pastries at Hellas Bakery.

Back at the boat we discovered yes dear… is down wind wind from offsite Hellas bakery. Good thing we were still full from lunch and had the to-go pastries. It smelled amazing.

Dumb as a Sponge

Tarpon Springs has lots of dive boats along the sea walls and docks. It wasn’t until today that it finally connected with me they are professional sponge diving boats. Duh. Up until now I had been trying to figure out where the recreational diving reefs were and wondering if we should book a dive before we leave Tarpon Springs.

We left Tarpon Springs about 2:00PM.

Back in the Intercoastal

Good Night

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Are there alligators in Clearwater Beach?

Yes! There are plenty of Gators on Clearwater Beach. However, these Gators are harmless for the most part and have few teeth. They tend to be loud, obnoxious, and highly intoxicated.

Scoot Scoot Scooting Around

Scoot Scoot Scooting Around

16/17/18-NOV-2020 Tuesday-Thursday – Turtle Cove Marina, Tarpon Springs FL     (0 nautical miles 0 statute miles)

28°09’06.9″N 82°45’42.9″W
28.151920, -82.761903
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Good Morning

It felt so good to sleep in today. First thing we did went we got up was to go to the office and request another day. And then the next morning, another day.

We had been warned about low tide in the marina.

Turtle Cove Marina is a large marina.

Along the Way

First on the agenda was electrical parts and West Marine for two new fender lines. We jumped on the Jolly Trolly road it for about a mile jumped off and walked the rest of the way (and back).

The walk to West Marine and parts store.

The sign at West Marine reminded us to social distance at 1 fathom (6 feet)

We walked back streets to get return to the boat.

Last stop was for Dale to buy guitar strings.

Once back at the boat Dale MacGyvered in a solution for a loose wire in the air conditioner. A couple days ago it blew a fuse and melted the fuse holder. He will fix it permanently when he can get the parts he really wanted.

Scoot Scoot Scooting Around

Jim and Susan, we checked out your suggestion to go see Howard Island, the popsicle on the left in the below map. Our marina is near Rusty Bellies on the right. Dodecanese Blvd, where the Historic Sponge District is, runs East-West along that section of the Anclote River.

Outdoor seating at Rusty Bellies for lunch. I was going for a tonsils photo shot.

Same bird new location.

Quick tour of Historic Tarpon Springs Sponge District down Dodecanese Blvd, heading west.

Anclote River Waterfront

Then back up Dodecanese Blvd, heading east.

Dan H, I took these pictures for you. Every display case in Hellas Bakery.

Both my FitBit and my tummy has been happy here in Tarpon Springs.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

In 1887, John Cheney discovered money could be made by harvesting the sponges growing in the waters of the Gulf. By 1890, the sponge industry was firmly established in Tarpon Springs.

In the next few years, experienced divers from Greece were brought to Tarpon Springs. By using rubberized diving suits and helmets, they increased harvests. By 1905, over 500 Greek sponge divers were at work using 50 boats.

In the 1940s, blight reduced the growth of sponges and by the 1950s sponging as a profitable industry was nearly wiped out. However, in the 1980s, new sponge beds were found. Now, Tarpon Springs is back to being a leader in the world’s natural sponge market.

Drolleries and Yuks

How many Greeks does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Olive them

A Greek was trying to figure out how long a day was.
But after 24 hours he called it a day.

Who is the most attractive Greek mythological figure?
I don’t know about you, but Medusa always gets me rock hard.

The Greeks invented the threesome
But it was the Romans who thought of adding women

In Ancient Greek mythology, Chiron was a half-horse, half-human doctor.
He was the Centaur for Disease Control.

The word “Politics” is derived from two Greek words
“Poly” meaning “many” and “ticks” meaning “blood sucking creatures”

Cutter Up

Cutter Up

15-NOV-2020 Monday – Cedar Key FL to Turtle Cove Marina, Tarpon Springs FL     (62.0 nautical miles 71.4 statute miles)

28°09’06.9″N 82°45’42.9″W
28.151920, -82.761903
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Good Morning

We had a stowaway during the night.

the Way

Today was another big 60 NM open water jump from Cedar Key to Tarpon Springs. We were ~18NM off shore at our furthest point. No big deal as we were still easily in VHF radio range to other boats and the Coast Guard if the unexpected happens.

7:03AM was sunrise, but not that we would notice. In Minnesota we would call this an overcast day. Here, it’s high coastal fog… overcast.

The morning run started with a Sea World worthy display from four dolphins our bow. Magnificent, synchronized leaps. Too bad my camera was downstairs.

It was a beautiful run with 8 NM winds on our port rear quarter panel, a near following sea.

We slalomed through the enormous number lines of crab pots. Everyone says there are a lot of crab pots in the Tarpon Springs are. There are. It’s a regular mine field.

Crab pots come in all colors (white, green, red, lime, aqua, orange, yellow, black, navy….) and designs (solid, solid top, stripes, multi stripes, lines, Xs). They they range in size from just larger than a soft ball to slightly smaller than a bowling ball.

Watching for crab pots is similar to watching pelicans fly in as much “now you see them …. now you don’t”. All of a sudden, out of no where, there will be 50 of them right there. Right in front of you. We have a line cutter on our prop but hate to be in a position where it has to be used as they are not 100% reliable. 🙁 We did eventually hit a crab pot. The cutter did its job. Whew.

By the end of the day, I have to say we got our money’s worth from the line cutters. They are $50 a piece. We need two, one for each shaft. Line cutters can cost up to $500.  Not saying… but we might have hit 4 crab pots.

The smoke stack was visible from a long distance out.

There are no short cuts into Tarpon Spring. It’s real shallow outside the channel. The north end of Anclote Island is where the West Florida ICW.

The Historic Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks are straight ahead.

You can only get into the marina on mid to high tide. We came in on high tide.

The End.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Tarpon Springs city’s name is said to have been coined in 1880 when Mary Ormond Boyer, standing on the banks of Spring Bayou, spied fish jumping: “Look at the tarpon spring!” No matter that the fish probably were mullet; residents liked the ring of the name.

Hello from the Other Side

Hello from the Other Side

15-NOV-2020 Sunday – Dog Island, FL to Cedar Key, FL  (93.3 nautical miles 107.4 statute miles)

29°05’32.6″N 83°05’20.5″W
29.092400, -83.089033
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

Good Morning

Along the Way

Leaving Dog Island at 6:00AM was a challenge. The 4-5 foot bounce back waves the first 3 miles almost made us turn around. Sea Tow was bringing in a boat. We had to think really hard about continuing.  It takes a two vote in decision making.  In all fairness most inlets have interesting waves. The joke is that as long as you don’t see elephants it’s OK to run it. Elephants are BIG round waves. Even on land if elephants are coming towards you turn and RUN. Wait it out.

Overnight the 3 day forecast had shifted so we shifted.  It’s weather. Once out of the bounce back waves, we refiled our float plan (Thanks kids and bro’ Jim for taking on the responsibility of calling the Coast Guard if we don’t call you 8:00 PM). Rather than running to Steinhatchee we targeted Cedar Key, about 40 NM further south.  We knew we would hit Cedar Key near dark, but we wouldn’t be catching the 3 footers straight on the beam for the first 3 hours.  The weather was predicted to lay down at 11:00AM.

Dale had the jitters for the first two hour so. I doubt it was because he’d had too much coffee. He settled down as the morning progressed, as did the waves.  About 9AM he concluded the waves weren’t really wasn’t any different than Lake Superior or Lake Michigan and all was good.

Me? I love it. The big open water. It’s exhilarating.

This has been a weird year for Loopers. All the Looper boats are 50-65 feet, newer and traveling by themselves. No one seems to be buddying up.

One of our lines loosened and I had to go grab it. I put my big boy Type 1 life jacket on to go retie it.

Dolphins would gallop across the waves to come bow surf at yes dear.

It’s funny what you run into in the middle of no where.

The U.S Air Force tower N7 (also known as K-Tower) provides researchers, fishermen, boaters, and the local community with important oceanographic data. The tower is equipped with atmospheric and oceanic instrumentation, through which data is transmitted in real-time to the Florida State University Coastal & Marine Laboratory (FSUCML) and then to the Center for Oceanic and Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS) on the main FSU campus for processing and publishing on their website. Atmospheric data is collected from 19 meters and 30 meters above sea level, and oceanic data is collected from 3, 9, and 18 meters below sea level. Measurements include relative humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind speed, water salinity, and wave height.

With the lulling roll of the waves it was everything I could do to stay awake during my turns at the helm.

We had a surprise guest! A seagull landed on our bow and rode with us for about half an hour.

With the changing wind direction we ran into disorganized chop and v-shaped waves. After a hour it settled back into a rocking chair roll.

Something is in the water. Bait fish are jumping for their lives.

Good Night

Hello from the other side! We are now in the West Florida Intercoastal Waterway and anchored in the middle of no where, 2 nautical miles out in the Gulf from the nearest island. (Not my idea this time.)

The night is clear and the weather is calm. Dale suggested we just drop anchor for the night rather than wander the 3 nm in to the marked anchorages. Why not?

Tonight every star or planet you ever wanted to see was out. To top the beauty of the evening SpaceEx shot off a rocket.  Four astronauts were launched into orbit in the first fully operational flight to the space station by SpaceX’s new passenger spacecraft. The tail of the rocket in the sky from our view point was at least half an inch long.

Nauti Words

The Three Nautical Mile Line limit refers to a traditional and now largely obsolete conception of the international law of the seas which defined a country’s territorial waters, for the purposes of trade regulation and exclusivity. It was extending as far as the reach of cannons fired from land. Since the mid-20th century, numerous nations have claimed territorial waters well beyond the traditional three-mile limit. Commonly these maritime territories extend 12 nautical miles from a coastline. this was eventually established as the international norm by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Three Nautical Mile Line is still retained on NOAA nautical charts because it continues to be used in certain federal laws.

The COLREGS demarcation Line, U.S. collision regulation boundaries are lines of demarcation delineating those waters upon which mariners shall comply with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (72 COLREGS) and those waters upon which mariners shall comply with the Inland Navigation Rules.

Tonight we are anchored just inside the COLREGS demarcation line in the above pictures.

We’ve made it to Dog Island

We’ve made it to Dog Island

14-NOV-2020 Saturday – East Bay, Allanton FL to St George Sound, NW end Dog Island, FL   (63.6 nautical miles 73.2 statute miles)

29°47’02.4″N 84°38’56.7″W
29.783997, -84.649089
Elevation: Sea Level
States (1): Florida

We were up at 5:30AM CST as a practice for our Dog Island to Steinhatchee Gulf crossing tomorrow. Ha. There was a time zone change near Apalachicola. Ha. We have to reset our alarm clocks to 4:30AM EST.

We’ve been debating the past few days how we are going to approach the Gulf crossing. Typically there are 11 good crossing days in November where a slower boat like ours can cross from Dog Island to either Tarpon Springs or Clearwater, 150 to 180 statute miles respectively. This year there have been none in November and it doesn’t look like there are any in the 10 day outlook.  Tomorrow looks do-able for running the 70 statute mile Gulf crossing to Steinhatchee. (I hate do-able and prefer good.) We can then make southward progress by bouncing south, in two shorter open water hops, down to Tarpon Springs.  We do not need to look for as large of an open weather window.

Along the Way

Today was another run on a canal through salt swamps, cypress swamps and a small lake.

Mexico Beach and Port St Joe, just south of today’s route took the eye of Hurricane Michelle in 2018. Houses have rebuilt and lives have moved on, but still there is a lot of landscape, vegetation and wildlife devastation. That Michael was one vicious storm.

Cypress swamp. The cone shaped things at the bottom near the Cypress tree bases are called knees. Their function is unknown, but they are generally seen on trees growing in swamps. Some current hypotheses state that they might help to aerate the tree’s roots, create a barrier to catch sediment and reduce erosion, assist in anchoring the tree in the soft and muddy soil, or any combination thereof.

Entering Apalachicola. Population: 2,344.

Oh what a wonderous bird is a pelican.
He can hold in is beak
enough for a week
and I don’t know how the hell he can.

These pelicans have fish cornered and are swarming in for the feast

Heading out into Apalachicola Bay

Dog Island. Tonight’s anchorage.

There is no access to Dog Island other than boat. All material for housing and food need to be boated in. The houses that are on Dog Island are on stilts. Sections of it are so narrow waves wash over it.

Final act for tonight was prepping for tomorrow 70 mile open water Gulf run to Steinhatchee. (Dale’s has a D on it and mine has an M so we can quickly identify whose is whose and get it on. No fidgeting with making them fit.)

File our float plan, final check the dingy, final check the engines and filters.

Good Night

It is so unbelievably calm. There are so many, many stars.

There is a reason Florida is called the Sunshine State

There is a reason Florida is called the Sunshine State

13-NOV-2020 Friday – Santa Rosa Island, Hurlburt Field FL  to East Bay, Allanton FL     (77.4 nautical miles 89.1 statute miles)

30°01’52.3″N 85°28’16.4″W
30.031201, -85.471207
Elevation: Sea Level

States (1): Florida

Good Morning

There is a reason Florida is called the Sunshine State. I had my sunnies on at 6:10AM.

Along the Way

Social Distancing

Hi Jim! Hi Susan! Dale’s brother Jim and his lovely wife Susan are staying in Miramar Beach. We couldn’t coordinate meeting them on land so they waved us bye at the US 331 Bridge. Sorry we couldn’t connect. Love you!

This should be RED buoy.

Out of the bay and into the Grand Canyon canal. Sections of the Grand Canyon was severely pummeled by Hurricane Michael in 2018. It’s recovering. A beautiful run today.

There is a reason they call Florida the Sunshine State. Sunshine ALL DAY!

Good Night

You just never know who your neighbors are going to be unless you’ve anchored in that spot before or some one tells you.

Eastern Ship Building company. They are building Staten Island Ferries!!!!!!

Drolleries and Yurk

How do fish go to war?
In tanks.

Sweet Home Florida

Sweet Home Florida

12-NOV-2020 Thursday – Fairhope Docks Marina, Fairhope AL to Santa Rosa Island, Hurlburt Field FL  (80.4 nautical miles 92.5 statute miles)

30°24’10.7″N 86°41’42.4″W
30.402972, -86.695121
Elevation: Sea Level

States (2): Alabama, Florida

Along the Way

Heading out and leaving the gray bleak yonder. Heading for sunshine.

First 45 minutes out was snotty. We took 1 to 1.5 foot chop waves on the beam. They are annoying. Once we got around Great Point Clear we adjust our direction and had following seas, making a much more enjoyable run. All in all it wasn’t a bad run on the Mobile Bay. It cooperated both yesterday and today for us.

Even though Mobile Bay is a very large body of water it is not deep. Unless you travel in the marked channels you need to be alert and thread you way through.

Leaving the SE corner of Mobil Bay and heading into the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway (GICW).

They are all getting new roofs curtesy of Hurricane Sally and Zeta. It seems to me our last time through here these condos were damaged too.

Some land developer should be sued.

Lulu’s (as in Lulu Buffet, Jimmy’s sister) in Gulf Shores sustained damage. Parts of the operational but some of the marina is still not.

Along the canal

The huge Barbers Marina sustained a lot of damage and is still not operational.

I was wondering where people had their boats during the storm. I haven’t seen many derelict boats.

Inter coastal side of Perdito Key.

Our friend Ron in Pensacola used to be a jet pilot. He stays connected with all the happenings at the base. He said the Blue Angels just started flying a new style of jet on Monday of this week. The jet is slightly larger than the ones they were flying. The pilots are just getting used to them which is why we could only see 2 or 3 jets out practicing together and not the whole group.

Pensacola

Neighbors

It was a little noisy till later in the evening as the planes were flying fairly close overhead. There was also practice night bombing going on a ways away. KABOOM.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Mobile Bay is 413 square miles in area. It is 31 miles long by a maximum width of 24 miles. The deepest areas of the bay are located within the shipping channel, sometimes in excess of 75 feet deep, but the average depth of the bay is 10 feet.

The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GICW) runs approximately 1,050 miles from Carrabelle, Florida, to Brownsville, Texas.

Sweet Home Florida! Some where during the course of the day we crossed into Florida. Mary and Dale became Florida residents in August of this year.

Down by the Bay

Down by the Bay

11-NOV-2020 Wednesday – Okatuppa Creek, Womak Hill, AL (~TBW 123.3) to Mobile Bay Fairhope Docks Marina, Fairhope AL     (60.1 nautical miles 69.2 statute miles)

30°32’33.2″N 87°54’11.0″W
30.542562, -87.903067
Elevation: 0 feet
Total Elevation Change: -3 foot

Locks (0)
States (1): Alabama

Good Morning

My day started with a good laugh. We ran the generator so we could catch the weather on TV. LOL We tuned into Alabama’s Wheel of Fugitives. One big spin and the lucky person becomes the fugitive of the week for the officers to focus on.

Along the Way

Another bleak weather day.

Barry Steel Plant statute mile 30. It right in the middle of an ox bow.

Trigger Happy. I took a lot of pictures.

The changing landscapes and varied vegetation heading down river into the bayou and on to Mobile.

Mobile AL

I wanted to stay here on the free wall near the convention center. Dale wanted to stay at a marina in Fairhope. I let him win one. We kept going.

Naval Shipyard

Past the container shipyard and into Mobile Bay.

Fairhope Docks Marina

A shrimp boat was unloading. I bought 3 pounds of white Atlantic shrimp.

A scooter run to the grocery store.

Good Night

We went with the Hoppin’ John with the shrimp. I have to say it was the best shrimp I’ve ever eaten. It was flavorful and very tender.

Neighbors

Drolleries and Yuks

“Officer, how did the hacker escape?”
“I don’t know. He just ransomeware.”

One more dam to do and if the lock will let us through

One more dam to do and if the lock will let us through

10-NOV-2020 Tuesday – Okatuppa Creek, Womak Hill, AL (~TBW 123.3) to Alabama River Cutoff, Malcolm, AL (~TBW 53.0)   61.7 nautical miles 71.0 statute miles)

31°11’23.6″N 87°56’27.4″W
31.189882, -87.940936
Elevation: 3 feet
Total Elevation Change: -33 foot

Locks (1): Tombigbee-Black Warrior Waterway Mile 116.6, Coffeeville Lock and Dam
States (1): Alabama

Along the Way

But of course! Top of the morning. It’s a barge.

Bobby’s Fish Camp. The only marina on the lower section of the Tombigbee-Black Warrior Waterway.

One more dam to do and if the lock will let us through. The Coffeeville Lock had a work crew working on it.  We had a little over an hour wait before we could lock down. Guess we move to anchorage target B. We won’t make our targeted anchorage at mile 17.

No more locks till we get to New York! We are now in tidal water.

The landscape looks very much like yesterday’s landscape, but probably worse. It has been ravaged by the river.

I would venture to say that for every in-location buoy there is at least 1-2 out of location buoys, most of them in log jams on the banks.  This is the one that perplexed me the most. 20 feet up in the tree.

Lovers Leap mile 98

Industries

It misted the better part of the day. We ran with the side window open and the center window closed.

A case of the bends. Ox bow switch backs with too much regularity.  The Tombigbee Black Warrior Waterway is not ‘canalized’ like the Tenn-Tom Waterway was.

Today’s run was 71 statue miles on the river! (41 statue miles as the crow flies)

Good Night

Anchorage

Spooky huh? There were lots of owls conversing too. The smell of pine in the air reminded me of a good gin.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Alabama’s own rocket scientist Lonnie Johnson invented the Super Soaker. The Super Soaker was released in 1989 and still remains one of today’s top-selling toys.

Drolleries and Yuk

Why do bananas need sunscreen?
Because they peel.

A Mighty River Roared Through Here

A Mighty River Roared Through Here

09-NOV-2020 Monday – Kingfisher Bay Marina, Demopolis AL (~BTW 216.9)  to Okatuppa Creek, Womak Hill, AL (~TBW 123.3)    81.5 nautical miles 93.8 statute miles)

31°49’26.9″N 88°10’53.6″W
31.824149, -88.181547
Elevation: 36 feet
Total Elevation Change: -37 foot

Locks (1): Tombigbee-Black Warrior Waterway Mile 213.3 Demopolis Lock and Dam
States (1): Alabama – Choctaw County

Along the Way

Leaving Demopolis

Demopolis Lock and Dam – our first of two locks on the Tombigbee-Black Warrior Waterway

Nope. Not a greeting committee. They are opportunists. I should have had my telephoto but it’s pretty hard to swap out lenses when you are locking.

Strike 1

Strike 2

Strike 3

Locking is hard work. Right Dale?

Demopolis Rapids. Hence the lock and dam.

Along the Way

We see a lot of tows with this interesting configuration. The center barge is not as far forward as the two on the sides.

Definitely, a mighty river roared through here. All the banks are ravaged. Downed trees and bank slides. The impacts of hurricanes Sally and Zeta. Absolutely incredible.

Ox bows are so twisted you have to go north to go south

We traveled 93 statue miles on the river today. (53 statue miles as the crow flies!)

I saw a ‘provisional alligator’ today while Dale was downstairs in the salon. A real alligator sighting needs to be verified by both parties.

Good Night

We anchored in Choctaw National Wildlife Refuge.

We still haven’t picked up a running buddy.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Mary Anderson, born in Greene County, Alabama, is credited with the invention of windshield wipers. She was granted the patent for her invention in 1903. She never made any money from her invention because people believed the windshield wipers would be a distraction. In 1922, Cadillac became the first car manufacturer to adopt them as standard equipment. Interestingly enough, they’re now standard on all vehicles.

Drolleries and Yuk

Why was 7 afraid of 8?
Because 7, ate 9.

Why was 5 afraid of 7?
Because 6, 7 ate.

Back on the Blog

Back on the Blog

08-NOV-2020 Sunday – Kingfisher Bay Marina, Demopolis AL (~BTW 216.9)    0 nautical miles (0 statute miles)

32°31’50.7″N 87°50’31.1″W
32.530755, -87.841969
Elevation: 73 feet
Total Elevation Change: 0 foot

Locks (0):
States (1): Alabama

6:00 PM Today Decision

The weather pattern in the Gulf is is established enough we feel we can once again start moving south. We leave at first light (i.e. whenever we wake up) and head towards Mobile.

Along the way

Demopolis has the cleanest boats in the whole loop. Everyone who stops at this marina cleans their boat. And then recleans their boat. Then cleans their boat again. The town is soooo small there is nothing to do and no place to walk or ride bikes. There are only two restaurants in town. Neither is open on Sundays.

yes dear … is in bristol condition.

Boats that don’t get cleaned and recleaned end up at the Bone Yard.

Someone is building pontoons. Guess this marina is a cradle to grave marina.

Dale pulled his drone out for a half an hour today.

Drolleries and Yuks

What tastes better than it smells?
Your tongue

Back in the game tomorrow…….

Sit this one out

Sit this one out

03-NOV-2020 Tuesday – Kingfisher Bay Marina, Demopolis AL (~BTW 216.9)    0 nautical miles (0 statute miles)

32°31’50.7″N 87°50’31.1″W
32.530755, -87.841969
Elevation: 73 feet
Total Elevation Change: 0 foot

Locks (0):
States (1): Alabama

We are going to sit this one out for a while

‘Windy’ is the hurricane model we are watching. There are others. Eta doesn’t look like much of a threat today through next Saturday.

Here’s where we get concerned. Eta is projected to rebuild, smack Cuba, trounce the Keys then hang in the middle of the Gulf building strength for a couple of days.

Nov 16th is the furthest the model project out to at the moment. Dale called our good friend Charlie McVey to get his take on the hurricane. Living down here, he’s got a lot more experience with hurricanes that we do. He agreed we should just sit it out for a while. Heck. We are retired. The thing that unnerved me was that Charlie said “If Eta looks like it will be coming in towards Demopolis as a Class 4 or Class 5 hurricane, get out of there and run north.”

We’ll just enjoy Demopolis a while longer. Even if we continued on to Carrabelle FL we still couldn’t cross. The weather is too unsettled.

I’m taking a sabbatical from blogging for a couple of days.

Good Day for a Swim

Good Day for a Swim

02-NOV-2020 Monday – McAlpin Bend AL (~TTW mile 243) to Kingfisher Bay Marina, Demopolis AL (~BTW 216.9)    24.1 nautical miles (27.7 statute miles)

32°31’50.7″N 87°50’31.1″W
32.530755, -87.841969
Elevation: 73 feet
Total Elevation Change: -1 foot

Locks (0):
States (1): Alabama

Buzzards. Don’t know what thermal they are circling. I sure don’t feel it. 48 degrees.

Along the Way

It’s pretty but not much diversity in the landscape.

Just when I was thinking there is really a whole lot of nothing, around the bend was Buzzard Roost Bluff mile 234.


I painted my toes and toenails. I’m not going to wear socks again until we are back in Minnesota. If I keep my feet in the sunshine I should be ok. I definitely need a pedicure.

I checked the temperature at 9:41 AM. It’s 50 degrees in Forkland AL.

These guys must be heading south for the first time. Rather than moving to the side they kept flying about 500 feet ahead and landing in the middle of the river again. After about the sixth time they figured it out and swam towards the rivers edge.

We are out of “The Ditch”. The Tenn-Tom Waterway connects to the Black Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway. It’s Black Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway for ~200 miles to Mobile Bay.

Early day for us. We are going to hang around Demopolis AL for a couple of days until we have a better handle on what’s happening with Hurricane Eta.

Demopolis Basin Fuel Dock. We aren’t the only ones getting fuel.

Great day for a swim.
The dock was 4 inches taller than the step I took. Great day for a swim. I caught myself so it was only a partial dunking. One leg and my bum got wet.

Dale helped me roll out of the water and onto the swim deck.

We came into our slip like rookies. Extremely embarrassing for Gold Loopers like us. Thank goodness we didn’t have an audience.

Neighbors

Supper at the local bistro. I liked the lights.

We took home a piece of Mr Mike’s mom’s bread pudding for a late night snack.

Dumb Laws

After reading about the dumb laws in other states it got me thinking. What about Minnesota?

Minnesota State Laws

  • Mosquitoes are decreed a public nuisance
  • It is against the law to stand around any building without a good reason.
  • A person may not cross state lines with a chicken atop his head.
  • It is illegal to sleep naked.
  • You must wear a shirt while driving a motorcycle
  • Oral sex is prohibited.
  • All bathtubs must have feet.
  • Minnesota tax forms ask for your date of death.
  • A woman isn’t allowed to cut her own hair without her husband’s permission.
  • Rats have a 10 cent bounty.
  • It’s illegal to tease skunks.

Minnesota City Laws

Alexandria:
-No man is allowed to make love to his wife with the smell of garlic, onions, or sardines on his breath. If his wife wants, law mandates that he must brush his teeth.

Blue Earth:
-No child under the age of twelve may talk over the telephone unless monitored by a parent.

Brainerd:
-If you are a man, you must grow a beard.

Cottage Grove:
-You may not land in a state park with a parachute on.
-Residents of even numbered addresses may not water their plants on odd-numbered days excluding the thirty first day where it applies.

Duluth:
-Animals may not sleep in Bakery’s.

Harper Woods:
-It is illegal to paint sparrows to sell them as parakeets.

Hibbing:
-It shall be the duty of any policeman or any other officer to enforce the provisions of this Section, and if any cat is found running at large, or which is found in any street, alley or public place, it shall be the duty of any policeman or other officer of the city to kill such cat.

International Falls:
-Cats are not allowed to chase dogs up telephone poles. Yup, you read the right.

Minneapolis:
-Red cars may not drive down Lake Street.

Minnetonka:
-Storing “junk” is a public nuisance.
-If wood is not neatly stacked it is considered a public nuisance.
-Any person who persuades another to enter a massage therapist business after 11:00 PM is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Rochester:
-All bathing suits must have be inspected by the head of police.
-Smoking while in bed is illegal.

St. Cloud:
-Hamburgers may not be eaten on Sundays.

Virginia:
-You’re not allowed to park your goat on Main Street.

Wayland:
-Anyone can keep their cow on downtown Main Street at a cost of 3 cents per day.

Where is Wayland Minnesota?

There’s a storm brewing

There’s a storm brewing

1-Nov-2020 Sunday – Columbus MI (~TTR mile 315) to McAlpin Bend AL (~TTR mile 243)   74.7 nautical miles (86.0 statute miles)

32°41’18.2″N 88°02’30.8″W
32.688393, -88.041888
Elevation: 74 feet
Total Elevation Change: -62 feet

Locks (2):
Tenn-Tom Waterway Mile 306.8, Tom Bevill Lock and Dam
Tenn-Tom Waterway Mile 266.1, Howell Heflin Lock and Dam
*** Last one on the Tenn- Tom!

States (2): Mississippi, Alabama

Good Morning

The weather has to warm up or we need to stop at a marina to wash our cold weather clothes. I pulled a long sleeved shirt from my dirty clothes pile and put it on this morning so I could feel like I changed my clothes.

Along the Way

The infamous telephone booth at mile 312.

Somewhere in the day we crossed into Alabama. I didn’t even notice.

Montgomery snag boat at Tom Beville Lock and Dam
The Montgomery is a steam-powered sternwheel-propelled snagboat built in 1925 and operated by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Montgomery cleared snags and obstructions from the Coosa, Alabama, Apalachicola, Chattahoochee, Flint, Black Warrior, and Tombigbee Rivers until her retirement on November 8, 1982. She is one of only two surviving Army Corps of Engineers snagboats and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989. Montgomery now operates as a museum ship.

Below Tom Beville Lock and Dam
Huh? It’s the white stuff again?

The white stuff. Lots of white stuff. Foam.
Most foam in rivers and lakes is naturally occurring, and not an indicator of pollution.

The foam is most often the result of the natural die-off of aquatic plants … when the plants die and decompose, the oils contained in the plant cells are released and float to the surface. The turbulence from wind, waves and dams whip up dissolved organic compounds into suds. It accumulates more often during late fall when plant materials are decomposing in the water

Shots across the bow

Howell Heflin mile 266.1
Our LAST lock on the Tenn-Tom Waterway. I had to take a picture. A 30 foot drop. Besides, I got my coveted spot.

White Cliffs of Espe AK at mile 248. To bad the sun is on the western side. Last time through we were earlier in the day and the cliffs were gleaming.

There’s a storm brewing

There’s a storm brewing just above South America, Tropical Storm Eta. She expected to become a hurricane within the next 24 hours. She’s expected to Eta is very likely to bring hurricane conditions along the eastern coasts of Nicaragua and Honduras and no one knows where she’s heading after that.

Hurricanes this last in the year usually stay south due to a strong gulf stream and wind sheers. This year the winds are weak. One of the models has Eta pushing her way across Central America. More concerning to us are the models where she turns and heads north into the Gulf. The best guess model has Eta move back over the waters of the northwestern Caribbean where it could be pulled northward towards Cuba, the Florida Peninsula and the northern Bahamas next weekend (November 7-8). Our winter plans just might be rained out. Of more immediate concern is how fast to we continue to head south.

Good Night

Dumb Laws

Welcome to Alabama.

  • It is illegal for a driver to be blindfolded while operating a vehicle.
  • Dominoes may not be played on Sunday.
  • It is illegal to wear a fake mustache that causes laughter in church.
  • Bear wrestling matches are prohibited.
  • Incestuous marriages are legal.
  • It is illegal to impersonate a person of the clergy.
  • It is illegal to maim oneself to escape duty.
  • It is illegal to stab yourself to gain someone’s pity.
  • You may not drive barefooted.
  • Putting salt on a railroad track may be punishable by death.
  • Boogers may not be flicked into the wind.
  • It is legal to drive the wrong way down a one-way street if you have a lantern attached to the front of your automobile.
  • You must have windshield wipers on your car.
  • You may not have an ice cream cone in your back pocket at any time.
  • Masks may not be worn in public.
  • Women are able to retain all property they owned prior to marriage in the case of divorce. However, this provision does not apply to men.
  • Men may not spit in front of the opposite sex