“The Ditch” Canal Section

“The Ditch” Canal Section

October 12, 2018 Friday    Bay Springs Lake (south east end), Tenn-Tom Waterway Mile 413.2 to Midway Marina, Fulton MS, Tenn-Tom Waterway mile 393.8       25.8 nautical miles

34°17’51.9″N 88°25’12.6″W
34.297748, -88.420156
Elevation: 261 feet (3 locks dropped 147 feet)

57 degrees this morning in the salon when we got up.  The cold front definitely settled in. Dale wore long pants the first time since we left Minnesota.

Bay we anchored in

First kill of the day was at 7:37 am: A giant spider hiding in my electric range when I went to make French Toast. Second kill of the day was at 8:27 am: a fly.

Full of the days optimism we pulled our anchor too soon, before we called the lock. They were closed to complete 3-4 hours maintenance so we spent the morning exploring finger coves and free drifting. All in all not a bad place to wait. Bay Springs Lake is pretty and the weather was more than cooperative. 

Bay Springs Lake. Drifting waiting for the lock to open. We would put up a mile or so and drift down.

A 3 in one day (3 locks in one day even after a 4 hour wait)

By the time the Jamie Whitten Lock opened around 12:30 pm there were four of us ready to go. COSTAL KARMA, GOOD LIFE, none-Looper boat Journey. We ran through three locks all about 6-8 miles apart.  The lock masters try to coordinate the passage so that the next lock is open and ready when you get to it

Jamie Whitten Lock mile 412.0 – 84 feet high at normal pool. Probably the highest traversed on the Great Circle Route.  Door swinging open
Jamie Whitten Lock Tenn-Tom mile 412.0, Mary on lines


We completed the 32 mile long “Divide Cut” shortly after exiting the Jamie Whitten Lock and started the 44 mile Canal Section a.k.a Chain of Lakes Segment.

Canal Section

In the “Canal Section” the canal actually sits on the side of the hill with the hill acting as one side of the canal and the levee the other. This created a bunch of small, very shallow lakes. For cost saving certain areas they did not clear stumps. Just cleared tree tops.  In some areas, the trees were left standing.

Failure of this levee would not only flood the adjacent land to the west, but also drain the canal.

Tenn-Tom Waterway Levee and natural sides. Picture is from our iPad Navionics char plotter. You can see the natural side on the east and the straight line levee side on the west. The blue sqiggles on the left are unattached no longer used, sections of the of the Tombigbee River.  Seriously ox bowed!
Tenn-Tom Waterway – Canal Section – Natural hillside on port, dike on starboard.
Tenn-Tom Waterway – Canal Section – West side dike
Tenn-Tom Waterway – Canal Section – East side hill. The waterway get real wide but is very shallow if you leave the dredged section!
Tenn-Tom Waterway – Canal Section – Dead Trees in the natural side of the canal. Lot’s of them.  Left standing due to the cost to remove.

Canal Section Locks

Montgomery Lock, Tenn-Tom Waterway mile 406.8. Traveling with Looper boat GOOD LIFE.
Montgomery Lock, Tenn-Tom Waterway mile 406.8 – exodus


John Rankin Lock, Tenn-Tom Waterway mile 398.4 ‘I can swing them gates any way you want um. Just let me know’ ~ Dock Master   Note the exercise bike in window of Lock Masters office

Midway Marina mile 393.8

The 4 hour delay at the Jamie Whitten Lock meant we needed to stay in Fulton Marina as there were no anchorages in this area we felt comfortable anchoring out in with all the tree stumps.

Midway Marina mile 393.8, Fulton, MS – We are 2 behind this boat. You can see the tree stumps in the water not far from the dock. We need to make a hard 90 degree turn from the main channel to enter the marina.

Tales from the Loop:  SEA COWBOY’s anchor (the Looper boat behind us on the dock) twisted free at 4:00 am last night when a squall came through.  It spun him 180 degrees. Anchor didn’t hold and he drifted into GOOD DAY (the Looper boat ahead of us on the dock).  They weren’t very social to each other.

Midway Marina Office

Midway Marina mile 393.8, Fulton, MS – Office has a walk in beer cooler – and not much else. Dale’s off to buy beer.

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