Last Friday, the 13th, Blue Heeler continued its excursion down the Tombigbee Waterway passing through the Demopolis Lock, and by narrow creeks and bayous of Alabama to arrive at mile 168. Here we anchored on the riverbank well away from the barge channel.
The next foggy morning we motored 40 miles to reach the narrow and shallow Okatuppa Creek at mile 123 where we listened to owls and insects buzzing in the scrub overnight. Passing through our final lock at Coffeeville at mile 116, our next anchorage at mile 63.8 was up a narrow scrubby creek draped in cobwebs and vines. About half a mile up, the creek opened up into the wider Three Rivers Lake. Here we anchored away from the Tombigbee and the barges. Before dusk we dinghied around the bayous to look for alligators or snakes but didn’t see any just millions of mosquitoes.
Tuesday night the weather forecast was for threatening tornados and heavy rain. By this stage we’d reached a safe anchorage at mile 40 at the wide and deep Tensas River. With a swift current keeping the boat straight, we stayed put until the thunderstorm passed later on Wednesday afternoon. Up early on a clear Thursday morning this was our final day into to Mobile at mile zero; our ultimate destination on this trip. Unexpectedly, just as we approached the fixed bridge on arrival at Mobile Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama‘ came blasting from the iPod – freakishly on cue! Next to the Mobile Convention Centre we tied up to the free dock and checked in with the security guard who came to greet us. Hooray!
I wasn’t too sure what to expect of Mobile. It’s quite modern and a little touristy – reminds me a bit like the west end of Perth in Western Australia (even more so as Western Australian ship-building company Austal has a huge complex across the river making multi-million dollar war ships for the navy).
Mobile was the first capital of the French colony of Louisiana and Europeans first settled in the early 1700s. This region has an amazing history and I’m looking forward to learning more about it. The main street, Dauphin Street, has many restaurants and is pleasant to walk along. Riding my bike along the tall tree lined West Dauphin Street to a coin laundry I cycled by magnificent mansions with flowering gardens, impeccable churches, a large temple; and the Alabama School of Maths and Science building, which is grandiose to say the least. Also within an easy 2kms of the dock is Greers Supermarket where I over-stuffed my panniers with fresh produce and some other goodies as this won’t be as easy to do once we’re at the marina further south.
So this is (almost) the end of our trip through the U.S. I mustn’t forget to acknowledge my wonderful husband Wayne who has a tough role as skipper, but an even tougher role being my mate! Our arrival in Mobile was also our 33rd wedding anniversary so as families gathered to watch the annual lighting of the Christmas Tree in the centre of Mobile, we joined in then went out to celebrate at a local restaurant.
Now we’re at Turner Marine which is the only marina that can accommodate our 6′ keel and also step our mast, but we have to wait some time to have this done. We still have some work to do on Blue Heeler to get it blue-water ready, and Thanksgiving Holiday will slow things up. There’s not much around here so lucky we have our bikes to get further afield.
As far as my blogging goes, I’ll return to my sporadic posts so they won’t be as frequent on this U.S. trip. But I will let you know how the mast stepping goes and what our next plans are. If you’ve followed our journey from New York all the way through to Mobile, thanks for reading and I hope you’ve enjoyed it as we have.
Bye for now…