June 15-30, 2008 - Cruising Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

Previous Log - The most recent past log

All Logs - This takes you to the list of all of our logs

 June 17 - Sorry I haven't been able to update the website. Where we are anchored, there aren't any wi-fi signals I can pick up. We like it here so much, we didn't move just to get wi-fi. More about where we are anchored later.

A few days ago, Deb and I took off for a walk and ended up at Seville Harbour. Back about 15 years ago, I would come down here and rent a Gemini 3400. As a matter of fact, I was the first person to ever charter this particular 3400 and it was only about six months old at the time. At that time it was called Pitts Slip and we have many fond memories of the marina.


Unfortunately, one of the hurricanes came in and wiped out half of their docks. The problem really is there isn't a good breakwater on the east side so in big storms, it isn't protected very well from the surge that will come in.

We had appetizers at the Fish House and enjoyed the view before heading back to the boat.

The next day, we waited for a thunderstorm to pass before taking off for Perdido Key and our anchorage for the next four days. I fixed several things on the boat - fan in the port cabin (corroded wire), sea strainer leaking (added teflon tape), and mostly had some down time before we start north. Oh yeah, we watched Tiger Woods win the open too.

Deb took the opportunity to make a new bracelet so she was having a good time practicing her new skills.

Yesterday we went into the beach for a walk and some shell finding. Don't worry, I stopped her before she picked that sea oats. Down here I think it is a five hundred dollar fine for each one you pick so DON'T DO IT. Actually, sea oats is critical for the beach because it stabilizes the sand when storms come through.

I caught Deb in the act of picking up some shells. Even though we are about to put the boat on a diet, I think her plan is to weigh it down again.

The beach was as beautiful as ever although the jelly fish are in and they are flying purple flags according to the radio. Purple flags mean you really don't want to go in because of things like jelly fish.

I had ordered our mail to be delivered back at Palifox Pier but it didn't come in. I called late yesterday and they did deliver the package so I needed to travel the 10 or so miles back and get the mail. I decided it was time for another grand adventure so instead of traveling back on the Gemini 105M I decided it was time to give the good ole Port-A-Boat along with that new 8 HP motor a good test. Time for some open water running. After all, what can happen?

I made the run in leaving at 6:25 am and arrived at 7:15 meaning I was making an average of 12 or so miles per hour. I arrived about 10 minutes after they opened and picked up my package only to find out why it hadn't been delivered. The security gate was locked and the UPS guy couldn't get in. Great, I'll have to remember that. They tried twice and then on the third try they got through the gate. Oh well, I wouldn't have this great adventure if that wasn't the case.

In the picture to the left you can see the front of the dinghy and way out in the distance you can see the Naval Air Station with a Coast Guard ship tied up. As I was passing, it became clear they were refueling the ship.

The picture to the upper right is actually the Fort that guarded the entrance to the channel leading to Pensacola Bay.

The picture to the right is the Gulf of Mexico and the channel leading to it. The guys in the fort didn't shoot me out of the water so I guess they didn't see me as a viable threat. After all, I'm in a 10 foot boat and just cruising along.

I arrived back at the boat after another 50 minutes and was surprised that I used less than two gallons of gas. I only run the engine at about 2/3rds throttle when in it by myself so I guess that is the fuel efficient mode. Just think, I was getting the fuel economy equivalent to an SUV.

We are going to hang out here for another day and then we are moving in to our next marina for two days. We should see my father both days and then we are off moving on Friday. I have our schedule set up but really don't know if we will even be close to it. It all depends on the current and the locks. I figure an hour to lock through but that is optimistic because it could be a couple hour wait depending on commercial traffic. I guess we will see when we see.

 Later in the day - I am updating the site on the slowest connection known to man. This is on my cell phone at about 10K for the computer people out there, in other words, SLOW. Deb and I are both ready to go but know that we are doing the right thing hanging around and seeing my father again for the next two days. I normally don't put all the personal stuff out, wait, I guess I let it all hang out. The old story is that my mother and father got divorced forever ago and I looked up my father about 15 years ago after not seeing him for almost 30 years. He actually showed me quite a bit of class because he has never said a negative thing about my mother. I wish the opposite were true. Regardless, I have enjoyed the relationship and I know he has too which makes the waiting this week worth it.

I also just discovered that my charts on the computer cover the entire Tenn-Tom Waterway. Ok, there is a story there too. I was bidding on some charts on E-bay when I got an e-mail off line that said I could get charts from anywhere in the world from this source. I took the bite thinking I was probably making a mistake but instead received all the charts I would ever want from this "source." I have no clue where they got them or how they are able to sell them but they work. On the way back up the Tenn-Tom I'll be tracking my progress as we go now that I have those charts installed in the computer. Now all I have to do is get that padded computer thingey from Wal Mart on Thursday when we shop for the next two weeks.

By the way, we also blew up or should I say the new inverter just failed. Have you ever smelled smoke on your boat while anchored? I've worked on way too many electrical devices and when I smell the smoke of a transformer or inductor burning up, believe me I am up and running for the switch to turn off the power. Well, too late. I'll pick up another inverter on Thursday. This one failed prematurely which is the nature of electronic things. They either fail quickly or not at all. Anyway, I need it for the fridge and also the computer now that I'll have charts for the entire trip up the Tenn-Tom. By the way, you really don't need charts at all because it isn't like you can get lost. Just keep the boat between the red and green things and you are fine...... Of course there is that small detail about avoiding barges and of course the locks figure in somehow.

 June 19 - Wednesday I was inside updating my electronic charts with my own notes about which working channels the locks use on the waterway and where we had anchored previously when I heard the noise. You know, THE noise. Jets and several of them. Well, there are always jets flying at the naval air station but these had that certain ring to them. A Blue Angle ring if you get my meaning.

I had thought, because I read it on the internet and we all know that is gospel, that their practice was supposed to be on Tuesday. Yesterday they didn't practice so something must have "come up." So, I wasn't expecting the practice this morning. Deb and I were outside quickly and of course I had my camera in hand. All I can tell you is when I see these guys I see professionalism and I also feel some jealousy. I always loved flying formation with my friend Marti and also Richard. There is something about being on top of your game and flying with your wing 15 feet from the next plane and in perfect formation. Don't try it if you don't totally trust who you are flying with, if you haven't worked it out ahead of time AND if you aren't on "top of your game." The impact after failure is something that will ruin your day!

Well, for all my flying friends and anyone else who loves airplanes. Here are some of the pictures I took. From some of the pictures you can see there were times when they were right over the top of our boat.


Now wasn't that fun. These guys are good!


While I was out running around the front deck like a crazy photographer, I saw this bird that was diving into the little fish flipping away on top of the water. He made a couple of passes, I guess inspired by the Blue Angles then headed straight down into the water in that vertical dive bomb position. He hit with water splashing everywhere, lower left, and then flew off with his breakfast hanging from his beak.

We headed in and picked up fuel for our trip and then met Jack for a drive out to Lu Lu's for lunch. Lu Lu Buffett is Jimmy Buffett's sister and has a great restaurant down here on the intercoastal waterway. It was about 15 miles away so we got to see some more of the beaches they took out to make room for condo's. The views as you are going down the road now are the views of buildings. I hope people don't figure out that if you are cruising on a boat that you can see the water all the time because it might just get crowded out here.

We had a great late lunch and then made plans for the big shopping trip to Wal Mart.

 June 20 - Yesterday, as promised, we went to Wal Mart! Ok, you have to remember that when Deb walks into the door at Wal Mart she is happy. The reason is she says, "I can buy anything I want here." One of the critical things for us all here is that we aren't on a Champaign budget anymore we just lead a champaign life.

We purchased everything we thought we would need for the next two weeks to supplement our stores and then packed it all into the back of Jack's car. He's been a real trooper chauffeuring us around picking everything up. Next we went back to the boat, unpacked and headed off to take him to lunch at the Oyster House. We've been going to this restaurant for at least 15 years and the food is always wonderful.


After we finished lunch and thought we were saying our goodbyes, we went to the car and nothing happened. Yes, it was in park but nothing. I looked at his voltmeter and it read 8 volts. Bad news. He popped the hood and I found a loose cable on the battery but not that loose. In addition, the water was a bit low in the battery but he real news was one of the cells was smoking. We got some water and put it in the battery, I borrowed some tools and tightened connections but no good.

Next we called AAA and they came out and jumped the car. It started. However, Jack had just bought a battery with a 3 year warranty 2 years ago from AAA so they said they would turn it back over to dispatch and get a battery person out there. AAA left and we sat and sat and sat. Good news was that we got to visit some more and I was there with my cell phone. I called them back and found out that they didn't have a battery person to send out. So, they had to send another wrecker and jump us again. We got back to the boat after hanging out at the Oyster House for about 4 hours plus a couple of glasses of wine.

 Then we changed oil on the engine, a job I thought I was going to do a couple of hours earlier and took all of the packaging off of all the stuff we bought. We ended up with almost 2 bags of trash to throw away. By the way, we really try to leave our packaging behind when we take off because I really don't like storing trash.

We got underway this morning at about 7:15 am and worked our way through some of the intercoastal waterway areas that are pretty narrow. You can see one of the barges we past and you can also see that they carry some pretty dangerous stuff on those little boats. I guess that is one of the reasons we get out of the way.

We came by LuLu's and it was 10 am so too early to stop. I'm sure we will stop by on the way back down. We are trying to get to our anchorage by about 3 pm so I can clean the bottom of the boat then we will pull the dinghy out, fold it up and put everything away. We decided against going in one more time for dinner because we've spent way too much money this last week or so and we will have dinner on the bo at.. I would have cleaned the bottom back at our anchorage BUT the jelly fish are everywhere and I just hate those stings.

By the way, we are getting ready to head through a part of the country that seems to be pretty deserted. As a matter of fact, it reminds me of the movie Deliverance. So we probably won't be able to upload quite as often. My cell phone contract is up so when we get to St. Louis or Omaha, I'll be looking into data plans on the phone again. It all depends on price but it would be nice to have weather anytime I want it and be able to upload anytime too. However, since we are anchored just south of Mobile and I'm going to splurge and pay the extra data charge to update. Just don't expect anything else for another 5-6 days.


 June 21 - We pulled anchor this morning at 6:05 A.M. Ok, the problem is that when the sun comes up, I get up. So Deb was back to bed and I was working my way out of Dog River and through an opening in the dredge junk to the channel to Mobile. As I was heading out, it was obvious that we need to be vigilant for those other "small" boats that are also in the channel!

As we approached Mobile, there was a fisherman in the channel pulling in his nets. Not only was he interested in the catch, the dolphin on the right side of the picture was too.

As we went into Mobile the fact that this is a working waterfront was very clear. Cranes were everywhere along with boats that I don't want to play chicken with.


The massiveness of these cranes are somewhat overwhelming to a person on a 34 foot boat. The cranes on the left are the ones that are used to unload the big shipping containers that are used on overseas voyages.

Of course even BIG boats have to be lifted out of the water from time to time. We use a hoist to lift our boat out of the water but when you are bigger than us, you need a different technology. This is a dry dock that submerges and then the boat comes in and a diver goes down and welds supports to the bottom of the dry dock to hold up the ship that is about to be lifted. Once all the supports are in place, then air is pumped into the system and the boat comes up.

You can see that Carnival has a dock in the middle of Mobile too. I'm guessing it is a cruise to Mexico.

Boats were being worked on everywhere and with the rising fuel prices, I guessing that transportation by water is getting more economical. Ship the big loads instead of many small loads in those trucks.

Of course I just had to take this picture of the Carnival Cruise Ship because it shows the stabilizer on the rear of the boat. I think this is an earlier design because the new boats extend their stabilizers once they are at sea.

In the background you can see the tallest structure in Mobile along with the tallest structure in Alabama. What interested me was the fact that the two buildings were similar in design on the top. I guess they either were designed by the same architect or they were respecting each other.

As we were moving up the channel, I noticed this new boat that was being completed. It's name was Independence and it was number 2. As I looked at it, I became convinced it was a helicopter ship and what really interested me was it was designed as a trimarain. I am guessing the design was based on stability at sea. Another picture is shown lower left.

The picture at the lower right is one of three ships currently under construction. I guess if you are in a downturn or possibly a recession in Mobile, it pays to be in the ship building business.

Jim, you had better be paying attention! Why is this HUGE boat sitting in the middle of the channel with at least three tugs pulling on it?

Unfortunately, the answer soon became clear. There were about 15 boats with flashing lights running all over the channel. There were also a cluster of boats in front of the ocean going ship. As it became clear to me, something happened where either the ship hit someone (that wouldn't be his fault) or someone fell off the ship or another boat and they had to stop the big ship. All of the small boats were from the Sheriff's search and rescue team.

As we were pulling away, I added some more frequencies to my scan list and found out that they did pull someone out of the water. Unfortunately, he was dead. The power of the ocean is amazing and the ramifications of a mistake are daunting.

We moved further north and are now in the Tenn-Tom waterway. At this point, it is about 8 am and we are looking at the bridge that marks the 3 mile point. It is our intention to get to at least mile marker 38 before we anchor. I'm already thinking about mile 52 however. The reason I'm thinking this is that I lucked out and the tides are with me. Instead of having a 1.2 knot current against me, I have a .3 knot that is pushing me north. I know that my friend Gary says I'm the luckiest guy sailing but in this case I think he's right. Next time, I'll try to plan for it but the reality is I'll probably forget.

By the way, we are now in a river and you really should try to miss those logs floating down trying to take out a rudder or the outdrive.

As you can figure out by now, I'm trying to give you a real feel for what it is like to take this cruise. Once we are about 15 miles north of Mobile, the feeling of population is gone. As a matter of fact, you really don't think of population at all. What you think about is - "What happens if I break down." The reality is that you would put together your dinghy and pull your boat someplace where it can be fixed or where you can contact Tow Boat US to tow you. By the way, I have the unlimited policy for towing and hope I never have to use it.

Isn't the waterway beautiful! The picture to the right demonstrates a beautiful experience that we are having. As a matter of fact, we are having a much better trip up than we had coming down. I think it has something to do with the fact that 20 months ago we were "freezing" on our way down. If you are cold, you aren't having a good time!

According to our guide book, "the Mobile River delta that sprawls over an area up to about 25 miles wide and 40 miles long. It ranks second in the Nation in terms of plant and animal diversity, exceeded only by California's Sacramento River delta. Within its borders, for example, is Alabama's only population of black bears." They go on to say we might see one. I looked but I guess they were hiding.

At about this time, Deb was awake and finished with her morning routine. By the way, that includes getting Jimmy Buffett's cage cleaned and feeding him. (For those that are new, Jimmy Buffett is our bird and we don't keep the singer Jimmy Buffett in a cage.) On top of that, she vacuums the boat and then she is ready for the day. On this day, she came out and took over the helming responsibility as I went below and cooked up a batch of biscuits and gravy. Boy do I enjoy a good breakfast after I've been at the helm for 3 and a half hours!

We arrived at the 14 mile railroad bridge only to find that a train was coming south bound so they wouldn't open until it passed. About 20 minutes later, we saw the train coming across the bridge. After it passed, the bridge tender opened for us and apologized for the wait. Class! We really didn't care because first off, we aren't on a schedule and second, the price of fuel demands we wait instead of the 4 billion gallons it would take for the train to stop and start again.

In the picture below, you can see we are making good time at 6.3 knots. About .3 knots of that is the push I was talking about from the tides. The real reason I took this picture however was so you could see the wiggling path which is made up of the dotted black line extending from Mobile to the black arrow underneath the 7. You simply don't go straight on the Tenn-Tom. To emphasize the fact further, I took the picture to the right which shows the chart on my computer which I'm using to ensure we know where we are all of the time. It is split into three screens and the bigger on on the right shows the mile markers and a vector chart of the Tenn-Tom waterway. The green thing on the lower right in the middle of the river is our boat. YOu can see we are about to go through a bending bending bend in the river. By the way, the lower left portion of the screen shows an overhead picture of the waterway. Pretty cool.

Of course what that overhead picture doesn't show is that little thunderstorm that is coming up on our back side. I was in the process of passing a barge and it quickly became clear to me that a boat without radar might not be very smart to continue up the river. ESPECIALLY, in front of a barge!

Sorry about the blurry picture on the lower left but I used it so you would see that once this front caught up with us, we weren't going to see a thing. Fortunately, I was able to pull into the Alabama river and get off of the marked channel and set anchor before we got drenched.

Once the storm passed, I got the picture to the lower right. At this time we have begun thinking that Deb is Katharine Hepburn and I am Humphrey Bogart on board the African Queen. Things are pretty deserted out here and cell signals have been void until I got to this anchorage. Of course to get a cell signal, I had to stand on top of the highest part of the boat and it still cuts out every few minutes.

For dinner, we decided that chicken wings would be in order. Is the picture making you hungry? It should because these were some of the best chicken wings I've ever made. The secret? I marinated them in 3 parts Teriyaki sauce, 1 part Soy sauce and one part Bourbon for about 4 hours. They were delicious and it will be a repeat. I'm not a Bourbon drinker but I do like it when used as a marinade.

We are leaving again tomorrow morning for a 55 mile day and should be anchored again in a beautiful anchorage about 4 pm. The next anchorage will be another 45 miles away so on the Tenn-Tom, you take what you can get.

The boat is doing well and so are we.

I haven't said this lately so it is about time to say it again. I truly appreciate everyone who reads our website. I enjoy documenting our trip but what I really enjoy are the emails you send me with questions or comments. Thanks because it motivates me to continue and I know that in the future when we look back, it will be your motivation that keeps me writing. Again, thank you and I hope you continue to enjoy our travels.

 June 22 - We left this morning and it was a bit of foggy outside because of the humidity and the cool morning. We went sort of north as you will see later. The compass moved from east to north to west to east to north yada yada yada. Again, you will see later. As we moved further north, we began to see some unfamiliar shapes. I think they are called hills. We haven't seen these in about a year.

I took the picture to the right because this is the first time we've seen the iron, I think, in the soil.

Before Deb got up, I saw a log moving. As it turned out there was a little 6 foot gaiter swimming to the "other side." I'm not sure what he was looking for but truly, I was happy it wasn't me.

One of the other things we've seen is a number of fisherman. This guy was running and resetting his trot line. As he was pulling it up, I saw two fish on to his left side. Hopefully, he will make enough off of the catch to pay for his fuel.


 Deb was on watch and I was practicing the guitar when she yelled "Barge." Ok, that means I get to take over. As it turns out, I just turned to take him on his two, this means on his starboard side, when we ran out of fuel in one of our tanks and the engine died. Now when this happens normally, we don't worry too much. However, when it happens and you have all of this weight coming down on you, with the current, you had better change tanks quickly and get out of the way. Ultimately we did get out of the way and were making our way northward, or I should say sort of northward.

By the way, we got 22.3 hours on that one tank of fuel running at 2550 rpm. I've pretty well settled back to that RPM because we can run faster but the speed doesn't pay off when it comes to fuel economy.

We passed a coal unloading facility that had a small front loader suspended from a crane. I guess they are ensuring they get all of the coal from the barges.

I took the picture at the lower right because it is of "Lovers Leap" but more importantly, I liked the look of the cliff.


 Another Gaiter. This time he was north of "Lovers Leap" and I guess he was looking for lunch. We had seen someone swimming from their boat about a mile further downstream but I guess because they were downstream, he didn't smell them.

We were planning on stopping at an OLD lock which was in a cut off of the waterway. The problem is that in our guidebook it says that you can't rely on the entrance. Well, we stopped here 19 months ago and the entrance was 18 feet. This time as we went in, it was 6.6 feet. I guess they are right about counting on the depth at the entrance. We made it all the way down the channel this time and back into an area where we could set the anchor in 7 feet of water. Plus, we had a great view of the old lock.


 Speaking of the old lock, check out this picture to the left. Some of it is concrete and the other part is a wooden structure filled with stone. I guess that was cheaper than concrete in it's day.

This anchorage is beautiful so if you can get through the entrance, make your way slowly through the creek and come back to a wonderful area for the evening.

The picture to the right is from our computer charts for the day. The blue lines represent the different charts that we were following. However, the red line is the one you should look at. The reason is that is our actual track today. If you are starting to look at this and think, they aren't going north too much, then you are right. We went about 60 miles over the water today and I think we went about 30 miles north.

We have a fairly straight day tomorrow but then it starts curving again. So it goes on the Tenn-Tom waterway.

By the way, we are enjoying this trip north. Everything is green, we are enjoying the change in heights, read that hills, and on top of that we aren't dressed in everything we own trying to stay warm.

Tomorrow we have a 45 mile day with our first lock going up. It should be an easy day but you will get pictures regardless.

 June 23 - We left this morning a little after 7 am. That was late for me but the good news was that I had a delicious bacon and egg sandwich on toast. Trust me, it was good. I started the engine and Deb got up so we pulled the anchor and in traditional fashion, I said good night and she went back to bed. As we were moving for some of time north, I ran across this little settlement on the riverbank. I guess there are people setting up a little house keeping on the weekends.

We encountered our first lock on the north bound trip today. It is at mile marker 116 and is the Coffeeville lock. We just had a minor issue. There is already a tow in the lock going up and another that has to go down and of course another going north. Now the real question is where do we rank in the middle of all of this steel? The answer is LAST. The other question is, can we go up with the guy in front of us? Well, I must go back a bit. I was about to pass the tow driven by the Ben Hogan and I asked him for advice as to whether or not I should pass. He told me it would probably be better to stay back and then wait it out. So I did. Now back to the question of do I get to go up with him. The answer is it is up to the captain of the commercial vessel if a pleasure boat can go into the lock with them. I guess since I was a nice guy, he said YES! Hooray.


 Well we arrived at the lock in waiting at 9:50 am and guess what? The guy in the lock coupled with the guy coming down didn't get finished until 11:30. Of course it took 20 minutes for the Ben Hogan to position himself and get into the lock. Believe me, when you have that much weight you do things slowly. Ultimately, we were told by the lockmaster to go into the lock and tie up at the first ballard that we hook onto to take us up. I forgot that I needed a picture of that so I'll get one tomorrow.

Once we had everything taken care of, about 2 minutes, I called the lockmaster and told him that "Freedom is secure." He called back and said he had to check out our boat. I guess it is unusual to be able to lock through with a big tow.

We were just clear of the doors but still we were clear and they began to close and close and close. I just hope they don't let go!


 By the way, I hope you are feeling like you are traveling up the waterway with us. I haven't been able to upload for a number of days and I know when I do, it will be a heck of an upload.

Inside the lock you can see that we have the SMALL s/v Freedom a Gemini 105 cruising boat inside with tons and tons of steel plus a bit of salt too. Deb is doing her part up front, with her required life jacket on, holding our boat away from the side of the lock. We just hate to get our fenders dirty.

Once we got up the 33 feet, I called the Ben Hogan and thanked him again. He said he was heading to Paducah and then on to southeast Missouri. Of course I'm from southeast Missouri so we elected to connect up after we got out of the lock on a different channel. Larry was a great guy. He stopped his prop and let me pass before he was even completely clear of the lock walls. Then we hooked up on Channel 65. Ends up after a 20 minute conversation about southeast Missouri he invited me to his house. Of course I also learned a few things about his little boat you might be interested in. He uses 1,100 gallons of diesel for every 24 hours he is running, if they have 16 barges full, that is equivalent to 900 semi's on the road, and they charge $13,000 for each of the barges to make the 350 mile trip they were on for this trip. Still, it is the most economical way to transport materials.

We ran off and left them using our point six gallons an hour running our 2550 rpm and making a nice five point nine knots up the river system into some of the most beautiful water on the Tenn-Tom waterway.


 We just haven't seen hills for quite awhile so these covered in lush trees and vegetation were absolutely beautiful. It simply didn't look this nice when we came down this waterway 19 months ago. Even though it is hot, 94 inside the boat today, the trip is wonderful.

It makes me think this would be a great place to build a house but it would have to be on top of one of these big hills. Afterall, when it floods down here the water can come up 35 or so feet.


 The Tenn-Tom waterway isn't straight! As a matter of fact it is a long way from straight. Looking at the picture to the left you cans see our little green boat and up ahead you can see a red circle with an anchor in it. Well you can also interpolate that we are about 2 miles from our anchorage if we could go straight there, however, we still have 9 miles to go by the waterway.

We anchored at mile 145 which is at Bashi Creek at about 5 pm and a 10 hour day. This is a small anchorage as you can see below. First you drop your bow anchor and then you have to make a choice about that stern anchor. Of course you can get out the big guns and drop a big anchor off the back or you can listen to the weather and figure out there is nothing going to happen and drop your 15 pound mushroom anchor you also use for a kellet on your main when you do think something is going to happen. I opted for the latter and tied my mushroom anchor to a 10 foot piece of rope and we are secure in the middle of the anchorage in 8 feet of water. Beautiful isn't it.

I then did some maintenance on the boat because the wheel wasn't turning right. I found that one of my rollers for a line that controls the outdrive wasn't turning. I couldn't get it to roll regardless of what I put on it and I didn't want to take it off because I just knew I would drop it in the water. So, I greased the line and that fixed it for now. Hopefully all the junk I sprayed on it will loosen up the corrosion in the next day or so. Regardless, it steers much more free now. Next I made a Thai stir fry on the grill that included lots of veggies along with some shrimp. Life is sure tough out here on the boat. I hope you are feeling sorry for us! By the way, we have the AC on and we're getting ready to take some hot showers as soon as we finish this movie. Life is good!


 June 24 - I got up this morning and left at 6 am. Yes, 6 am. We didn't set the anchor last night because there wasn't supposed to be any weather and there wasn't so I told Deb to stay in bed. Of course the anchor didn't know that and decided it should set itself. Well I was able to get the thing up without her powering it off. That Rocna is an amazing anchor. I backed up a bit and turned around so we could head back out into the Tenn-Tom. There was some fog but not enough to stick around. Off we went for our 70 mile day. This is one of the longest I have plotted and it includes a lock so it will be a long day.

Below left and right, we ran into a bunch of junk on the waterway. I slowed down to about 2 knots and we made our way through. Who knows why the junk all gathers together. Don't you remember when you were driving the back areas in the country and you would find a pile of trash? Well, that trash gathered more and more trash. I guess that is the way it is from time to time on the waterway. I just don't want to hit it with my boat or the outdrive!


As we made our way north, sort of, I found the boat you see to the left marooned on the side. More than likely they tied up to the bank one evening when the water was falling and found themselves in this position the next day. There are stories of the water falling as much as four feet in an evening so that seems likely. I guess they just didn't think about checking water depths and setting a stern anchor. By the way, did you catch the name on the boat? "So Fine," I guess the real question is how did you get yourself in "so fine" of a position?

The soil and landscape is changing as we move along. The hills are getting higher and we just saw some beautiful whitish gray banks. The waterway is truly beautiful this time of year however, it is HOT. The inside of the boat is 96 degrees.

As we were nearing the end of the day, we caught up to none the less, the Dan Hogan. Amazing, they have been traveling since we anchored 24 hours ago and we have caught them. I think they are traveling at about 2.8 knots with a VERY heavy load. It was pretty cool because Larry remembered us from southeast Missouri and once again, we locked through with them.

This is one of the most beautiful locks on the waterway. Especially in the spring. You can imagine the look with the water flowing over these rocks at that time. Of course if you can't, you can always go back about 19 months in our log and look at that time. Just click here. The picture is on the October 28th entry.

Once again, we were in in a heartbeat once the Dan Hogan landed and pushed himself in. By the way, that process takes about a half of an hour plus you have to add ten minutes for them to tie up. Then we get to come in. We are pretty quick and before we had even secured, they were closing the doors. I guess the Dan Hogan let them know we were ok. We called "Freedom is Secure." and they said..... nothing. Ok, this is a little bit of a laid back lock.

Doesn't this picture look quite a bit like yesterday's? Well the big difference is that we are going up 40 feet instead of 30 feet. Big difference right....

The pictures to the lower left and lower right are the ones I promised I would take in yesterdays entry. Deb and I both take poles and hold the boat away from the slimy, messy, growth growing junk on the side of the locks. We are just hoping neither one of us have to clean the bumpers. To the lower right you can see how we attach to the ballard that floats up, of course the lock guys call it a pin. We have a cleat that we attach to our sail track for these occasions and I put a stopper knot on the end of a line. Deb then takes the line and wraps it around the pin and then hands it to me so I can put it around the winch and secure it. The KEY is you don't want to cleat off the line. In case the pin gets stuck, you could sink your boat so you better be able to undo the line quickly. With this system, we can.

By the way, when Deb went through the locks forever ago, she was nervous and afraid she would mess up. Now, she just hops out and is wonderful. Isn't amazing that you are always afraid of what you don't know! Don't let that stop you from enjoying the rest of your life. Get out and, to borrow a phrase, just do it.

Ok, these guys look like they are on a mission. The reality is they are!

They have these locks figured out. By the way, the fact that I caught one about to land was absolute luck. What they are doing is waiting for the small bait fish to wash up in the prop wash of the boats as they are leaving. When one of the small fish does come to the surface, several of them swoop down as if they are vultures after the kill. Wait, they are after the kill. We saw many of them eating a little anchovies snack while we were waiting to untie after the Dan Hogan left.

It was only a mile before we got to Foscue Creek and turn in. This is one of the designated anchorages along the waterway and also a place where the Coast Guard keeps a ship to take care of buoys. We made our way back past the area the Coast Guard uses and dropped our anchor. I didn't plan on setting it but once again, the Rocna can't leave well enough alone.

Tomorrow we will leave at about 6:40 so we can get to the fuel dock at 7 am. We will take on about 12 gallons which is more than enough to make it up to Columbus, MS with what we have aboard. We will probably also take on some water since we are using quite a bit for showering down in the day and at night. Did I mention it is HOT.

We should arrive in Columbus on Friday and that is probably when you will read this posting. Hopefully, we will get to use the courtesy car and we will get a few more supplies before heading further northish.

June 25 -  Ok, I'm going to whine. It is HOT, I'm not talking about hot, I'm talking about HOT. In the afternoon it gets up to 98 degrees on the inside of the boat. Now I know why we haven't seen anyone else coming up the waterway, they have it figured out. Of course we had people to see and places to go so that is why we are late. Of course the other reason is that we have some great insurance that allows us to be further south than everyone else. Regardless, it is HOT. Back to the story.

Once again, we have encountered the tow Dan Hogan. This guy is really cool and we had another 20 minute conversation about alternative energy as I was passing him. Hopefully we will encounter him again in the next few days.

We came upon the bluffs you see below left as we were moving left. There are two occurrences of these bluffs on the waterway and we are going to see both of them today. These are supposed to be the highest.

In addition, we saw some beautiful cypress trees with the knees of the roots pointing up.


The bluffs you see to the left are the second occurrence of these bluffs. Right around the corner is a bridge along with a second bridge for the railroad. Fortunately, the height is 52 feet so we fit under just fine.

Just in case you wondered where Casper the Friendly Ghost went, I think he ended up in the bluffs. Look in just about the middle of the picture to the lower left and you can see his eye, nose and of course his mouth. Now you must be wondering if I've been in the heat too much but you just don't see this angle coming down the waterway, only on the way up. (Trust me, you will see it. if you look for a while. Of course you may also see a carving of Hilary if you really look too long but I prefer Casper.)

I know you've seen pictures of locks before but I took this one because you can see the water bubbling out as they lowered the water level inside just for us. Evidently, we are the only ones moving along right now and they are doing this just for us. Nice to see our tax dollars have gone to something that have been useful for us. Of course that doesn't diminish the Coast Guard, the police and all of the other things that are also important.

We haven't had a connection in well, forever it seems, so you will be getting lots of updates when we are able to connect in Columbus, Mississippi.

By the way, thank goodness for our Honda and the air conditioner. It makes our lives wonderful during dinner. Tonight I made a great salad with my own dressing. Delicious.

 June 26 - And here we are at another lock. I pulled the anchor this morning at a little before 6 am. Yes, I'm an early riser. After thinking about these locks and the delays, I decided I would start calling them about three miles before I arrive to see about their status. If they had a tow coming through, they would let me know and I could slow down so I could save fuel and then arrive at the right time. At the same time, if they had nothing going on and the lock was up, they could let out the water in time for me to arrive and it would be ready when I came through. For the last two locks, the latter is what has happened. They dropped and got the lock ready for us and we had little to no wait as it was today. The lock was ready and we motored in, secured the boat and up we went. I think we have a great system going. By the way, Deb is now LOCK QUEEN. She lasso's the pin and hands I wrap the line around the winch and we call "Freedom is secure." Then the doors close and up we go. Life is not just good, it is great!  

 When we got through the Tom Bevill lock, I saw this old ship that is now a museum. It was designed to pick up the logs that would block the waterway and get them out of the way so it was navigable again. We didn't stop today but we will on the way back down. I called the lockmaster again and he told me that we could tie up to the dock and go up to the museum. Great news because we will be spending about a month to make the trip back down and we are looking for things to do that we haven't done yet.

One fact I don't think you know is that on Deb's mothers side, her grandfather, great grandfather and her great great grandfather were all steamship captains. Of course with all that experience the river couldn't let them be. Her grandfather ran aground and the ship was lost. Hopefully that won't happen to Freedom. His boat's name was named Golden Eagle and the pilot house is located in Missouri.

 As we we coming up I saw this totem pole that someone carved out of a 12 x 12. Of course they added a few wings too. I guess it is something I might do after I .... and .... and .... and ..... I have a lot of things to do before I get into totem pole carving!

I promised Deb we would have a short day today. I got underway this morning at early thirty as I said previously and we anchored at about 2 pm. We hung out on the boat for about an hour and then we went swimming for an hour. Afterwards we got out the shampoo and took some great showers. We've been marinating our salmon in the special sauce for about 4 hours and are getting ready for a wonderful dinner of salmon, potatoes with parsley, garlic and butter, along with some green beans. As I've said before, we are having the time of our life and enjoying all of the meals as we move north. Today it isn't quite as hot however when the boat hit 93 degrees we decided to burn some gas and turn on the AC. I do love that Honda.

Tomorrow we have a short day and will arrive at Columbus, MS. We will go to the dock, fuel up and also try to get a ride to town for some more supplies. Hopefully we will also get a wi-fi site so you will get these updates. I think I'm having uploading withdrawal because it has been so long since I've uploaded. I hope we haven't lost all of our readers. On top of that, we haven't had a cell signal for at least 7/8ths of our trip. To say we are in the wilderness is almost an understatement.


 June 28 - Yesterday as we were coming up the river we encountered this barge unloading facility. Many of the barges are filled with scrap steel that is going to be reprocessed. Many more are loaded with salt, coal and many other bulk items that don't need to be refrigerated or rushed to market. In the picture to the right, you can see the unloading facility dropping a load into a bin, through a funnel and into the truck's trailer. After filling the front of the trailer, the truck pulls forward a bit and the crane continues. You can see the other truck behind the bin waiting to pull into position. I guess the saying time is money is even more true today.

We arrived at the marina at a little after 9 am because I was up before six and got underway so we would have an almost full day for important things such as showers, laundry, and of course lunch and shopping.

We got fueled and pumped out and were at our slip by 9:30. We took care of a few things in the boat and I took a shower before we went to lunch and then on to Walgreens and Wal-Mart for the things we needed to get for the next four days.


 After lunch I took a detour through the old part of Columbus to see a few of the old homes that are still here today. Many of these homes are from the 1800's. We also drove down by the river where I remembered a small dock I saw about 19 months ago when we came through here the first time. It was still there and more importantly, it leads up to the park. That means, we can use it with our dinghy when we come back through. We will probably stay a night at the marina so we can use their car again and then we will lock through and go anchor up the Tombigbee River so we can dinghy to that little dock and tour the town on our bicycles. It is way to hot to do that right now.

It is Saturday morning and I'll be uploading this last update in about a half hour. I'm sure we won't be able to upload again until we arrive at Grand Harbor on Wednesday morning. We have a bunch of locks to go through and some more places we want to stop on the way up. We should arrive at Pickwick Lake on Tuesday but will anchor to save a day in a marina and on top of that, it just makes more sense to arrive in the morning so you can take advantage of the marina the entire day.

We still haven't decided on what we are doing next year. It might be Mexico or it just might be head off with Gary on a treasure hunt. Given that, Gary sent me this question about metal detectors. While you are waiting on the next update, can you let me know if you know anything about good underwater metal detectors? Email me with your answers, I think he's pretty serious. I can see Mel Fisher quaking in his boots. He's saying, "oh my, now I have to worry about the might treasure hunters Garry, Shirlene, Jim and Deb." ....... Right.......

  Jim, let me tell you about our next adventure. We plan on going treasure hunting next fall and winter. There are these islands in the middle of the gulf stream called the Cay Sal Banks. They are uninhabited and not too far from Key West. They are owned by the Bahamas. It is said that there are more sunken treasure ships in that area that anywhere else in the world. If you or your readers know anything about metal detectors please let me know. We used to have one that towed behind the boat and worked pretty good. The only problem was that it beeped with any piece of metal. Hopefully by now someone has invented one that only beeps when it detects gold. If you or your readers can help please let me know.

Garry and Shirlene
aboard Zipadedoda

 Previous Log - The most recent past log
 All Logs - This takes you to the list of all of our logs

Web Page by Jim Faughn

Jim and Deb's Adventures