Thursday, April 08, 2010

Panama City to Tenn-Tom Waterway

We have left Panama City and are presently about half way up the Tenn-Tom Waterway that runs from Mobile, Alabama to the Tennessee River.  We are headed back to Goose Pond Marina where SEASEA will be back in her home slip in a couple of weeks.

Before leaving Panama City we had a nice visit with Jim & Cindy Percival (a local couple we met shortly after arriving) and had lunch at Schooner's.

We also made a trip to Eufaula to visit with Bo and Carmen.  I traveled with Bo up to Guntersville to make a quick repair to "Old Grumpy" (their boat) and we had a wonderful time visiting with them again at the lake.

One last meal with our dock neighbors Joe and Linda before Joe and I took "Life Is Good" over to Miller Marine to be truck transported back to the Pittsburgh, PA area. 

We were supposed to have a really nice weather day so we had a St. Patrick's Day party behind SEASEA.  We had corned beef and cabbage but the wind was up and cold as usual.  We enjoyed getting together with other boaters anyway and we had a good time despite the wind.

We had dinner with friends (Rich and Isis) we met at the church we attended while in Panama City.  They helped us shuttle our car in order to get it back to Goose Pond.  Isis had been promising a Cuban dinner for quite some time and time was now running short so she pulled it off before we got away.

When we departed Panama City we originally headed east to Apalachicola and anchored in Saul Creek. We took down the dinghy and traveled 43 miles exploring the rivers and tributaries in and around Apalachicola.

On our way back from Apalachicola, we stopped at Pier 98 to top off fuel and then headed to Carl & Greg Vernon's house on Watson's Bayou.  We spent the night at their dock and headed out the next day to attend the "Blessing of The Fleet" being held downtown (we already feel blessed but it was something we have never done).  They were on Main Stay and we on SEASEA.  Roy and Elvie on RoyEl joined Carl & Greg.  After the Blessing we rafted up at Shell Island to spend the day.  Rich & Mary Gano on "Calypso" came along and rafted to our other side and we had a nice visit with them.

We went back to Carl & Greg's and I helped Carl do some work on his boat before we departed westward.  We stopped at Ft. Walton Beach where there is a free dock.  We then headed to Ingram Bayou to stage for crossing Mobile Bay.  On the way there we were greeted by the U.S. Coast Guard who pulled up along side and asked when was the last time we were boarded.  I replied that we had never been boarded so they proceeded to board us and check out our safety equipment, make sure the boat was seaworthy and that we had all of our documentation in order.  They were extremely considerate and it was altogether a pleasurable experience.  Stacy just "had" to get pictures so they posed for us.

We had a beautiful anchorage at Ingram Bayou and Stacy took the great shots of the moon setting and the sun rising at the same time; one on each side of the boat.  It was a nice surprise to see our friends on "Lauren Grace" come in and anchor there with us to tell us goodbye.

Along the way we saw this one guy pulling crab or fish pots and he had a large contingent of pelicans following his every move just hoping for a treat.

We entered Mobile on a beautiful day and made our way through all of the commercial freighters, tows, and shipworks.

Our first anchorage was the Tensaw River cutoff and the second was at Bate's Lake and there we met "Chip Ahoy".  We had seen this boat at Appalachicola while on our dinghy trip and now here they were heading up the Tenn-Tom.  They are headed to Demopolis where the boat will be stored while they go back to Michigan to work (dockmaster) for the summer.

We made a lunch stop at Bobby's Fish Camp.  This is a famous stop along this stretch of waterway.  Bobby Dahlberg grew up here and ran this fish camp.  He died a few months ago and his daughter Lora Jane served us catfish and hamburger steak.  We found out that her family first homesteaded the area in the 1800's from Sweden and had been there since.  She had gone to Sweden to visit family in 2008 and had a photo album.  We perused the album to evoke memories of our time there and saw photos of the ship "Wasa".  When we visited we saw the ship in a temporary holding "museum".  It is now housed in a very nice museum built just for it. When I am not on the boat I have been building a model of the "Wasa".  It is always so amazing how small a world we live in.

After departing Bobby's we headed to an anchorage at Bashi Creek.  We were getting heavy fog in the mornings at this point and were delayed leaving there the next morning for a very long run up to Fosque Creek at Demopolis.  We waited out hurricane Ida at Fosque on our way down in the fall.  The water over the dam at Demopolis Lock was mild compared to what we had after the rains from Ida.

We are currently about half way up the Tenn-Tom.  We are slowing a bit to wait for other friends on "Eagle One" to catch up to us.  We should get together with them in a few days at Blue Bluff.