It is sixteen miles from the Eastern Shore Marine docks in Fairhope, Alabama to
where the Highway 10 tunnel intersects the Mobile river in downtown Mobile; mile 0 on the Tenn-Tom Waterway. The waterway connects the Gulf of Mexico to the Tennessee River through a system of rivers, canals, and twelve locks.
This is the last leg of the long leap-frog journey north from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to the Traveler’s summer berth. Work beckons between cruises and delays the Loop trip for a year, or two.
Bob’s grandson, Cody, serves as deckhand on this trip. He is 10 years old and loves to fish and scoop up the scores of mayflies that find themselves stranded on the decks in the morning. We each look forward to the 500 mile cruise through the country’s amazing interior at an average speed 7.5 miles per hour.
Saturday was hectic, provisioning, stowing, and checking systems. Our start was late (1730 hrs) and the winds had picked up to 15 knots as we crossed Mobile Bay with a light chop on the beam sea. Typically, the dinghy caused havoc as it tried it’s best to break free. The davits (stainless steel arms which hold the dinghy away from the stern, above the water) are the folding type, which means that at any opportunity they set up a swing whereby dinghy and motor lurch violently from side to side. Over the past year we have tried a myriad of methods to stabilize the system; all to no avail. My humble advice is to always install stationary davits, and they are on my wish list for the Arkansas Traveler.
We followed the Mobile River north twelve miles which took us through the city and into the swampy areas north. The confluence of the Tensas cutoff and Big Briar Creek offers a grand anchorage where we could swing on one anchor. As darkness fell, we left the river and dropped anchor in the day’s last light.