Christmas Morning at the Amory Lock Anchorage

Christmas morning was clear and crisp.  After a leisurely breakfast to temperatures in the low 30’s, we radioed the lock master to to check his schedule.  He said that there would be a wait and at 10:30 we raised the anchor and powered out the small channel that is the approach to the anchorage.

I would love to tell you that the captain was at the helm, but typically I pilot the boat away from anchorages while Bob secures the anchor.  As luck would have it there are several submerged snags in this channel and happenstance took me over two of them. Whatever we hit bent the prop and at high RPMs there was a noticeable vibration throughout the boat.

Severe and out-of-alignment vibrations cause a myriad of problems.  We tested the boat at various RPMs and found that at 1400 the engine and hull purred.  Anything over that gave everything the shakes.  Generally we run at 1900 RPMs and make 8.5 to 9 mph; at 1400 RPMs we were running at about 7 mph.  I tried to look at the bright side – we were much more fuel-efficient at 1400 RPMs, and we could enjoy the scenery more – but my objective at that particular moment was to travel south to warmer mornings and sunny days as quickly as possible and Santa had certainly put stout branches under the keel: switches in my stocking.

At 1530, after two locks and 30 miles, we lowered the anchor at Waverly anchorage along the Tombigbee River.  The anchorage is tucked behind a small island.  It is secluded and lovely at this time of year.  There is an abandoned railroad bridge and best yet, the Traveler was well out the way of any passing tows.  As the sun set we shared wine on the flybridge and listened to the chorus of birds.  Temperatures were falling to the mid 20’s.

DSC_0077     The shores along the Tombigbee River promise many interesting surprises.


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1 Response to Christmas Morning at the Amory Lock Anchorage

  1. Tom & Margaret says:

    We detected a bent prop problem just before we entered the channel to Dog River in 2003. Had Sonny’s folk remove it and sent to a prop shop in Mobile. They did a great job on the prop and Sonny had his people run the boat after it was re-installed to be sure the vibration was gone. if there is a vibration condition it will sometimes knock the shaft alignment with the engine out a bit.

    This is something I learned to take care of myself because over the six years we owned and traveled on our trawler I had to tweak this alignment three times. Once was after we did a haul out and they didn’t block the hull properly, the other two times because of situations similar to what you just experienced.

    No disgrace need be felt because if you seek out of the way anchorages during your travels it will most likely happen again. I’d have to go back in our trip log to count the many times I kissed the bottom or a sunken object while exploring a nice secluded anchorage. Just remember, it’s all part of the adventure.

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