From Big Bayou Canot to Mobile is more swamp than river; looking at the map, it’s difficult to tell where the navigable channel is. The rivers are close and five of them enter the Gulf almost as one and yet spread across several miles. This is a risen delta; the water is brackish and wildlife flourishes.
The land is rife with alligators and eastern rattlesnakes. Birds are plentiful. Other than the intrusion of occasional hunters, the habitat is untouched.
The recent flood water was accepted and absorbed across the delta. New Year’s Day brought us calm winds and an overcast sky. The decks were wet from the night’s rain, but there was no precipitation at 0645 and the temperature was 42 degrees. We turned on the engine and raised the anchor. At 0700 we were powering out of the bayou.
At 0900 we transit Mobile Harbor.
Though the morning remains gray, most fortuitously there is no rain.
The New Year is here. We are past the winter waters and there will not be any more ice on the Traveler’s decks. As we power out the ship channel and across Mobile Bay, the sun peeps out and illuminates the eastern shore, delineating the Fairhope Municipal Pier and the many parks along the waterfront.
At 1100 we approach Eastern Shore Marina where the Traveler will be docked for maintenance and where the propeller damage from the Amory Anchorage will be repaired. The tide is out and rather than risk running aground in the narrow entry to Fly Creek, we anchor offshore in 9 feet of water to wait for the rising tide.
For ten days we were immersed in the remote back country of Mississippi and Alabama. We traveled 472 miles and through twelve locks. We only saw river workers, tow crew members, hunters, and fishermen. The transition to the city of Mobile and the wide expanse of Mobile Bay and the Gulf was an exercise in contrasts. I think that we really anchored to help catch our breaths before rejoining the world.