Thursday, October 31, 2019

Gulf bound

We are underway southbound in the Tombigbee River. We're whizzing along, with a giant slug of floodwater pushing us downriver. The river is forecast to rise five feet in the next 24 hours, cresting just below action stage before dropping slowly to normal levels.

The release from Aberdeen Dam this morning. Quite impressive, and I had to steer aggressively when we merged.

After I last posted here from Bay Springs Lake, we splashed the tender and headed ashore to the small dock at the Corps of Engineers Resource Center, the management office for this part of the waterway. Within is a small visitor center with some exhibits. We were disappointed it lacked a small book/gift shop, as Louise wanted to buy a postcard, but when we asked they had free ones with a nice photo of the lock and dam.

Flux at the courtesy dock, as seen from the trail. The lake is pretty in the fall.

Also on the site is a paved trail that leads to a historic dogtrot cabin, relocated here from its original location, now inundated by the lake. Further along is an overlook for the dam. The trail was littered with broken tree branches, many, we think, from the storm which we rode out at Pickwick Landing. After returning to Vector we decked the tender and had a quiet dinner aboard. We had the anchorage to ourselves our entire stay.

Vector in her private cove.

Tuesday we weighed anchor after a leisurely coffee, and ran three locks in quick succession: Whitten, Montgomery, and Rankin. We had no wait, and locked through by ourselves. That brought us to Fulton, Mississippi, where we dropped the hook off-channel about halfway between the Midway Marina and Fulton Lock (map).

Blissfully alone in the locks.

It warmed up nicely in the afternoon, and I spent an hour taking the anchor roller apart again and trying to straighten the carriage a bit. We tendered in to the marina for dinner at their restaurant, Guy's Place, and a chance to get off the boat. Once again we decked the tender as soon as we returned home.

The mud in Bay Springs Lake is very yellow.

Yesterday was a rainy day, but we were on a mission. We weighed anchor early and headed down through Fulton and Wilkins locks, making our way to a wide spot near a channel for the boat ramp in Amory, Mississippi (map). We had the anchor down by 12:30, in time to catch a forecasted break in the rain. I tendered ashore with the e-Bike to make the two-mile trip to the Piggly Wiggly for groceries.

The CoE was kind enough to provide a boat ramp with a dock.

We have about a week of remote anchorages ahead of us, and this was the most convenient grocery stop we'll see for a while. I returned to Vector loaded to the gills. I got everything on the list except beer, which apparently is not sold in grocery stores or mini-marts here. We decked the tender before the rain started back up.

The Amory Armory. (I couldn't resist.)

Our plan had been to just spend the night in that spot. But we were a bit close to the navigation channel for comfort, and especially so with fog rolling in. Given the fog, the weather, and the flooding forecast, we opted to weigh anchor right after a tow finished locking up, and continue downriver through the Amory lock.

Downtown Amory. Struggling but still in business.

We knew that just another four miles downriver was a lovely anchorage we had used on our last trip, well off the navigation channel and, in fact, in sight of nothing at all except trees, which right now are sporting their fall fashions. It is in the natural course of the Tombigbee, now bypassed for navigation by man-made cuts. We went in past the second bend, out of site of the canal, and dropped the hook (map). We were just a half hour late for cocktail hour.

It was a perfect spot; we never saw another soul, although we could hear a couple of towboats go by on the canal. It was warm enough to have our beer on the aft deck, if a bit damp, taking in the fall color. The rain continued all night. This morning we woke to temperatures in the 40s, and it will remain cold for the next few days.

It was so cold this morning that our ball fenders have gone flat.

We've just finished locking down through Aberdeen Lock. We again got right in, gleefully making the guy who waked us while overtaking wait in the chamber a full ten minutes. Tonight we'll be anchored somewhere between here and Columbus, Mississippi. Tomorrow we'll make our way up the oxbow to anchor near Columbus, where we'll spend at least a couple of days. We have just a little over 350 miles to Mobile.

Update: We are anchored in an oxbox of the river at the Barton Ferry recreation area (map). We turned the engine room blower off early in the cruise, and now we have the ER door open to let the heat flow into the staterooms.


  1. Right there with you in glee at the waker, there buddy. Nothing makes me happier than he having to wait! Tee hee!

  2. "... except beer, which apparently is not sold in grocery stores or mini-marts here." That is why they have all those moonshine stills around there. LOL


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