Saturday, November 9, 2019

Sea Level

Well, OK, not quite sea level; the river is still flooding and the tailwater elevation this morning at Coffeeville Dam is still over 13', down from 24' just a few days ago. As I type, we're passing stands of willows with their feet underwater.

We had a very peaceful night Thursday at Edna Bend. An eddy there in the river had us facing every which way during our stay; that same eddy is building an enormous sandbar on the outside of the bend (normally, the outside is scoured and has the deepest water). A few tows passed while we were there, setting their noses on the very inside of the turn and then kicking their sterns around. We were far enough to the outside that their prop wash did not disturb us.

Anchored in the mist at Edna Bend. At one point it was thick enough to run the fog bell.

Yesterday we had a pleasant six-hour cruise, some 44nm or so, without any lockages. We ended up in a stretch of river without any buoyage, and so we dropped the hook in a small indentation in the left descending bank, a good 450' from the sailing line (map). We anchored in 15' and ended up lying just a boatlength from shore, but it was a great spot, dark and quiet.

Just another few miles downriver is the small dock at Bobby Dahlberg's Fish Camp restaurant; I've been watching (online) in horror as 10-12 boats have been tying up there nightly, rafted three or four deep (the dock can accommodate at most three boats alongside). So this morning we waited for the 11 boats that spent the night to shove off and head into the lock before we weighed anchor.

Just as we were weighing, two more loopers passed us, and we ended up falling in behind them and locking down with them at Coffeeville Lock. Still, it was just the three of us, and no rafting was involved, as each of these locks typically has six to eight usable floating bollards. We locked through an hour ago, and the other two boats are now nearly a mile ahead of us.

Approaching our final lock, Coffeeville, behind two other loopers. Still some nice fall color at this level.

Here at roughly mile 100 of the river, and with this much flow, we are still in fresh water. But over the next 100 miles the water will become increasingly brackish. Mile 0 is in Mobile, where we will be at sea level and in mostly oceanic salinity. We were last at this elevation on the Hudson River back in early June, and we saw our last brackish water just a couple of days before that.

Tonight we will again be anchored along the river. From there it will be one or two days to Mobile, depending on how occupied the dock is at the Outlaw Convention Center. We don't want to arrive late in the day to find it full. Where we go from there is something of a question mark; I am trying to line up a yard that can haul us out so we can get some paint on the bare steel before we spend too much time in salt water.

1 comment:

  1. Love your blog! I read this post aloud to my Captain.


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