Nov 19, 2017

Demopolis "loop" Think

We traveled a short distance to Demopolis, I was in full on "travel" mode and didn't really feel like stopping. I was kinda hoping to fuel up, pump out, fill water and head back out... but we have friends here and LeeAnn wanted to hang out for a night. 

It makes sense. This is the last marina for the next 216 miles. It will be 4 or 5 days from here to Mobile. Plus today and tonight was supposed to be stormy. 

Despite all that... I didn't want to stay. I wanted to move on. We were in a groove. On a roll. For days it seemed like we had the river to ourselves. Hardly saw another boat. 

Suddenly we were in boater central. Nearly everyone stops in Demopolis. The place was packed, and there we were in the middle of it.

Suddenly we couldn't leave. Word got around that the demopolis lock master required everyone to go through the lock together. Through the game of phone, this lock was turned into a big event. It required looper organization so that we could all get through without having to wait. 

A meeting was held, it was a very somber event that began with everyone stating their name. These names were logged in the meeting minutes (not really but that formality was in the air and it wouldn't have surprised me if someone was taking notes). 

It pissed me off that for days we were on our own and doing just fine. Then suddenly we were sucked into this group think. 

We left the meeting before it really started. People were nice, but overall we didn't seem welcome with our rowdy kids. This was a serious meeting after all. 

We returned to our boat where I called the lockmaster myself to see if there was anything special about the lock, or anything special we needed to do. He said there was not. I get what people were trying to do. The locks don't want to deal with one pleasure craft after another. It's better to group. I just like my independence. 

The next day we left with the group at about 7:30. It was around 40 degrees, windy, and raining heavily. Oh yeah and it was foggy. Pretty much horrible conditions. But, I didn't want to stay in Demopolis another night, so I put on my foul weather gear and we left. 

Ironically, it took a good hour to get into the lock due to all the boats and bad weather. 

We were the last ones in and rafted up to a power cat we have been playing hopscotch with for a few hundred miles. In order to lighten the mood, I decided to use a Australian accent during all my radio communication. I was in a very good mood upon entering the lock. Shitty weather and crazy situations have a way of really lighting me up. 

We locked down and then fired up both engines. Its unusual for us to run both engines at the same time. The pickup in speed normally doesn't justify the cost in fuel. But on this day we had 70 miles to cover before the next safest anchorage. So we hauled ass, and had a nice current pushing us along as well. We made it to Bashi creek by our usual stopping of 4pm. I was impressed.

The creek was very narrow. 40 feet. Half downed trees lay in the creek. Other trees simply had overgrown into the creek. It was a place no respectable looper would enter, so I ventured in. 

We made our way about a quarter mile up the creek. Weaving our way around fallen trees, we had good depth most of the way. When it shallowed to 7 feet, I spun us around and dropped the anchor. I also dropped a pile of chain over the side of the boat to help hold us in the middle of the channel if the wind changed direction overnight, but I didn't expect that and we were so well protected I don't think it would have mattered. 

The sunset and stars came out. I lowered the dinghy into the water and the boys and I went out with a spotlight searching for alligators. We didn't find any. 

After we returned to the boat, we lite our pumpkins and listened to the owls hooting to each other. Then two owls got into a fight and after a moment LeeAnn and I ushered the boys inside the boat, lest they be witnesses to an owl murder. 

I thought about the contrast between staying at a dock the previous night for $53 verses anchoring in Bashi creek for free. Being anchored out on our own, a few other bold cruisers with us, we got so much more value out of anchoring. 

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