Warsaw Cutoff,MS on the Tenn-Tom

2 November 2014


We woke this morning to frost. Not what I wanted to be seeing the first week in November in the Deep South. But there it was, frost.

We have been getting up early, an artifact of going to bed early so the change from Daylight Savings to Standard Time is somewhat of a blessing. So what was sunrise at 6AM is now sunrise at 7AM, a little easier to manage getting off the dock then.

Up, showered and dressed I heard the sailboat on the far side of Mara Beel get ready to leave. I went out to help them out of the slip and fell on the ice. Nice. Our fresh water valve has a slight leak, it was spraying mist all night. Which froze. Ice in Mississippi the first week in November, what a mess.

Got them out of the slip and they headed off. I called the lock master about a 8AM opening and was told the Odd/Even Hour stuff was summer only for the local boaters. Since we were locking through many locks, it was still on demand. Yay!!

Talked to the crew of Mara Beel about going ½ way to Demopolis. They were reticent, since it was cold, but after they talked it over they were in.

Called the lock-master back and we were set, he would turn the lock around and set us up for 7:30. I talked to the crew of Wild Raven the canoe team and Estrellita. At 7:15 we all motored / paddled out of the basin and headed to for the lock. (Just for the record, seeing a canoe with two paddlers digging into the water with a dog in the center at attention is the coolest thing in the morning.)

We got into the lock and were all set. About a mile away a catamaran was coming. The lock-master was cool, we all waited for the boat to show up and get on the wall. Really thinking that Mississippi lock crews should team with Canadian lock crews to teach the Erie and Illinois crews how customer service works.

A side note, the lock was full of floating vegetation, almost like a floating salad. The water roots don’t go down far, so they easily follow the wind as they float along.

At the bottom of the lock we bid fond farewells to Wild Raven and headed south.

Two hours later the next lock was open and we were in and down in less time than it took you to read this.

Three hours later at 3 PM we hit our first snag. We were planning to stay in a nice anchorage, sadly 9 other boats got there before us. We had planned to raft up with Mara Beel, but there was no room. Mara Beel opted to go down the river and through the lock and find an anchorage at the base of the dam. I was worried about changes in the Dam waterflow, so we went back 4 miles and anchored in the Warsaw Cutoff. Deep water, lots of room. Mara Beel and I will exchange notes in the morning on how the anchorages worked for each other.

Susan fished, she had new power bait and a glow in the dark bobber. It lights up and floats gently in the rings of all the other fish jumping around it. Very pretty, but not very effective. She will fish more after dinner to see if that helps.

Dinner was Weenie Beans! My favorite camping out dinner. They were great, she found a German potato salad to pair them with. Yay me!!

We have the generator produce electricity to cook, but to also run a ton of heaters and fans to get the boat up to 72 before we go off to bed. Oh and Hot water for showers. Granted the engine exhaust brings it up to 170F which is plenty hot, but it will cool down overnight and the electric part takes over. We also have all of our little appliance things on charge so they can last overnight.

The day was great, a little chilly to start, warmed up. Not many tows to work with, cloudless blue sky. Dunno, if we were not so far south into Mississippi and Alabama, we “could” give the win to Tennessee for the nicest views.

We’ve acclimated to doing things an hour earlier so that will work with us. Only problem for Monday is the race to the lock to get all of us through first thing.

Only 60 miles to the marina, about a 5.5 hour run. I can easily out pace the sailboats. So given a 6 AM lock, should be eating lunch on the dock at noon.

Unless there is more frost.

Or that fishing goes really well tonight and we need to stay another day.