Thursday, November 3, 2011
Mile marker #265.8 after Heflin Lock to Demopolis Yacht Basin, Demopolis, AL
(See Photos – Week 3, Day 22)
“We’re at the White Cliffs of Dover,” Hugh said as he poked his head down the forward companionway hatch. It sounded like a photo op time to take advantage of. The morning had started out easily and Andy, Bill and Mike had the first watch. The scenery had been similar to what we had been passing through the two previous days. Last night had been clear and there was a definite chill in the air this morning, so I took advantage of being off watch and went below to catch up on some blog entries. (That is why you got three entries all posted on the same day, November 3rd.)
I didn’t know exactly what might be out there, but the reference to the White Cliffs of Dover gave me the impression that it was white and impressive. One riverbank was white cliffs. Hugh wasn’t sure what type of rock it was but it was certainly white. (If you have any idea I’d love to know.) On top were trees of an assortment of southern fall color, which is strong greens with sprinkles of crimson and gold. Nice colors for the upcoming holidays, where it to last. Having lived for five years in Springfield, Missouri I knew that the leaves would be brown soon enough. It turned out to be one of the few interesting sights of the day.
We didn’t have any locks to go through and Demopolis Yacht Basin marina was only a short distance away. Skipper Bob’s guide book and Dozier’s book indicated that Demopolis Yacht Basin was the only game in town. Just after the Black Warrior River we arrived at the marina. Here was the last of civilization -water, pump out and groceries, for almost 200 miles until we arrive in Mobile, Alabama. Briefly we had to wait of a tow with barges to pass, but our interest was caught by a blue sailed schooner, which almost got hit by the barge. On the inside of the turn on the right descending bank, there was a man in a small two masted sailing vessel. It was obviously hand-built and fairly well proportioned. There was no name or home port on the transom, so I dubbed it as the Blue Sailed Schooner.
After the tow passed us we were able to turn into the marina.
“We’re not sure what he’s up to,” the woman at the marina told us. “He’s been floating around out there for a while.”
Through his binoculars, Andy determined that the boat was made of reeds or saplings. The sails were made of blue multi-purpose tarps and the hull was wrapped with blue tarp. Click, click, click went our cameras. This was definitely an unusual looking boat.
“It looks like it’s made in a Kon-Tiki style.” Terry said.
The skipper was friendly enough to wave and say hi. Unfortunately we didn’t have a chance to inquire about him, where he was from or where he was headed.
We could see the Blue Sailed Schooner out the window of the marina’s restaurant as we had lunch. He had only progressed a hundred feet or so. He appeared to have a paddle and if that was his only form of propulsion and steerage it would take him a long time to get anywhere.
Later examination of my photos revealed a large quantity of empty plastic bottles bound together between what would be considered the frame of the hull and an outer blue tarp. These must be providing his source of floatation but the water resistance of the entire structure was dubious.
Greatly needed showers were had after lunch and laundry was started. With cloth grocery bags in hand, I kissed Hugh and got the courtesy car to go grocery shopping.
“Are you going to town?” Mike inquired. He was coming down with a cold and wanted to go to a pharmacy for some medicine. We weren’t in a dry county anymore so he also wanted to get some wine.
“Are you going shopping?” Terry asked later. He wanted to come just to have a change of pace.
Bill had a couple errands to do so he joined me as well to do some power grocery shopping.
Later that evening, only Andy, Hugh and I had dinner as Bill, Mike and Terry were still full from lunch.. They passed on dinner as their hamburgers were very big, but not as tasty as they would have liked. We learned at dinner that the marina was actually a county facility. They were fairly large and it was surprising that they didn’t have any competition given the amount of business they had. They were the only in the area. But having a spot with adequate water is the key factor for where you can have a marina, or not. In this case this was the only spot of water in the area, for about 200 miles to the south and about 100 miles to the north.
So plan to stop here, whether you believe you need to or not, otherwise it’s a long way down to Mobile. We’re certainly glad we did.