Log # 6f Ten Tom Mystery Boat to Midway Marine

January 4, 1999 in Log Series 02 - 07, Logs by Series, Series 06 Mississippi - Ten Tom to Mobile Bay, The Logs

Log # 6f Ten Tom Mystery Boat to Midway Marine
Jan. 4, 1999
Caloosa Cove, Florida Keys

Hi Folks,

Happy New Year! It is 6 months now that Judy and I have been sailing. We are enjoying it immensely. Right now we are at a lovely time share resort that Judy’s parents have had down here for over 15 years, since we had Ruah Shanti in charter service out of here. But that is another story.

Anyway, her sister Jacqui and husband were also here from Paris where they live and whom we hope to visit next fall as we motor through the French river system down to the Mediterranean. They left New Years Eve, and Judy’s parents just left this morning as they wanted to return home early due to health concerns of two of Judy’s aunts. The unit is paid up until Jan. 10, so Judy and I have it to ourselves until the end of the week. We have anchored Veleda in a sheltered harbour across the road on the bay side from Caloosa Cove, and are enjoying the space, electricity, hot water, TV and other shoreside amenities for a while before setting off again.

We are helping another Canadian sailor in a small 26 foot C&C we met at the dock yesterday. He had anchored the night before on the bayside about a mile down from where we are anchored. During the night the tide shifted and dragged his boat into the concrete abutment of a bridge. The tidal current running from the bayside to the ocean side kept his boat pounding against the concrete. Then the wind shifted and increased in intensity, even blowing him harder against the wall. He was pulled off by the coast guard about 4:00 a.m. and brought over to Caloosa Cove dock where we saw him. He was frazzled as he was doing a single handed trip from New Brunswick to Cuba, and had not gotten any sleep, and was trying to get his boat to a repair yard. We offered to help him sail it, and would have Judy’s dad pick us up from the repair yard. It had a large 3 foot by 2 foot hole worked into the hull deck joint, and the steel toe rail was bent like spaghetti, but all the damage was above the waterline. However, once under way, we discussed his plans for the repair yard and found out he had none. He was just going to a sheltered repair facility up the bayside and then would decide his repair procedure. We took him into our anchorage as it was very sheltered, and he could get caught up on his sleep and then decide his plans from a safe rested situation. In the evening we took him back to the unit in our dinghy where he was able to get a nice shower before we went out to supper with him. He will be calling his insurance agency today and then make arrangements for evaluation and repair. The situation shook him up, and he feels badly about the damage to his boat, but at least no one was injured. We will probably stand by when he wants to move his boat down the Keys to Marathon for a repair yard down there. Then we will continue on down the Keys to Key West, then over to the Dry Tortugas before going over to Cuba.

Here is Log #6f going down the Tennessee River to the Tombigbee River, part of the Ten‑Tom Waterway. As I mentioned in my last E‑mail, if you want copies of any of the earlier logs, let me know as I can now copy and paste all my E‑mail without doing anything fancy as attached files. I would have made a good Luddite.

Since we are going to be here until about Jan. 9 or 10 and have access to a telephone, you can E‑mail a reply and we will be able to pick it up before we leave at the end of the week.

Anyway, here is Log #6f. Enjoy.


Log # 6f Ten Tom Mystery Boat to Midway Marine

Jan. 2,1999
Covers the period Oct. 29 to Nov.9, 1998

On Oct. 29 we weighed anchor and proceeded down the Tennessee River going past the Shiloh Battlefield we visited the day before. We were able to get through the Pickwick Lock with no waiting, and were alongside the Pickwick Ten-Tom Marina by 1055. This is a first class marina with modern floating docks and marina store, showers, etc. The people were most friendly and appologetic over the fact that they just had a power failure and had no water pressure and also did not have any diesel fuel left in their tanks. Power and water pressure were restored shortly, and we had a lovely shower, and also used their telephone to send out some E-mail. Fortunately just a few miles along was another first class marina, Aqua Yacht Harbour, where we topped up our diesel tanks and also our water tanks. Then we motored another two miles back to anchor in a lovely little bay called Stick Cove.

Judy wanted to anchor there as our Ten-Tom Waterway guide indicated there were swarms of butterflies on Ten-Tom Island, and Stick Cove is the only anchorage on it. However, when we passed the mouth of the cove we saw a power boat stretched across the inner bay of the cove; but we went in anyway. There was nobody on the boat. It looked abandoned. As we scanned it with the binoculars, we noticed it was damaged and several holes were in the superstructure and several portholes were torn off or badly broken. We didn’t know what to think. Was it abandoned? Was it stolen and stripped? Was it used for drugs? We were afraid to go too close to it, and so did not even launch our dinghy. We did stay all night and left first thing in the morning. No one was seen on the boat over night. As we left I called Pickwick Ten-Tom Marina to report this derelict. We didn’t want to call earlier in case there were criminal elements involved. We could imagine all sorts of bizarre scenarios to account for this ghost ship. The man at the marina indicated it was an eyesore that belonged to a couple of locals who came down periodically to fish or party. It did not leave the anchorage month in and month out. It was a shame, as it was a lovely anchorage which most boaters would not enter as this boat was stretched across the inner bay and created a crowded situation (except for nervy people such as me). Oh well, at least there were no bodies decomposing on board.

The location of this cove was at TT 448.7 (Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway), and only 448.7 land miles to go to Mobile, Alabama, the start of this waterway, and the end of the river systems for us. Incidentally, we did not see many butterflies at Stick Cove.

When we were at the Pickwick Marina the day before we sent and received some E-mail. One of the messages was from Bob Anglin, a fellow boater in the Toronto Power and Sail Squadron and member of the World Cruising Club from Toronto. He asked us to look out for a cousin of his, George Van Nostrand and his wife Sheilah, in a trawler called Dreamcatcher, who left Ontario in August and were coming down the Ten-Tom too. The next day after we left Stick Cove, we were approaching Whitten Lock and were asked to wait a few minutes for a power vessel coming down and wanting to lock through. Guess who, – Bob Anglin’s cousin and wife. We hailed them on the VHF as I recognized the name of their boat, Dreamcatcher,from Bob’s E-mail, and they were on the lookout for us as Bob told them of our trip. So we shared the next two locks (Montgomery Lock and Ranken Lock) with them, except as they were faster than us, they had to wait a bit at each lock for us to catch up. They then went on ahead.

The river widened out into marshy lowlands and we had to stay within the buoyed channel as the water shallowed very rapidly outside it in spots. The water was still muddy brown making it impossible to see bottom, and our depth sounder was still unreliable. We saw many bass boats with people fishing in the shallows. There were many stumps as this area was flooded when the Ten-Tom waterway was created. Now, south of Tennessee and into the state of Mississippi, we realized we were in the deep south.

We arrived at Midway Marina (TT mile 394.0) at 1710 to be helped alongside by not only George and Sheilah from Dreamcatcher, but also Ed and Ev Van Allen from Cassia Lea, whom we had met a few days earlier when we were anchored above the Shiloh Battlefield. It was nice to renew their acquaintance. The marina was again a very nice friendly location. That night they were having a Hallowe’en pot-luck supper for the regulars and we were invited. It was an enjoyable evening and all the other boaters were quite friendly. Many of them were live-aboards. The couple who owned the place were from up north and when motoring down to the Gulf saw this marina for sale, bought it and have been there ever since, enjoying the boaters and the local community of Fulton.

It is a good marina with gas and diesel, as well as repair facilities. I was having trouble with my 9.9 outboard on Sprite. It sometimes would not open up enough to get the dinghy on a plane. The mechanic was also a live aboard at the marina. The motor needed a new electronic timing device as the old one was not working properly. Of course they did not have one in stock, but could order one from their supplier in Tupelo, about 20 miles away. So, off I went with him and had a good drive through the local area. We even stopped at the HOME OF ELVIS, and saw the hardware store where Elvis got his first guitar! We also picked up some extra spark plugs for the motor and had them gapped for me. The marina had a courtesy car which we used to get groceries. We did a laundry there as well. I mention the facilities as some people think there are too few and inadequate marinas.on this way south. We had no problem in finding marinas at convenient locations with power, fuel, pumpouts, water, laundromats, clean showers, and repair facilities all down the Ten-Tom Waterway.

We stayed at Midway Marina for two days, leaving at 0645 on Nov. 1 for a long day, going through four locks before anchoring at 1700, 52 land miles down from Midway at Barton Ferry Cutoff. We were now at Mile 342.9 on the Tombigbee River. Because the river winds around the straightened channel, there are many oxbow cutoffs where there are good anchorages. In many other places, the channel simply followed the twists and turns of the existing river. There was one stretch where we travelled 18 convoluted miles along the river to make less than 6 miles straight distance.

In the next log I will probably get us all the way down to Mobile Bay and the end of the river systems.