Log #6h Rattlesnake Bend to Demopolis, Alabama

January 15, 1999 in Log Series 02 - 07, Logs by Series, Series 06 Mississippi - Ten Tom to Mobile Bay, The Logs

Log #6h Rattlesnake Bend to Demopolis, Alabama

Covers the period Nov. 4 & 5, 1998

The morning we weighed anchor from Rattlesnake Bend was a quiet, misty one; we had to wait for the mist/fog to clear a bit before venturing back into the Tombigbee River and only a 70 minute quiet motor downstream to Demopolis Marina, the last reasonable sized marina before Mobile. We went to the gas dock to refuel, taking only 18 gallons of diesel since Midway Marina six days ago, and water and pump out. When we asked if we could stay alongside for a few hours to do some laundry and shopping we were directed over to a vacant slip, free of charge. We did a laundry, and had a good shower. When having lunch in their dockside restaurant (at economical prices) we saw another Canadian trawler maneuvering into the travel lift bay. It was Dreamcatcher, whom we met several days previously and spent time with at Midway Marina. They had damaged a prop and were lucky to find the lift available so they could be hauled out, have it repaired, and be back in the water alongside for the night after only a few hours.

The week before this marina was filled, as many of the downbound boaters were waiting there, upstream of Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico while hurricane Mitch was cutting its swath across the Gulf, and these boaters did not want to be anywhere near it. Many boats including ours have exclusions in their insurance whereby they are not covered for damage in named storms. That means don’t be in the Gulf or Caribbean from the end of August to the middle of November, which is exactly why we did not plan to be in Mobile Bay before the middle of November. Most of these boats left a few days before we got there, as Mitch had done his damage going across the Gulf to devastate Honduras and Guatemala. Thus there was space at the Demopolis Marina for us to spend a few hours and for Dreamcatcher to get into the travel lift for her repairs. (She hit a submerged log and damaged a prop and shaft.)

After lunch, we saw another familiar face, Mike, the skipper of the Christine, whom we first met in Angelo Towhead at the junction of the Mississippi and the Ohio Rivers, then again when they damaged their prop and shaft at Green Turtle Bay Marina. Mike had been at Demopolis for a few days working on his boat before leaving it for a few months to go home. As we were about to go into town to do some shopping, he said he needed some parts from the local NAPA supplier and signed out the marina courtesy car for us to get his supplies and to do our own shopping.
On our way back we stopped off at Gaineswood, one of the original antebellum southern mansions that is on the list of U.S. historic sites. It was a beautiful example of Greek style architecture with columned porticos, a ballroom facing out through floor length French windows onto an elaborate garden with statues and fountains, and a domed central living room parlour The guide traced for us (We were the only visitors.) the origin of it from a small “shotgun“ cabin into the work of art it became in the early part of the 1700’s by the renaissance landowner. The original cabin was called a shotgun cabin as it consisted of a central hallway, with rooms on either side, through which a shotgun could be fired. Of course after the Civil War it fell on hard times and it is fortunate that the family did not totally forsake it, and it is now preserved by a local historical group. There are several other preserved mansions in Demopolis. We enjoyed the town very much, but had to get the courtesy car back.

After we put things away on Veleda, we slipped and went about 4 miles downstream to anchor off a lovely state park at Foscue Creek, only a mile above Demopolis Lock. I took the dinghy up the creek for several miles and would have gone even further, except that I kept hearing rifle fire from local hunters, and got chicken lest I get hit by a stray bullet. The next day we were off reasonably early for Demopolis Lock, and were now at mile 214 to Mobile. Keep in mind, these are land miles, not nautical miles. Up to this point we had sailed 3049 nautical miles since leaving Toronto on July 3.