Leaving Fairhope and the sea

Ambler Isle
V and S
Sun 19 Jun 2011 16:14
June 16, 2011,
We pulled out of Fly Creek at 5:30am.  Drinking in the sights of the pelicans doing head dives, the dolphins jumping, and the last of the shrimp boats we sailed west across shallow Mobile Bay and entered the ship channel at Red marker 74.  Usually a captain or two call us at this point to warn of shallow waters.  But 7' is plenty of water for us, especially after traveling the Bahamas and Florida waters.  We'll trade in the sea birds and dolphins for alligators and blue heron.  Not bad, just different.  It will be good to be in calm water for the rest of the trip.  We'll measure wave heights in inches instead feet. 
As always, we are reluctant to leave the warmth of Fairhope.  The people there are like magnets, they get hold of you and don't let you go.  Each day they offered reasons to stay another day.  We also got the generator fuel pump replaced, fetched and installed 20 gallons of engine oil complete with all new filters, washed the boat, and more.  We never did make it to the huge swimming pool.  We filled the water tank with the first city water since we left Florida in December.  Although the river water is good, it has too much algae.  If we used our water maker to purify river water, the sediment filters fill right away.  Our "homemade" water is so much better than most municipal sources.  Lastly we switched the anchor wash down system from fresh water to river water intake.  We could wash the anchor and chain thoroughly when we hoisted it from the muddy river bottom. 
Last evening a big yacht pulled into our tiny harbor.  Adesso, with David and Marla aboard, greeted us as they passed us on the way to their slip at Eastern Shore Marina, just across Fly Creek.  He said someone gave him our boatcard and told him to watch for us.  They, too, were going up the Tennessee River.  He later phoned to hear our plans.  We both were leaving Saturday morning and hoped to anchor in the same place tonight.  Although they cruise at 8 knots, faster than our 6 knots, we will probably leap frog with them the rest of the trip. 
Back at the Yacht Club to say goodbye, we saw our "old" new friends from several days ago, and met even more. 
Back through Mobile Bay to the Mobile River, we passed the big shipyards and industrial complex that lines the River.  There are no recreational docks here, maybe because of the constant commercial traffic.  Sadly, this is the reason we've never toured Mobile.  It is an hours drive from Fairhope. 
We enjoyed a hot, but pleasant run from Fairhope to Mile Marker 65, where we turned off our port onto a small canal called Three Rivers.  We'd anchored here before, and while the entry is 25' deep,  narrow and overhung with trees, the small "lake" at the end is open, but shallower, maybe 7'.  We dropped anchor, attaching a floating ball to the mud palls.  This floating ball would help us retrieve the anchor if it should become tangled in stumps or other debris on the river bed.  Ordinarily, we run from the pilot house inside.  But today Valt opened the windows, uncovered the helm station, and set up  the portable Garmin  GPS Chartplotter.  We were ready for a new adventure.  The view was a spectacular panorama of the entire river. A gentle breeze cooled.   Lots of small boats were out and the shoreline beaches were dotted with campers and swimmers.  It was a hot day, reading 98 when we stopped.  Adesso came into the creek about two hours later.  They'd had many hours delay this morning as they searched for diesel fuel.  When we turned on the generator to prepare dinner and recharge the living system batteries, we turned on the air conditioning to cool and dehumidify the cabins before bed.  Once shut down, we reopened the windows and found a nice breeze, maybe 75 degrees.  Perfect for sleeping.