Up a Lazy River

Ambler Isle
V and S
Tue 21 Jun 2011 21:59
Camper along the river
Spanish Moss on Old tree
Wee little Mahi, Note the beard and 'stash
This is the Way we Wash the boat
Red right returning?
Is this manmade shoreline?
Or is it Mother Nature's Handiwork
Oops, the river tries to claim another prize.
Different trailer, another oopsy.
Jacqueline and Karen
32 42N
088 06W
June 21, 2011
We slept til we naturally awoke without the alarm clock at 5:30am.  After so many early mornings, it happens.  We noticed that the river has changed.  For the better.  The tow boats and even their barges are freshly painted.  The river itself has very few logs and other debris.  Maybe it's been too dry for the logs on shore to be washed down. Many red and green marker buoy cans are new.  Even the day markers on the trees are new and the mile marker numbers, too.  Has the bad economy given everyone time to spruce things up at bit? 
The wildlife is also different this year.  Pelicans followed us up river the first 40 miles.  We saw no alligators here.  This is the most populated alligator territory  on the Tenn-Tomm Waterway.  We spotted the first ever wild boar grazing onshore.  It was dark brown, and very sleek.  A few miles later we saw another boar, this one a piglet, swimming across the river and climb up on the other shore.  Still later, we saw a couple cows grazing. 
Thinking of alligators, the state of South Alabama is granting 120 alligator hunting licenses this year.  4,000 folks registered for the prized licences.  Although we saw none, they are a huge nuisance here.  They eat family pets, menace small kids, and some places are off limits for safe swimming.  Like in Florida, they have been mismanaged to the point of becoming dangerous.  So, why only 120  licenses?  The wildlife spokesman said they might consider raising the number next year.  Not because they are a problem and need to be reduced, but because so many folks want to hunt them.  Pleas explain the science of wildlife management in that statement. 
M/V Adesso continues to stay with us.  Although we never met personally, they seem to like anchoring with another boat nearby.  Two nights ago we stopped at a poor anchorage across from Bashi Creek.  Smaller boats use the creek to anchor, but we have to drop the hook across the river.  It is very wide there, and a recommended anchorage, but barge traffic is frequent here.  We thought they might reconsider anchoring by us when they saw our selected spot, but they came ahead and dropped anchor nearby.  Neither of us has our dinghy down, so we couldn't visit.  But after a long day, that was ok.  The next day was pretty nice, too.  Hot, but nice.  We again ran the boat from the fly bridge, there is a nice breeze.  We had delays at both locks so far.  Hope this is not a sign of things to come.  This time Adesso went into Demopolis Yacht Basin for a much needed rest and we continued on another 10 miles to our favorite Rattlesnake Creek anchorage.   The cicada choir was just warming up.  The wind is so still and the temperatures 98 degrees, so we have had to run the air conditioning while the generator is on during the evening.  At bedtime, the temps have dropped to 75, and we turn everything off.  Our "elephant ears, " Breeze Boosters are place in the port lights in our sleeping berth and we find it comfortable.  The mornings are also cool, so we try to do outdoor chores then.   We went through a section of White Cliffs lining the shoreline.  Sometimes we think they are manmade, then they seem too magnificent to be.  The big trees draped with Spanish Moss, aka Grandfathers' Beard, are everywhere.  The humidity feeds these "air plants" and makes them thrive.   
At the Heflin Lock, we met up with 3 power boats traveling together.  They'd anchored near the lock, and by the crack of noon were raising their anchors and locking through.  After we exited the lock, they called on the VHF to see how far we were going.  They were traveling another 4 miles to the Sumner Point Recreation Area.  Yes, I said 4 miles.  Their day's log was 6 miles, one lock,  1 hour.  We continued on to Windham Landing Cutoff about 20 miles north.  Immediately, the sky opened up and it rained buckets.  Turning on the radar to see, it was solid green with rain clutter.  The windows began to fog, and visibility was very poor.  Adjusting the radar helped, and we also used the Garmin Chartplotter.  We wiped the windows.  Soon we could see, but the rain was torrential.  Gust of wind pummeled our starboard side, some as high as 30 knots!! 
We continued on to Windham and entered the creek in 14' of water at 3:00 pm.   Early day for us.   We went all the way around to the exit back on the Tenn-Tomm and found 40' there.  Returning to the shallower water, we anchored in 12', setting on the first try.  It was still raining.  We mopped up the sky lounge after the driving rain.  Then sat back to watch the rain and relax.