We had a great visit with Mary & Tony in Demopolis. They drove over 2 hours just to come see us. And they came bearing gifts, a dozen eggs fresh from their own chickens! Chris made me a tasty omelet while underway the next morning. YUM! Thank you Tony & Mary. Speaking of Demopolis, the tow boats stop there to fuel up. I managed to get a tour of one. Twin 1800 hp diesel/electric motors! Nice to see the insides of what we've been passing often for 2 months. Very impressive piece of machinery.
We shoved off early Friday morning, headed for 'Bashi Creek', allegedly a decent anchorage. The first of our pack of 5 boats went into the creek, barely. There was less than 4' of water and several logs. He did manage to anchor inside but the rest of us had to anchor in the river. The river that gets tow traffic with massive barges, any time day or night. This was a fairly wide section of the river and the tows use the one side only so we were fine. One passed around midnight, commenting on the large pack of boats on his radio. The second came by in the pre-dawn fog. Thick fog! I can't believe they can run massive barges up this very narrow, winding river at night in fog.
This Saturday morning the fog took an extra long time to lift. We didn't get underway until 9AM. And we're off to find another sketchy anchorage. This one is even worse, there is no wide spot out of the sailing line. I crept in to a small inlet till I found 6' and dropped the anchor, then backed out and dropped a second anchor out in the main river. I ran the stern anchor down the side and tied it to the bow so we can pivot in the wind if necessary. The mouth of the inlet is wide enough to allow me to swing. Not very good, but there is no wind so we should be fine. I think! This is reported to be the last of the poor anchorages...we hope so!
This WAS the last day of locks! No more ups & downs for S/V Freedom. We did 12 on the Tenn-Tom & 24 in all from Chicago on down. For the most part, they were very easy, especially the locks on the Tenn-Tom that all have floating bollards. I drive the boat up abreast of the bollard, Chris tosses a line around the pin and we tie the line off. Piece of cake. A few times we had to wait for tows/barges to use the lock but most of the time when we radioed ahead to the lockmaster, he'd have it waiting for us on our arrival. All in all, a very interesting experience.