Wednesday, October 31, 2012

So far on our journey we have traveled 4,232 miles, 690 engine hours, 162 days, 108 of which were travel days, we've locked through 151 locks, stayed at 72 paid docks, 43 free docks, and anchored out 42 nights.  We've used 1,145 gallons of diesel fuel and visited 118 cities, 11 states and 2 countries.  In addition, we traveled 2,200 miles by car from Columbus, Mississippi to Atlantic City, New Jersey and were gone 14 days.
We left Dog River Marina at daybreak this morning with five other boats heading south.  We traveled 63 miles to English Navy anchorage just off Pensacola, FL.  We were excited to see the "Welcome to Florida" sign at Perdido Key.  It won't be long till we'll be home for the winter.  

We were barely across the Florida state line and were watching the amazing Blue Angels practice in the skies above us, when a Florida Law Enforcement boat stopped us.  He asked if we had the Florida sticker on our boat.  We do not because we just arrived here in Florida with the b boat.  He asked to see the boat documentation which was in order and then he admonished us that we must have that Florida sticker, so as soon as we get to Cape Coral, we'll be buying it.  As he left us he smiled and said "Welcome to Florida!"

Here are some of today's photos:
Leaving Dog River Marina this morning

Sunrise on Mobile Bay, AL

A lonely pelikan

Dolphin playing in Mobile Bay, AL

Tugs on the Intracoastal Waterway

A home along the ICW, Alabama

The amazing Blue Angels practicing over the Pensacola Naval Air Station

The Florida Law Enforcement officer stopped us -- we need a Florida sticker when we get to Cape Coral.

Blue Angels

Blue Angels

Blue Angels

Pensacola skyline

Tonight's back yard

Another tonight's back yard

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It was a good idea to stay at Dog River Marina today -- the wind was quite strong all day and the forecast for tomorrow is much better.  Ralph had been experiencing a sore jaw the past couple days and this morning was able to get an appointment with Dr. Sauthall in Mobile.  He borrowed the courtesy car and was back in about an hour.  He had a cavity between two teeth which the dentist was able to fill and Ralph was on his way.  He was very pleased with the professionalism of the dentist and his staff and would highly recommend him to anyone who might have a dental need while in the Mobile area.

 We spent the afternoon chatting with old friends and new and were invited to join Sue and Jim on "Eagle One" for a social hour with other Loopers.  We had a lot of laughs swapping stories.  As usually happens at these gatherings, the guys gather in one section and the ladies in another -- but it worked out just fine and a good time was had by all.

Here are a few of today's photos  -- I knew all the ladies' names,but not all the guys' names -- except we had 3 Jims!!
Ralph was happy there was a West Marine Express at Dog River Marina

A fisherman across the road from the marina

This looked like a convention of pelikans

Dog River has a good reputation as a full service marina

There are several yard dogs around here

This boat is all packed up and looks like it's ready to be shrink-wrapped

As we were walking today, Merrick Goodleaf our Canadian friend called

Roy, Keith and Jim, our host on Eagle One

Gary and Jim

Larry, aboard Eagle One

Aboard Eagle One

Have a snack, Mr. Wonderful

Elvie,Bobbie and Sue aboard Eagle One

Ann and Theresa


Sharon and Elvie

Bobbie, Sue, Celeste and Christelle in foreground

Monday, October 29, 2012

We weighed anchor at 7:15 this morning -- fog was rolling in tufts along the surface of the water --  eerie and awesome.  Another chilly day here in Alabama --  43 degrees and brisk.  Our 25 mile trip took us from the Lower Black Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway into the Mobile River which today was as barfy as New York Harbor when we made a 90 degree turn into abeam waves.  The scenery changed dramatically with much commercial boat traffic around downtown Mobile.

We arrived at the Dog River Marina in Mobile at 10:30 -- we got 90 gallons of fuel and were given a free night's dockage.  We're tied up on an extended dock and our friends, Jim and Sharon on Blue Angel are here also. 

Ralph had marked the longitude and latitude of Mt. Vernon, Alabama, Mile Marker 46 where we saw the dog running along the beach yesterday.  I called the Mt. Vernon Animal Shelter but got no answer, so I called the Mt.Vernon Fire Department and spoke to David, who said he would check out the beach to see if the dog is still there and if so, he'll be rescued.  

This afternoon I did a load of wash and after dinner we used the marina courtesy truck and went to Wal-Mart for groceries.  Dog River Marina is just inside the Mobile city line and is about 7 miles from Wal-Mart and other stores and restaurants.  We so appreciate the use of a courtesy vehicle.

We've been watching the newscasts all day and have touched base with Ralph's parents and the kids.  Everyone is hunkered down and doing okay. The photographs of Atlantic County are horrific to say the least.  High tide in Atlantic City was approximately 8:00 PM and was at record heights. Now comes the calm as the eye of Sandy passes over Atlantic County.  The wind has died down and the rain has stopped for a bit.  It is reported that Sandy is now 900 miles wide and will be colliding with a snow storm as well as a cold front.  This certainly has been the "October Surprise" of this election year!

Our thoughts and prayers go out to our friends and family who are in harm's way with this terrible storm.  We pray for their safety, endurance and compassion toward each other in the days and weeks to come. 

A few photos from today:

Our route today -- the triangles represent other boats

Fog on the water this morning

Coming into Mobile

Mobile, AL

Mobile skyline

Entering Mobile

Seagulls and pelicans were everywhere

The marina courtesy truck -- it has a back seat which was perfect for our stuff!
Tonight's back yard


Yesterday, October 28, 2012  while coming down the Black Warrior-TomBigbee Waterway, we saw a dog running the sandy beach at MM 46, also called Webb's Bar on the chart. The dog was on the RDB and the inside of the turn. When we first saw the dog, we didn't think too much about it. It was probably someone's dog who was in a cabin nearby, etc. 

Last evening, however,  we heard from another boater who was one day ahead of us and also saw the same dog at this place. Now we are more inclined to believe this dog has been abandoned and probably in need of food....and possibly even a good home. He was following our boat as we made our way around the turn....he was running along the water's edge. 

The other boater who saw him yesterday said he blew his horn and the dog tried to come out in the water towards his boat.....all of which leads me to conclude tonight that the dog is probably very hungry.

If any of you are coming down the Black Warrior-TomBigbee Waterway at MM 46, you might consider taking your dinghy over and providing some food for this animal. Better yet, perhaps you would like to rescue the animal. See above photo.

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

We weighed anchor at 7:30 this morning.  It was 47 degrees, sunny, cold and windy.  Ralph steered from the inside steering station as we traveled on the Lower Black Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway.  We're now in salt water and subject to tides and tidal flooding.  

I baked strawberry muffins this morning and spread them with butter and homemade peach jelly we bought at a farmers' market in St. Charles, Missouri a few months ago.  They were delicious on such a chilly morning.  I haven't baked much since we were in Canada. 

We passed several tugs and tows today going in both directions and saw a swimming raccoon and a dog all by himself running on the beach.  I hope both the dog and the raccoon are safe because there are alligators aplenty here in Alabama.  

We traveled 52 miles today and arrived at Briar Creek anchorage in Creola, AL at 2:00 PM.  It was sunny and warm with wind gusts to 16 kts.  The landscape is changing. There are low palms, tall pine trees with Spanish moss and little "bayous" tucked in along the sandy shoreline.

We touched base with the kids and Ralph's folks.  April and her family and Ralph's folks are all in NJ and Betsy and her family are in PA.  All are preparing for Hurricane Sandy's approach.  We're happy we sold our house earlier this year and are not absentee property owners in The Garden State. 

Today's photos:

Today's route
We saw this little dog running along the beach alone this morning.

This is a raccoon swimming by us

We passed the downbound Pascagoula pushing coal barges this afternoon

This twin span in the Dolly Parton Bridge

The scenery is changing to palms and sandy shores

Anchoring this afternoon
Strawberry muffins with fresh  peach jelly

Using the hair dryer to dry the condensation on the windshield -- inside steering station