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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Drop that anchor and pray for good weather!

We knew after Pirates Marina Cove we would be looking for anchorages. I had spoken to EVERYONE I could find for suggestions.

There is a published book that is the "Bible" for the Tennessee River and the author, Fred Meyers, has also written a book on the TennTom, "Nitty Gritty TennTom". The rivers are denoted by miles beginning at the mouth. Liberty Belle and Crawdad were the only transient boats in Florence Harbor one night and we enjoyed having dinner with Fred and Joanie. Really friendly couple! We also have a book written about the Tennessee and TennTom by Rumsey, which includes hand drawn charts (almost called it a map! slap!). Thirdly and not necessarily in that order is Skipper Bob's. Bob and his wife Ellen along with others wrote mile by mile descriptions of the Loop. They are extremely helpful books as well. So with the comparison of those books, people who have anchored and the experts, we are choosing our way.

We anchored at Sumpter Landing. Gorgeous little spot with plenty of water. Crawdad draws 4 feet 2 inches and we have to be careful of the depth of the water. Some boats draw less and some more than we. A park surrounded the pool and the boys had a delightful time in the park (OK, as did Jim and I).

Locks are part of planning. A lock through can take as little as half an hour (rare) or as long as half a day. Waiting an hour or more is not unusual. All planning must take the time to lock-through as part of the day and as you can see, it is difficult to plan at best. Some days there may be no locks and most days there are one to three locks.

The picture of the lock, here is the Demopolis Lock. There were 15 boats in this lock-through in a lock with 10 bollards to tie onto. At 7am, at first light we paraded to the lock, all 15 boats and the first 10 tied onto a bollard. The next five rafted off other boats. "Finally" a 45 Carver rafted off Crawdad. Rafting is the "art" of tying off to another boat. Each boat (or one boat) will have fenders protecting the side of the boat and lines will be passed between the boats to tie to each other. As the boat tied to the bollard rises (or is lowered), so will the rafted boat. Works quite well!

As a train of 15 we left the lock and proceeded toward the few and best anchorages. This necessitated rafting at the anchor. We arrived at Bashi Creek and the first boat stuck their nose in to check the depth. Goncruzin backed in as far as they could go and High Spririts went in nose first and put out an anchor in front of them. They then tied to the trees on the shore. Next Dream Fever, a 47 DeFever went in nose first and anchored. We backed in an anchored and tied to them. Monkey Girl, a 34 foot American Tug came in third and tied to us. Jim and Bill, from Monkey Girl tied our boats to the trees. After us came 5 more boats, including a 25 foot sailboat with a generator boxed in on its transom! They expressed they had all the comforts of home! That proves anyone can do the loop!

The socialization of the Loopers is a big part of the trip. The people we meet are from all walks of life, but with one interest in common that binds us all. Even at this point we have met friends that will undoubltedly be friends for life.

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