Sunday, May 23, 2010
Left Aberdeen Marina and lock this morning and arrived at Pirates Marine Cove about 2:30... a more relaxed travel day of 50 miles. The Aberdeen and Columbus locks were problematic as they had large amounts of drift in the chambers and I had to push through 30 feet or so of tree trunks and limbs created by flooding over the past few days in some tributaries. At one point on lock exit I was pushing a large raft of limbs ahead of me at trolling speed and using my pike pole to try and dislodge limbs that hung up on the boat hoping my prop would not strike anything large. In addition to the locks, parts of the river had a lot of drift so cruising speed was down to 15-20 mph. A day of holding my breath a lot.
Pirates Marine Cove in Pickensville/Aliceville, AL released all the tension thanks to a friendly staff, and small harbor off the lake and near the dam. Two brothers staying there this winter had come down from MN last year in two "rowboats" with small motors and then rebuilt a 24 ft. sailboat that had been previously underwater. They will leave in June for MN. You never know what kind of great characters you will meet on the river or what you'll see. I passed a 106 ft. cruiser and two smaller trawlers that were headed north; $5-10 million in boats there. Passed two "tows” (tug boats) pushing their commercial loads up or down the river - you stay clear of those big boys. I called the captain on one and asked to “pass on port” and he agreed. Sometimes in smaller river/canals you need to ask as the tow captains want predictability.
The staff at the marina drove me to a motel in Aliceville and then I took a walk to get some exercise - my kind of temp at 92 degrees. On the drive we passed by a large prison under construction that will be the only women's prison in the U.S. Later this afternoon the marina crew brought 3 gentleman to the motel. They are also in a pontoon and are doing the Tenn-Tom from Pickwick Lake to Mobile. Tomorrow we'll eat breakfast together and call the folks at marina to take us to our boats. Perhaps we'll travel together for awhile to Demopolis, 90 miles away. They saw Ranch House, my Premier Pontoon, and loved the boat - wanted to steal my 250 HP Yamaha 6 cyl - they have a 75 hp. That would do the job if your sole travel was on the river. Ninety miles to Demopolis tomorrow, 100 miles to Bobby's Fish Camp Tuesday and 100 miles to Mobile Bay on Wednesday. The weather holds. Beer in the sink is now cold.
Photos: Top - locals netting shad for catfishing; below - cruisers going north.