As we cast off from TPYC to move upriver to Riverwalk Marina in Decatur, AL, it was a move from uptown living to downtown slumming. In between we just eased along taking in the sights.
A lone Osprey stands guard over its nest.
Two men supervising the filling of a barge. It was so hot they needed an umbrella just to stand out there. You can still see them in the long shot.
Our one lock for the day was Wheeler. I was a rough ride because we were going up and we tied to the wrong bollard in the lock. These locks have a powerful pumping system to fill and empty. The filling keeps the water in the lock turbulent over the outlets. It is like filling your bathtub by pumpimping water up through the drain hole. The boat kept trying to twist and turn on its tether to the wall and the stern kicked out and the bow tried to slam into the rough concrete sides. I was on the bow with a boat pole giving it all I had, but holding a ten ton boat off a wall with an aluminum pole is impossible for long. Jan was on the flybridge using the engines forward and reverse to help but she could not use the power needed to really do the job because all the strain of those powerful engines were on two straining ropes. Too much and a line would snap. THis would be a disaster if a boat gets loose in a lock with turbulence twisting it to and fro. The end result was the rub rail on the port bow got scuffed up pretty good but that is why they call it a rub rail. We were mighty lucky the friction and weight did not tear a section off. This was totally our fault. If we had gone up 100 more feet to one of the last two bollards it would have been a totally smooth ride. The reason we did not was stupid. A 24 foot pontoon boat with one guy had stopped at the bollard right in front of us. Bad for us but worse for him. If we were on one of the two bad bollards, he was on the other and far less equipped to save himself. He did not own a boat pole and it was too far to throw him one. So he twisted and banged the whole ride. Meanwhile, Steve was on the other side and grabbed the correct bollard and had his thrusters to maintain his distance from the wall. Never again will we make this mistake. Always grab either the first two or last two bollard, never the middle two where the outlet is.
Prior to entering the lock an aspiring artist had created a display near the arrival point. It blended so well with the surroundings that I missed it, but Jan had a keen eye and wanted to have a picture. We were killing time waiting for the lock to open so we eased over for a closer look.
It seems a naked siren sculpture was standing on a semi circle of rocks and attempting to lure unsuspecting ships to their doom. She almost got Cbay as the water shallows out rather quickly but a telephoto lens did not require that we go any closer. At the other end of the chain of rocks is what appears to be the ragged prow of a sunken ship on the rocks. Very well executed. Hope you enjoy it as we risked taking the photos.
The Southern Railroad Bridge coming into Decatur. It is 9' when down so you have to wait until no trains are comimg for then to raise it and trains are always coming. Our old buddy, the Captain of the "Cynthia" was waiting when we got there. He cannot go through on every opening because there is not enough time between trains. So he ties to Federal Mooring Cells out in the river and waits for those rare periods when no trains are scheduled for 30 minutes or so. By the way, I forgot to tell you the aftermath of our trip through Wilson Lock yesterday. As we were leaving a pontoon boat pulled up to the gate and asked the lockmaster if they could go down for lunch in Florence and then back up. The lockmaster laughed and said, "I guarantee I can get you down for lunch but you may not get back up until in the morning! Remember those two tows behind us? They were going to take all night breaking them down and moving them up. In fact we were having dinner at TPYC when we finally saw the first one come out of the lock. It was already dark then. See how extremely lucky we were?
The dock at Riverwalk. Steve and Jan walking to dinner at the Hard Dock Cafe. Another picture of those two? Now their shadows on the wall!
Riverwalk is no stranger to us.We stayed here returning from the LOOP and found it to be run down, no help docking and no services such as cable or WIFI. The slips are less than 40 feet and a fair portion of Cbay's bow is sticking out. Hope some drunk doesn't hit us tonight.
There is no courtesy car and Jan wanted to go to Big Bob Gibson's BBQ. She has Bob's book on grilling and wanted to eat there. Uber has not made it to Decatur, AL and the taxi service is non-existent according to the bartender at the on premises Hard Dock Cafe. I thought sure the bartender would know how to get a taxi as they must have many drunks to send home occassionally. We saw several and it wasn't even 5pm. No such luck. So if you are ever in downtown Decatur, I would suggest you stay off the roads after 11pm as there must be an unusually high percentage of drunks driving home based on what we observed while eating dinner.
Steve insisted I take pictures of the sun setting behind the RR Bridge. I thought they would not turn out well. I was surprised at the results.
Tomorrow we make the final run for home on what is forecast to be our hottest day.