Pitch dark and deathly quiet…

Sorry no pictures tonight due to circumstances. I will add them in tomorrow if we get WIFI.

Within the first few miles we were greeted by a colony of ringed beak seagulls. There were hundreds standing on a sandbar mid-channel and when our props churned the water they stir up small fish and other edibles. So we were trailed for miles by the gulls diving in our wake.

The scenery is like a national park and the weather was perfect. I was in shirtsleeves by 0930.

On Halloween we sit at anchor in a secluded cove on a finger of Bay Springs Lake in Mississippi. It is pitch dark and deathly quiet. The stars fill the sky like a Van Gogh painting. Someone asked what we were going to do about Trick or Treaters. Actually we brought candy for that purpose thinking we would be at a marina and some children would appreciate it. But tonight the only ones we will have must come by dinghy or on a broom.

We left Grand Harbor with our buddy boat 20BUCK$ at 0915. By the way, that is now the correct way to print their name. Just wanted to get it right for a change. We entered the divide cut which connects the Yellow River and the Black Warrior. More earth was excavated here than in the Panama Canal. It is 24 miles long, 120 feet wide and at least 12 feet or more deep. The Panama Canal is longer but was merely a series of small canals connecting many bodies of water. This is truly back to nature. We encountered four large tows pushing many barges and you must pay close attention when you pass. A 43 foot Defever sank here within the last three weeks in less than five minutes after passing a tow. It is still under investigation. They have very large propellers, over six feet in diameter on some, and create a suction that draws everything in including boats that stray too close.

Each time you meet or pass one you must contact them by radio and request instructions. They cannot stop and you must give way or it is disaster. Some fools do not know anything and create havoc. They tell you to hug the bank, get over now, move that boat, pass on the one whistle or two whistle. One whistle means you move right to leave them on your port side and two whistle means you move left to leave them on your starboard. This is true whether you are meeting or passing. One fellow today said what do you mean one whistle? He was sitting in the middle of a narrow channel with a vessel weighing as much as two freight trains bearing down on him and he froze. The tow captain was shouting and finally he moved. It can take these behemoths a quarter to a half mile to stop. 

Our most difficult time was when two tows met each other in a narrow area and were having a devil of a time passing each other. I was a hundred yards or so back and went to dead stop to observe. The down bound tow was loaded with coal and digging water something fierce and hit the bank but recovered. When they finally passed the coal barge called me and said come by on the two. There was less than forty feet between the rocks and the moving tow and she was tearing up the water creating whirlpools and currents. We eased by and she started shifting to close my gap. Nothing we could do but stay the course and kick up a little water ourselves. All in a day on this river.

We arrived at the other end of the cut which is a large lake with five fingers branching off with Whitton Lock and Dam at the far end. We pulled into a beautiful finger and dropped anchor along with five other loopers. We dropped…