Day 188, October 30, 2012 (Demopolis, AL): Our groupie has changed, again. Until Joe Wheeler we had been hanging out with One September, Good Karma, Jim’s Joy, Sareanna, and Catmandu. Some crews went home to visit while others continued on to Chattanooga up the Tennessee.
Speaking of meeting interesting people along the way, we have encountered many. In the adjacent image with us, as an example, are Craig and Barbara (Blue Heron). Craig was the chief financial officer of Hyco International before he retired. In the center is Hinnerk Weiler. He is on the loop in a 27-foot sailboat that he sailed from Germany across the Atlantic to Halifax before entering his loop route at New York City.
We have rejoined with Blue Heron (Cincinnati) and Next to us, (Seattle) having last seen both at other times as far away as Rideau Lakes in Ontario. We are about 230 miles north of Mobile.
The trip down the Tenn Tom Waterway from Grand Harbor, 250 miles to where we are now is spectacular, although the weather was grimy. Here is the crew on deck tending to the lines to the floating bollard in a lock. It is all downhill, now through nine of eleven locks to Mobile. We have passed few tows and many bass boats. The birds were abundant as were the droppings. Below, a blue heron is inspecting us in a lock trying to decide whether or not to bomb us.
The area is otherwise quite desolate with a few small towns. As we run through the canyons the white cliffs impose on the river.
We made stops at Midway in Fulton, a marina surrounded by cypress knees, Columbus, and Pirates Cove. Demopolis, which was a long jump from Pirates Cove, is a small town with a huge new yacht basin that is almost empty. It is a tugboat fuel and provisioning stop, too, with fuel prices among the lowest we have encountered in nearly 4000 miles of travel. The marina is well appointed and everything seems to work including the wi-fi. It is also very calm and protected from the river. The marina offers a loaner vehicle for the short ride into town and the longer ride to the Walmart Supercenter for provisioning.
Exploring Demopolis we discovered remnants of a now defunct Jewish community. Jews came upriver from New Orleans and Mobile in the latter half of the 19th century, immigrants from Europe escaping discrimination and looking for economic opportunity. Like many small town Jewish communities in the south it suffered out-migration of its youth and in 2002 the last Jewish-owned furniture business closed. The old temple, B’Nai Jeshurun, is now owned and preserved by the Episcopal Church. We found the graveyard on the edge of town. The graveyard was consecrated in 1858 but the earliest graves in walled family plots date back to the 1840s.
Tomorrow we head downriver toward Mobile, ETA Thursday.