A Kiwi couple's cruising adventures on America's Great Loop and around the coast of New Zealand

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Putting the record straight

When I began this blogsite, I decided to put stuff about the issues with the boat as information to other boaties, particularly those from eslewhere than the USA. From some of the comments I have had from friends in New Zealand, I may have given the impression that we have had a lot of trouble with Loopy Kiwi, when in fact the opposite (so far) is true. Sure, we had the problems with the inverter installation, but most of the subsequent issues have been to do with my attempts to "fine tune" the electrical system to make her behave more like a NZ boat so we can anchor out more often. Regretably, like many other US boats, there is only so far you can go without major expenditure so you have to do the math and weigh up the benefits of spending too much more. For example, a $2000 outlay represents 30-40 nights stay in marina's or 2000 hours of running the genset and there comes a time it is uneconomical to spend more money. The modifications to date were mainly to add convenience and safety and I am satisfied that I undertook them. Although running a generator as a matter of course is quite foreign to me, it is not at all unusual over here. When we bought the boat the engines had done 225 hours and the generator 340. The engines are now at 400 hours and the genset 380, so I have been fairly frugal with it. However, as we intend to anchor out a lot more in future, I will be racking up a few more hours on it yet...so in the words of a dear friend in New Zealand, as far as running a generator is concerned, I will have to just "get over it". 

While we were at Aqua Yacht Harbor on Lake Pickwick, I ran into one of the brokers I was dealing with during the boat buying trip. He asked me if, knowing what I now know about the Loop, would I still have bought Loopy Kiwi. My answer was an unequivocal "yes" as I am yet to come across another boat that would suit us more for our intended use. After almost 5 months of living aboard, we have never felt cramped for space and many visitors have remarked on the huge interior volume that we enjoy. There are things that I would like to be different, but most of the alternatives didn't have them either. The thing I miss most is my gas cooking, but there are very few late model boats here that have that as an option, and adding it fits into the "do the math" category. So ......I am getting over it.

Having put the record straight, lets get on with the travelogue:

We left Aqua and headed downstream and through the Tenn-Tom's "Diversion Cut" where 150 million cubic yards of earth were removed to join the Tennessee and Tombigbee rivers, and thus the waterway. This is more dirt than when they built the Panama Canal and is the largest earthmoving project in the history of mankind. The big dam that was built a little further downstream created a lake (Bay Springs Lake) that had deep and beautiful anchorages.
We stopped in a cove called Five Finger Cove and it was so nice that we stayed an extra night after spending the next day perusing the rest of the lake.

I had bought a clip-on extension for the boarding ladder as the standard one didn't go far enough into the water to be useful, so Carolyn was able to go for a swim and get back on the boat.

We spent the next night at a marina and used their courtesy car to drive to Tupelo, but we didn't go to Elvis' birthplace for previously stated obvious reasons.
The following day was the James Whitten lock, with a drop of 85 feet - the biggest so far - which was pretty awesome when you're at the bottom.

There were 2 more locks that day with a total drop of 150ft of the 341 feet in difference in water levels between Pickwick lake and the sea. We stayed in another marina that night as there are very few anchorages below the James Whitten Lock. This one had a lot of "flooded timber" close by, which is the term used for the stands of forest that remained after they were flooded after the dams had been built.
The following day there were 3 more locks and another stay in a marina, at Aberdeen, Mississippi  which was a cute spot off the main river, but VERY skinny water going in. In fact we touched bottom twice with the depth sounder showing 2.2ft. We were sent to an interesting restaurant about 7 miles out of town, called the "Friendship House". While there was a sign on the main road for the restaurant, when you drove down the side road, all there was was a big tin shed with a neon sign "open" that was the establishment. I guess all the locals just know where it is. It was good food and I think we were the first Kiwis that had ever visited.
The next stop was Columbus Marina, Mississippi, after 2 more locks. We decided to stay a couple of days as we intended to have a look around - Columbus was a hospital town during the Civil War so was spared from the ravages and burning that destroyed many of the other towns in the South and there are a lot of Antebellum (latin for "before the war") homes still standing.

 Later we heard from our cruising buddy JADE, who was on his way down river, so we booked in for another 3 days to wait until they arrived, as they like anchoring out and are great company when we do as well. In the meantime, Hurricane Sandy had nade her presence felt by producing strong winds and cold temperatures, and by the time JADE arrived yesterday, with seven other Loopers, the Northerly made for some very interesting docking procedures. Today we provisioned up and intend to get underway tomorrow to Demopolis, Alabama, stopping at 2 anchorages along the way. Here's where we are now....

 Next posting will possibly be from Mobile, Alabama, as there is not a lot of civilisation in the 335 miles between here and there.

1 comment:

  1. It was nice to meet both of you while you were at Midway Marina! Jolly Time