We had a great easy passage through the 4 locks planned for today. We just pulled up to the locks and drove right into the waiting pool. One of the other loopers commented it looked like we were driving into a swimming pool, which it did since it was a very calm day.
One of the locks had a special visitor named “George.” When the locks water level drops, sometimes fish get trapped on the gate. A local Blue Heron often flies in when the water drops to select a meal from the gate. The lock master explained the heron has been a resident for a long time. He also told us how sometimes even raccoons climb down the ladder for a chance at fresh trapped fish.
We have already traveled over 1,000 nautical miles on this journey. The man-made canal ended and we began traveling on the Tombigbee River. The scenery opened up and the route begins to meander more with curves along the river.
The goal was to get to Columbus Marina, where we had planned to meet my sister. When we arrived at Columbus, Alabama, they asked if we wanted a covered slip. Since we were planning to leave the boat for a few days, we said YES! Sanctuary has not been under a covered slip like this before and might get a little spoiled. A number of other looper boats came to the marina throughout the day.
The marina has a courtesy car which we used twice; once to go to dinner at Huck’s Place, a Cajun-Creole cafe in a historic building downtown Columbus with Patty, Rayno, and Paul from Oh … Kay. We feasted on shrimp bisque, shrimp & grits, salad, and catfish with white beans and rice.
The second time, we took the opportunity to go on a remarkable tour of the Waverly Mansion with Wally and Darcy from Summertime. Waverly was originally a cotton plantation with over 200 field workers/slaves. When the civil war was over, the slaves became share croppers. The house eventually was left abandoned for many years after the original owner died and the family could not agree on what to do with it. It is amazing the house was not destroyed when it sat open and uninhabited. Even some of the original mirrors and chandeliers were not broken. After many years, the Snow family bought the house and began restoration of the building and grounds. Mr. Snow, a nonagenarian, still lives in the house and can be seen quietly working around the grounds. Jimmy was our knowledgeable and enthusiastic tour guide.
The marina owner “T” decided to provide a generous barbecue dinner for all the loopers creating a time of re-connecting. We had a great time which was much appreciated by the loopers.
The next day my sister picked us up so we could visit her family in Birmingham. We left Sanctuary behind for the first time in two months and plan to sleep on land (aka Dirt Dwellers). Thursday night was the final home game for our nephew’s high school, so we got to see his marching band. They performed great pregame and half-time shows. The band was great, and it was fun to see him with his sousaphone–the marching band version of a tuba.
After a few days here in Birmingham, we will be back on the boat and continue traveling south. Next month Amanda, our daughter, plans to meet us for Thanksgiving … so we need to get moving again.
Scenes along the Tombigbee Waterway
Slide show of the Waverly Mansion