Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Marina Cove, Carrollton, AL to Demopolis Yacht Basin, Demopolis AL

Wednesday, October 31, 2007 – Happy Halloween! Tonight we are going “Trick or Treating”. Barb, Kevin and Debbie are going to show Ed their bags and he will have to give up a few candy bars from his stash. We left Marina Cove at 7:00 AM sharp. Traveled .6 Miles to the Tom Bevill Lock & Dam, Carrollton, AL 306.8 LDB). 600’ X 110’ – Lift 30’. The lock master had the lock open and six boats quickly locked through. Traveled another 40.7 miles to the Howell Heflin Lock & Dam, Gainesville, AL (266.1 LDB). We went through with only three other boats. Again there was not a wait. We are making good time on the water today. Mile 217.0 is the end of the Tenn-Tom Waterway. The Black Warrier River enters the Tombigbee River at this point. The Black Warrier - Tombigee Waterway stretches from Mobile, AL to headwaters of the Mulberry Fork, a distance of 430 miles. This waterway is mucch older than its more famous cousin the Tenn-Tom Canal (Waterway). Between 1888 and 1915 a total of 17 locks and dams were built on this waterway to make it navigatable. Over the years 4 taller locks replaced these 13 locks and today a side trip up this beautiful scenic river is the highlight of river cruising. We will harbor tonight at Demopolis Yacht Basin, Demopolis, AL (216.7 LDB). ( after cruising 81 miles today. Arrived at 1:00 PM and took on fuel. We were then shown our slip for the evening. The marina has a restaurant, "New Orleans Bar & Grill", that of course serves catfish. We have met up with many other boaters traveling south for the winter. Ed still hasn't shared his candy bars. He said he bought them on sale with a past dated expiration. We don't believe him and expect our "Trick or Treat" bars later.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"Rolling On The River" - Midway Marina to Marina Cove, Carrollton, AL

Tuesday, October 30, 2007 - The crew woke up early to get a 6:30 AM start. There was a lot of fog on the river, so we delayed the start until 7:30 AM. Today we have five locks to go through. The first lock was Fulton Lock, (Originally named: Lock C) 391.0 LDB Lock is 600' X 110' with a Lift of 30'.. We were locked through with seven other recreational water crafts. Captain Kevin was worried that the slowest boat would set the schedule for the remaining lock throughs, so he increased Island Hopper's speed and pulled away from the pack. This was a smart move because we immediately entered the Glover Wilkins Lock (Originaly named: Lock B) 376.3 RDB located in Smithville, MS. The lock is 600' X 110' with a 30' Lift. We were the only boat locked through. One for the good guys. Island Hopper sped up again toward Amory Lock (Originally named: Lock A) Amory, MS 371.1 LDB. Again the lock is 600' X 110' with a 30' Lift. Next we locked through Amory Lock (371.1 LDB), Amory, MS (Previously named Lock: A) Lock 600’ X 100’ with a 30’ Lift. Island Hopper powered 5 more miles to the next lock. We arrived at Aberdeen Lock and Dam (357.5 RDB) in Aberdeen, MS. This is our last lock of the day. We had a 30 minute wait prior to locking and again we were the only recreational vessel that locked through. We traveled 50 more miles to Marina Cove (307.4 LDB) in Carrollton, AL. Marina Cove is off-channel, ¼ mile above Tom Bevill Lock. There is a lock visitor’s center (Tom Bevill Visitors Center) and museum boat “Montgomery” 1 mile from the marina.
The USS Snag boat Montgomery was the last steam-powered sternwheeler to ply the inland waterways of the south. For nearly six decades, the Montgomery labored to keep seven of the South’s major rivers navigable. Built in 1926 in Charleston, SC, the Montgomery is 108’ long and represents the culmination of stem engine technology. Later river workboats generally were diesel powered with screw propellers. Retired in 1982, she is on display at the Tom Bevill Visitor Center. Interpretive exhibits and special video displays provided us with a return to days when sternwheelers worked on the South’s rivers. We went to “Down Under” for dinner. We ordered fried pickles and catfish and enjoyed the company of three other boaters from the marina.

Grand Harbor, Counce, TN to Midway Marina, Fulton, MS

Monday, October 29, 2007 - The crew prepared for an early start this morning. Left Grand Harbor at 8:00 AM sharp. The next 52 miles on the Tenn-Tom Waterway are referred to as the “Canal Section”. From Mile 418.9 to mile 366.3 the Tenn-Tom Waterway consists of dams and pools connected to form a 9’ deep waterway along a channel. The canal follows a channel from the headwater of one pool to the dam, then locks down to the next pool and repeats the process to the sixth and final dam and lock in this section. When the waterway originally opened in 1985 the northern most lock was called Bay Springs Lock and Dam.
The next five locks and dams in this section were named only for letters of the alphabet. With time each of these locks and dams were renamed. We traveled 38 miles to the James Whitten Lock and Dam, Dennis, MS (Original Name: Bay Spring Lock). Lock is 600’ X 110' and has an 84’ Lift. This lock has the greatest lift on the trip. Went through the lock in 30 minutes. Traveled another 5 miles to G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Lock ( Original Name: Lock E), Fulton, MS. Lock is 600’ X 110’ with a 30’ Lift. Traveled an additional 15 miles to Fulton Lock, Fulton, MS. The lock is 600’ X 110’ with a 30’ Lift. Island Hopper motored another 8 miles to John Rankin Lock (Original Name: Lock D), Fulton, MS. The lock is 600’ X 110’ with a 30’ Lift. Powered four miles to Midway Marina on the Tenn-Tom (394.0 LDB) for the night. We arrived at Midway around 2:00 PM. Dock Master Pat gave us our docking(Barking!) orders and we tied up along the designated dock. The crew took long walks throughout the property. Barb and Kevin pumped up the dingy for future use. We ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Fulton and then on to Baskin Robbins located in the Huddle House restaurant for ice cream.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Cruising the Tennessee River - Cuba Landing to Grand Harbor Marina

Left Cuba Landing at 8:15 AM on Sunday, October 28th heading to Grand Harbor Marina 449.RDB ( in Counce, Tennessee on the Tenn-Tom Waterway. Another beautiful morning on the river with clear and sunny skies. A deer was spotted swimming across the river. Captain Kevin slowed down so the deer wouldn’t be frightened by the boat’s wake and best of all a photo opportunity. We then traveled past the channel to Clifton, the home of Tennessee’s first Pulitzer prize winning novelist – T.S. Stribling where there is a library/museum in his honor. At mile 215.1 the Tennessee-Tombigbee (Tenn – Tom) Waterway welcomed us to the state of Mississippi and ends our travels on the Tennessee River. The Tenn- Tom Waterway connects the Tennessee River at Pickwick Lake with the Tombigbee River at Demopolis, AL. The Tenn-Tom Waterway gets its’ name from the fact that this waterway joins the Tennessee and the Tombigbee Rivers. Originally proposed back in the late 1700’s by the French as a way of connecting these two navigable rivers, no effort was ever made to complete the waterway until much later. Over the years numerous proposals were made to the US Government and finally in December 1972 work began on the canal. After spending 2 billion dollars, the waterway was dedicated on June 1, 1985. The construction of the Tenn-Tom employed more than 5,000 people at its peak and now provides jobs an income to the entire region. We used a courtesy car to go into town for dinner. We had ribs at a local restaurant called The Rib Cage. Barb is still on the hunt for the best key lime pie. Unfortunately the Rib Cage is not in the running.

Green Turtle Bay, Grand River, KY to Cuba Landing, Waverly, TN

Barb & Ed Daniel and Debbie & Kevin departed the Green Turtle Resort on Saturday, October 27th at 9:15 AM. It was a beautiful ride on the Tennessee River. Tate laid back and relaxed on the bridge.
The morning was chilly, but warmed up quickly once the sun appeared. Island Hopper arrived at Cuba Landing on the Tennessee River 115.5 at Blue Creek around 2:45 PM after traveling 91.3 miles (Green Turtle Bay to Cuba Landing). The crew had an easy day with fairly light river traffic and no locks. We went into the small town of Buffalo for dinner and ate at a restaurant named the Little Log Cabin. They served great Cajun Catfish and Prime Rib. After dinner we went back to the boat to watch the Ohio State vs. Penn State football game. Go Bucks! Another great day of boating!!

Grand River / Green Turtle Bay

Jenny, Barb and Debbie arrived at Green Turtle Bay on Friday, October 26 around 1:30 PM. After putting items aboard the boat drove into the small town of Grand River to provision and just browse the shops. We ate dinner at Patti’s 1800 Settlement, which is famous for their 2 inch thick pork chops. Both the food and the company were great! Jenny & Dan Crocker will stayed behind to enjoy the small town for another night. Tomorrow Island Hopper heads to Cuba Landing Marina.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Inland Marina to Golconda Marina, Golconda IL (10/24/07)

We decided to leave early from Evansville at first light in rainy weather. Drift (floating debris) was light to none, so we made good time to Golconda, though two cold and and rainy lock thrus. We passed Cave-in-Rock, a place that was variously the home of pirates, counterfeiters, hi-jackers, assorted yeggs, and the haven of brave pioneers. First written about in 1924 by Rothert in “The Outlaws of Cave-In Rock” the Cave was used by Samuel Mason to provide a waylay for New Orleans flatboats to which he lured them and who were expeditiously murdered for their cargo. Now a state park, the mouth of the cave is 55 feet wide and extends back come 60 feet, originally it was partially concealed by vegetation.
After arriving in Golconda, the rain continued with moderate wind. We were able to call a local tavern and have them pick us up for dinner, drinks and a little pool (Springwater Saloon). Very friendly folks at the local watering hole.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rocky Point Marina to Inland Marina, Evansville, Indiana (10/23/07)

Rain rain go away . . . the childhood poem of a rainy day dismay rings through my head as we motor down the river, two lock thrus and finally dock at Inland Marina in Evansville, Indiana.
Although a bit soggy, our spirits are high . . . the question “are we having fun yet?” being bantered about from time to time. We are told by Katie at Inland Marina that the river is going up 9’ to action stage (23.4’) by Wednesday midnight.
Moorage at Rocky Point Marina

Fueling at Rocky Point Marina

During the day we noted a couple of dredges, "mining" the river bottom for gravel. They scour the bottom and offload it to barges on both sides of the dredge.

Mining the Ohio River

We are currently tied up at the gas dock, but have water, 50 amp service, and a courtesy car at the marina. There is a couple in transit from Terrace Park who have left their sailboat here, rented a car and returned to Cincinnati for a couple of days, pending better weather.

We anticipate slow or no passage tomorrow, needing to make 112 miles or stay here another night. We will see.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Louisville Kentucky to Rocky Point Marina, Indiana (10/22/07)

We left Lousiville early this AM after a heads up from the lock master at McAlpin Dam who informed us he was locking though a towboat ( Crescent City) and a pleasure boat at 8:15 AM.
We made it and total lock thru time was about 15 minutes. Score one for the good guys!

McAplin Lock Thru

The weather forecast was for a good morning and a rainy afternoon, which was exactly correct. The river between Louisville and Canelton is pristine, with very little development. Add to that the rainy afternoon, and other than towboat traffic, no one was on the river.

A rainy day on the Ohio

This allowed us to make very good time, 7.5 hours for a total of 120 miles. Score two for the good guys!

In route we passed Leavenworth Indiana, well known for it's luxurious inn and where Jenny and Dan opted for luxurious accommodations over the modest venue of the Greenbrier in West Virginia. (

Leavenworth Inn

What a surprise to see our former Rear Commodore involved in a new business enterprise on the river after Leavenworth (Terry's Camp). We all wish Terry the best of luck!

Terry Glasgow's newest enterprise

We arrived at Rocky Point Marina in a steady rain and docked with little fanfare. The marina was recently purchased and provided a very good meal at their on-site restaurant.

Tomorrow we expect to arrive in Evansville Indiana, a short 73 miles or so.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Warsaw Kentucky to Louisville Kentucky

The trip from Warsaw, Kentucky to Louisville, Kentucky took six hours, mostly owing top operating at reduced speed in order not to wake the numerous boats that were enjoying this beautiful Sunday. Dan Crocker helping to lock thru
The shoreline was beginning to take on fall colors, the water having a blue-green quality and cliffs overlooking the river in the Madison Indiana area. Truly a beautiful day. Several options for moorage in Louisville included Captains Quarters, Louisville Boat Club and Limestone Marina. We were fortunate to be able to overnight at Captains Quarters, arranged by a mutual friend. In addition, we enjoyed a wonderful meal at Captains Quarters with guests John and Connie Emmerich.

Island Hopper at Captains Quarters

One cannot be impressed with the amount of boating activity in Louisville, even this late in the season. The river is wide (lake like) with interesting areas to beach (18 mile and 12 mile island). Tomorrow will be a longer day, with the goal of completing around 112 miles

Cincinnati to Warsaw Kentucky

The send off of Island Hopper was favored with a bright and sunny, but chilly day. All hands were energetic and eager to get under way for the first part of the voyage, which will be from Cincinnati, Ohio to Green Turtle Bay, Kentucky.
Kevin Ed and Dan at start of trip
The first day (October 20th) took us from Cincinnati to Warsaw Kentucky (63 statute miles) where we stayed at Smugglers Cove Marina. A good dinner at the marina restaurant, the Sunset Grille consisted of the special, T-Bone steak, baked potato and corn on the cob for $13.95.
The second day (October 21st) started late, since we had a relatively short distance to cover (65 miles) to Louisville KY. A very quick lock thru at Markland Lock and Dam (small chamber) started the day on a good note.
First lock thru of the trip, Markland Dam

Confluence of the Kentcuky and Ohio Rivers

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Leaving Port of Cincinnati

Dan Crocker, Ed Daniel and Kevin Hopper left the Ohio R iver Launch Club at 11:00 A.M. Their destination for the day is a 65 mile run to Smuggler's Cove on Craig's Creek in Warsaw, Kentucky. They received a cheerful send off from their wives Jenny, Barb and Debbie.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Cincinnati, Ohio - Where the Story Begins...

"Island Hopper" is currently moored at the Ohio River Launch Club ( She has been in Cincinnati since arriving from St. Petersburg, Florida in the spring of 2006. For the past year and a half Kevin has been preparing her for the Great Loop Voyage. With just another week before the travels begin, final preparations are taking place. Dan Crocker and Ed Daniel will help Kevin with the first week of the journey. They will take the boat to Green Turtle Bay.