Swing Set

Aug 26, 201210:28 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Waiting Out Hurricane Isaac On Coffeeville Lake

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It looks like we're going to be here for a week or so. We started watching Tropical Storm Isaac as soon as we got the notice from NOAA via an email. This type of travel is a good reason to sign up and get the updates on storms. You can do this from the BoatUS website or straight from the NOAA website.

There is no point in tempting fate by going further south. We are 116 miles north of Mobile Bay, and under current predictions should experience nothing greater than 30-MPH winds by next Thursday, August 30th, and to be safe all we have to do is stay put. Seems like a no brainer to us.

From our "front porch," we can watch the river traffic go by, and we are well off of the channel with plenty of room to swing at one anchor, although we did deploy another bow anchor, Bahamian style, to let the new anchor settle in to the river bottom and provide better hold when the wind kicks up. We are literally hundreds of feet from the Coffeeville Lock entrance but shielded from their lights by an island that divides the lock from the dam. We keep our radio tuned to both channel 16 during the day as well as the lock's working channel, which is 14.

We took a dinghy ride on Friday, the day after we got here, and went back upstream to take a look at two anchorages we took a pass on, looking too narrow or shallow to get Swing Set into. Turkey Creek was our first stop, and even in the dinghy it was narrow. The overhanging trees would have been playing havoc with the blades on our wind generators, plus I'd prefer to not have the prospect of critters dropping down from tree limbs while we're on the boat. We explored up into the creek for about a mile, keeping a sharp eye out for alligators, which are supposed to be around here, but we didn't see any. Another 3 miles up the river is Okatuppa Creek, which was much wider at the mouth, and in a pinch we could have poked our bow in there for a stay, but I'd rather have some room if the wind picks up. Both creeks are in the Choctow Nature Reserve, and we saw vegetation neither one of us has ever seen before. I couldn't even fathom getting into the water in either one of these creeks. Let's just say that you're not talking to Johnny Weissmuller here.

We cruised back by Bobby's Fish Camp and tied up to the dock to top off the fuel tank in the dinghy. I couldn't roust anyone from the intercom at the gas pump, so I left Rosie and Holly in the boat and walked up to the restaurant/office/store. It was like entering a time warp, where nothing had changed for about 50 years. The restaurant was closed, but I figured someone would be around for me to ask about getting a few gallons of gas. While I waited, I looked around at all the neat stuff on the walls and read a bunch of the many signs and notes posted about. When you deal with a wide variety of the public, you tend to make up the rules as they need for them come up. After reading some of the posts, it's fun to wonder just what transpired to make the proprietor issue a new edict and post it on the wall. I rang a bell over the counter, which by the way, held a variety of things a person could purchase if so inclined, including several alligator heads, minus the good eating parts. I started to wonder if they served alligator tail in the restaurant. I've had it before, and yes, it does taste like chicken.

I knew that Bobby had died a couple of years ago and his daughter Lora Jane was running the business now. There were pictures posted about depicting both of them, so I'd began to think I would know her if she came out from somewhere, but no one appeared and I didn't have my phone to call. I had already made up my mind that we were coming back to have dinner there on Saturday for Rosie's birthday. The place had just the appeal that promised a memorable time.

On Saturday morning, even though it was Rosie's birthday, she insisted on doing her morning routine of mopping down the boat. I chipped in and washed the dinghy and scrubbed the scum from around the waterline of Swing Set. I must say that we are keeping Swing Set looking cleaner than she ever has, something we intend to keep up. We wonder how people let their boats get so dirty, especially if they are living on them. We both are attracted to clean, shiny fiberglass like some people are attracted to gold or diamonds, neither one of which we have much use for.

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