Adventure of the Hour

November 2016 Mike Gilly Web Exclusive
This past weekend, here in Pascagoula, Ingalls Shipbuilding held a 5k run with proceeds going to Mississippi Special Olympics.  As a retired shipbuilder, I wanted to take my houseboat down beside the old Navy homeport causeway to watch the action.  It normally takes about an hour to get to the mouth of the Pascagoula River from where my houseboat id berthed.  However, between its berth and the mouth of the river is the CSX railroad bridge.  This bridge was in the "down" position as though a train would be coming across it.  I circled my houseboat a couple of times and blew my horn twice on two different occasions, plus flashed my boat lights. 

Finally, due to the rain, I anchored under the Pascagoula River car bridge and about an hour later, the bridge horn blew announcing the raising of the bridge.  I hoisted anchor and full-throttled my boat; a tugboat passed underneath ahead of me and the bridge commenced to lower. By the time my slow houseboat (5 mph) arrived at the bridge, the gap would not allow me to pass safely underneath.  I had to quickly reverse my houseboat and commenced to circling again to wait for it to open. This time a could hear a train blowing its horn.

As this train passed across the bridge, it had a locomotive sandwiched in the middle of the train cars, which usually meant that it was an extra long train.  After the train cleared the bridge and about 15 minutes later, the bridge blew its horn announcing its opening.  This time I was in a good position.  As soon as the gap was adequate enough for me to pass underneath and at full throttle, I scooted. Luckily, rain hampered the start of the 5K run.  I arrived and anchored in just enough time to see the motorcycle policeman leading the runners on the causeway.  I departed an hour later and headed up-river only to see that the railroad bridge was in the down position again!
Photos credited to Mike Gilly
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