View Full Version : Tenn-Tom Waterway

Tony B
04-02-2014, 07:42 AM
Itís finally spring time and that means back to cruising time for us.

We will be heading from Pascagoula, Ms. to Mobile Bay and then northward to the Tennessee River.

What is the:
1) Average time per Lock?
This includes waiting/standing by, getting in and getting out - total time?
2) Anchoring. It appears that one can anchor just about anywhere outside the channel where it is wide enough. Is this true? I only draw about 3í.

3) I have digitized charts from the Corps of Engrs. That I downloaded. Thatís over 300 pages. I was told that they donít print them anymore.
a). Any other printed charts available?
b). I havenít checked yet to see if anything is available Standard Horizon GPS. Any good sources?
c). Is there anything I can use over my laptop screen so that I can use it outdoors? Too much glare.
d). I use Cricket for my data service and not sure how well it work up there so ActiveCaptain may not be available while on the run.

Thanks in advance

Jolly Time
04-05-2014, 07:22 PM
be aware the COE is closing some of the locks for several weeks this summer for maintenance!! Check the corp of engineers website for info!!! Jolly Time

04-06-2014, 06:13 AM
Tony I've observed your post sitting dormant here, so I'm bumping it a bit for you :). There is a web based app that may or may not be helpful for your needs. I'm thinking it would be useful resource if I were making the trip so I'll pass it on to you. It doesn't really show enough detail on water depth in navigational rivers but if you draw it up on about any lake it's great with a lot of detail even some underwater structure. Screen shot below.


Pirate's place is somewhere near the pink round sailboat near the bottom of the attachment above. Anyway here's a link to the app if you care to review it. WebaApp / Navionics (http://www.navionics.com/en/webapp)

04-08-2014, 03:08 PM
My place is at 307.5 at the Tom Beville lock and dam. No barges 30 min. thru locks call ahead. After Bobbys fish camp till you get to the next lock do not go far off the river as there are roustabouts around. You can get Charts call Mobile CORPS. For charts, contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Mobile District Office, Attn: Map Sales, P.O. Box 2288, Mobile, AL 36628; tel. 334/441-5631. For general boating information (including the booklet mentioned above), contact the Corps or the Tenn-Tom Waterway Development Authority at P.O. Drawer 671, Columbus, MS 39703; tel. 601/328-3286. Be careful of debris if you are coming soon. You need to call the lock if you anchor as till you get to Demopalis the water will fluctuate at time 5 to 6 ft. water was over the lock gates at Aberdeen MS yesterday. Look forward to seeing you. Good luck.
The pirate
I posted this before but it did not appear or got lost

04-10-2014, 02:53 PM
We bought a 36’ Gibson at Pickwick and ran the Dirty Dozen to Pensacola in 5 days, wish we would have taken about 12 and enjoyed ourselves a little. Our cruising speed was 22 – 25 miles per hour.

We had the flip charts, and cruiser guides. The guides really helped on determining portages. We only anchored one time, at Carol’s Creek. The rest we hit marina’s and used their courtesy vehicles when needed.

When you leave one lock, and headed to the next, the lock master will inform the next one, and have the doors open when you arrive.

The first day when my wife, another lady and I left Pickwick, we navigated hard. Like flying a Cessna. The second day I realized we ain’t gonna get lost in this river system, and ran the channel markers to the next lock. Once in and tied to the floating pins, we would look at the charts and determine how far the next lock was.
So we popped some beers, relaxed and had a great time sitting on the upper helm. Well, we entered one lock about 1 pm and then looked to determine the next was 100 miles, and that was where fuel was, and I was down to a quarter tank on the two, with a 200 gallon capacity. I did not have the fuel to run a hundred.

When the doors opened to exit, and the horn sounded, I asked the lock master “Where is the next fuel”, he confirmed, 100 miles.

I told him we needed fuel and needed to lock back up to the marina at the top. He used words that I thought would activate a FCC fine. The he said, “turn around and get back in, and I will lock you up fool”

When we arrived at the marina at the top, the dock master asked if we were the Rongstad’s, while catching our lines at the fuel dock.

At that moment I decided we were going to spend the night at this marina. I figured that lock master was so upset, he determined our name, by searching the boat numbers, and warned the marina. I did not want to encounter that lock master again. In the morning there will be a new lock master.

I answered the dock master in the affirmative, and she replied “My name is Star” we have been expecting you. Then I realized we were at Pirates Place. We spent the night, had a great time, and then headed south the next morning. So in running the Dirty Dozen, we rode in 14 locks, that one three times.

Tony B
04-17-2014, 04:27 PM
OK, we didn't leave as planned.
Bobby's Fish Camp is where I planned to make my first stop. I called them up to make sure they had gasoline. Yes they did and still do and will probably still have it for a while. Their docks are under water and so you can figure the rest out. If I can't get fuel, I cant leave here. Then I called the Coffeeville Lock and dam and they said they were 34 feet above flood stage and so we decided to wait.
This afternoon, I met a man at the marina, purely by accident, here in Gautier, Ms. He is from Demopolis and keeps his boat here at this marina. He said that this morning he drove over a bridge and the T-T looked like it was about 4 or 5 miles wide. There were eddys that looked like whirlpools almost as if you flushed the toilet. He said he had never seen it that bad before. He said it would take at least 2 weeks or more for it to clear up most of the logs and debris. It would be disastrous to leave now.
So here is my new dilemma. we are very itchy to leave even if only to Mobile, Al. That would get us a day closer to our destination and we would feel like we are at least now underway. this is also very close to where I stored my van when I thought we would be gone by now. So if we waited in Mobile for a month, we would at least have my van close by. We brought the van there last weekend to be near a Greyhound Bus Depot so I could get back to it from Joe Wheeler St. Park in Al.
Soooooooooooooo................Does anyone here live near Mobile River or is there anyway to find out how much, if any, debris is coming down the river into Mobile Bay. I would assume it is, But maybe not.

04-18-2014, 01:39 PM
There will be quite a bit of debris, I am glad I am where i am never floods here, water flux 4 inchs, right by the Tom Bevill lock. let me know when you are coming and I will be here.

Tony B
04-18-2014, 03:22 PM
This is becoming like an episode on The Twilight Zone. We just cant escape.
Every time we set a new departure date base on fairly decent weather reports, the weather and forecasts change drastically.
My marina monthly fee is due tomorrow and the weather report yesterday was so-so but we were ready to leave tomorrow. Later on during yesterday afternoon, the weather report changed again.
There are now small craft warnings and flood warnings for Mobile Bay. I also called Tow Boat US on two different numbers and spoke to 2 different people. The debris from up river is now starting to show up in Mobile Bay. The next good weather report is Tuesday and by then there will be more debris. So we decided to stay in Gautier, Ms another 3 weeks or so and hope things settle down by then. We are no longer waiting on weather, we are now waiting on debris to pass by.
Eventually we will get there but for now I don't want to risk my props and other collateral damage from logs both floating and submerged.

Pirate: We are both looking forward to meeting you spending several days by you. It works out to be a great resting place - slightly more than halfway to our destination.
It may be a month from now, but we are determined. We want out of hurricane territory.

04-19-2014, 11:45 AM
I look forward to seeing you, have a safe trip

Tony B
04-22-2014, 10:21 AM
Navigation Hazards

Yesterday was a pretty day so we decided to take a drive and look for ourselves.

First Stop: Mobile

We went to the Mobile Convention Center so we could be on the river and look. It didn't look as bad as I thought but still bad. Whether you looked up-river or down-river or straight across, you always saw at least 2 or 3 logs and big ones at that.

2nd Stop: Coffeeville Lock and Dam.

On the way we say the sign for "Old Lock No.1" and decided to detour and check it out. We went down this road for several miles and then came 2 large road blockers. Someone had moved them slightly over so my van could fit through. We went down about another 3/4 mile or so and the water was flowing both over and under the road eating up everything in its path. walked a little and turned back. Never did see the old lock. When we got to Coffeeville, we went over a bridge over the Tenn-Tom and there was nobody behind us so we stopped in the middle of the bridge. From the van we could see many logs flowing down the river and this time, from a higher perspective (height, not weed), we could see many submerged logs flowing along. Scary. So we continued on to the Coffeeville Lock and Dam. Went down the road to the Lock and Dam and the road was closed to the public.

Couldn't see the Lock and dam from there.

3rd Stop: Bobby's Fish Camp - the only fuel stop I know of between Mobile and Demopolis.

It was very evident where the water height had been just a few days earlier. We trekked across the mud to the floating dock and there was a trawler there. They had come down from the Demopolis area. They said it wasn't too bad. As we were talking, I could see logs floating merrily down the river. These guys didn't seem to concerned. I would have been.

4th and last stop on the way back was to go down a road by the bridge crossing the river that we had been on earlier. At the bottom area, we parked and walked across a grassy area. We met a man that worked for the health Dept - Environmental Services. he explained the river was about 5 feet above flood stage and another 20 feet above normal level.

He said it should be almost normal in a week or so. But I should wait about 2 weeks for most of the debris to clear up.

Sorry, didn'r take any pics.

Oh, well, that's what we found and will wait probably two weeks before we leave.

Tony B
04-25-2014, 02:00 PM
Mobile River Conditions.

We got there about noon and there was a cluster of logs coming down which made me think "not good". Then it cleared up and there was just a random log here and there. Then for the next 30 minutes, we didn't see any logs. I have no idea of the ratio of 'seen' vs. 'unseen' logs is so I can't comment on that. Then I saw 2 small crew boats running about 20 kts and the a mid size Cabin type fishing boat cruising at high speed looking like they didn't have a care in the world. I would assume that the crew boats and the pleasure craft were familiar with the area and were relatively unconcerned so I think it's about cleared of most logs.

The current was very slow. Not being familiar with the river system, I am totally in awe over how quickly things change from good to bad and back to good again.

As far as I am concerned, the river is safe to travel.

We don't like to start out unless we have a forecast of 3 good days in a row. Then after that, it doesn't matter. The admiral and I have had 2 really bad days on Mobile Bay in the past and so she is a little gun shy.

We will be bringing van back to mini-storage on Monday and then standing by for weather forecast. Looks like around wed or Thurs.