Sail or Sell? Into the Deep South (Day 82)


So, we had a relaxed cruise on the Tombigbee Waterway and we’re coming into our next marina at Columbus, Miss. This marina is just before our next lock, but it’s not visible from the river. The sweet guy working there is kindly guiding us in. “Just look for the yellow sail in front of the lock, then turn to port,” he says. I figure a sailboat with a yellow jib must be waiting to go through the lock. As we get closer, I see a large round concrete tie-up for barges, painted dull yellow … and it dawns on me. He said cell, not sail! Those concrete tie-ups are called cells! “Turn left here!” I said.

Misty morning on the Tombigbee

Get it? The word cell is pronounced “say-ell” in the south, and “sell” in the north. Add “the accent thing” to our list of things-to-learn as we head deeper into the South! πŸ™‚

Each day on The Great Loop is memorable for different reasons. Today’s is memorable for that little incident, but also for our lock-down early this morning. We entered Aberdeen Lock about 7 a.m., because we were anchored right there. (See previous post.) We were in no hurry to leave, since we were going less than 25 miles and had just one lock. But we both had a good night’s sleep and woke early and refreshed. I slept deeply on NyQuil, which ended several hours of violent sneezing, runny nose, headache…the works. (I still don’t know what caused it, but clearly an allergy reaction.)

We noticed that the boat had moved about 125 feet overnight, swinging on its anchor, as the current overtook the wind. It’s important to point out that the anchor did not move, especially since we were anchored up-river of a spillway! We knew there was debris underwater, and Jeff was concerned about what we would find attached to the anchor. He couldn’t wait, and started to lift it even before my first cup of coffee. Lo-and-behold, it was clean. He was so excited, he said “let’s go!” I called the lock master, who said “y’all come on.”

And so we did.

And…I drove through the lock! My first time. Winds and water were both calm, so Jeff suggested it would make a good practice run. Gulping coffee, I realized he was right. He guided me through the headset — as I also guided him about the best way to get a line around the bollard, since it was his first time doing that. It’s not always easy, though it was today. In fact, it was all easy. It helped that we were alone in the lock. I’m not dying to do it again, but I know I can — at least in calm conditions.

We took our time cruising downriver at a low rumble of 6.2 mph because we had time to kill. Besides, it was a gorgeous morning and we had the waterway to ourselves. We did hear a lot of jets overhead, reminding us we’ll be berthed near Columbus AFB tonight.

Photos and captions below.

Inside Aberdeen Lock – my first to drive through. I did drive into the Soo Lock in Michigan, but handed the helm back to Jeff when we got close to the lock wall. Driving inches from a concrete wall made me nervous then, but not today. (I’ve watched Jeff do it 16 times.) I drove us out, too. Thanks to Jeff for the nudge!
Loopers (and others) sometimes leave their stickers on the lock bollards. I left a note.
Leaving Aberdeen Lock behind.
We passed this on the Tombigbee Waterway. Remains of an old bridge, I suppose?
Columbus Marina is tucked away and hard to find without directions. Can you tell there are dozens of boats behind that sign?
I took my paddle board out at Columbus Marina, which is surrounded by swampy shallows, and tied up to this stump in the middle of the water to relax. I learned later that there are alligators in these waters! I guess I won’t do that again.
You can learn a lot by looking at the flags (and burgees) on boats. I had to look this one up. It was the Mississippi State Flag until 2020. That’s startling to this Yankee.
And, more “Trump 2024” flags. This is our slip neighbor in Columbus Marina.

8 thoughts on “Sail or Sell? Into the Deep South (Day 82)

  1. Alligators, concrete walls and “cells,” oh my!!!! My hero (can’t bring myself to use the softer “heroine” for this adventure!!) Thanks again for giving us such great vicarious experiences! Love, Terry

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    1. I suppose i do emphasize the dramatic. πŸ˜‰ I didn’t actually see any alligators. And the ones that have been seen here are apparently small. Just for the record!

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  2. I live on st Andrew Bay in Panama city beach Florida and have a brother in Columbus. I grew up on Tombigbe River in Alabama and you will go by Ezell Fish Camp just before going under Alabama State Rt 10 Bridge
    Safe travels on your travels.
    GEORGE

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