Mobile Bay (Day 90+)


Mobile Bay near our marina.

Now, the tides.

Since starting The Great Loop, we’ve become very familiar with winds and currents. Winds still matter, as proven these past three days — but also, here, the tides. So now, I have yet another new app on my phone called “Tides Near Me.” It works great and is easy to read, as long as you remember to check it!

We weren’t thinking about tides our first night in Mobile Bay. (After the long days and weather concerns and barge traffic just to get here, it’s natural to want a “time-out” and not try to learn something else right away!) In the middle of the night, the boat began to list as the tide rose. That’s because our lines kept the boat snug against the dock, as security against the wind, and didn’t allow room to move with the tide. We put on headlamps and loosened the lines, adding another spring line for stability.

That has worked well for the boat but hasn’t kept me from banging my head on the stern roof when I step aboard during low tide. 😉 Unlike most of the docks on the rivers, this dock doesn’t float … so sometimes it’s a big step up, and sometimes a big step down. The tide here is about two feet. I wonder what it’s like to handle bigger tides, such as on the Atlantic Ocean.

We’ve also been introduced to salt water, which made its presence known on the windshield. (Its influence on the mechanical and electrical components of the boat is a bigger concern.) We’ve been reintroduced to the sound of sailboat rigging in the wind. Turner Marine, where we are berthed, is a working boatyard that seems to specialize in sailboats, which surround us on both land and water. The wind that we rushed here to escape while under way has persisted here in port, so our in-port “music” is the cacophony of metal tones as halyards bang against masts of various sizes. It is like music, in a way.

And there’s the palm trees. And flying fish. On our 1st night here, a peculiar noise woke me up. Plop. Plop, plop. (Pause.) Plop! I peered into the black water but couldn’t make out anything. In early morning, I could see them — one-foot fish, leaping. I remember them from Caribbean scuba trips, but can’t remember why they do that.

This is mainly a rest stop. Besides a jog and emails and laundry (me), and continuing mechanical projects (Jeff), we aren’t eager yet to do much else. The city of Mobile awaits exploration, but it’s many miles away and there’s no courtesy car here. (I may call for an Uber.) The nearest grocery store is three miles away, and we’ll probably take out the bikes as food supplies dwindle, but the temperature has dropped with a north wind and it can wait. I also know I need to plan next steps and stops — but not now.

A time-out is essential now and then. Living on a boat is more work than many landlubbers know, even for First Mates.

Persistence and flexibility is essential, too. It’s taken four tries and four places to write this post. Since Jeff’s working on the boat — which is priority, but means a lot of noise and pulling up of floor boards — I can’t write there. (Some people can block out all distractions when reading or writing, but not me.) I tried two outdoor locations, but the north wind made that difficult. So now, I’m sitting in the marina office.

Sharing 34 feet with another person full-time does take compromise.

Photos and captions below.

PS: We finally got our own boats cards, after collecting almost 60 from other boats. Loopers exchange boat cards constantly, and Jeff decided he wanted his own. I designed it in a hurry, but it is rather cute!

Many Moons tied up at Turner Marine on the west side of Mobile Bay. That’s the 72-foot Dog River Bridge in background.
I passed this marshy area on my jog today. Lots of marshy areas around here.
The next-door marina holds dozens of sailboats. Maybe hundreds, based on the sea of masts.
Another sign that we really have travelled south.
This sign marked our turn into our marina.
Many Moons at the dock at low tide.
This tangle of lines is necessary to keep the boat secure from winds and also responsive to tides.
Hallowe’en is coming – time to carve the pumpkin a friend gave us weeks ago. The “flickering flame” light that gives ambience to the boat works great inside a carved pumpkin too.
Boo is named for Hallowe’en. That’s when I got her from the shelter. She escaped last night but returned quickly. The white thing dangling from her collar is an electronic tracker, so I wasn’t worried.

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