New Orleans-SeaBrook Stepping Mast

Well what an exhausting day…But Beauty once again is back into shape and looking like a sailboat! We woke up around 4 a.m. and started to prepare for the day. It’s amazing all the prep work that has to be done. I received a call from Aaron one of the service managers here to move the boat around to the canal. Of course Bryce had taken a walk over to the gas pumps to see if they were open. I started the engines and disconnected the electrical cord. I was preparing to leave.  Finally out of no where I see Mr. smiles (Bryce) walking up to the boat. The gas docks are open we can get a pump-out and top off the diesel. Cool lets get moving.

It has been 4 weeks since our last pump-out. This is one time I am glad we had two heads.  At 22 gallons a piece I now know we can last a month on 44 gallons. We still have some maintenance to do on her so we will be here a while. Yesterday, I also did 4 loads of laundry. I think it’s getting time to do some fun stuff.

I was so excited to see the palm trees That is a sign I am in the South

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Here is one of the last views of Beauty with her mast down.

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This is Bryan; he is the expert putting Beauty back together again.

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This is Steve another boater we connected with. Steve picked his boat up and is heading back home to Tennessee with her.

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Bryan is on the lift to remove the Windex and wind speed off the mast. Bryce had shimmed out on the mast yesterday to put all the stuff on her.LOL

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On your mark get set; get ready; go….Bryan is putting the hook on her. 

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Scary at first.  It’s hard to believe one strap and hook can lift this heavy mast.  

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Bryce and I helped with stepping the mast. We just did what Bryan told us to do. If we can be useful, we just like to help with our own boat. 

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Bryan and Bryce are guiding her down into her spot.

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The final part of using this lift. Bryan went up to reconnect our Wind speed and Windex. 

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After Bryan tuned the rig, Bryce and I replaced the boom, vang and put the sails on. Look she looks like a sailboat again.

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Bryce has had a lot of questions about the jet-ski lift.  Just a few stats.. Bryce designed and built the lift out of aluminum/bronze and stainless steel.  Since it is mostly aluminum, it weights about 150 pounds.  It operates with two hydraulic cylinders (black) shown in the picture below.  A small 12 volt hydraulic power unit pushes the lift up or down.  Two buttons on a hand held unit cause it to go up or down.  It easily lifts the 400 pound Sea-doo Spark.  I named the jet-ski “Patch”.  The build and a drawing are located earlier in the blog.

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I keep getting question on what mapping app do I use?  We use “TrackMyTours”: http://Trackmytour.com/35L17

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Thanks for following us!Red rose

Grandview Anchorage MM150 to New Orleans MM92

What a wonderful yet sad day. We are now in New Orleans. That means we are off the Lower Mississippi. Tentatively our thoughts are to run down the ICW but who knows what we will do. It’s time to re-provision and do some maintenance on the boat. I must also do a bit of exploring while we are here. With that said I am thinking a one week stopover. It has been nearly a month on the river without a marina. I am going to get Laundry done while the guys re-step the mast. 

This photo was sent to us from Billy Crews the jet-skier we met on the river. Thank you Billy

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The Lower Mississippi was awesome. I am glad we did it. I do feel like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn out exploring. LOL Would we do it again? Without doubt. I know a few of you are planning on making the trip down in the future. Remember a foldable wagon, cans for fuel & water will be your friend to walk into towns and get what you need. Google maps is a good device to use to see where fuel stations and grocery stores are. I would call ahead to make sure they have diesel before you take a walk.  We took on enough fuel that our tanks never dropped below 3/4 full.  We pulled into Seabrook Marine with more than 3/4 tank of fuel.

 

See how much happier you’ll be with a wagon.

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This was our last anchorage on the Lower Mississippi. Grand View Anchorage mile marker 150. It is a designated anchorage.  It actually is a quite nice anchorage.  A few waves will rock you however.  We anchored quite close to shore in 20 feet of water with very little current. This anchorage is between Plaquemine Bend at mile marker 210 and New Orleans at Mile 92. It is almost in the middle between the two. It’s a 60 mile run from spot to spot.  A 60 mile run can be done in one day.  The other designated anchorages are not typically suitable for a small boat.  We often saw tows running though these other anchorages.  And most of the other anchorages were filled with barges.

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One critical point we noticed is the tow operators become more nervous in the river between Grandview and New Orleans.  We think perhaps its due to the increased freighter traffic.  We found one tow operator got snippy with us.  We simply thanked him and went on.  We feel comfortable in this high traffic area, but perhaps others may find it a bit stressful.  Fortunately, this area is only 60 miles of the river.  Between Baton Rouge and Grandview, it is more relaxed.  Above Baton Rouge, its no issue. 

You must monitor channel 67 below Baton Rouge to communicate with tows and Freighters. Prior to Baton Rouge use Channel 13.  We contact every freighter or tow that we do not understand his intentions.  AIS is very important on all rivers, but becomes more important in the lower Mississippi below Grandview Anchorage.  Our chart plotter shows every tow, its name and speed.  It is critical to know the tows name so you can contact him.

Three tug boats on each side of the freighter to move it into the work area.

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George is using his towel for shade. Laughing out loud

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Look at these huge arms… Apparently, they use these to remove those big containers off the barges and freighters.  Yes.. we actually saw some barges with containers on them.

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Have you ever wonder how products get shipped between countries? That is what these containers are for.  We saw large stacks of these on freighters crossing the Atlantic Ocean during our trip back in 2016.

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Two “Cape Kennedy” Ships. My father was in the Navy.  When we lived in Florida, we would go to Cape Canaveral and see the ships come in. I just loved it!

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A view of New Orleans from the water.

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All bridges on the lower Mississippi are well over a 100 feet some are 160 feet.

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This is a picture of the entrance to the Industrial lock.  There is a bridge shown here opening just at the lock entrance.

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We waited for this tow/barge to come out, then we entered.  The bridge operator needs to know you are entering the lock so they can hold the bridge open.  The bridge operator and lock operator are separate people.

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There is a second bridge on the other side of the lock.  This one would we were able to fit under or we would have had to wait till 7 p.m. There is a small area here to wait if need be.

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The lock chamber is 600 feet, so quite large.  They provide a line for holding the boat.  Locking height is dependent on river level.  For us, it was only 2 feet.

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This  a mooring that you tie up to waiting for the Florida Bridge.  It looks like a cell which are huge and concrete.  This is a smaller one and when Bryce stepped on it it was soft like a marshmallow. With all the bird poop it looked like concrete!! 

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This is called the Florida Bridge. We had to wait on the mooring from 3 to 5:45 when the bridge was scheduled to open. It really wasn’t a big deal. I made dinner and did up a few dishes.  We pulled into Seabrook Marine at about 6:30.

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Here is our complete route down the river from http://trackmytour.com/35L17

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Thanks for following us!Red rose

Lower Mississippi Plaquemine Bend to Grand View Anchorage

What a crazy day in paradise… Bryce turned on the generator and within seconds we had to shut it down. At first thought maybe it was the belt. After Bryce went into the compartment He found out it was the capacitor. Thank goodness we had a spare.   Bryce took the day off work so we could get in 60 miles. We anchored in Grand View Anchorage with all types of freighters anchored with us.  We came into Grrandview anchorage two hours after dark.  Had a nice night-time cruise down the Lower Mississippi.

This was so cool I was coming up from the inside of the boat and noticed this vessel. It looks like a dredging vessel.

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This was the view of our last pretty anchorage at Plaquemine Bend at Mile Marker 210.  This was an excellent deep water anchorage.  And we had no problem coming in after dark.

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Just around the bend of the anchorage looks like they are building some thing. I was joking with Bryce and said they were building a marina…LOL

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We passed a Ferry taking cars across the river.

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A freighter,going north and a Tow & barge going south we are on the Left descending Bank out of their way.

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Bryce said it was photo op time.  Beautiful day cruising the river.

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This is an Army Corp of Engineers boat. They were checking water depth along the range marker channel.

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This is a tug boat. They are used to push freighters around.  We are now seeing a number of these.

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Here are a few locals out enjoying their day on their 4 wheelers and fishing.

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We passed a couple of kayakers on the river again.  This guy was checking out his cell phone I think. While his partner was paddling ahead of him. Of course he also might of been looking at his GPS. LOL

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This was our anchorage for the night in a designated anchorage.  Its called the Grandview Anchorage. But I have to laugh! You will see all kinds of barges and tows anchored almost anywhere on the river.

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Thanks for following us!Red rose

Lower Mississippi, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

I woke up early again this morning. I decided it was a good morning to make cinnamon buns.  We were going to take the diesel cans in and fill them up for which might be our last  town stop till New Orleans.  As daylight approached Bryce, went out and pumped up the dinghy and put the motor on her. I went up to the bow and gathered the cans. On Active Captain, a concrete boat launch was listed. I was excited to get out for the walk. We passed another boat launch in between two work areas for barges and noticed it was a dirt launch.  There were a number of pickup trucks and trailers parked there.  We wonder why they are using the dirt launch and not the concrete one. Well, we made it to the ramp and I put together the wagon and loaded the cans while Bryce secured the dinghy.

This is the nice ramp. See the green hill with the vents?

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We noticed the chemical dock next to us. As we started to walk, we approached the road and it looked like a garbage dump with those pipes sticking out of the ground. It was a real remote area kind of spooky. Bryce asked me if my eyes were looking for alligators. Goose bumps and chills ran through my veins! Of course I am. My tone was calm. The road seemed odd it twisted a bit and ran next to a train track too. Finally We came to the road we needed to turn on. Crap!!! we both stood there and looked at each other for a minute and the only thing we could do was to laugh. Get this!! We were fenced in a locked gate! Bryce said “No, wonder those guys were launching there boats at the gravel ramp.” We had walked already a 1/2 mile now we had to walk back. Bryce pulled out his phone and googled the gas station from the other spot. It was going to be a tad bit longer of a walk but I knew we could do it.

This is the chemical dock next to the ramp.

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We landed the dingy at the dirt ramp.  Once again we put together the wagon and cans Bryce secured the dinghy and off we went… Well nothing is that easy is it? As we reached the top of the steep ramp I think at first my eyes popped out of there socket. Crap… What has he gotten us into now. It was another remote area with had the view of a gravel pit to it. Tows bring there gravel and stones here and Semi come in and load up and takes some other stuff away. We walked and walked up and around yet another rail road track. We passed another holding area of all kinds of gravel and some type of refinery.

You know the stuff drywall is made of white powdery crap….it was drifting as it was being loaded into  a truck. It might have added a bit more white to our hair…LOL  This truck was just loaded with gypsum we think. The driver is connected to the pulley and is climbing on top to open the loading hatches.

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Okay we ended up walking nearing 2.5 miles to the gas station and 2.5 miles back. Bryce wanted extra diesel so we started to walk for the second round.  As we were walking down the well traveled double lane road about 1/4 mile from the gas station, a white pick up truck pulled off the road and moved slowly towards us.  The powered window slowly went down.. When a guy with a smile asked us if something was wrong. He had noticed we were pulling the wagon and cans. Bryce explained to him that we were there by sailboat and we needed fuel. After hearing our story the Sothern gentleman drove us rest of the way to the gas station then back to the boat ramp.  He had been out deer hunting and was headed home.

His name and our Hero for the day is Brian LeBlanc out of Napoleonville, LA. Our heart and gratitude goes out to you. Thank you Brian.

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Finally It’s near 2:00p.m. we wanted to get the anchors up and get moving. We were anchored about 600 feet from a coal unloader dock And they apparently brought back the ashes from the plant to be loaded on a second set of barges.  The ash loader was putting out a black dust and of course the wind was blowing in the direction of the boat.  We didn’t realize it until we were pulling up the anchor.  Bryce was leaving black foot prints as he walked on deck. By the time we were unanchored both our feet had to be clean.

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It did turn to to be an amazing day. Especially as we drove through Baton Rough. It reminded us of driving through Detroit MI.  In Detroit we get many freighters.  Unlike in the south with tows, in Lake St Clair we have lots more pleasure boats.  Maybe that is why The congestion of tows,barges and freighters don’t bother us. 

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The down town of Baton Rouge.

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I am not sure if you can see it or not but it says Baton Rough in Red letters

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This was a Military vessel we wanted to explore but had no way into Baton Rouge.  We thought about renting a car, but no real place to keep the car.

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More and more and more bridges; over 150 feet at this time.

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This is called a special anchorage.  Supposedly we are suppose to anchor in these areas along with freighters.

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Here is another special anchorage they expect us to anchor in.  Noticed the anchored freighter.  The anchorage is between the shore and the port side of this freighter.   If you look closely, you might notice this huge tow with 40 barges plowing through the anchorage.  It seems this anchorage is a short cut for these tows.  How would you like to be a relatively tiny sailboat anchored in this anchorage?

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As always thank you all for following us!Red rose

Lower Mississippi Mile Marker 270 to Baton Rouge

Well, we are in Baton Rough LA. It is what they say it’s (industrial). It is said we will start seeing freighters in the mix of tows and barges.  We have had to switch VHF channels from 13 to 67. We have had a few people reach out to us from Facebook that are in the area or who have worked on the river and traveled the lower Mississippi. They all have been a big help help with local info. Big Thanks to all. We have about 140 miles to New Orleans we could possibly be in New Orleans in 4 days. I’m looking forward to getting the mast up and doing some well needed shopping.

This was our anchorage on Friday night. I just thought this was a cool picture seeing the tow on the other side of the point.

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As we pulled up anchor and headed out of the anchorage we noticed a couple fishing enjoying their Saturday.

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We passed by this area with a huge number of “cells”.  Cells are these large steel rock/concreate filled caissons.  Barges are normally cabled to them.

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They were unloading coal for a large coal burning power plant.

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Our first bridge coming into Baton Rouge; again it is well over a 100 feet!

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Sometimes I think George thinks he is human.

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More locals out enjoying their weekend.

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A barge with a large crane mounted on it.  Must have grounded during a spring flood.

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We had a few tows pass us on a bend.

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Two jet-skiers came by.  They noticed our jet-ski on the lift on the back of Beauty.  One of the guys chatted for a bit.  They are from Baton Rouge and wanted to get out on the “smooth” water that apparently is common in the late fall.  His friend has jet-skied to Bimini Bahamas.  We gave him a cruising card and he wished us safe travels.

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Here is his friends on the other Jet-ski.  We mentioned that we had towed our other Seadoo through the Bahamas on our last trip.

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We passed a quite small tow with a quite large load!!

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Just prior to getting into Baton Rouge, we cruised past the “tow parking” lot.. LOL

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Okay, I drew an anchor where we had to enter. It sure doesn’t look like a canal from this point.

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After we got closer and around the point, It got wider and then I knew it was the right place.

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These guys had their 4 wheeler on their boat and drove it onto land; apparently to go hunting.

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Our anchorage for the night. I was a bit uncomfortable here for some reason. But all was well.

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http://trackmytour.com/35L17

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Thanks for following us!Red rose

Lower Mississippi Mile marker 304 to mile marker 270

It was a gorgeous day on the Mississippi.  Light winds and about 70 degrees.  We sat on the bow while Otto Pilote took over the task of steering.  The water was calm with a light 4 mph current and no whirl-pools.  George slept peacefully in the cockpit on his towel.

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We slowly drifted past this high mud bank who is showing the unrelenting erosion that the Mississippi exacts as she makes her way down to the Gulf.

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We passed two fishing boats anchored on the shore, enjoying the early afternoon.

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And as usually, passed a number of tows slowly churning their way up the river.  This tow was slowly moving up while waiting for the down bound tow in back of us to negotiate the bend.  Down bound traffic has the right of way over up bound in congested areas.  Quite frankly, the bend was probably wide enough for both.

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We anchored the night inside “Saint Maurice Towhead” near mile marker 270.  It is not our preferred anchorage as there is no sandy shore to get out and explore.  However, it was well protected from river current and tow wakes.  We anchored in 17 feet of water with only about 0.7 mph current.

Here is a picture looking upstream into the channel behind the towhead.  It is quite wide and deep, but the entrance dropped to about 12 feet.  We enjoyed coffee on the bow taking the morning sunshine in.

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Thanks for following us!Red rose

Lower Mississippi mile Marker 331 to Mile Marker 301

What a pretty morning even though it was a chilly day, the sun made it great. We have had Northern winds. Brrr… . We miss-calculated our distance and thought we went further than what we were.. Oh well.  We are not in a hurry.  But when we made it to our anchorage, It was just perfect seeing the view we had. We took the jet-ski over to the sandy shoreline and enjoyed it. If the breeze wasn’t so cool we would have had a nice bond fire. 


OH…My looks like someone is getting ready to loose there home.  It is quite high on stilts, but the bank is eroding away.

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Anchored here, its such a beautiful view. It’s funny; at home on the Great Lakes my view is of freighters. I just love watching them. I heard as we get closer to Baton Rouge and south of it we will start seeing tows and barges along with freighters.

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I took this photo for our youngest son Justin because of the name.  “Justin…”. LOL

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Just upstream of our anchorage is a power plant and dam.

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Just upstream from our anchorage is a car ferry.  A tow is just hanging out on the shore in the background.  TYpically, tows just stop along the bank and “percolate” (LOL.. my term) their engines to hold them still.

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I had to write in the sand.. When we step off the boat and go into shore like this..Well I just love it. It’s as if we have our own private Island.Island with a palm tree  We are anchored next to a large sandy island.

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All I needed was a glass of Merlot..and it would be even more perfect!

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Bryce took this photo of me enjoying a walk on the sandy beach..  Lower Mississippi River in the background.

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What a great place to anchor tonight. Great sandy beach. Lower Mississippi, inside the red buoys. Along with a fresh pot of spaghetti waiting for dinner. We are at mile marker 304 and our current is 0.9 mph. The water temp is still 63 degrees and the depth is 16 feet. Anchorage latitude is 30.9855 and longitude is -91.6596  Fifty miles north of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

See our position at:  http://trackmytour.com/35L17

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As always thanks for following us!Red rose

Mississippi Mile Marker 368 to Mile Marker 331

I am once again sitting here looking into a blank screen. Okay after a 20 minute delay I am back with a hot cup of tea of course with some lime in it. I am ready to write. Yesterday, we had to forgo Natchez due to the weather.  I really hate being cold.  Perhaps that’s why we have 4 different heating systems on Beauty. With the rain and north winds, just thinking of getting on a jet-ski puts goose bumps (or chicken skin) on my arms and runs chills down my spine!

Natchez Highway 425 This bridge crosses from Vidalia into Natchez. We saw all these monkeys climbing all over the top of the bridge. Looks like they were working hard.

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Doesn’t this look like a thick quilt that would keep one warm! LOL

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She stands tall with over a 100 foot clearance.

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I have to laugh.. I keep wondering with the U.S. Coast Guard working so diligently to place the Buoys in the right place, how do the buoys end up on the shoreline or get moved from their position?  Many of the buoys have big dents where barges have bumped into them sending the buoys off station.

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George just loves to investigate even when it’s raining.  Normally he sleeps, but as the day ends, he starts perking up.  He knows we soon will be anchored and that engine will cease to make its obnoxious noise.

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We are anchored at mile marker 331 on the lower Mississippi our water depth is 17.5 feet. Water temp is 63.3 and the current is 1.8 mph. It is chilly and rainy. Nice sandy shoreline on this inside red bend. You are also welcome to view our current position at  http://trackmytour.com/35L17

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Thanks for following us!Red rose

Lower Mississippi Mile Marker 402 to Mile Marker 368

So I was reading some fun facts on the Mississippi, Did you know that one single drop of water travels the entire Mississippi in 90 days. Okay, one more fun fact: How did the Mississippi River get its name? The Mississippi River received its name from the Ojibwe Indians. They called it Misiziibi, which means “Great River”.

On the lower half of the Mississippi we have noticed a good amount of kayakers and canoeist. There is so much good info on paddling the Lower Mississippi on the web.  After traveling the river this far, I believe this is our preferred route.  I guess when we bring our power boat on this route and knowing the lack of marinas we will figure out the current and how it will increase our mileage.   No doubt we will have extra cans on board to go into towns with our wagon to diesel up.  So far we have hit towns every hundred miles or so.  We just google what we need and see what is available in that area.

Funny thing about George. He loves to eat plain doughnuts.  He is just finishing up his doughnut. LOL

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This is totally crazy… We were coming around a bend.  There were three tows on this bend at the same time!!  We passed three tows at at the same time!  We were hugging the inside red buoys while they went further out.  It was like an expressway of tows and barges. LOL On the lower half of the River it is so wide that it really isn’t a big deal. Ok I can say that now… This picture shows the three tows and the red buoy we just came around.

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As we were pulling into our anchorage for the night, we watched this Army Crop of Engineering boat go by. Its name again is called the Mississippi.  We have seen this guy a few times on the river.  A smaller tow is on the port side (this side) of the Mississippi.

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We found another awesome anchorage at Mile Marker 368 the water depth is 17.1 feet. Get this our current is only 1 Mile an hour! Sweet. We are 4 miles from Natchez. Water temp is 63.9 it’s getting warmer. As usual, sandy shoreline, anchored between two groynes. Latitude is 31.6220 longitude -91.4063

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We are getting closer to New Orleans..268 miles and Beauty will getting her mast up. It really isn’t that big of a deal because the Mississippi twist like a snake and that doesn’t make for good sailing.  http://trackmytour.com/35L17

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Thanks for following us!Red rose

Lower Mississippi, Vicksburg to Mile Marker 402

Have you ever had one of those days that no matter what nothing goes your way? I kind of think that’s how Sunday and Monday worked out for us. To keep a long story short, I am very disappointed in Vicksburg Enterprise car rental they told us we could pick up a car. They called us twice changing the time on us. In the mean time the driver shows up to pick us up; not knowing they keep changing the time on us. The driver apologized to us.

We were a bit frustrated that there was no possibility to rent a car, so we pulled up anchor and left.  Our hearts broken because there is no way to see the Vicksburg National Military park without a vehicle as the route is 16 miles up and down hills. We will be back to visit Vicksburg in a few years. It’s truly is a great stop.

As we were motoring out of Yazoo River we passed these two kayakers going out to spend the day on the Mighty Mississippi.

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We see these boats all the time.  These types of boat shuffle workers and supplies to tows.

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Mark, one of the Southern gentlemen Bryce met, took theses photos as we were making our way from the Yazoo River toward the Lower Mississippi.  The Queen of the Mississippi is in the foreground.

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We are just passing the Queen of the Mississippi while she is still tied to shore.  She left shortly after.

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Thanks Mark..LOL  That splat in the middle of the picture is our boat.  Our little boat looks like a little dot on the Mississippi…Laughing out loud 

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Vicksburg Casino 1 they have a few.  This is the Waterview.

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Vicksburg Casino #2.  This is the Ameristar.

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This bridge is a 100 feet too. No issues with height of our mast. Cannot wait to make her a sailboat again.

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This guy has a unique boat.   This boat transports people and supplies to the tows.  The tows just simply slow down to allow these boats to transfer supplies to the tow.

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This house has one of those steel roofs on it. You could see it for miles. It looks awesome. I love there beach.  This guy was smart, he built his home on an inside bend where there is no erosion.  Rather, the river drops sand on the inside bends where the current drops to nearly zero.

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Some tows and barges are just so darn pretty.  I liked the colors on this one.

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Well, The Queen of The Mississippi passed us on the river. We waved our goodbyes.  Bryce hailed him on the VHF to determine which side he preferred to pass.

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We are continuously seeing kayakers and canoeist on the river.  These are adventurers typically paddling from the head waters of the Mississippi to the end in New Orleans.

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We passed our first nuclear power plant on the lower Mississippi. Its cooling tower was steaming away on the Mississippi.  This is called the “Big Gulf nuclear Power Plant”.

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We had to pass this guy. His speed reduced to 4 mph as he navigated a bend.  One of the largest tows at 46 barges.  Notice how low the barges are sitting indicating all barges are fully loaded.

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Well, it’s great to be back on the river again. Nice sunny day. Temps 81 degrees. We found another great anchorage on the lower Mississippi off a sandy beach on an inside bend. Our current is 1.7 mph and the water temp is 63.3. Our mile marker is 402 with the water depth at 18.5 feet. As we anchor, this tow is now the biggest at 46 barges 8 wide by 6 long, minus 2 on the bow.. our latitude is 31.9861 our longitude is -91.1254    http://trackmytour.com/35L17

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Thanks for following us!Red rose