Fulton Lock Anchorage to Columbus Marina

October 14th, 2016

Start: 6:33 AM

Finish: 5:45 PM

Hours: 11:12:00

Statute Miles: 59.19

Average Speed: 5.28 mph

Locks: 4

Fulton -25'

Grover Wilkens -25'

Amory -30'

Aberdeen -27'

The day started overcast and cool. We did get an early start and headed over to the nearby lock only to wait for some folks who stayed at a local marina a bit up the river. We passed a USCG tug getting ready for a day’s work.

There was also what looked like a dredging type barge moored next to the lock that was idled.

Because of being so close to the lock we did not get into our usual steaming order and we ended up “in the front row”.

The nose of our boat was close enough to the gates that the lockmaster asked if the nose of our boat would clear when the gates swung back.

The lock had a good view of the surrounding countryside while we waited for the other boats to arrive in the lock. The neighboring spillway was a common design for all of the locks.

As a bonus for being at the front, I got to sound off on how much we were dropping.

We left the lock and moved past a rather unique barge loading facility. Wasn’t able to see exactly what was being loaded.

We managed to get into our grouping for the day and practiced our “One Whistle” passing of some commercial traffic. Of course nowadays we do not use whistles, bells, lamps, etc. but plain old VHF radio.


The locks were fairly bunched together today so we were quickly in another lock in about an hour though this time tied up farther back to avoid the potential gate issues.

These locks dropped us only about 30 feet each so we were quickly on our way.

Another hour or so and we were in our next lock with Bajan Speed tied up next to us.

Vela Narcosis has a mast height that will get under the bridges down to Mobile though she'll "tickle" the undersides of a few with her antenna if the water is higher than Normal Pool.

This was one of the bridges. No "tickle" this trip!

As we were leaving the the last lock Moyia mentioned that she had noticed a “burning” smell below. All gauges were good and I went below to check it out. Found our belt on the main engine was slipping so we reduced RPMs and readied to anchor so I could tighten the belt. Tony from Dangerous Love suggested that he could pull us while repairs were under way and we did just that for the short time it took to tighten the belt. Once tightened we cast off our line to Dangerous Love and continued on.

Shortly afterwards, I began to notice some familiar water foliage. Yes, those are hyacinths in the middle of Tombigbee River.

Captain Bill leading our flotilla.

Last lock of the day!

Just after the lock were a couple of barges off-loading gravel

Without another lock to go through for the day, we settled back to enjoy the ride.

As we were approaching Columbus, MS the river started to widen as the different tributaries came together. Homes started appearing along the waterway again though most were not on stilts.

I’m thinking the boat is worth more than the home it’s docked up to.

Nobody home.

I was maneuvering the boat around a floating branch in the water but the branch kept moving in front of the boat. I noticed just as we got up to the branch that it was actually a large snake and managed to get a photo after went by. Looks to be a good-sized Eastern Diamondback out for a swim.

I’ll just hazard a guess on this and say that bird dropping from the roosting vultures have been an issue in the past.

Abandoned railway near Columbus.

One of the first cypress trees we've seen

Our grouping as we approach Columbus

The roar of fighter jets began to echo and I finally was able to see a pair of T-38s winging overhead. The camera auto-focus had fits trying to find something to focus on and I had to do some quick zoom and focus manually to catch a shot.

And a bit closer.

Closer to the marina some T-6s were in action. These are the TA-6 trainer versions I believe.


There are young men having the time of their lives learning to fly for the USAF in Columbia, MS. I actually might have been one if they had not scared me off with a 6 year commitment!

The weather finally started to clear as we near our destination and we were upbeat to be staying over even if it was just for a day.

We came up to the next lock but turned toward the marina as we'll pass through the lock two days from now. The water was very shallow and we had to stay true to the buoys—that and follow Vela Narcosis and Dangerous Love as they both have deeper keels.

Dangerous Love heading into the marina. On our approach was just a bit too wide and we found out that lily pads are a significant indicator that the water is too shallow. We got stuck and had to be pulled out by a boat the marina keeps just for this purpose.

In our slip with the sun going down. All is good.

The evening did have a surprise for us as the moon rose to color the evening air just a short hour later.