Friday, July 6, 2012

Florence Harbor Marina and Restaurant

  Our anchorage last night in the back channel behind 7 Mile Island turned out to be a real nice one. The water in there looks black, but it's very clear and the blackness must be an indication of the decayed vegetation on the bottom as it's mainly flooded timber.

  We all took a dip because the water was cool and refreshing. We are close to the Wilson Lock and Dam and a gentle current was keeping the water moving. No Bluegill were on the attack.

  By late afternoon the sky was darkening to the North, so I checked the weather radar and saw a storm cell that was approaching us. The clouds were really a relief because it was so hot. A stiff breeze kicked up but the storm passed and all we got was some big fat wet drops of rain that fell straight down and it was delightful.
  We had the last of our famous Steve Huebner polish sausage with saurkraut for dinner and we watched T.V. for the first time in over a week. We could only get PBS showing some cooking shows, but we learned some stuff from the cooking shows that we'll apply in the galley at some point.
  We still turned in fairly early and were woken up around midnight as the storm had regrouped and we found ourselves in the middle of another severe thunderstorm alert. The winds really kicked up and Swing Set was tugging at her leash but the anchor held and things settled down in about a half hour or so and the rest of our night was quiet.
  I was up at 6 A.M. checking email and sipping my morning "orange juice" which is Tang. We don't keep any liquid drinks on hand (except for soda, liquor and beer) but use powdered juice mixes and evaporated milk that we make up as needed. I checked the weather and we were in for another 100+ degree day. I also checked the Navionics chart for our route back to the main channel to make sure we didn't have to back track to the downriver end of 7 Mile Island. Rosie was up soon after me and we had a relaxed breakfast before we set off by 8 A.M. for Florence, Alabama, only ten miles up river.

  We were tied up along the transient wall at the Florence Harbor Marina and Restaurant by a little after 9 A.M. The harbor office, restaurant, laundry, etc. is all in the floating structure you see in the picture. Rosie checked in with Cody and we got keys to the courtesy van for our trip to the grocery store. It was weird driving after not having done it for over two months, but it was just like I left off, still getting upset at the other drivers.
  Before we set off to re-provision, though, I had a little matter of changing the oil to attend to. The only thing that made it bad was the heat, not only from the outside temperature, but the engine room is no picnic right after the Caterpillars shut down. Rosie started some laundry and then helped me get the oil changed. We both were happy to take refreshing showers when that work was done, but we had lots to do yet.
  We headed off to both the auto parts store and to Walmart. (Yes, I hate Walmart, but we had only so much time with the courtesy van and we had to get everything we needed at the least places as possible and I didn't know my way around this town.) I bought my oil filters for next time and saved some money. I won't buy my oil at a marina next time either and I'll save us nearly $100 by planning ahead. We left Walmart $500 poorer, but had enough supplies to last a while. It had been a month since we seriously bought groceries. We only got four cases of Bud Light, so I see lean times ahead if we aren't careful.
  When we finally got out of Walmart, the sky was black with another thunderstorm threat so we beat feet back to the harbor and commenced to unload the van.

    Here's Rosie hard at work sorting out our purchases. Not only did we get plenty of groceries, we got plenty of bonnets for our orbital polisher for waxing the boat, a 1/4 inch socket set with SAE and Metric sockets, two new floaty things to float in the water with, two oil filters for our next oil change, and oodles and oodles of other stuff.

  The storm threat didn't turn out to be much. I took this photo after the wind died down. One casualty is one of our zippers on the flybridge enclosure won't stay zipped. I'm afraid we'll have to have a new zipper installed but I'll need to further assess the situation...tomorrow.
  We're going to finish up here and then make our presence known at the Barge Inn, the floating restaurant here. We thought we might stay here two nights because it's reasonable at $1 per foot, but it's supposed to cool down some tomorrow and once we wash the boat and fill up with water in the morning, our jobs here will be done. I figure we'll be back this way in about a month, so we can stay here again and make another run to the stores.
  Tomorrow we'll lock through at Wilson Lock, one of the 3rd or 4th tallest locks in the world with a lift of 93 feet. We've locked through there before of course and it's no big deal, but the experience is impressive. Maybe we'll have a story to tell tomorrow about our dinner tonight at the Barge Inn, and our lock through at Wilson.

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