We got up at the crack of dawn to get on our way so we would have some peaceful time before dark in Alabama Cutoff only to hurry up and wait on the Coffeeville Lock (last lock before salt water). The Lock Master told us the lock was closed for about an hour for maintenance. No big deal. David made the call that we would just stay put at the dock until we got the go ahead to ease on that way. We were still able to drop the anchor at 3:00 and it was a pretty spot, just a bit busy with the local fisherman zooming through the cut to get to their favorite fishing hole. They didn’t look like the kind of guys that would take kindly to suggesting a smaller wake so we just waved and kept our comments to a minimum since we were the ones that pulled up in to their play ground.

That evening I had found online that Sea School in Bayou La Batre was offering the OUPV (six-pack) 100 Ton Captain’s License that I had been wanting to get for over 10 years. I had missed the opportunity when an Instructor came to Pickwick several years back due to poor advertising. I added that to my ” To Do” list for the next day.

After a good night sleep, we got up before daylight and were out of the cut before the sky lightened up. I made my phone calls and got the process started for Sea School while Capt Dave navigated through the curviest part of the waterway. Doing anything with the US Coast Guard requires jumping through hoops frontwards and backwards but I got everything scheduled and was very excited about getting started.

Once we got through the ships channel at Mobile Bay the Dolphins were everywhere. It was as if they were as happy for us as we were to finally be in salt water. I was on the bow snapping pictures feeling like a kid at Disney. We pulled into Dog River Marina at 2:30 that afternoon and just pinched ourself to see if it was real. I will never forget all of the excitement that we experienced on this first leg of our trip south.


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