Cruising the Tennessee Tombigbee - Tenn-Tom
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Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, begins near its eastern
border with Georgia and then flows westward, before flowing
northward back into Tennessee. The largest lakes it traverses
are Guntersville, Wheeler, Wilson and Pickwick.
  As a Looper, if you are also an angler, sightseer or lover of
history, you will want to take a side-trip along the full navigable
length of the Tennessee River, from Paducah to Chattanooga
and Knoxville
before entering the Tenn-Tom Waterway.
This leg of your voyage is 234 miles.
       It is 300 feet wide and 9 feet deep and serves as the
Loopers best route to the Gulf of Mexico. It is made up of 10
Locks and connects you to the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf ICW
at Mobile Bay.  

  T
his route is much more pleasant and offers more Marinas,
fuel stops and things to see and do compared to the much
longer Lower Mississippi route from Cairo to the Gulf ICW.
The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway (more commonly referred to as the Tenn-Tom) is a 234-mile
long man-made waterway connecting the Tennessee River and the Tombigbee River. The north end
connects to the Tennessee River near where the borders of River near its confluence with the Black
Warrior River at Demopolis, Alabama.
This of course, is your route to Mobile Bay and the Gulf ICW.

For now, it is enough to know, that you will NOT be alone on the Tenn-Tom. More then 15,000
recreational boats a year are transiting the Waterway in all directions between Cuba Landing in Waverly
Tennessee and Mobile, AL. In addition commercial Barges and Tow boats are running 24 hours a day.

Maybe the most important item you need to know, is that the only fuel available between Demopolis
and Easter Shore Marina in Mobile Bay is Bobby's Fish Camp. That makes it the fourth farthest distance
between fuel stops on the entire Great Loop and the
second farthest on the Tennessee -Tombigbee
route.  

There are some 40 recreation areas and some of the very best fresh water fishing in the world. In
addition, (unlike the Lower Mississippi) there are plenty of safe anchorages and marinas to meet your
needs.

The Demopolis to Mobile portion of this journey however is about as remote and uninhabited as you
will find on your entire Great Loop adventure. It is a natural river stretch of some 200 miles, and if you are
going slow and easy as I always do, you will need provisions for 3 or 4 days of anchoring out. It is however
a beautiful voyage.

All it all, between the Tennessee River, the Tenn-Tom, the Black Warrior-Tombigbee, and the Alabama
River, provides boaters voyaging America's Great Loop an opportunity to boat right to and through some
amazing places.

Cruising the Tenn-Tom requires "boating out of the box". That means that all you have ever learned still
demands the use of your own good common sense. All turns and bends in the river are not all wide enough
for you and that Barge or Tow. You won’t always be able to follow the charts, and you don't even want to
think about cruising at night.  Go slow, sit back and take in the sounds and the scenery. Take time to stop
along the way.
Our opinion:  When it comes to choosing between taking the Tenn-Tom route vs the Lower Mississippi route,
of course the 1st decision has to be based on your vessel's fuel range. The 2nd decision has to be based on
your lifestyle, and that of your crew or Mate. The Tenn-Tom (direct) route offers 38 marinas, convenient stops,
and plenty of safe anchorages, amenities, great site seeing and wonderful side trip opportunities.  Sad but true,
this is the very most enjoyable, fun and relaxing route to take. For those wishing to visit New Orleans, we suggest
this route and heading west on the Gulf ICW from Mobile Bay.

      A large volume of cool clean water creates great fishing on the Tennessee River in both the
    State of Tennessee and Alabama.  The Tennessee River is known for its huge bass with 14 pounders
    being very common, also lots of big blue catfish. Catching a 10lb trout is also common.

    DON'T KNOW WHY. . .  But many Loopers express dread or boredom over cruising the Tenn-Tom,
    fact is however, there is plenty to do and see along this route - if you're not wearing those blinders.
           Camping & Picnic facilities are located at eight major recreation areas along this 234 mile Tenn-
    Tom. In addition Demopolis has some great history as well as a couple of great restaurants and a Golf
    course for the Golfers among us. The Old Red Barn Restaurant (not the chain restaurant) in
    Demopolis is a favorite and a "don't miss" in my book.
Bobby's Fish Camp
The only fuel available between Demopolis
and Eastern  Shore or Dog River Marinas in
Mobile Bay. This makes it a
must fuel stop for
most of us, as it is in the middle between 200
plus mile stretch, between Demopolis and
Mobile Bay.

The Catfish dinner is a bonus!
Bobby's Fish Camp is said to serve the best catfish in the world.  I agree. They have fuel of
course, but I always stop for the catfish.
  Your last 10 miles or so before reaching Mobile harbor will get very busy. Not only is there a lot of
commercial traffic, you are entering an area with a NO WAKE speed zone. While there are choices, on
both sides of Mobile Bay, once I pass the I-10 bridge, I head east to Fairhope, and Eastern Shore Marina
which is 11 miles away.  
Eastern Shore Marina is located in a protected area just up the Fly Creek channel at the town of Fairhope.
It offers transient slips, gas and diesel, pump out facilities, great shower and laundry facilities, and a
courtesy car. It also has free WIFI access, mast stepping, marine supplies, and a full service maintenance
facility. It is close to shops, restaurants, and also has on site rental cars for longer use if you need or want
one. For those wanting to visit New Orleans, it is only a two and a half hour rental car drive away from
Fairhope.  
Cruising the Gulf ICW - click next.

Marinas on the
Tennessee - Tombigbee
route
Mile 22
www.kydammarina.com

Green Turtle Bay
Mile 25
www.greenturtlebay.com

Pebble Isle Marina
Mile 96
www.pebble-isle.hypermart.net/

Birdsong Marina
Mile 103.5
www.birdsong.com

Cuba Landing Marina
Mile 115.5
www.cubalandingmarina.com

Clifton Marina
Mile 158.5
www.cityofclifton.com

Grand Harbor Marina
Mile 440.7
www.gograndharbor.com

Aqua Yacht Harbor
Mile 448.7
www.aquayachtharbor.com

Bay Springs Marina
Mile 412
www.bsmarina.com

Midway Tenn-Tom
www.midwayonthetenntom.com

Aberdeen Marina
Mile 358.2
www.aberdeenmarina.com

Columbus Marina
Mile 334.7
www.columbusmarina.com

Pirate’s Marina Cove
Mile 307.4
www.thepiratesplace.com

Demopolis Yacht Basin
Mile 216.7
www.demyb.com

Bobby’s Fish Camp
Mile 118.9
(251) 754-9225

Eastern Shore Marine,
Inc.
Near marker 72
www.easternshoremarineinc.
com
Tennessee -Tombigbee
= must stop, see & do

Birdsong Marina is the
location of North America's
only fresh water Pearl Farm.

Bobby's Fish Camp is a must
for both fuel & Catfish Dinner
The Tennessee -Tombigbee Waterway
www.captainjohn.org                                                                      - Cruising America's Great Loop - Once Around Is Not Enough -
Cruising
America's Great Loop
White Cliffs on Tennessee - Tombigbee
The Old Red Barn - Demopolis, AL
       
This is a great restaurant and interesting place to visit with an interesting history behind it. It is a bit off
the beaten path, so sadly, most Loopers miss it - but it is well worth the effort. Last time I was there, they
picked us up in a van and returned us to the Marina.
       Demopolis is a great overnight stay - and your next stop - about 95 miles down river - will be Bobby's
Fish Camp - another great stop, and a must fuel stop for many. Bobby's is your last fuel stop until you reach
Mobile Bay. Your last Lock is just 3 miles past Bobby's Fish Camp.