AL: Daphne (Mobile Bay) – 12/16/2016 – 12/23/2016

Parking: WoodSpring Hotel
Rating: 10

Mobile, AL
Unlucky Sailboat in Weeks Bay

Normally, we prefer to avoid hotels because it’s a large pain to haul stuff from the RV to the room – the reason we have an RV in the first place is not have to do that dance. When the local park is $50 / night and has terrible reviews, but the hotel is $36 / night and has great reviews, it’s pretty much a no-brainer to get a place with a private bathroom for less money. This is our second stay in a WoodSpring (the first was Fargo), and for what it is, it’s an excellent place. It’s an extended-stay hotel (with a kitchenette), and it’s the only place I’ve stayed in the last few years that was under $40 / night without having “business” being conducted in the parking lot. Plus the front desk and housekeeping staff are very friendly. Now I sound like a commercial for WoodSpring, but I really like their hotels.

We visited the USS Alabama (battleship) and the USS Drum (submarine). The scale of everything on board the battleship was massive. It’s really impressive that back in the 40s, they were able to go from laid-down to launched in only two years. Not only are the guns (and ammunition) huge, but in order to support a crew of 2500 sailors and marines, the living quarters, the food preparation facilities, surgery, dentistry, barbershop, and the laundry facilities had to all fit. Being in an RV, we think we have little space/privacy, but those men truly had none.

On board the sub, my partner barely fit because he is so tall (6′ 7″). The ceilings are short and bunks are only 6′ long on these boats, and we couldn’t imagine anyone of his size being able to serve. There was a volunteer in the Drum who had actually served on her, so we asked him about the height of the men, and to our surprise he said that they did have an engineer who was 6′ 7″ and they had to cut a hole in the wall at the end of his bunk for his feet, but the rest of the crew told him to put his head through the hole instead.

If you’ve found this page because you were searching for sailing Weeks Bay to Mobile Bay, here’s a tip – don’t. The charts for Weeks Bay show that it should be fine for small sailboats, but the charts have not been updated since the bay has silted in. It is shallow. Really, really shallow. Someone has put in some PVC markers to indicate the “channel,” but even there it is really, really shallow. We had to keep our eyes riveted to the depth sounder. For a good portion of the trip across the bay, there were only a couple of inches of water under the keel. We couldn’t even put the rudder down, and had to motor (with the motor pulled up high) the whole way across Weeks.

Once through the pinch point, it didn’t get much better until we were significantly off-shore. Eventually we got to the point where there was 4′ of water under the keel, and we felt more comfortable and could do some sailing. The wind was fine for a short while, but eventually, it just turned into a dead calm, so we turned around and motored back. It was enough to get Eidolon her Alabama sticker but not by much.