Exploring the Tenn-Tom

With Marinalife Members Ken and Myra Crutcher

Written by Lauren Farr
The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway (known as the Tenn-Tom) is a manmade waterway that was built to connect the Tennessee and Tombigbee rivers for commercial traffic. Construction was a massive undertaking that took 12 years to complete and moved more dirt than the Panama Canal project. In addition to its commercial use, the Tenn-Tom has become a joyful destination for boaters. Ken Crutcher and his wife, “Admiral” Myra, have been cruising the Tenn-Tom on their boat Moon Shine regularly since 1996. It was on one of these trips that Myra took her nickname as Admiral when she teasingly stated to Ken, “If you’re the Captain, I guess that makes me the Admiral!” Titles aside, the Crutchers know their way around the Tenn-Tom. Here are some of their favorite stops along the way.

Marinas: Marina: Green Turtle Bay Resort and Marina (800-498-0428, www.greenturtlebay.com)
Kuttawa Harbor Marina (270-388-9563, www.kuttawaharbormarina.com)
Kentucky Dam Marina (800-648-2628, www.kydammarina.com)
> Visiting the shops of Grand Rivers, which range from boutiques and antique shops to outdoor stores.
> Enjoying the delicious food at Patti’s 1880’s Settlement Restaurant in Grand Rivers.
> Indulging in the famous Rudyburger at Kuttawa Harbor Marina’s Restaurant.
> Exploring the ‘Land between the Lakes (LBL)’, a Federal government wildlife reserve, where hiking trails and wildlife abounds. The Crutchers’ favorite bays off of LBL include Duncan Bay and Sugar Bay where you can anchor while fishing, tubing and waterskiing.

Marinas: Grand Harbor Marina (662-667-5551, www.gograndharbor.com)
Aqua Yacht Harbor (662-423-2222, www.aquayachtharbor.com)
> Pickwick Lake, which is noted for its excellent fishing.
> Dining at Aqua Yacht Harbor’s Restaurant.
> Enjoying some time on solid ground at one of the five nearby golf courses.
Fun Fact:
Between Iuka, Miss. and Fulton, Miss. lies the Jamie Whitten Lock (formerly Bay Springs Lock). This lock has an impressive 84-foot lift, which makes it the fourthhighest single lift lock in the nation. If you are traveling south to north, Ken likens the lock entrance to the “gates of King Kong.”

Marinas: Waverly Marina (662-492-0032, www.waverlymarina2011.com)
Columbus Marina (662-327-8450, www.columbusmarina.com)
> Enjoying a friendly meal at Waverly Marina’s Tiki Bar.
> Exploring Columbus’ historic downtown district, which boasts TennesseeWilliams’ restored home (that now serves at theWelcome Center for the city).
> The Tenn-Tom Transportation Museum, which features one of the dredges that was used to build the waterway.

Marina: Demopolis Yacht Basin (334-289-4374, www.demyb.com)
> Demopolis Yacht Basin is a great place to fuel up with good prices and clean fuel.
> Visiting one of the two antebellum historic house museums: Gainswood and Bluff Hall.
> ViewingWhite Bluff, which is a one-mile-long chalk cliff that once towered 80 feet about the river (it averages about 30 feet above the river now due to the Demopolis Lock).

Marinas: Grand Mariner Marina (251 443-5300,www.grandmarinermarina.com)
Dog River Marina (251-471-4517, www.dogrivermarina.com)
> Enjoying delicious Royal Red Shrimp, which are sweeter and more tender than Gulf Coast shrimp, at Grand Mariner Marina restaurant.
> Visiting the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park.
> Traveling inland to Alligator Alley and observing these reptiles in their natural environment.
From the Ohio River to Mobile, Ala. the locks use AIS technology, and a transmitter is recommended to make the trip easier.  ml

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