There are now two ferry boats that transport
people and vehicles from Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island where Fort Gaines proudly stands.
People can also return or continue to Mobile on Dauphin Island Parkway.
Having two ferry
boats may not be impressive to Ingram or Kirby shipping, which push barges every day on
the Intracoastal Canal, but it's very impressive to tourists who wish to see the other
side of Mobile Bay and the cutting edge of the history of these islands where the great
naval battle of Mobile Bay was fought in 1864. There's a lot of history between Fish and
Fowl (Fish River on the east and Fowl River on the west of the bay).
Yes, the Alabama Department of Transportation (ADOT) has added The Marissa Mae Nicole to the
task formerly borne completely by The Fort Morgan. Each carry about twenty-five sedans,
15 motorcycles and bicycles and 20 pedestrians to the tune of $700 in fees which helps pay the
captain and a crew of deck hands. Young deck hands such as Owen Reed, Stephanie Clementz and
Matt O'Brien can continue their college education in the fall.
Now the waiting time at the dock is about 30 minutes, whereas before it could be an hour or,
more disheartening, 24 hours or more if the sole ferry-boat was down for repairs. The back-up
vessel can play a leading role in tourism on the sister islands.
Remember the portable sign on Fort Morgan Road in Gulf Shores which displayed "Ferry Closed"
from time to time, and this was not always related to the weather. Now, with two boats carrying
out the mission, the sign will be seen less frequently.
World record-holder skateboarder Ron Thomson of New Zealand left Key West on Dec. 7, 2007,
and thousands of left leg push, right leg push later, arrived at the Convention and Visitors
Bureau in Orange Beach on Jan. 10, 2008. He had mapped in the Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island
route to Mobile and thence to California. Fortunately no "Ferry Closed" sign was up in
Gulf Shores, so he ventured the 22 miles on to Fort Morgan and trekked on to California on
the old roads. You may wish to go to www.14degrees.org. By now he might be in China for the
Olympic Games. Thomson will record his experiences in a book when he returns to New Zealand.
It just might be that the most famous ferry in Alabama will be mentioned.
The ferry boats hold the key to tourism around the bay and an extra bonus for local residents
who wish to treat themselves to an outing and Alabama history. The Sunsyne Company has
recorded history on outdoor plaques at both Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines.