Dec 15 - 31, 2015 (Tuesday - Thursday)
Dave’s sister Jeanette arrived this evening and we start our holiday season. We are still swimming and doing holiday shopping. Jeanette and Barb start a holiday quilt project – an applique Christmas tree. We quilted most every day and Jeanette got her tree completed, but Barb didn’t. Will have to work on it in the new year. It is great to have someone to sew with. We took the boat out on Dec. 24 as the weather permitted us to have a great ride. But we were glad to return home and jump in the pool as the weather continues to be hot. In the evening we took the car around the neighborhood to see Christmas lights and make the season merry. Christmas day we skyped family and made a turkey dinner. Jeanette left on the 30th so we return to normal routine. We spent the 31st running errands and relaxing. Hallelujah work slowed down during the last half of December but it will pick up in January.
Dec. 1 -14, 2015 (Tuesday - Monday)
The first two weeks passed quickly with continued boat work, quilting, and general preparations for Christmas. We did manage to take the dinghy out for a couple of rides – when it wasn’t too hot. Boat work completed included sanding and varnishing the swim platform, and the aft ladder, having the electrical system upgraded to meet insurance requirements, had a diver here to clean the bottom, and diesel mechanic here about generator and a new fuel transfer pump. We also had canvas work completed. Dave changed the oil and put fresh water through all engines. Barb continued to work on a quilt, got a lap quilt completed and off to be quilted. Then started a split rail lap quilt that will go onto the boat. We did take a day to have fun and went to the St. Pete Boat show and then visited with friends in St. Pete. We also got the Christmas trees up (yes, two trees). It took three days but they looked great – also decorated the rest of the inside of the house. We had boating friends over for dinner and other friends over for cocktails and then out to dinner. We continue to swim as the heat wave hasn’t broken.
Nov. 21 - 30, 2015 (Saturday - Monday)
We did can tomatoes in the next two weeks, we also did boat maintenance. Had to have mechanic aboard as the generator wouldn’t start – we found a fuel leak on the back side of generator. Barb did work on updating the website, boat logs and continues to sew on an Irish Chain Quilt. Dave started to work on some wood trim on the boat only to find the wood had rotted – oh well, just another project that needs more attention than we thought. Thanksgiving was very quiet with just the two of us, but we had the whole dinner anyway. A first for us was that we started decorating the house for Christmas. We also bought lights for the boat. Can’t remember when we had the outside decorated before Dec. 1. We are not volunteering at the library this year – we want to be free to take the boat out for short anchoring trips. Pelican Bay is 5 hours away and a great place to go.
Nov. 18 - 20, 2015 (Wednesday - Friday)
We finished our shopping and cleaning before noon, and family arrived at 2:00. Our great nephews immediately jumped in the pool. Dave was busy with the marine plumber who was changing the heads to a fresh water system. This will help reduce the salt water smell in the holding tank. The kids (Alva and Sam) wanted to sleep on the boat so I had prepared sleeping arrangements for 3 different rooms. Nice to have 5 bedrooms and 3.5 baths. They did a sleep around on Wednesday night – all four of them on the boat at first, but by morning the guest bedroom was home for Sam and Todd, while Teresa and Alva were on the boat. We went on a boat ride that ended up being very short as Sam (5yrs old) got sick – he was very hot. The afternoon was spent trying to lower Sam’s temperature. Todd and Alva took out the kayaks and went swimming. On Friday, Sam went to emergency room – temp still high and he is dehydrated – can’t keep food down. Barb and Dave babysit with Alva. We took him to the library for a book to read and some DVD’s that he could watch. Barb was in heaven helping him select a book (which turned into two of them). Back home, Alva and Teresa took out kayaks while Sam still wasn’t feeling good. They did get Sam to eat and made decision that they would return to Orlando late in the evening – Sam slept the whole way. Barb and Dave were exhausted; we slept well on Friday night.
Nov. 13 - 17, 2015 (Friday - Tuesday)
We continue to clean the boat and clean the house. Barb has started sewing again and Dave is working on Hallelujah. It is great to have the boat just steps from the house. He goes out and tinkers when he wants. We are running the air in the boat due to the high humidity and heat -- so it is comfortable inside the boat. We made our first trip to the farmers market on Saturday to find that we could still get tomatoes for canning. Ordered some for next week. We are preparing for our first company – Niece and family due tomorrow.
Nov. 7 - 12, 2015 (Saturday - Thursday)
We spent these days emptying the boat and opening the house. We had to work early in the day due to the unusual heat – using in the high 80’s with high humidity. First we had to get the storm shutters down (see picture below of what these look like – variegated aluminum pieces that bolt to the windows) and move all food from the boat to the house. Then it was cloths, bedding, and bathroom supplies. Then we started to empty storage areas – we found items we didn’t know we had on the boat. We also started our fall list of house items that we wanted to do. It is still very hot so outside work is done early. We also took early bike rides and late evening walks.
Nov. 6, 2015 (Friday)
We are going to see how the day goes and try to make it all the way home. We are off the dock at 6:35 – but not the first boat out of the channel. We have to travel outside today as there is a bridge further south that is closed for repair. The gulf is calm this morning. We set a straight course for Boca Grande Channel and arrive there about 10:00 a.m. We decide to go all the way home instead of stopping at Pelican Bay to anchor. The weather is hot – really hot and if we get home we will have air conditioning. The trip down the ICW from Boca Grande to St. Pete was long and slow. We did see some dolphins, but not as many as in former days. We reached the Cape Coral Bridge (our entry from the river to the Cape Coral canals) at 2:51, so this leg was about 5 hours. We arrived at our short canal and Dave decided to back down the canal. Neighbors Don and Mike saw us coming and came to grab lines. We were tied up with the generator on at 3:47. We quickly closed down the boat and went swimming! We slept on the boat tonight. The last night of the trip.
Nov. 5, 2015 (Thursday)
We are up and out of the dock by 8:15. The weather window is closing down and we need to make a fast trip south. Thinking it will be three days to Cape Coral and the house. We decided to travel inside the Gulf ICW because the waves are still hanging in there on the gulf. So we passed the Sunshine Bridge and looked around as we traveled past Sarasota, FL. We stopped at Venice – Crow’s Nest marina. We had dinner at the Bar and the food was great. Travel today was fine in the ICW – the winds were down and we didn’t have to wait to long for bridges to open.
Nov. 4, 2015 (Wednesday)
The midnight shift showed clear skies with stars out, but little moon. While Dave didn’t sleep earlier, he did manage to nap, so shift change didn’t happen until 2:30. We were just off another weather station in the gulf – Barb had to adjust boat course to miss this large tower. Never say there are no obstacles out in the gulf. This tower was lit for miles. It gave Barb something to watch as we have lost all sighting of Star Gazer – their 10 mph put them off our radar screen about 9:00 last night. Dave took watch until 5:00 – Barb really slept. Even the continuous wave motion didn’t stop sleeping. Barb was on watch when the sun came up, so we started a day routine – engine room check, and something to eat. Dave turned on the gen and cooled down the salon so he could get some rest. The waves started to decrease about 8:00 when Dave took the watch. But Barb didn’t get a chance to rest as we are on one hour shifts now and getting closer to shore. We started to see crab pots and more boats about 9:00. We arrived at the channel entrance at 11:45 and were in a slip and tied up by 12:46. Not the worst crossing but not the best either. Of course any crossing in which there are no problems is a good crossing. We were met at the dock by our friend Bart Farney. He informed us that we have a small rendezvous dinner at 6:00 in the Yacht Club restaurant. We arrived to see fellow DeFever members, Norm and Vicki Naughtons, Elaine Ebaugh, Bart Farney, Jack and Sue Simpsons, Hampton, Brad and Holly Hines. Dinner was great, but we were in bed by 8:30. WE did say good bye to everyone as tomorrow will be an early start for us.
Nov. 3, 2015 (Tuesday)
Today is the day we will cross the gulf. Star Gazer is going with us and we might find a couple of other boats out there – some chatter on the radio indicates this. After a fair amount of phone calls, we are on our way to Pasadena Yacht Club in South St. Petersburg, FL. Out trip started with a quick exit from Apalachicola, FL on an outgoing tide about 11:00 a.m. We ran inside to Dog Island with a following current. By 2:00 we are exiting North Pass and started a course to Pass-A-Grill entrance channel on the south side of St. Pete. Star Gazer is with us for about an hour, but due to 3 foot rollers, they decided they needed to go faster (they don’t have stabilizers). Dave and Barb maintained our 8.5 mph. The ride wasn’t smooth but we got into the rhythm of the boat. At 8:00 pm we started our two hour watch cycle and sleep cycle. Barb took the first watch and Dave relieved at 10:00. While Dave rested in the fly bridge, Barb preferred to rest in the main salon. Midnight came quickly for us both.
Oct. 30 - 31 & Nov. 1-2 (Friday - Monday)
We were going to Apalachicola, FL today – a 64 mile run. While we thought we could get into one marina we were misled. Jack was able to secure us space at the City Dock upper wall which turned out to be much better. We had opposing current most of the morning and got frustrated with lack of progress until we overtook a DF 49 Pilot house. At this point in the afternoon there where three DeFevers (DF’s) in a line (Hallelujah 44, Star Gazer 47, and Latitude 49). Latitude was much slower as they lost an engine and were limping into Apalachicola on one engine. We did make it by 4:00 – really slow for 64 mile run, and went out to dinner with Star Gazer. What we found surprising is that because we were up a small creek but still part of the city marina, they gave us a golf cart to get to –from the regular marina. So for 4 days we had our own private transportation around town (two boats). Barb and Sue used the cart to explore the town, Dave and Jack used it to dispose of garbage, get to restrooms, and just get out. We all used it to get to dinner, get haircuts and see some sites. We also used it to do laundry. We were using Apalachicola as our drop off point before crossing the gulf so we spent days waiting for a weather window to make the crossing. We are a few days behind the original schedule which would have us home in Cape Coral on Nov. 1, but no doing too badly.
Oct. 29 (Thursday)
Today we did 58 miles to St. Andrews, FL (just outside of Panama City, FL). We followed SeaMoore out of the anchorage but he quickly left us behind as he travels about 10 mph. That was ok, we knew where we were going and had a reservation at a marina. We had some helpful current and some opposing current – which really slowed us down. We also spotted our first dauphins. What a treat! At times we had 4 traveling alongside us. Barb took tons of pictures just to get one of a dauphin jumping (see picture). This kept us entertained today. We did made it to St. Andrews Marina and were docked before 2:00 but decided not to try for the fuel dock as the winds were picking up. We watched a number of boats come in, and were very excited to see a DF 47 arrive. Star Gazer looked great! Jack and Sue Simpson invited us over for cocktails and we had a tour of the boat. We talked about the next week of travel and they asked to travel with us.
Oct. 28 (Wednesday)
We started out early in the morning, only to have the winds pick up. We crossed into FL at 8:36 and really felt like we were getting home. When we arrived at Santa Rosa Island Anchorage (our destination for today), we found that the winds were not good here. We were traveling with SeaMoore and he indicated that we should continue on to Joes Bayou – their destination for the night which is near Destin, FL. So we did 72 miles today (UGH!) and found ourselves in a better protected anchorage thanks to SeaMoore. The winds died down over night so we slept well.
Oct. 24 - 27 (Saturday / Tuesday)
We spent an extra day at Dog River due to winds on Mobile Bay, but we needed to travel today – winds down and only a one day weather window. We met up with SeaMoore (another 2010 looper we had met) and they were also taking off this am. So we were up and off the dock at first light hoping to get across Mobile Bay before the winds kicked up. The run was only 39 miles to Orange Beach AL (The Wharf) and a secure dock in the ICW. We arrived at noon just as the winds decided to kick up and Dave couldn’t back into the slip. The facilities and marina are relatively new and a great place to explore. We spent four days here and found that we could walk or bike around this area, explore shops. The rain and winds were strong, but we didn’t have any problems as we put out extra lines to help hold the boat to the dock – winds clocked over 30 mph. The pictures are of sunrise over Dog River Marina and Lulu’s restaurant (owned by Jimmy Buffett’s sister). SeaMoore stopped at LuLu’s marina while we went 2 more miles to The Wharf marina.
Oct. 16 - 23 (Friday / Friday)
We made the decision last night that if we could, we would run all the way into Mobile and Dog River Marina – a 68 mile run. We have no locks and only 1 bridge to worry about. We were on our way at first light. The weather held and we were able to travel pretty quickly – even the railroad bridge was ready for us! We were docked before 3:00 and Dave did a great job of backing the boat into a slip (first time in a long time that he had to back in). The winds did start to pick up later in the day and the weather remained bad for about 4 days with rain and winds. We met up with Lorelei and Always Home – both docked here. We spent a week doing some of our own maintenance and also having the marina do some maintenance. We were able to use the marina courtesy car for errands. We also replenished our food supply as this would be the last big stop before we reach FL west coast. We did take time during the week to do some site seeing as we have never been to this part of the country. So we rented a car, and went to see Alabama (battle ship), take a historic tour of Mobile, and drove out to Dauphin Island to see Fort Gauge – this is where the Gulf meets Mobile Bay. We also had dinner out two nights – long time since Barb had to cook. Dog River Marina was an excellent stop. The pictures include the haul out – Dave was very pleased to see that the bottom paint is holding up, the zincs were ok, and there wasn’t any damage to the hull from the 2 by 4 we picked up. The stabilizers did need work and new parts so we were held up while parts were shipped. The Alabama was very impressive and Dave really enjoyed walking around on the ship.
Oct. 15 (Thursday)
We woke up to fog and made decision to wait, but the other four boats took off and headed towards the lock. We monitored their progress – very slow moving. The fog started to clear at Bobbies, so we decided to try and catch up to them. We ended up in fog but it was lifting and the lock master waited for us so he could put us all through at once. We traveled 69 miles today to Arkansas Cut anchorage (mm 52.8). We were the only boat in this cut (which is a side river). We again needed a stern anchor, but Barb thought of a way to create a bridle for the stern line. It worked! The boat didn’t swing at all. The day was again very hot so we ran the gen to cool down the cabins. We are also watching the weather as our window for travel is closing down.
Oct. 14 (Wednesday)
Since we were only going 26 miles today we said good-bye to Lorelei IV and Always Home as they would be going further down river. We had a nice breakfast and then headed to Bobbies Fish Camp (another stop from 2010). We were the first boat on the barge dock so moved to the top of the dock. Unfortunately, we didn’t have electricity at this location so we had to run the generator to cool the cabin. We were able to get water so we did some exterior cleaning in the afternoon. We also watched 3 more boats come in and dock – one being a Fleming 55. There were interesting people on the other boats – all traveling faster than we were and all sure that they could reach Mobile in a one day run. We told the boat behind us that we would be leaving early the next morning if there wasn’t fog. He said that wasn’t a problem – he would help us get off the dock (we didn’t want the current to push us into his bow).
Oct. 13 (Tuesday)
Today will be a long run of 71 miles. We were up early and called the lock to learn that one tow was coming north. We were told to come down and wait. It was longer than we expected, but we did manage to get out of the lock a little after 8:30 a.m. It will be cutting our run close to arrive at Bashi Creek anchorage before dark. The weather has turned hot again, so we ran the generator in the afternoon to cool down the cabin. But we made the anchorage, and pulled further back in so that two boats traveling with us could have space behind us – both 48 ft. They rafted together. We needed to get a stern anchor off as there is no swing room. In 2010 we rafted bow stern with Tides In, but this year we are by ourselves. We spent time all day thinking and talking about how to do this – we had a plan and it sort of worked. We used a new anchor – Fortress 10 – that is very light weight. Barb was able to put out a lot of scope on the bow, throw the stern anchor over – and then with Dave on the bow, tighten the bow and let out stern line. It worked but not as well as we had hoped. We still had a little swing. Tonight was peaceful but hot so we ran a fan all night to keep air moving. The picture is of the Demopolis Dam. As you can see, we did get a push downriver due to the flow over the dam. That did help give us speed during the day.
Oct. 12 (Monday)
Today we travel 53 miles to Demopolis AL – where we will get our new headsets. We have had to do locks with headsets that don’t work correctly. But we have managed to communicate one way – admiral to captain – and it worked. It was an interesting start to the day as two boats were up and pulling anchor before daylight. We knew that if we didn’t get underway, we would have lots of waiting at locks – so we quickly got cloths on, did pre-start checklist and were not far behind the boats that pulled out at first light. The other boats in the anchorage followed very quickly behind us. During the morning we passed the white cliffs at Epes (see pictures). We also reached the half way point between the Tennessee River and Mobile Bay this morning (have gone 225 miles and have 225 miles to go). After docking in Demopolis we met Al and JoAnn Barr on Our Turn (DF44). They traveled with us downriver in 2010. Small world when you see similar boat and have traveled years before. We also talked with boats we were traveling with and made plans for the next few stops. Dave was still worried about stabilizers so he talked to Craig Caulkins again. The decision was made to have the boat hauled in Mobile to get stabilizers fixed – leaking a lot of oil at this point. We talked with Dog River and they can do the work in a timely manner and are qualified to work on Niaid Stabilizers. We slept well tonight. The pictures are of Epes cliffs. They are quite a site.
Oct. 11 (Sunday)
We were up at sunup and on our way early as we needed to go 65 miles to an anchorage. We also needed to get through the next two locks today so that we were not on restricted times to get lock openings. We traveled in fog with three other boats today – one was Always Home. We anchored in Sumter Landing and there were already 2 boats here, so we moved all the way in to where we anchored in 2010. This is a quiet anchorage and we had a very peaceful night. The first picture shows the three boats behind us. We were the fastest trawler in the group. The second picture is of the anchorage at Sumter Landing – note that there are two boats rafted together so the group is really 6 boats.
Oct. 8 - 10 (Thursday / Saturday)
We wanted to get to Columbus, MS today – 60 miles south but we had to go through 4 locks - always an iffy proposition. We called the lock at first light and were told it would be 30 minutes and to gather other boats if they were coming. So Barb quickly walked down the dock and told other boats they had 30 minutes (the lock was very close to the marina). But Barb wasn’t careful when taking lines of the dock and smacked her left eye with the knot end of a dock line – opps! She spent the morning putting ice on her face -- really had a black eye and it swelled almost closed. We had good luck with the locks and didn’t have much waiting. After the fourth lock the go fast boats took off and we were travelling with Always Home. It started raining and Dave didn’t see a 2 by 4 just under the surface. Of course we hit it and the sound / crack was very loud even in the fly bridge. The stabilizers went nuts (our fins on the hull that keep us from swinging side to side) and then the engines started to overheat. We quickly shut the engines down, Barb ran forward and dropped the anchor while Always Home was trying to reach us to find out what was wrong. It took us 30 minutes with a frantic call to Craig Caukins in FL (Stabilized Marine) to find we needed to turn off the stabilizers and travel without them. Then when Dave tried to turn on both engines we found that we were not getting water into the engines. We found that we could travel with the port engine but not the starboard engine. Always Home is still with us J. They called ahead to Columbus and the marina personnel would be waiting for us even after dark. So we very slowly (7 mph) did the last 15 miles into Columbus. We arranged for a diver to come on Friday and see what was going on under the boat. We tried to walk over to Always Home but they were in a different part of the marina behind security gates. We will talk with them tomorrow. Then we collapsed and were thankful that someone stayed with us during this adventure. On Friday the Diver arrived and found the 2 by 4 that was about 4 feet long had lodged between the stabilizer fin and the hull on the starboard side (see picture). It was resting against the grate that covers the intake valves for water flow. He brought it up and then inspected the rest of the boat for damage – none was found. We tried the engines and they were working fine. The winds were up so we didn’t leave as doing locks in wind is not fun. We ended up staying on Saturday also due to winds but we had to move to a slip which wasn’t the best thing to do. You will notice that we got stuck due to water vegetation that blew in from the waterway. By using boat hooks we were able to push this stuff away from the boat. We used the courtesy car and did some shopping and also the laundry. We met some more loopers and another DF owner who was captaining a boat south while staying here.
Oct. 7 (Wednesday)
We were up early as we wanted to leave at first light. But we found a fisherman off our starboard side very close to us. Somehow we had snagged his fishing net and it was wrapped around the anchor. He didn’t want to cut his net so we slowly raised the anchor and he was able to retrieve his net – but no fish in it. We were on the river by 7:00 and heading down the Tennessee -Tombigbee. We ran into some opposing current in the am. while in the Divide Cut (a narrow channel) but when we reached Bay Springs Lake that diminished. The Divide Cut is a man made 24 mile channel that was dug to connect the Tennessee River with Bay Springs Lake. Our delay today was the first of three locks that we needed to get through. The Whitten Lock was closed for inspections – it wouldn’t open for at least two hours. We didn’t want to try and hold station for that long so Barb found an anchorage near the lock and we through the hook. We had to watch our swing as we were close to shore, but we did have a peaceful lunch. We entered the lock with three other boats. One of them was Always Home with Donadee and Wayne Jones (DF 47). We finally made it to Midway Marina and as we were the last boat in we got the gas dock. We stayed aboard this evening. There were a number of looper boats on the dock but we didn’t socialize. Just hot and tired as we traveled 56 miles today and did three locks.
Oct. 6 (Tuesday)
We were up early and called Wheeler Lock only to be told that it would be a while as a tow was heading north and had to be put through in sections. Oh well, so much for an early start. When we did pull the anchor we found we had snagged a tree limb and it took us some time to get it off the anchor, but nothing like the tree on the IL river. We got through Wheeler lock and started across Wilson Lake only to hear that the Wilson Lock would be closing at noon for repairs. So Dave pushed the engines up to full speed (2185 rpm) and we did 9.9 mph across this lake. We passed JimKat (DF 49) but didn’t have time to talk. The lock master had the lock open and waiting for us. We were out of Wilson lock at 12:15 and decided to continue down river instead of stopping at Florence, AL. Interestingly, we had strong current pushing us and we were doing 10.6 at different times in the afternoon – what a ride today. We went to Zippy Creek to anchor for the night as Grand Harbor was full. Zippy Creek is on the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway (a canal that connects the Tennessee river with Mobile Bay) We ran fans during the night to keep the air moving – still hot! At this point we are only about 4 days behind schedule.
Oct. 5 (Monday)
We traveled 57 miles to an anchorage near Joe Wheeler. We used this anchorage in 2010 and were able to find our same spot. The windless worked well but the anchor bounced a couple of times when it set. We will see what this means in the morning. The weather is hot and humid so we stayed inside and did run the gen for a while. We again had to wait at the railroad bridge for trains, but only for 30 minutes. We felt lucky about this. We made decision that if possible we would do a long run tomorrow to make up time.
Oct. 4 (Sunday)
We are finally back to moving. We went 44 miles to Ditto Landing (Huntsville, AL). In the morning we were buzzed by a helicopter that said Boat Picts.com on the side. Didn’t follow up with them but suppose they were taking pictures of looper boats. We were here in Aug. We met four other looper boats on the dock and had cocktails aboard Spirit with looper boats Nearly Perfect, Pearl and Melinda B.
Sept. 24 - Oct. 3 (Thursday - Saturday)
We did a 54 mile run back to Goose Pond (Scottsboro, AL) where we will receive the new windless and have it installed. Officially met California Lady (they anchored near us in Martin Light Anchorage but we were not able to talk with them) and another looper boat pulled in later in the evening. We started getting ready to have two great nephews aboard in Sat. We had to do a run to grocery for food. Spent Friday cleaning boat and talking to FL company about the windless – it was shipped on Friday. Saturday was spent making last of food for the boys and they arrived in time for lunch. Andrew and Austin took Barb to Unclaimed Baggage – a very different experience. Then they went kayaking and returned for dinner. We had a great visit with them. Barb stayed up really late playing cards with Andrew – while Dave and Austin slept. Sunday came quickly and Barb scrambled a dozen eggs, lot of sausages and had different breads. Boy did our great nephews eat! They left by 9:30 and we collapsed. We cleaned up and put away kayaks and then did some routine work on the boat. Monday we did some boat cleaning and then worked inside as it rained all afternoon. Tuesday we had to prepare the boat for the marine company to come aboard and install the new windless. We also went out to dinner with the Bill and Charlotte Rudy. Wednesday arrived but the marine company had to haul another boat in the marina that had sunk before they could come over. They did work off and on most of the day. The new windless didn’t fit the current holes so they needed to make some sort of cover plate and drill new holes. Thursday it rained most of the day and Angler didn’t show up to work on windless – having difficulty with getting cover plate made. Friday was focused on getting the windless installed. Barb went exploring with Nancy from California Lady and found a very nice downtown area of Scottsboro. Saturday it rained in the a.m. so we did last minute shopping and preparing to move quickly down river as our well laid out plan was once more revised. Today is a rain delay – oh well, so much for plans.
Sept. 23 (Wednesday)
We got up early and needed a walk so we went up to the bluff to see the art at the museum. After arriving back at the boat, Barb went to talk to one of the loopers we had met earlier in Goose Pond (Scottsboro, AL). Dave came down the dock to say that our great nephew Austin Davis was on his way to the boat. Wow! He happened to see us walking and tracked us down. We had a nice visit and he said he would drive to Scottsboro this coming weekend. We took off and had a following current that allowed us to travel faster. We went 34 miles to Hales Bar marina – were we spent the afternoon aboard as the heat and humidity decided to climb again.
Sept. 22 (Tuesday)
We moved 40 miles down bound to Chattanooga TN and tied up to the cliff wall. Great place to be. We met other loopers at this dock and spent time talking to them – they are first time loopers so had lots of questions. We went out to our favorite pizza place for dinner. We were not going far tomorrow so relaxed this afternoon. We did a short walk around down town after dinner. We found out that this coming weekend was the Iron Man Competition in Chattanooga so we are glad to be through this area early.
Sept. 21 (Monday)
We were lucky that we could get the anchor up with the windless – Barb stood on it to hold it down while Dave pushed the electric up button. We went downriver 45 miles and back to Blue Water marina. While Dave drove, Barb started making calls to various marinas and the Chattanooga harbor host, Hal Baker. It’s been two weeks since we were here, but felt like it was yesterday. The weather has been getting better and not too hot. We were able to locate a new Windless, but unfortunately it will take a few days to arrive to a location that we select. We made the decision to keep moving and have the windless installed in Goose Pond. So Barb did laundry (can’t beat the price here) and we made marina reservations for the next two nights since we can’t anchor.
Sept. 20 (Sunday)
Our plan was to head a few miles further south on the river and we had a couple of anchorages selected, but first we got a pump out at Blue Springs Marina. We checked out Pearl Harbor, but found it to narrow for Hallelujah. We then headed another few miles south to Fooshee Bend where we found the same thing. WE decided to return to Martin Light Anchorage. In total we traveled 22 miles today and were able to get our same anchorage. But as we put the anchor down, the windless made a terrible sound. When we checked it, we found it had broken loose from underneath and wasn’t turning correctly. A new adventure for us as we now have out 100 feet of chain on our 60 lb anchor. Stayed aboard all afternoon and tried to work on it with no luck so we will head to a marina tomorrow and start making calls.
Sept. 18 - 19 (Friday - Saturday)
We only moved 22 miles today to Martin Light anchorage near Blue Springs Marina. We were glad we got there early as this is a very popular anchorage. We snuck in as far as we could and were well off the river. Other boats came in but didn’t anchor too near us. We watched wildlife and just rested. We did take the kayaks out on Saturday and explored the rest of this anchorage. Barb found an old fence line post sticking out of the water. A real indication of how much the river rose when flooded.
Sept. 17 (Thursday)
We traveled 40 miles south and were back on the Tennessee River by 9:30 in the morning – current with us today so we are traveling a little faster which means we are using less fuel. We did run into some fog but it didn’t stop us. We anchored in Little Paint Rock Creek today. Heat is back up so we stayed aboard. This is a narrow river but we didn’t swing much. We spent the afternoon, looking at charts and deciding the next anchorage.
Sept. 14 - 16 (Monday - Wednesday)
As you can imagine, we left the marina early due to our dock. Before heading down bound on the Little Tennessee River we went as far north as we could into the Smokey Mountains. This river is not navigable past the 29 mile point, but we were warned of shoaling after mile 24 so that is as far as we went. The picture doesn’t do justice to what we saw. We then turned south and started our trip back to Grand Harbor and then down the Tennessee –Tombigbee Canal to Mobile. Since Michigan City we have come 1140 miles on the river system in our central country (IL, Miss, Ohio, Tenn. and Little Tenn. rivers). We only traveled 13 miles today to a wonderful anchorage on Bat Creek – and we were the only boat. We passed a number of anchorages as we turned south but felt they didn’t allow enough swing room. We liked this anchorage so much we spent three nights. We took the kayaks out to explore the area near the boat on day two and on day three took the dinghy out and went further up the creek – not a place Hallelujah could go.
Sept. 13 (Sunday)
We left the Tennessee River today (as we had no desire to go into Knoxville as most of the river is industrial and not the best scenery) and headed up the Little Tennessee River. We only went 20 miles but spent most of that time looking at huge homes along one side of the river and cliffs on the other. We went to a marina near Maryville, TN on Tellico Lake. Unfortunately the only dockage that our boat would fit in was next to the marina restaurant which was very noisy with lots of traffic staring in our windows. We took the dinghy to Ft. Loudoun Park (a historic site first built in 1756) in the afternoon. The site is very well preserved and the historical film fascinating. We are now in the Great Smokey Mountains. What an experience this was for us.
Sept. 11 - 12 (Friday - Saturday)
We moved 51 miles further north to Lenoir City, TN and Fort Loudoun marina. We again had really strong currents against us so the day was much longer as we traveled slower. This was a very lovely marina with a great restaurant that we took advantage of. Can’t remember the last time we went out – Goose Pond in Aug.? We had to leave on Sunday as the marina would be packed with all the boats heading back down river from Knoxville.
Sept 8 - 10 (Tuesday - Thursday)
We went 44 miles today to another marina – can’t believe the heat is holding out this long in the mountains. This was another long stay due to rain and would you believe a football game. Tennessee takes football very seriously. The next marina north couldn’t take us until Friday due to all the boats traveling north to Knoxville to be part of the Volunteer Navy group. Specifically, boats go up to Knoxville and anchor off the stadium for the game. They can’t see it but they have huge party (usually over a hundred boats) anchored and rafted together. Not something we wanted to experience. We found Agapè (44 DF) docked here and met Harry and Nancy Burck. Very nice couple, but they were heading to Knoxville for the game so didn’t have much time to talk with them. We were introduced to John and Donna Curry aboard Donna Lou Too. Donna took Barb into town to a Kroger store for fresh food run. We also had cocktails aboard their boat and met more marina people.
Sept. 4 - 7 (Friday - Monday)
We moved upriver 29 miles to a small RV/Marina to spend the Labor Day weekend. We wanted to be off the water when it was really busy. This marina was a little hidden gem with not much here and not close to any town, but very cheap, clean, and friendly. We again stayed aboard most of the weekend due to heat and humidity. We are reading lots of books! We did walk through the RV Park but didn’t use our bikes due to the steep hills. We were going to take our dinghy up to the Dayton, TN but there was a lot of fishing traffic so decided against that. We did want to see the court house where the “Monkey Trial” was held, but didn’t get there. We did see deer across the creek from us but not much other wildlife.
Sept. 1 - 3 (Tuesday - Thursday)
Today we will be traveling to new parts of the Tennessee River. We will pass through Chattanooga, TN (our furthest northern stop in 2010) and go through the Chickamauga Lock. We traveled 52 miles today again against strong currents. We again went to a marina due to heat. The marina recommended to us was ok, but we had a good half mile walk to bathrooms which entailed walking uphill from the dock and then downhill to marina area. There were few exciting events. We are getting used to fog but there was little boating activity along the way to even make this an exciting event. Dave hurt his leg while in the lock so did some first aid. We spent three nights at this marina. On day two we took the dinghy out in the early morning to explore some nearby anchorages and went up a small side creek that turned out to be beautiful – too bad Hallelujah doesn’t fit under a four foot high bridge. We continue to work inside. On day three we went swimming in the pool – that was very nice. Pictures from today show the early morning fog hanging low over the mountains, the mountains two hours later (clear), Look Out Mountain, and a picture of the small creek we went up on day two.