Oct. 3 - Sunday
This is our last day at Grand Harbor. We did prep work for leaving tomorrow to continue up river towards Chattanooga. We did last of laundry, made reservations for January in the Florida Keys and December in Fort Meyers FL. And we did a dinner and movie – but couldn’t find a great movie like last night. But it was fun. Other Loopers on the dock are away for today so no cocktail hour (we drank alone today). We stowed away all items that are left out at dock (TV, grill, folding chairs) and got our backpack filled with charts, binoculars, radios, etc. Tomorrow we are off again. Move to Tenn River Part 2 for rest of Tenn River trip (up to Chattenooga and back to Grand Harbor).
Oct. 2 - Saturday
We finished cleaning inside. We also changed the engine oil today (this takes a couple of hours as we have to be very careful not to get oil in the bilge and on out into the water). We are getting good and have a system for oil changes. We relaxed in the afternoon, talked with family and finished plans for the Chattanooga run (250 miles north east of this location) and marina stops. Did dinner and movie again this evening.
Oct. 1 - Friday
Shiloh National Military Park
We again awoke to the paper mill smell. We cleaned inside the boat this AM and did laundry. In the afternoon we took the courtesy car and toured Shiloh National Military Park and then continued our drive into Savannah TN for grocery shopping. We returned to the marina to find two looper boats – people we had met in Green Turtle. We had cocktails and then went out to dinner to Freddy T’s. We had a nice dinner. Thought we would watch another movie tonight but there was nothing on.
Sept. 30 - Thursday
We awoke early to a very unpleasant smell – and fog on the water. We turned on the gen to get heat. We called Grand Harbor Marina about 9:30 to ask about our reservation and found we could come in at any time. We moved the boat about half a mile to Grand Harbor Marina and tied up in a slip. We cleaned the outside of the boat in the afternoon. Dave set up the TV today as there was cable at the dock. We did a movie and dinner – what a change. We were told the strange smell was a paper mill just north of the marina. The cooler air and north winds brings the smell south toward us.
Sept. 29 - Wednesday
Up early to fog again this am – it was 52º outside. We turned on heat to warm the cabin. About 9:30 we took the kayaks down and went up Dry Creek to the end where we found some small rapids. That was as far as we could go. We did see two eagles sitting on the river bank but by the time I got my camera out they had flown away. After lunch we pulled anchor and went about 5 miles to Zippy Creek to anchor. This is a much smaller bay on the Tenn-Tom waterway. We tried to anchor bow and stern but had difficulty with a stern anchor so we pulled it and swung on just the bow hook. Fishermen came and went. A few other boats stuck their bows in but only 1 sail boat actually came in and anchored further up the creek behind us. It was a quiet afternoon and evening except for a strange sound from the anchor road. After trying to figure it out, we just ignored it.
Sept. 28 - Tuesday
Up early in preparation to leave, but the fog was really bad on the river. It was 48º so the water was warmer than the air. Dave even saw that two barges were pulled over to the side of the river just upriver of us and were not moving. We couldn’t leave until 8:30 and the other two looper boats were just behind us. We passed 5 barges going downriver and over took one barge going up river. About an hour upriver, we were hailed on the radio by good friends Steve and Carolyn from Here and Now. We were passing their home and he called to say high on the VHF radio. We hope to see them at Joe Wheeler in late Oct. We then continued on up the river. We locked through the Pickwick Lock which was a 55 foot lift very quickly. I called and the lock master said to come on in as the lock was open. The locks are large and it takes a while to fill with water. This lock wasn’t too hard for us. We must be getting better at locking. We left the lock and entered Pickwick Lake – lots of huge homes. We slowly cruised by many homes built on cliffs and then entered Dry Creek embayment. We anchored in about 20 feet in this beautiful bay.
Sept. 27 - Monday
Barge moving upriver at Clifton
Layover at Clifton, TN. Did engine room work and completed boat preparation for leaving on Tuesday. We took the courtesy car into town and walked around. There were very few stores in this town – it is very small. The grocery store was questionable to say the best – no produce and lots of empty shelf space. Two Looper boats came in today – one was from Canada. We talked briefly with them.
Sept. 26 - Sunday
Hallelujah & Sassy 2 in Clifton
Layover at Clifton, TN. We took a walk to see some of the area. Spent most of the day on board working on the computer, did laundry and relaxed. A delivery crew came in with a boat from Muskegon MI. They were traveling fast. They told us that the great lakes have been really bad this fall because of winds and weather.
Sept. 25 - Saturday
We left Pebble Isle early so we could make Clifton, TN before heat picked up – but today wasn’t to be as hot (only in the low 80’s). We passed through some very beautiful river country – one spot called the narrows was really terrific. The Tenn River is back to river formation but in some places it is 80 feet deep. We passed three barge tows in the morning all going down river (towards the Ohio) with no problems – lots of room. The about 11:30 a.m. we were hailed from a boat anchored to the side of the channel – funny place to anchor as you usually don’t anchor in the channel. They were having engine problems and couldn’t get it fixed. They asked if we could take aboard one crew member and take them to Clifton. Dave was really good at turning the boat around, I got fenders and lines ready. We pulled up next to Bona Vella (an Italian built cruiser) and picked up Bill B. He is a seasoned cruiser who has completed most of the loop and spent his life on the Tenn. River. We had 3.5 hours of his talking about cruising on the Tenn River, cruising in general, his boats and his family. We arrived in Clifton and said goodbye to Bill. He had mechanic on way to the boat and his wife picking him up to head back down bound to get back to the boat. Sassy 2 arrived just after us – so we had cocktails aboard Hallelujah. A sailboat from Germany (yes all the way across the ocean) arrived about 5:30 but the people didn’t speak English very well so we weren’t able to get their cruise story. They crossed the Atlantic and are on the loop. They were carrying their mast on the boat so it was an interesting craft to say the least. We had a quiet evening with cooler weather.
Sept. 24 - Friday
This was a day of stay in the cabin – the weather is to break today with a front and we can’t wait for the cooler weather. We had clouds but no rain this afternoon. There was wind which helped. Finally by late afternoon it started to cool off. We started preparations for leaving Pebble Isle Marina which is in New Johnsonville, TN. The marina is way out in the sticks about 2 miles from the main highway in very hilly country. We never did see New Johnsonville as we drove to Camdon TN for food. But the story is that Johnsonville is under water so the state built a New Johnsonville to replace what was lost by the develop of the Kentucky Lake.
Sept. 23 - Thursday
We got up early and took a walk to the local county part – this is a historic site from the Civil War. We then washed the boat all before 10:00 a.m. The heat once again drove us inside. We have very poor to no internet – have to lug the computer up to the restaurant and then only if their satellite is working can we get on. Cell phones are also weak signal – so much for technology. Dave did some engine room work and I sewed or played on the computer. We went up to the restaurant for catfish dinner tonight – it was very good. Of course you don’t come to Pebble Isle without having the breakfast cinnamon buns – very sweet and fattening – given to all loopers. More looper boats arrived but no Cocktail hour – way to hot. Heidi York called to say they were in Clifton and there was nothing in this town either. They were moving ahead faster.
Sept. 22 - Wednesday
Said goodbye to Prime Time again. This is getting to be our story – we are always a little behind them. We did laundry (it is Wed.) but only two loads – way to hot again even at 8:00 a.m. In the afternoon we took the courtesy car and drove 25 minutes to the nearest grocery – Wal-Mart. Returned to find that Here and Now had arrived. We gave big hugs and had a celebration cocktail on Hallelujah as they just completed the loop. Carolyn talked about the next loop – the Mediterranean in 2012 - 2014. We will have to first complete the US loop before considering a European tour.
Sept. 21 - Tuesday
Sunrise over Ginger Bay
Ok, today started way too early! Dave was up at 12:30 a.m. He heard a strange sound – which he figured out was the anchor. He spent much of the rest of the night making plans for how to get the anchor up – we were not swinging so he assumed we had wrapped the chain around something on the bottom. Thank heavens I had used the trip line when we anchored. I got up at 5:00 and heard the noise also – something we had never experienced in 40 years of boating. At 6:00 we talked over plans – waited till the sun was high enough so we could see and prepared to get underway – that way if the anchor came up we were ready to move and not floating around or trying to reset the anchor. At 6:30 we started bringing the anchor up – there were some small branches stuck to the chain but the anchor came right up – so much for worry! We were underway early so we went a little further today into Pebble Isle Marina (another must stop looper place). As we docked out popped Heidi and Kelley on Prime Time – what a great surprise. We had cocktails aboard Prime Time this evening along with Bill and Laura from Monkey Girl. We talked about what we had been doing and where we were headed next. We went to the floating restaurant for sandwiches for dinner – it is in the 90º again today and no one felt like cooking.
Sept. 20 - Monday
We are moving anchorages today. WE need to move more upriver – south. So we moved 20 miles upstream to Ginger Bay. We passed up many wonderful embayments that had great anchorages. Our first picture is of the entrance – yes we went in here. We have great charts and had to literally move very very slowly and follow a 16 foot couture line into this bay. Unfortunately the water is down on the Kentucky Lake – there has been little to no rain in the past few months so the water level is near winter pool. We were not able to negotiate to the anchorage suggested. We ended up anchoring in the middle of the large bay and looked out at the Tennessee River which meant we would have waves from passing barge traffic all night. We again spent the afternoon on the back deck. Dave again used the binoculars – saw two eagles, a variety of other bird and a deer. We did have to go in at sunset as there were some flying insects this evening.
Sept. 19 - Sunday
We remain in Duncan Bay again today. But today we took the dinghy down and explored some more of Duncan Bay and also Sugar Bay which was a mile south of this anchorage. As we left Duncan Bay, we met a Barge heading up river (south). We were able to stay well away from this 3 wide and 5 long barge unit. We are running into more wildlife – more variety of birds at least. I haven’t seen any snakes but have been told of other loopers who have and locals who also say there are snakes in the river. You won’t find me swimming in this river! Sugar Bay was also beautiful and there was one anchorage that we loved (we have marked it on our charts for future reference). We were good people – on our way back to the boat.
We again spent the afternoon on the back deck (people love our back deck and say it is very relaxing). Today we had a visitor on the back deck in the form of a mud wasp trying to build a nest. I kept hearing a buzzing and Dave said it was the fenders. I didn’t agree and located the buzz under the portside rail cover. Dave used his trusty bug spray and we pulled the cover back, hit the wasp with spray and then killed it as it hit the deck. We now need to clean the underside of this cover. We are finding starter nests in many strange places around the boat. We will have to check all hidey-holes at the next marina. The evening was especially nice and the sunset gorgeous. There are few mosquitoes in this bay so we are able to sit outside for dinner and enjoy the rising moon and setting sun. But tonight we heard wolves very close. Dave thinks they were right on shore – the howling woke us both up about midnight. We didn’t step outside or turn on lights, but we listened for a while.
Sept. 18 - Saturday
We are staying at anchor here in Duncan Bay – it is a great anchorage and very quiet. We have enjoyed the full moon and watching the stars at night. We took the kayaks out today to explore the huge bay – didn’t make it all the way around but we did find a little stream. We also saw an eagle today. We must have scared it as we were kayaking – but it was a beautiful site. We again spent the afternoon on the back deck. At least there is a breeze and the screening has helped to cut the heat. No new animals today – but more fisher people and larger boats moved into the main part of the bay. We are swinging in 16 feet of water – the anchor is very well dug in. We have been without good internet since last week – the signals and wifi at the marinas was poor. I’m beginning to worry about email and website. We are still well, enjoying the trip and can’t believe we have been aboard for a few months now.
Sept. 17 - Friday
We left Green Turtle Bay with a wake up call – Dave forgot to follow the small channel out of the marina. I was securing the decks of lines and fenders. All of a sudden I yelled that we were churning up mud (opps – that means the water is too shallow). I looked up to find the channel buoys way to the starboard – and yelled up to Dave that he wasn’t in the correct place. We were lucky and were able to get back into the channel after some fishermen told us to back out of where we were. Wake up call – make sure to watch all channel markers! We returned to the Tennessee River (via the cut) and stared up river (heading south). This is really complicated, up river means we were going against the current. The Tennessee flows north to the Ohio from a starting point east of Knoxville. The current isn’t to strong as there hasn’t been much rain so the dams are not letting much water out. The Tennessee River at this point is called the Kentucky Lake and it is a manmade lake developed by building dams to hold water back. A lot of the lake supports recreational / tourism and wildlife refuge areas. We have pretty good guide books so along the way we peeked into various embayments (large bays) to see the sites. The first was Pisgah Bay – which is known for the high cliffs that allow people to dive into the bay. This bay also is known for the graffiti painted on the rocks.
The bay was busy so we moved further south. We anchored in Duncan Bay – actually in an little bay way back in the larger bay. We had the whole anchorage to ourselves except for fisher people. There are a ton of fishing boats on this lake and I swear they all go fast to fishing holes and then stop fast (causing a good wake). We spent the afternoon on the back deck trying to stay cool. Dave read and used binoculars to bird watch – we did see wild turkeys late in afternoon but no eagles (which this bay is known to have). I worked on a cross stitch picture.
Sept. 16 - Thursday
Hallelujah at Green Turtle Bay Marina
Today was mostly last minute boat work to prepare to leave tomorrow. We cleaned inside, did last of laundry, and last of grocery shopping. In these small towns the groceries are small IGA stores so shopping is limited but I managed to find everything we really needed that I forgot to get on Tuesday. At 4:30 3 Looper boat couples came aboard and Dave shared the anchorages that we got from Jim Angel. Then at 5:30 we met 6 more Looper couples at the Cocktail hour held at the gazebo. There are over 10 Looper boats on the dock today. It is quite a group! The picture is of Hallelujah at Green Turtle Bay Marina. We are clean in and out and ready for some time away from people.
Sept. 15 - Wednesday
Small Bay on Cumberland River
We took the dinghy down and explored a little of the Cumberland River as we would not be traveling this river to Nashville. We managed to go aground two times before we got smart and turned out our portable GPS that shows water depths. But the morning was very pleasant until it started to really heat up again. We returned to the boat and spent the afternoon / evening inside (except for Looper Cocktails at 5:30). This marina is huge! There are rental condos and private housing here. We rode our bikes around the property and found that it is many acres with lots of diversity (one lunch restaurant, yacht club, health facility, swimming pools, rental boats, small store, and full service maintenance facility with large travel lift
Sept. 14 - Tuesday
Green Turtle Bay Marina
This was a lazy rest day – at least in the am. We talked with family and then made our plans for going to Chattanooga via boat. We made reservations along the way so that we can get mail, medicine, and boat equipment. After lunch we took the courtesy car and drove to Paducah. I really wanted to go to the National Quilt Museum and see this old river town. Dave enjoyed the museum. We actually saw a wooden quilt –but could take no pictures in the Museum so have nothing to share here. We drove around the town and saw the town history murals that are along the river street -- very interesting town with lots of historical buildings. We also did grocery shopping, and stopped for wine. When we returned to the marina, there were new Looper boats in so new people to meet – cocktails at 5:30 at a gazebo. I need to make more boat cards!
Sept. 13 - Monday
We are up and moving more slowly today – we are moving about 7 miles to the Cumberland River – going to Green Turtle Bay Marina. This is a famous Looper stopping point after exiting the Ohio River. The pictures are of the canal that connects the Tennessee River to the Cumberland River. We had a very short run to this next marina. We had some trouble with electric hook up but finally got shore power and turned on the air (temperatures are soaring in the 90’s with high humidity) – really way to hot to try and anchor. We had dinner at a famous restaurant – Patty’s. This restaurant is known for the two inch pork chop – way to much to eat! It was excellent food and we were stuffed. Took it easy most of afternoon but did do map quests for tomorrow’s adventure into Paducah.
Sept. 12 - Sunday
We said goodbye to Ken and Brenda early in the morning – met another looper at the same time. We did laundry and grocery shopping using the marina courtesy car. Dave spent the afternoon adjusting the stuffing boxes – the drip was a constant flow so he tightened up the nuts and reduced the flow back to drips. I worked on this week’s web posting. Talked with family and finished reading a book. We will be going to a looper cocktail hour at 5:30 on Blue Angel with Jim & Sharon Angel to get more info on good places to anchor on the Tennessee River and Tenn/Tom canal. We really want to use our kayaks. There is no place to bike here so they will sit for a few weeks. The marinas on the Tennessee River are usually large and there are many houseboats. Most permanent slip holders have roofs over their boats as seen in the picture of Kentucky Dam Marina at the Kentucky Dam Village State Park. I do include a picture of the paddle wheel that I talked about while anchoring at Metropolis, IL on the Ohio. It was slipped next to us in Kentucky Dam Marina. I shot this as the boat was leaving.
Sept. 11 - Saturday
This is a rest day – well some rest. We had to clean the front deck as we took part of Lock 52 with us. I had to check the rail cover damage – yes more rips and these are bigger so I need to patch the rail cover again. And we lost some paint off the port cap rail also (so much for having a beautiful boat all the time). Dave wouldn’t let me scrub the fenders – we just got the loose dirt (cement) off of them. The rains never did materialize. I called the York’s on Prime Time and they were still at Green Turtle – they drove over for cocktails and a final visit as we will be behind them going down the Tennessee River. Ken (Tellico Lady) came over and walked Dave through how to read the new paper charts – they are really different on this river system. And the three river boats ended up in this marina – the paddle wheel (Okeechobee Queen) is next to us. So we have a constant sight seeing item that everyone in the marina wants to see walking down our pier. We were six for cocktails on the back deck at 5:30. Great to thank both crews (Prime Time and Tellico Lady) for helping us at various times during the rivers. We rested most of the day and I got a week of website info posted.