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Monday, October 13, 2014

DOWN EAST - ROAD TRIP

We have not attempted a "road trip" in several years.  However, in order to attend our nephew's wedding in Easton, Md. the cruise aboard 0 Regrets would require many months.  Nephew and finance' would not agree to postpone the wedding.  Therefore, a road trip ensued to Maryland. 
Fortunately, this area on the Chesapeake Bay offers a sailor's paradise and unlimited boats to view. 


The above map is the location of our Road trip.  Click on the pins to get description of the locations.  The route from Lexington, VA. up through the Shenandoah Valley is a great mountain trip.  You can drive the Skyline Road along the mountains if you have the time. 

The above view is a bed & breakfast Victorian suffering from one of the highest tides in recent memory.  The back yard flood was receding but continued to require wading to local restaurants and maritime museum. 

The above lighthouse was removed from the original and placed at the maritime museum for the public to view.  All the original houses have been replaced but a tour of this portion gives a good view of the conditions under which the housekeepers lived.  Also a good view of this bay. The museum is located at St. Michaels, MD only 10 miles from Easton, Md. on the east side of the Chesapeake Bay. 

The above is a small, all wood boat.  Actually about 14 ft. long with a bow looking more like a pilot boat.  The workmanship is first class.
A wood row boat with flowery decoration.  Again the quality of the workmanship is excellent.  Almost all boats in the show are built by locals from all wood materials. 
The view above is Main Street at Annapolis, Md. looking toward waterfront.  All historical buildings used for retail, restaurants and housing.  A great walking town, even to the Naval Academy.  If you visit, DO NOT MISS the noon muster and tour of the academy.
This is a view of the court house in Annapolis.  The view in the evening was stunning and I could not resist.  Now on to the Academy.
I could not get the total muster formation in the frame. They muster each noon prior to their meal with 4,000 cadets dressed in their daily work uniform.  They all eat in one mess hall and are allowed only about 20 minutes to eat.  Also, all cadets live in the same dorm building which is comprised of eight wings. 
Not the best exposure but this is Memorial Hall which we toured. By the way, our tour guide was a retired Navy Captain (4 striper) aviator.  He graduated from the Academy in 1965 and earned wings in 1967.  He served in the same VP squadron I was attached after my Vietnam tour.  Small world. 
 


the view above is the entrance to memorial hall. this building is used to memorize those cadets who have lost their lives in service of their country.  A special place for all veterans. 

 The historic slogan for all sailors.  The dying command of the Captain of the USS Chesapeake in 1813.  Later on the battle flag of the USS Niagara.  Another part of Naval History.

The above pic is the crypt of John Paul Jones buried in a tomb below the Cathedral of the academy.  The body was entombed here after locating the first burial under a building in France. He is considered the father of the modern navy.  Just another sacred place for all navy members. 
 
Another view that is inspiring. This the dome in the Academy cathedral which we viewed while cadets were rehearsing for the Phantom of the Opera to be performed during the All Saints Day service.
 




 This is the lodgings of the Academy Commandant. He really has some great digs compared to the cadets.  This is only one of the large homes on the campus.  The Commandant is an Admiral of course. 

Well, just some thoughts on our tour of Annapolis and the Academy. One last photo of the happy couple having a great meal over looking the Annapolis Harbor.  Food and beverage was enjoyed!
Just another day along our journey.  We will visit here again aboard 0 Regrets in about 1-2 years as we cruise the east coast.  Remember,
"life is a journey, only you hold the map"
 
Happy Sailing,
Adm. Denise, Capt Barry and deck hands Bailey and Bella

Sunday, October 12, 2014

WILSON LAKE AND BAY SPRINGS

I am compelled to add more information about our anchoring in Wilson Lake and later Bay Springs.   One must remember, the Tennessee River is a series of impoundments, read lakes, maintained by the Corp of Engineers.  This permits unlimited anchorage opportunities and a wide range of beauty. 

I discussed our boat problems while on Wilson Lake, I failed to provide information about an excellent anchorage. We anchored in Six Mile Creek on the East side of the lake.  This creek continues for a few miles, however, the water does get shallow and would not permit us to venture further.  The anchorage is well protected from wind except from the West.  We needed this wind due to lack of A/C and welcomed the breeze. 
The above photo gives the location near Florence, AL.  Just 5 miles further up river is Wheeler Lake which has an excellent lodge and marina.


The above map depicts our cruise.  Click on the balloon for further information.  Of course we reversed our path in our return to our home port. 

On to Bay Springs anchorage.  This portion of the cruise requires returning down river to Pickwick Lake and Yellow Creek and the upper portion of the Tom Bigbee Waterway.  We cruised the "ditch" for 27 miles to the Bay Springs area.  The ditch is narrow and does require constant observation for approaching tow boats and their barges.  But, upon reaching the lower portion of the ditch you are greeted with a deep and beautiful lake, Bay Springs. 

The above map gives some indication of Bay Springs location in relation to Florence. AL.  This location is in Mississippi and new water for us.  At this anchorage we did experience another boat problem.  In retrieving the anchor the windlass stopped and would not operate in up or down mode.  Uh Oh!  We were drifting toward the shore at this point and had to start the engine and retrieve the anchor by hand.  Yep the old fashion way.  All of our little problems did not stop our cruise or limit in any way our adventure. They will just have to be dealt with upon our return to our home port. 

We did encounter a well know ship upon our return cruise.  The LST 325 from Evansville, IN had cruised ahead of us at the beginning of the cruise.  Upon our last day of the cruise we heard a radio call for the LST 325.  Well, that means it must be within a few miles of our boat.  Looking to our rear I see on the horizon a big, gray blob and sure enough it is LST 325.  She was monitoring the channel 13 for commercial traffic.  She gained on us and I called the Captain to ask how he would like to pass.  I did manage to get a short video.
video
 


Well the above video is short but she is a real WWII ship and the only LST ship remaining operational.  You never know what you will see along the river. 

Well that is the jest of our 2014 Tennessee River Cruise. While we met many new friends along the way, we enjoyed quiet nights on anchor.  We hope that this time 2015 we will be cruising south to Florida and many new adventures.  Stay Tooned.

Happy Sailing,
Adm. Denise, Capt Barry and deck hands Bailey and Bella


Saturday, October 11, 2014

CLIFTON AND BEYOND



Our journey continues with a return to Clifton to permit the Admiral to board.  Being a kind and patient Admiral, she agreed to drive 4 hours to Clifton, TN to join the expedition, “Up the Tennessee”.  Tommy jumped ship at this point having enjoyed a return to Clifton and all the new friends he acquired along the way.  I do think it was the gin and tonics. 

 
 
Another good view of our mighty boat. 

This being the weekend of the Clifton Music Festival, the docks are full and the bar is open.  We were enjoying the marina so much we never did venture into town and the festival.  The temps were very high for September, the a/c was working and the beer was cold.  Now, why leave.  We also have the entertainment of the Service Monkey.  Right a service monkey.  It seems the driver of the shuttle service to the festival camps at the point above the marina during the weekend. He has a well-trained, service monkey.  The service seems to be his entertainment and side kick during the shuttle rides.  Also, the monkey does were a diaper.  Well, the Admiral was skeptical of this story prior to her meeting the monkey.  She should learn to believe the Captain.   Now I ask you, where in the world could you travel by almost any means and meet a “Service Monkey”.  Only in Clifton, TN.  Alas, I could not get a photo of the monkey, it is frightened by flash.  
 
This large catamaran was docked at Clifton while moving to Florida.  Seems the deck hand had a disagreement with the Captain and jumped boat.  She was captured by the local law enforcement in the 700 populated Clifton and returned to the boat.  Seems the disagreement continued and the deck hand departed the next morning.  We departed leaving the Captain to handle the problem. 
 
The above paddle wheeler arrived at Clifton Marina. The owner is the yacht broker at Pickwick Lake and all had a merry visit.  He and his wife live aboard and conduct sales from this boat.  A good life.
As most of our readers know, we travel with our deck hands, Bailey and Bella.  They can be seen above with the Admiral in a high level meeting to determine our future course and visits.  Do not be fooled by the somewhat relaxed posture. They really do pay close attention to their food needs.
 
 
We cruised up river (south by compass) to Aqua Yacht Harbor and anchored in the harbor.  We were having difficulty with the air conditioning at this point and were told a tech at the yard was available.  Well, we lost 1.5 days waiting for this tech who did not show for work.  So, we let go of the lines and sailed for Florence Marina in Florence, AL.  We have tied our lines here several occasions and it is a good marina with excellent restaurant. The town is close and well stocked with about anything you need.  A courtesy car is available with a 2 hr. limit.  Here the local heat and air man charged each up each a/c unit. We had air again to battle the 90 plus temps. 
We are docked at Florence Marina, Florence, Al. This is a great stop just prior to the 93 ft. lift to Wilson Lake.  Visiting here includes the great restaurant, a Frank Lloyd Wright home you can tour and a good city. 
 
 
This is a 93 ft. lift up to Wilson Lake.  there is no daylight inside this chamber.  The largest lift east of the Mississippi River. 
 
 
 
We sailed the next day, delayed by the lock at Wilson Dam.  Arriving at the lock the lock master indicated he would put us in the chamber with a small tow boat and barge. Waiting another 1.5 hrs. in the heat the boat finally arrived. We entered behind the tow but had to flip our boat heading down stream (backward).  We experienced a rough transit up in the 93 Ft. deep chamber due to turbulent water and winds. Then we were required to again flip around and pass the tow boat existing first.  We made it without damage or loss of crew but were so tired and hot we decided to anchor for the night and not attempt the Wheeler lock that late in the day.  Grog was available as well as a pretty bay to anchor.  The Admiral displayed her culinary skills and prepared an excellent dinner with red wine as the adult beverage.     As we turned into our bunks for the night we started the generator to power up our battery bank.  Alas, although the generator ran great, no power was reaching our batteries, Yuck!  We spent the evening on battery without air conditioning. 
Now this is not your typical boat house. I do hope there is access to the home from the boat house.  A high water condition must might crush the boat but the chances we take.  This was seen on Wilson Lake above Florence, AL. 
The short version of this story is that the a/c breaker on the generator had flipped and stopped all power flowing to the batteries.  Whew!!!  You cannot weigh anchor (50 ft of chain), start the engine (ignition) or use a VHF radio without 12 volt current.  A new lesson learned. 
Well the cruise did continue and I promise all my readers, more enchanting and nail biting posts will continue. 
 
Happy Sailing;
Adm. Denise, Capt. Barry and deck hands Bailey and Bella
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

UP YOUR TENNESSEE

THIS THE FALL!!!  We are once again going "up the Tennessee" River.  We tried the Cumberland River in Spring 2014 but were not excited.  The Tennessee River just offers so much more in view, marinas and entertainment.  Also, we plan to tippy toe into the Tennessee-Tom Biggbe Waterway down to Bay Springs area. 

As Tommy and I cruise the river, our XM radio does inspire us.  I know the video is a bit simple but hey, I am the Captain.


Another sunrise along the river when leaving Clifton Marina(1st visit) this cruise.  Tommy and I enjoyed an interesting evening including the story of a "service" monkey. The Clifton music festival is starting and the shuttle driver has a service monkey.  We could not determine what the service was but did meet the monkey.  Now, I ask you "where in the world could you meet a service monkey"?  I did meet the monkey when it jumped to my shoulder but it was after dark during the fireworks display and could not get a picture.  Just take my word for it, no lie!!!

The above photo is a 49 ft. Grand Banks trawler.  She followed us from Clifton Marina and seen here entering Pickwick Lake after locking up.  She is a real beauty with twin 671 HP diesels.  Her Captain Dan is very interesting. He survived Vietnam, cancer and he and his wife have completed the Great Loop 3 TIMES.  That is well over 18,000 miles.  This cruise is the 4th and he reminds use each cruise is difference with new views and friends. 
 The view above is the 49 Grand Banks(left) and our 36 Albin. The tall man in the photo is Dan.  Just gives a perspective of the design and SIZE of the two boats.  Dan could just barley stand up in our trawler.  Seen here at Grand Harbor Marina at Yellow Creek. 
video
 
The above video depicts what can occur during a long 8 hour cruise with little entertainment.  It is well known that sailors will find their own fun.  My crew was not overly happy with being featured in the video, however, adequate food and grog was dispensed later in the day.  It is fair to warn all readers, more videos are likely to appear.
 
The cruise continues back to Clifton Marina to drop off Tommy and change crew. Denise will board and "up the Tennessee" river cruise will continue. Fair warning, you just never know what you are going to get.
 
Happy sailing
Capt. Barry, Adm. Denise, crew Bailey and Bella 

Monday, September 8, 2014

HOLIDAY CRUISE, JULY 4TH 2014

Summer cruising has arrived.  However, due to the unusually low temps, 75-80 high and 58-65 lows the July 4th. was a most pleasant 5 days cruise.  Yes, we abandoned our home cruising area to venture south along the Tennessee River to escape the madness of the holiday crowds.  Believe me, many recreational boaters do not know the "rules of the road" or care.  So, we escape their madness.
 
 
The deckhands seem well rested with typical place on the bridge of "0 Regrets".  We sailed on Wednesday noon for our first anchorage at Vickers Bay.  This is a new location for use but exploring is most fun.  We had no other plans past this point. 
 
 
The above view is a small, rock beach to our stern in a small bay in the Vickers Bay area.  The water was 12 ft. in most of the small bay and afforded good air movement but also good holding.  The hands, Bailey and Bella enjoyed a good swim as did the Captain and Admiral.  We were fortunate, only a few fisherman and limited pleasure boats entered the area during our stay.  The following day we ventured to another new anchorage, Heiman Fort Bay. 

 The above is a view from the bluff point at the entrance to  Ft. Heiman Bay.  The bay was very busy during the afternoon, however, by 6 pm. all had vacated except 0 Regrets and a Rinker Sedan Bridge boat across the bay.  We enjoyed a quiet and calm evening till 7 am.  I was shaken from a good sleep with a large boom, rattling the boat. I just knew the nearby boat had exploded.  Fortunately, it appears a cannon was fired above us at Ft. Heiman.  Whew!!! 
 

The horizontal line right to left is the Kentucky-Tennessee state line. We anchored on the "pin" at the entrance to Cypress Creek. Two marinas are located at the west end of the bay, one in Tennessee and one in Kentucky.  It seems the Kentucky marina is split by the state boundary line with beer sales permitted at the fuel dock but NO sales at the close by restaurant.  Two states and two different counties. 

The view is back to Vickers Bay for two additional evenings.  We enjoyed the bay so much we just returned and the quiet continued. We tend to celebrate the sunset with a good glass of red wine, joining in the celebration of another wonderful day on the water. 
 
Yes I must admit, my girl Bailey has an appetite.  Captured here eyeing the plate through the cabin window.  The "girls" are well fed but savor the flavor of human food.  Now, if I could just get her to "dump" the poop pad on the bow!!!!
 
Happy Sailing,
Barry, Denise, Bailey and Bella
aboard 0 Regrets
 
 
 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

CRUISING THE CUMBERLAND, FIRST PHASE

CRUISING THE CUMBERLAND, PHASE ONE!



The long awaited cruising season has begun.  The cold winter months have been replaced by warm Spring sun, 85 deg., cool evenings and the opportunity to sail into "uncharted" waters of the Cumberland River. 

We embarked on Memorial Day, escaping the madness of Lake Barkley to sail the lonely Cumberland River to Clarksville, TN and a good river city.  We have information from good sources, that a new marina awaits our visit.  The first marina was lost to floods in 2009, while the new marina was constructed in a "basin" to escape the current of the Cumberland River.  The City of Clarksville created a new park along the river from the material removed to create the marina basin.  What a great idea and leap of faith by the leaders of the city.  Now, a new restaurant is under construction, great walking trail is complete and a large dog part. 
The first landmark we encountered is the Eddyville State Penitentiary constructed in the 1930's along the Cumberland River.  The facility now houses the most dangerous prisoners with some having a good and I would think frustrating view of all the fun along the shores of Lake Barkley. Imagine watching all the fun while you can only watch and envy the freedom.  Oh well, do the crime, you do the time.

Now as you cruise the Cumberland, if you are lucky, you will encounter the familiar "tow" boats providing materials of various types to cities and power plants along the Cumberland. We approached this tow heading down river. Hailing the captain with instructions on how to pass is a very good idea and custom along the river.  This Captain was a bit chatty. He thanked us for calling, asked where we were bound and appreciated by "slow pass" not wanting to rock his boat. These boats can be 1,500 Ft. long drawing about 10 ft. of water and carry many tons of cargo.  The crew works 6 hrs. on and 6 off for 30 days, then 30 day off.   The pay is excellent but the work is dangerous.  In this trade, you can start as a deckhand and work your way to pilot and Captain.  Captain income is about $300-400,000 annually.  So, all you young sailors, there is opportunity here. 



OK, I did hold up Bailey for the pic.  Our Admiral Denise has a good eye and saw a picture framed by the mast and flag as the sun set along the shore of Dry Creek anchorage.  Our first evening was enjoyed along Lake Cumberland with a new anchorage for us.  It is always fun to explore new anchorages sticking our bow into new waters.  We enjoyed a quiet evening with a cool breeze.  A few fisherman came by to see our boat but did not leave any fillets.  When cruising it is typically early to bed due tot he early rise when sun peaks into the boat. 

OK, Bella does not stay alert when at the wheel.  Auto pilot does help but she tends to nod off.  I do think she is watching the chart writer on the dash behind the wheel.  She does tend to favor the Captain's chair.  Obviously, we do enjoy our 4 leg deckhands. 
 The above is a view of 0 Regrets docked at Clarksville Marina.  As I mentioned, the basin was dug, flooded and appears perfect for the City of Clarksville, TN.  The basis has 10-14 ft. of water with floating docks, fuel, pump outs at the dock, fresh water and within walking distance of supplies and restaurants. 
Another view of our home away.  She is almost 30 years old now but a real charmer.  Our best compliment was a sailor calling our boat "shippy".  He said she looks like a boat not some fiberglass sculpture with over powering engines.  We like that and enjoy letting visitors aboard who are curious about a trawler.  We had visitors here who are near 80 yrs. old with a small cruiser docked nearby.  More power to them.
 

OK, Ok!!!  Another selfie of the Admiral, Captain and 0 Regrets.  We could not fit the dogs(deckhands) in the picture.   We had enjoyed the riverwalk trail after a great lunch at the Blackhorse Pub in the downtown area of Clarksville. 
The Blackhorse Pub has many special items, but the pizza must be the favorite of many.  The Whitehorse pizza without meat was a surprise. I typically like the meat but this was excellent and goes great with the fresh brewed beers offered by the pub. 
I must caution all, two people may have a difficult time eating this meal when coupled with great beers.  They will give you a take boat box.
We decided to stop the return cruise with an early evening anchorage, Hickman Creek.  What a surprise!!  The creek is adjacent to Fort Donaldson with a narrow entrance, then opens up to a broad bay.  The entrance is 6-7 ft. but in the channel we had 10-14 ft. depth.  No homes here but just a few fisherman.  The Admiral put up her feet after managing the Captain all day.  But we will return to this anchorage!
  Bailey enjoyed a cool swim off the platform retrieving her new ball.  She does look good in here Vera Bradley "wrap".  After all, one must keep up appearances. 

 
I am not real "Artsie" when framing my pictures. However, this just caught my eye early morning in Hickman Creek.  We had fog, sun, water and our trawler home.  I even had a canary visitor that morning, sitting on the rail for a rest.  We will sail this morning toward out homeport.  We may not make it, just might find another anchorage.
Once again, we found a new anchorage, Motley Creek upriver of Little River area on Lake Barkley.  The Admiral found this shot while I was toasting the sunset.  I prefer the sunset toast, red wine and breakfast grits is not a good combo.  The Grill awaits the steaks. 
 
Not to be out done, Bella found here opportunity to enjoy the "Vera" towel. She does not really enjoy the swims but does like getting here sun time.  Vanity, vanity.
 
Well the cruise ended with no one hurt and no boat problems. We had a wonderful first cruise of the season, 200 miles on the Cumberland and only $180 in fuel costs.  Heck, we spent more on food and beverages. Who said boating had to be expensive?
 
Happy sailing to all,
 
Adm. Denise, Capt Barry, Deckhands Bailey and Bella 
 



Monday, April 28, 2014

SPRING HAZE

I must apologize to my readership for a two month absent.  I do not have a good excuse.  My best attempt at blame is to pass the blame to my editorial "staff" for not keeping me on the beam.  So, since I have been so absent I am looking back to some of my favorite pics and people. 

 
The above pic is our great Bella.  She like all dogs likes the window view and this reminds me of the carefree joy of all dogs hanging about.  Update, we have complete remodeling the condo and will be posting after photos.  However, the view from the porch has not changed except the colors, temps and river traffic. 
 
My trusty companion, Bailey remains at my side always alert and lends a helping paw. 
 
This pic of my best friend shows the pensive side of her. She has a moment and I am sure she is planning the next in her article "Paws are Us".  She is the best sailing deckhand with four hands. 
 
The above view should be self explanatory.  The weathered face of the old sailor most likely trying to decide the next step aboard "0 Regrets".  I remain thankful the Admiral Denise finds time to help this "old man on the sea".  I know it must be a challenge.  
 
After completion of the condo remodeling I have to continue to "work".  One must pay those bills.  Challenged to work along the water front, I have positioned my office in a convenient location to be of assistance Coast Guard in case of a water born emergency.
 
Well, I have the laptop, coffee, environmental watch and weather watch.  Someone must monitor the commercial traffic along the Cumberland River.  I am you Man! 
 
Boating season is upon us and we have completed one short cruise on the Tennessee River with deckhands of two, 16 yr. old young men and one watchful father.  We typically make this cruise each Spring for a week, however, due to other commitments, the crew was only available for a shorter voyage. I must have a talk with them about things interfering with sailing. 
 
Well, I know this is a short catch up.  But as they say, "more to come".  Happy sailing all and we will see you on the water.
 
Capt. Barry, Adm. Denise and deckhands Bella and Bailey