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Monday, November 18, 2013

GREEN RIGHT RETURN

The river cruise does require a "green right return". Although we did not reach the headwaters of the Tennessee River, we reached the turnaround point of our fall cruise.  We flipped around at the 3 bridges across the river at the Tennessee Aquarium.
Doc, a good friend we have featured in this blog made the cruise to the Tennessee River headwaters and commented, "no red right return". Thus the title of this blog, we turned downstream with red on left marking the channel.  The Southern Bell riverboat is shown above for an evening cruise past of boat. The return to Green Turtle Bay will require locking through 5 locks.  Denise will depart the boat at Decatur, AL requiring me to single handle locks home.  "Not a problem" I have great deckhands.

Notice the crew is now in fur coats and sweatshirt. The temps have dropped, typical fall weather.  The River Gorge has not changed, but fall colors have improved.  Understanding I will be single handling the boat the last week of the cruise, I needed to practice locking through, single handed.  So, at the Nickajack Lock I prepared lines, fenders and the lower helm. Denise, or Adm. Denise was instructed to observe but let me handle the lock.  All went well with a little lock dancing, but the event was rather uneventful.  I did have help from one deckhand.


Ok, I know, the old guy is showing but my deckhand does seem a bit bored.  Locking can be a bit stressful when considering you can be a drop of 90 Ft. at the Wilson Lock.  Just take a look at our view from the bottom of the lock.


The above bollard floats but when at the bottom of the chamber you always wonder what would happen of something failed.  Then you always get to look at the lock doors as they open permitting you entry to the freedom of the river.

I never tire of the adventures awaiting when you depart the lock into this great river.  I continued my adventure downriver on my single handed cruise back to home port.  I cruised to Florence, AL with a stay at the Florence Marina to rest a bit and visit with an old friend. 

While cruising the Tennessee River, do not miss Florence Harbor Marina.  Eva is the owner/operator and will attend to all your needs. The city offers many good restaurants and the only Frank Lloyd Wright designed home in the south.  The new restaurant above the dock office is good with a wide menu and great local beers.  Also, please pay particular attention to the signs at the marina, Eva is serious about keeping things clean.

Fair Warning!
 
I  continued my downriver journey to Pickwick Lake and Grand Harbor Marina. I have visited Grand Harbor several times and find the staff and facilities excellent.  While docked behind the fuel dock we were visited by this beautiful yacht.

The crew of husband and wife are permanent crew, living aboard the yacht for the past 6 years.  Cool!  They move the yacht each fall to Ft. Lauderdale, FL for the owner to visit during the winter.  Summer months the yacht is docked in Lake Michigan near Chicago.  The crew indicated they are getting a new boat, 124 Ft. Berger when retrofit is complete. Nice and comfortable way to live. 
 
The cruise continued on to Clifton, TN one of the best and most fun stops along the Tennessee River.  Sonya and Gene keep things fun and interesting at Clifton.  The temps continued to drop at this point, reaching a low of 26 deg. overnight. Deckhands were baffled by the ice on hand rails and cap rails early the next morning.

 
  Well, Bella did not know what to make of ice.  She was lucky her tongue did not stick.  We slipped around and slipped lines about 8 am. to make our way downriver.  Next stop is Pebble Isle Marina.

Needless to say, we enjoyed an excellent cruise of just under 1,000 river miles. We used about 200 ga. of diesel, which is excellent for a boat.  I have included a map of our marina and anchorage stops. 
 

View .2013 Tennessee River Cruise in a larger map

My journey home did include part of a day bracing the winds on the river.  The river rarely offers waves splashing the bow but approaching Pickwick Lake I encountered some fun waves.  Just splashing over the bow was fun. The 0 Regrets can take much more.  I hope the video plays well

We hope to sell you all along the river next season.  We plan to cruise the length of the Cumberland River next season to no Red Right Return.

Happy sailing all,

Adm. Denise, Capt. Barry and deckhands Bella and Bailey.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

CHATTNOOGA EXPLORED

The fall cruise of the 0 Regrets continues in the port city of Chattanooga, TN.  We arrive through the beautiful Tennessee River Gorge with a 32 mile cruise through some of the best and most scenic water along the river. 
Signal Mountain above is a warming site along the river as we approached Chattanooga.  The water is swift, clear and all around are new views.  We spied this old, stationary riverboat which appears to be home to someone.  It having seen better days.

Approaching Chattanooga we viewed the aquarium with our future dockage just past the Nina, Pinta and local cruise boat.

 
The view above gives a good impression of the wonderful waterfront offered by this city.  Dockage is good and within walking distance to many of the fun and educational features of this city.  Seems unusual to see a 15th. century ship docked along a modern tour vessel. 


This is the view from the wonderful pedestrian bridge across the river.  The city should be complimented for saving this bridge. Seems the bridge was to be demolished, removed and lost.  Being constructed in 1910 the bridge could no longer handle vehicle traffic. The decking was removed and new, wood decking with raised walks and 19th. century lighting was installed. This permits pedestrians to walk, bike and jog across to the North Shore.  Our boat is the second in the picture, seems small next to 55 ft. trawler.  The docks are locked and lighted for walks to the city. 

The above pic is a view of the pedestrian bridge.  A must walk during a stay in Chattanooga.  See the stores and restaurants on the North Shore.  The Hunter Museum is right next door and offers many sculptures which are playful.

Now this is a high 5 with a beautiful DOG.  Since we have 2 dogs for deckhands, Denise always carries the appropriate "doggie" bags to pick up.  

    I know you do not want to see the old man, but I am Denise's security and arm candy!  See our little 0 Regrets behind us, yep the small boat just over Denise.  Our hike continued along the North Shore.  You just never know what you will encounter.

 
Denise found a restored Chev. El Camino named after her. Seems it advertises a local Mexican restaurant and just fit our explorations. 
 
Well, more to come on the Chattanooga adventure. So "fair warning"!!  We will see you on the river.
 
Happy sailing,
 
Capt Barry, Adm. Denise, Deckhands Bailey and Bella 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

PUSHING ON TO THE TENNESSEE RIVER GORGE

We leave our good friend Doc at Goose Pond Marina and cruise toward Chattanooga.  Doc advised us to anchor at Little Cedar Mountain with a beautiful anchorage well protected from channel wakes and wind.  We transited the lock at Nickajack to find our anchorage just before dark. Doc was right on with the suggestion. We had some time prior to dark and enjoyed the sunset.  We did find several hawks soaring in the area but no eagles.  We planned to push up the Tennessee River Gorge the next day but taking our time.  The trip up the gorge is about 32 miles to Chattanooga. 


I had promised Denise she would enjoy this portion of the river with deep pools, swirling water and more color.  We were not disappointed.  Leaving the anchorage we cruised at a slow pace at about 5-6 mph wanting to enjoy the gorge. We were not to be disappointed.  We approached our first bluffs in the gorge in awe of the color and height of the bluffs. We found the bridges to be inspiring with the mountains.


We pushed up slowly wanting to enjoy the cruise.  This double bridge inspired Denise with the length and size across the river. We continue upriver and found a beautiful and unique school located along the shore.  The Baylor School is a prep school for those with $$$ and desiring a worldly education. It seems the annual tuition is $40,000 and that is only for high school.  Near this site was a heavy industrial area with scrap metals being loaded on barges. Quite a contrast with the serene view of this exclusive school.

I chose not to include the scrap metal operation so that the beauty of the cruise would not be interrupted.  We were picking up more current against 0 Regrets as we neared the Chattanooga area.  As we neared the marina we encountered our old friends aboard the Nine and Pinta Columbus ships.  As many of you will remember, I served as crew for 6 weeks, 3 years ago almost to the day. So, we cruised up to the ships, gave a blast of the horn and planned to visit while in port.


We docked up stream of the Nina and Pinta along the floating docks just below the Chattanooga Aquarium.  We had visited the aquarium in a land visit, but recommend to all the unique aquarium and please visit when in the area.  We docked and rested the evening, meeting a number of other cruisers along the docks.  We ventured to the Nina the next day seeing Kathy, the cruise organizer and former crew mate of mine. 

 
Kathy has been aboard over 4 years and seems to enjoy the life. We managed to meet a couple other crew members but decided to let them work and we needed the time to enjoy our stay in Chattanooga.  Venture we did. 
 
More details in the next post.  Happy sailing all,
 
Capt. Barry, Adm. Denise, deckhands Bailey and Bella.