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Monday, November 18, 2013


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.

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