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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