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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May 31, Scottsboro to Hales Bar Marina in Guild, TN

Sleeping on the boat last night was about a 6 on a scale of 1-10. We were under a covered slip, so the afternoon sun didn't heat up the boat too much. We ran the fans in the v-berth until around mid-night and the heat was tolerable. About 3:00 am the swallows that had nest under the dock awning woke up and thought the needed to wake the rest of the world. I turned my fan back on to drown out some of their chirping, and finally got back to sleep. I woke at 5:00 am and Glenda and Abby finally got up about 5:30. (Have I mentioned that Glenda is NOT a morning person?)

The grill at the bait shop was open at 5:00, so we had the deluxe breakfast this morning (that's canned biscuits and bacon instead of the usual honey bun or granola bar.) I had put my foot down with Glenda and Abby and insisted that the Knot-So-Fast was pulling out to head upriver at 6:00 AM sharp, NO MATTER WHAT. So about 6:33 we untied and left the marina.

The weather was clear with just a little haze on the water. As we entered the main channel of Lake Guntersville, I noticed that the depth finder was still not working consistently. I had hoped that the sensor had just moved out of alignment, but a quick check showed that was not the problem. Throughout the day it seemed to get better, so I won't worry about it now.

The broken binoculars that I  super-glued back together last night seemed to hold, and we handled them very delicately all day. We use them constantly, and I really can't imagine not having them. Hopefully the glue will hold for the duration of this trip.

Today's scenery was great, and we wound through some smaller mountains and around several islands that split the river. There were lots of bass boats on the water, and several areas were covered with drifting "noodles". Catfishers use a 1' piece of swimming noodle, with a line and hook, to drift fish, putting out dozens of noodles and letting them float with the current. After a sufficient time, they retrieve them and (hopefully) the fish on the end of the line.

We passed no commercial traffic at all today, which was suprising to me. I had assumed that there was a lot of barge/tug boat traffic here, but if today was a normal day I was certainly wrong.

We lost count of the osprey we saw today. Many of them were on nest at the top of navigational markers, with what appeared to be nearly grown chicks. About 11:00 oclock I spotted a bald eagle flying across the river in front of us. He flew until we had to use the binoculars to see him, and we then noticed that another had joined him. The sighting lasted probably less than a minute, but it was still a thrill for all three of us. When I was Abby's age everyone was predicting that the bald eagle would become extinct, and to see them now as we have on several of our boat trips is fantastic.

We held the Knot-So-Fast's little Yamaha 9.9 to about 4000 rpm most of the day, which translated to about 5.5 mph running against a slight current. When we were about an hour below the Nickajack Lock and Dam, I called the lock tender on the VHF radio to let him know we needed to lock through upstream. We were glad to hear that he had no other traffic, and when we arrived the gate was open and they were waiting on us. He directed us to a bollard on the upstream side of the chamber, saying there would be less turbulence there. The water rose quickly and were exiting onto Nickajack Lake within about 20 minutes of entering the lock. After clearing the lock, Abby took the wheel for about an hour, until she handed off to me as we approached Hales Bar Marina. After checking in and resupplying with ice, Abby and Glenda took a dip in the pool, then headed off to the showers and to do laundry. The restaurant at the marina was not open, so supper was sandwiches again. We made the decision not to bring the propane grill on this trip, hoping to eat one meal each day at a restaurant - I guess if you count the bacon biscuit, we'd already eaten out once today.

Tomorrow we'll entered the section of the TN river that everyone say's is the most beautiful section of the whole river - the Gorge that forms a canyon between Raccoon, Signal, and Lookout mountains.

Glenda Says:
I AM TOO A MORNING PERSON!  Just not a 5:00 A.M. person.  I just enjoyed the view early this morning while Abby and Daisy napped.  I seem to always see the big splash but miss seeing the big fish that made it.  I like sitting out on the back and feeling the warmth of the morning sun before it gets too hot.  Abby read aloud some from "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" after she got awake.  There's just something magical about floating down the river enjoying God's creation.  The "regulars" here at Hales Bar are super nice.  We were immediatly met with welcomes and questions of what they could do for us.  One older couple insisted on leaving their fan here for us to use tonight!   Of course for Abby, the most important thing once we arrived at Hale's Bar was getting to the pool.  For most of our couple of hours we had the pool to ourselves.  We've showered and are now ready for the worst part of every trip.  Getting the beds ready.  By the time I am finished I need another shower!

Abby says:
Today we had FUN!!! First we headed off on the Knot-So-Fast from AL toTN. We passed the AL/TN state line! When we got here at the marina, there was a pool, and this time the pool closed at 9:00. So we got to go swimming. We also got to see turtles. Lots and lots of turtles. Some turtles were as big as a wadded up shirt, others as small as the circle you can make with your pointer finger and your thumb.

Daisy says:
I WOOF am WOOF sweating WOOF!!!

May 30th. We are in Scottsboro, AL and will start our TN River trip tomorrow!

This post was written last night, but we didn’t have Internet access, so it is being posted now.

Glenda and I, accompanied by our oldest grand- daughter Abby and Daisy our miniature dashound, are embarking on river cruise from Scottsboro, AL to Chattanooga and back on our 20’ tug boat Knot-So-Fast.

On Monday (Memorial Day) we trailered the Knot-So-fast to Scottsboro, AL to Goose Pond Colony Marina. On the way we stopped in Guntersville and at Wintzell’s Oyster House. We had hoped to go to Wintzell’s by boat sometime, but we learned that the two causeway bridges between the restaurant and the main Tennessee River channel only have about 6’ of clearance, a good 18” too short for the tug get under.

By the time we launched at Goose Pond , it was almost 4:00 pm. As Glenda parked the truck, Abby and I motored around the point from the ramp to the marina slips. I handed Abby the binoculars and asked her to read a sign on the bank for me. The binoculars came apart and fell onto the floor, broken. Without my binoculars, I’ll have to depend on Abby and Glenda more to help with the navigational markers, and I’m sure we’ll miss the close up views of the wildlife and birds on the trip.

After originally tying up at the wrong slip, we finally found where we were supposed to be and secured the Knot-So-Fast. Abby was disappointed that the pool was already closed for the day, but the parks sandy swimming area on the river made a decent substitute. We took a short ride out of the marina to the main channel of the river, just to make sure the boat was running correctly and to get a little breeze on our faces – there was no wind at the marina and we were going through our water supply pretty fast in the heat. After a shower, we settled in for the night. Tomorrow morning we’ll head out at daylight for Hales Bar Marina in Guild, TN.

Abby says: Today Monday (Memorial Day) we took a long car ride from Montevallo to Scottsboro. When we finally got here we had to get settled. Then it was time to go swimming, but a nice lady came up to us and said the pool closed at 5:00. Of course it was 5:00. So my grandmother asked another lady if there was a place that we could swim in the river. Yaaaaa!!!!!! We got to go swimming! After that we dried off. We were on our way back to the boat when my grandmother and I saw a muskrat in the water! Today was a great day, and I am looking forward to the next day!

P.S. It is now 9:36 and I am sweating in my bed!

Glenda says: Time to unwind. I can’t explain how refreshing it is to have 9 year old eyes to see the world through. All is well as long as you can go swimming and it is really exciting to see a muskrat swimming in the water! I need to be reminded of the simple joys in God’s creation. I think tomorrow will be a “great” day too!