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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!!!

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