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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Nickajack Dam to Chattanooga with Nathan and Dallas - Day 3

April 10, 2013

I woke up before daylight and put water on the stove for hot chocolate (for me and Dallas) and for coffee (for Nathan). We untied and idled out of Chickamauga Marina about 6:35 am, hoping that we would be first in line when the lock started it's daily schedule at 7:00.  We arrived at the gate about 7:45, with no other boats in sight. My radio calls to the lock went unanswered, but about 7:05 the enter light turned to green and the gates opened for us. By 7:10 we were secured to the bollard and ready for the trip back down to Nickajack Lake level. The trip down was fast and at 7:23 we were exiting the lock!
Dallas had a lot of "Captain" time on the trip, and handled the boat very well!
The scenery changes back and forth from developed property to very rural.

The discharge location for the Raccoon Mt. Reservoir. Just below this spot was the deepest water of our trip - 112' !!

The Ospreys were nesting all along our route, and are amazing in their ability to catch fish!
I still don't know the story behind this Native American Statue, but it always catches my attention.

We passed through Chattanooga and enjoyed the view of the Gorge from the opposite direction as we made our way back to Nickajack Dam. It always amazes me how different everything looks, depending  on the direction you are headed.
There were several of these birds, apparently drying their  wings. They looked like statutes!

Just downstream from Chattanooga, Dallas spotted bald eagle #4 of the trip, as he flew across the river just behind our boat.

The grin on Dallas' face tells how much he enjoyed the trip. Nathan and I did too!

At Oates Island, we saw the female adult eagle, again just a few feet from her nest, but this time we saw that there were three juveniles eagles in the nest. This made a total of 8 eagle sightings for the trip!
Here you can see the adult female, and three juvenile eagles on the nest at Oates Island.

Arriving at the Dam's boat ramp at 2:00 pm, I noted a total distance for the trip of 102 miles. We had stopped at Hales Bar Marina for gas, but they were out, so I don't have a MPG figure, but the Knot-So-Fast has been pretty consistent at about 12 MPG on these "up and back" trips.

We pulled the boat onto its trailer and headed home, tired but with a feeling of contentment. I feel very blessed to have been able to spend the last 3 days in the middle of God's creation with Nathan and Dallas. The eagles are always the high point of these trips for me, and this one was especially great as it was the first eagle sighting for both Nathan and Dallas.
The Knot-So-Fast is loaded on the trailer for the trip home. 

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