Saturday, October 7, 2017

Sugar Bay, Ky to Pickwick Dam, Tn

Total Miles Traveled 187

We have had great weather for cruising, 80’s during the day and upper 50’s at night.  We traveled 39 miles Tuesday to an anchorage near Leatherwood Resort and Marina in a cove called Biggins Hollow.

As we approached the highway 68 bridge, we noticed someone in a man-lift working on the upper structure of the bridge.  The wind was blowing 7-8 mph so I’m sure they had an interesting ride going up. 

It didn’t look like we could clear the bridge without requesting an opening, but after checking the charts was found it was over 20 feet clearance, no problem.

After traveling about 34 miles Wednesday we anchored behind Rockport Island.

Too bad we were in Tennessee without a fishing license; we saw several schools of fish swimming past the boat.   

We also saw this snake about an hour before dark, diamondback rattlesnake?

Rockport Island at sunrise.

Highway 40 bridge, don’t miss that mode of transportation a bit.

Our original plan was to anchor another night, stop at Clifton Marina, then anchor one night before going through the lock at Pickwick Lake.  We have been tracking Tropical Storm Nate and all indications were that it would become a hurricane when entering the Gulf of Mexico and its projected path would put it close to our area of the country.  We decided to travel from our anchorage to Clifton, Tn on Thursday and get through the lock on Friday before the weather changes Saturday. 

We departed Clifton Marina just after daybreak with a full moon and a little fog.

The patchy fog cleared in less than an hour giving us another beautiful day of cruising on the Tennessee River. 

Someone didn’t get the notice that they would be dropping the lake level to winter pool.

We passed this looper “RA”, a totally solar powered boat working their way up the river.  I looked up their website , very interesting.  They appeared to be traveling about 4 mph.

We noticed an increasing river current when we were about 5 miles from the lock, reducing our normal 8 mph cruising speed to 6 mph. They are probably increasing the outlet flow preparing for heavy rain over the next few days. 

Pickwick Lock

Anchored just in time for chops on the grill.

We are anchored in a well-protected cove near Pickwick State Park and Marina.  This is the projected path of Hurricane Nate; we are the small blue dot on the map.  If the projections are correct, we should be out of harm’s way.

We plan to stay at this anchorage a few days until the weather passes then continue up Pickwick Lake to Florence Alabama for a few days.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Grand Rivers, Ky to Sugar Bay Kentucky Lake

Total Miles Traveled 14.5

We knew it was time to start heading south when the geese started to arrive at Green Turtle Bay Marina. 

We left our home port at 9 a.m. Sunday October 1st, but only traveled 12 miles to Duncan Bay on Kentucky Lake.  Our plan was to anchor a couple of days on Kentucky Lake and catch a few fish before entering Tennessee waters.  We didn’t get a nibble at Duncan Bay, so we weighed anchor this morning and cruised 2 ½ miles to Sugar Bay.  This is one of our favorite anchorages on Kentucky Lake, and the fishing was better too.

We use two five gallon buckets to store our shore power cables, Moni found seat covers to fit the lids, painted an anchor and rope on the sides, and attached rope around the bottom. She finished them up while anchored at Duncan Bay.

The summer passed by so fast, trying to maintain the house, get the boat ready for another cruise to Florida, and visiting family and friends.  Here are a few pictures of our summer on the water:

Moni and I participated in the Commonwealth Yacht Club Dinghy Poker Run, Moni won $100 a couple of years ago, but we came up short this year.  It was a lot of fun taking the dinghy to different stops around the marina collecting cards for the best hand.

One of the stops was the Thirsty Turtle, Grand Rivers was a dry county until this year and Green Turtle Bay opened a bar and grill on their property.  It’s turning out to be a popular spot with live music on the weekends.

July 4th had to be one of the highlights of our summer; we had 8 family members on the boat for the holiday.  It was a little cramped but we had a great time.  We anchored at the Quarry, located about 8 miles south of Kentucky Dam.  We found a spot that was 25 ft deep but there are places close to the wall that are 118 ft deep.  We took the kids and grandkids to the wall with the dinghy and watched them jump, pretty impressive for 13 and 14 year olds to make the leap.

 If you look close you can see Eyan in midair.

 Our oldest son Brian made an awesome flip with a perfect landing into the water.

Grand Rivers Kentucky was in the path of the 2017 total solar eclipse which passed from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean.  We anchored in a cove off of Barkley Lake with our friends from Louisville and had over 2 minutes of a total eclipse at our location.

We plan to take our time moving south this winter reaching the Florida Panhandle in November, the West Coast of Florida in December, and the Florida Keys in February.  I will probably update the blog once a week.

You can follow our track in real time at

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Florence, AL to Grand Rivers, KY

Total Miles Traveled 3663

After anchoring a few days on the 43,000 acre Pickwick Lake, we entered the final lock of our adventure at Pickwick Dam dropping over 50 feet to the beginning of Kentucky Lake on the Tennessee River.  When traveling up the waterway from Mobile to Pickwick Lake, we were against the current, but after locking through the Pickwick lock, we are traveling with the current.  We only lost about 1 mph on the way up, but picked up about 2 mph after locking through as the Tennessee River and Kentucky Lake were about 3 feet above normal pool and Kentucky Dam was discharging water at a higher rate.  The Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers are two of only a few rivers in North America that flow North. 

With a higher than normal river stage and current, and the possibility of thunderstorms, we decided to stop at two marinas on the way up to Kentucky Lake rather than anchoring out.  We stopped at the Clifton Marina and the Pebble Isle Marina; both marinas are great stops with very friendly people and protected from the weather.  Our first anchorage on Kentucky Lake was Sugar Bay, this is a well-protected anchorage from all directions and with a good chance of thunderstorms, we stayed here two nights.  We had rain, and some wind but nothing severe.

While sitting on the fly bridge drinking my morning tea, I heard a heck of a racket at the nearby boat ramp.  Three trucks pulled up, two of them with boats and one with a trailer….full of bathtubs.  They unloaded the bathtubs into the boats and launched them.  The only thing I could figure is they were building an artificial reef to attract fish somewhere on the lake. 

We arrived at our home port at Green Turtle Bay, Grand Rivers Kentucky Saturday May 20th.  We arrived 190 days after starting in November 2016 and traveling 3663 miles.  We made a lot of new friends, some of them loopers, that we will meet again as they complete the river section of the loop this fall.