September 15-Green Turtle Bay, Grand Rivers, KY
It was a cloudy, cooler day and still no power. After breakfast we ran our generator to do some wash. The sailboat next to us connected a cord to one of our outlets so they could have power too. The marina was really quiet as 4 boats left and many people stayed in and didn’t wander around. We worked a little on the computer and booked our flight and hotel to Cancun for my niece’s wedding in February. After lunch we took a bike ride around the resort here to check out the damage from the winds yesterday. We saw many large trees down and lots of leaf and twig debris on the streets.
We rode into Grand Rivers about a mile away to mail some letters at the post office and see if the IGA grocery store was open. The town was like a ghost town with very few people around and everything closed. We walked around Patti’s 1880’s Settlement Shops to see what we missed on the night we were there for dinner with Randy.
It is a huge property with a wedding chapel, rock climbing wall, gift shops, petting zoo, miniature golf and arcade, and acres of gardens to enjoy. We saw huge chimes handing from a tree. The owner said it was really chiming in yesterday’s winds.
We stopped at the Chandlery in the marina which was now open and bought a couple of shirts, largely reduced, because of the lack of electricity and the inability to use credit cards. Bob used a flashlight in the store to look around at some of the boat supplies. We rode back to the boat and worked on cleaning the hull since we were able to reach it on both sides from our dock. We talked some more to the people who got stuck in the lock and they were having quite an adventure with many mishaps. I’m glad we’re not them. We took a dinghy ride around the marina to check out the damage on the 100′ houseboat that broke free yesterday. It had scrapes along the hull and the port side corner of the hull was crunched in.
The slips and boats where it hit showed signs of damage to a houseboat slide and bent poles on the covered slip structures. He was lucky it wasn’t worse. We drove out into Lake Barkley and went up close to the lock chamber and then rode farther down the lake past some nice anchorages and through the Barkley Canal that connects both lakes.
It provides a place to cut through from one lake to the other and is a channel for the barges. The canal was dug at Grand Rivers, creating an inland peninsula. We passed a tug stuck against the shore that was changing crew and then came out into Kentucky Lake.
Looking south down the lake you could not see the end of the lake. It is a lake with 160,000 acres of water and 2,380 miles of shoreline. We turned around and headed back. We didn’t have much gas and all the services were closed due to the lack of electricity. They said it might be 48 hours before power is restored out in the boondocks here. Everyone is helping each other to hook up to generator power from their boats, if they don’t have any of their own. One of the boats even hooked up their generator to power the coffeemaker in the office for the staff. Six hundred boats in the marina without power means that some boats will end up with spoiled food in their refrigerators and a stinky mess. We sat in the quiet solitude with no TV or radio. Bob took a nap and I did some reading. It was a weirdly still day without a breeze and not much activity anywhere. The phone lines were also down so there was no 911 service or any way to call the other marina to check on our reservation. One good thing. about the whole situation…..our slip is free today. We had a drink before dinner in the cockpit as the clouds broke up and the sun peeked out before it set. The clouds looked like pink cottonballs in a sky of blue.
As the sun set, it cooled off and we moved indoors. After dinner we watched a DVD that we borrowed from the marina collection. It will be a cool night for sleeping. At 10:20 the marina manager came by and knocked on the boat to let us know that we got our power back. At last……
September 16-Green Turtle Bay, Grand Rivers, KY
We woke to sunshine, blue skies, 75 degrees, and ELECTRICITY! We had breakfast and thought about moving to Kentucky Dam Marina. The phone lines and cable are still out so we took the courtesy van over there to discover that they had more tree damage and still no power. The town of Grand Rivers was still without electricity, too. I guess they use many different electric companies in the area and it all depends on which one you’re with. We decided to stay here one more day and then move to Kentucky Dam Marina or anchor out tomorrow. Black clouds periodically blew over, but no rain was expected. We finally had the chance to wash the boat and dinghy. They were filthy from a weeks worth of travel and the storm. I did some inside cleaning as well,. There you have it–clean inside and out! The marina still seems empty. Where are all the “loopers”?
Our neighbores went into Gilbertsville with another couple and who knows where everyone else is. (Another town close by is Possum Trot. Can you believe it? I guess we’re in the South for sure.) Some of the locks farther down on the Tennessee River are closed for repairs, we hear, so some people have to put their trip on hold until Sept. 26 when they open again. Bummer! Good thing we’re not going anywhere for awhile. After lunch, we decided to take a dinghy ride into Lake Barkley to explore a little. We found a bay to hang around in. We turned off the motor and just floated around. A tug pushing a big barge came by and Tow Boat US came by pulling a disabled boat.
Aside from that, it was peaceful and quiet. We talked about our future plans on this trip and watched a guy clamming. He would drag a net with hooks along the bottom. The clams clamp down on the hook and he hauls them up. He sorts them according to size and buyers buy them as seeds for cultured pearls in Japan. They take a small part of the shell and insert them into an oyster to seed a fresh water cultured pearl. He was very friendly and informative. We found it very interesting!
Back at the boat we sat around and enjoyed the day before cooking dinner on the grill. We rented another DVD from the marina and watched it before going for a walk in the evening. We took Murphy out with us for his last walk and then went to bed. It was a beautiful night!
September 17-Green Turtle Bay to Pisgah Bay, Kentucky Lake
I got up early today-couldn’t sleep- and worked on the computer. I got to watch the sun come up.
It was a cool, sunny morning with steam on the lake and a slight breeze. It should warm up to 78 degrees today. Today is the day we move on. Bob checked the Real Time Water Data Chart by the U.S. Government which gives flow and gauge height data on the rivers. At Henry Marina on the Illinois River, the height of the river went from 15’ to 29’ and it is still climbing since the storm on Sunday. The flow went from 10,000 CFS to 100,000. At Cape Girardeau on the Mississippi River, the height went from 17’ to 34’. The Ohio River at Dam 53, showed an increase of 13’ to 15’. That could be water backing up the river. In September, the TVA lowers the Kentucky and Barkley Lake level 5’ to their winter pool level. It’s drawn down to anticipate huge amounts of water that might enter the system at short notice, like floods or runoffs from storms later in the fall. We are starting to notice a change in water height around the area. We had breakfast and prepared to leave. We said our goodbyes to Bill and Mary Ann and our sailboat neighbors from Appleton, WI. We hope to see them both again on the water. We pulled lines at 10:00 and went to the fuel dock for 100 gallons of diesel and a pumpout. We headed out from Green Turtle Bay marina after a weeks stay there and moved onto Lake Barkley. We drove a mile to the Barkley Channel to cut through to Kentucky Lake.
The shoreline is beautiful with rock cliffs, golden sand shores, and trees which just a hint of fall color.
We took a slow ride (8 knots) down the lake 9 miles to Pisgah Bay. We passed a sailboat grounded on the shore from the storm.
Pisgah Bay contains a stone quarry and is adjacent to the Hillman Ferry Campgrounds, where we camped with my family so many years ago. This campground, among others, lies within the Land Between the Lakes.
The Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers run parallel to each other briefly, forming Land Between the Lakes (LBL). Both have dams to control flooding and make power. The canal was cut to connect the lakes. The Federal Government bought all the land between the lakes to create LBL, a 170,000 acre national recreation area. We dropped anchor at the end of the bay,
passing a beached rental houseboat that was grounded in the storm. Why they haven’t brought a tow in to drag it off the beach, we wonder?
We ate lunch and just got our bearings. It was a beautiful day with a light breeze and the sunlight sparkling on the water. Later we took a dinghy ride over to the campground to get a better look and into the rock quarry where all the partygoers anchor on the weekends. The rock walls are all covered with colorful “artwork”. Amazingly, there is no vulgarity. Note from Bob: apparently no one in Kentucky is gay or having relations with your Mama, sister, brother, uncle, Grandma, father or Blue the tickhound.
We stopped at the boat launch to give Murphy his land legs back. Back at the boat, we took a swim in the 78 degree water. It was wonderful.
We sat on the bridge to relax with a view of the area, after Bob put the snubber on the anchor chain for the night. It keeps the anchor chain from grinding and keeping us awake all night as the boat swings. There were a couple of other boats in the anchorage for the afternoon, but only one stayed for the night. We had dinner and watched a movie, (which somebody fell asleep for), and then took Murphy to shore for the last time. It was pitch dark since the moon hadn’t risen yet. Bob used his headlamp to find the shore and his way back. I stayed on the boat.
When he got back, we sat in the cockpit under the stars listening to the nighttime forest symphony. Turtles popped up to eat their fill of insects on the water. The night was perfect!
September 18-Pisgah Bay, Kentucky Lake
Bob woke me at 3 AM and again at 5:00 to listen to the sound of coyotes howling in the woods around us. It was an eerie sound and made me think about how I would feel if I was camping in the forest hearing the same sound. Otherwise, it was a peaceful night and we woke to 60 degree temps and blue skies without a cloud in the sky. We took Murphy to shore first thing and then came back to have breakfast. We discovered our bottle of champagne buried under the sofa, so we had mimosas with our breakfast. Within an hour the sun heated everything up to 73 degrees. Fishermen started entering the bay to try their luck. One guy came into the bay with 2 huge branches stuck in the back of his bass boat.
Hmmm. Was he taking them somewhere to create a duck blind? No, he had cement blocks tied to the ends and he dropped them into the lake to make a fish habitat. Is that legal, I wonder? We’ll see if he comes back later to fish the area. Bob worked on prepping some sections of the boat for varnishing later. We cleaned the fenders to get rid of the grime that they accumulated from going through the locks. I had a few other cleaning jobs to catch up on and then it was time to visit the shore again. Look at the guns on that guy!
At the boat launch, Murphy, Bob, and I took a walk up to some of the campsites on the bluff. They had great views and privacy.
From there, we dinghied out to Kentucky Lake to check out the wind situation. It got breezier and a little gusty in the bay, but the lake was calm so the heat of the land and rocks must have created the shore breeze. We stopped at the beached rental houseboat to get a closer look.
Bob saw all kinds of uncooked food tossed ashore. It looked like they were tied to a tree on shore and the storm came and blew them sideways onto the beach. There didn’t seem to be any hull damage, but the motor was buried in the sand. Bags of trash remained on the boat. It looks like they just walked away and left it. We checked out a nearby beach for tomorrow so we could take the dinghy there to wash the bottom from all the soot from the diesels. We went swimming a little later in the day, after relaxing on the bridge in the shade. The water was the perfect temperature. The cockpit thermometer was reading 124 degrees at one point. That’s almost as high as it could go. The sun was beating down on that section of the boat and it seemed there was no place to go for shade. Finally the sun went down behind the trees and it started to cool down around 6:30. It was a pretty sunset. We had dinner and watched the movie (again) from yesterday. Bob took Murphy ashore for the last time and again all we heard was the insects’ “song” from the woods. The water was like glass and there was no one spending the night with us in the bay. It would be a quiet, starry night. We checked the clock and it was only 8:20, so we decided to sit in the back and observe the stars. There were two very bright stars that must have been planets and the Big Dipper was sitting low in the northern sky. We think we saw the Space Station come by at a steady pace and we each saw shooting stars whiz across the dark sky. It was so dark, we could see the band of stars that formed the Milky Way. Most amazingly, there are no mosquitoes! What a gorgeous night!
September 19- Pisgah Bay, Kentucky Lake
We woke up to more clouds, but sunny skies. The temperature should get up to 83 degrees today. After breakfast, I read and worked on the computer while Bob did some varnishing. Around 11:00 we took the dinghy over to the sandy beach and proceeded to take out the seats, remove the motor, flip the dinghy over, and scrub the bottom. I do mean SCRUB!
By 12:30 we were satisfied that we had gotten off 99% of the soot from the engines and were done. It looked like new! We flipped it over and put everything back together. That was a lot of work! We came back to the boat to put away our cleaning supplies and pick up Murphy. We were going to the pier at the boat landing, tie up, and walk around in the campgrounds. Murphy liked being in the woods and we let him go swimming at the boat launch. He likes walking in slowly and then swimming when his feet can’t touch bottom anymore. He also likes playing fetch in the water with a stick and swimming out to get it. He was as happy as could be.
We walked around the campground so Murphy could dry off a little. We thought what a great campground this would be for our friends, Patty and Paul, to bring their fifth wheel or anyone who likes to camp. The sites are very picturesque and overlook the lake.
We went back to the boat to give Murphy a bath. He didn’t like it much, but he stood still while he was soaped up and rinsed off.
He sat outside with us in the cockpit while he dried off. I got in the water for a swim. Boy, was I hot, but the water felt great. I swam with my noodle for awhile and then decided to clean the stripe all the way around the boat at the water line. It had yellowed and gotten crusty from all the gunk in the water. It looked great when I was done.
You have probably surmised by now that there is a lot of cleaning, waxing, varnishing, polishing, and fixing to be done on a boat. That’s probably true, but there’s a lot of relaxing and fun, too. We sat in the cockpit in the shade until the breeze blew us around and we were now facing into the full sun. It was hot! We moved inside where there was some shade and relief from the sun. We read and worked on the computer in the AC. We did some more swimming before it started to cloud up. We checked the Internet weather and it looked like we might be getting some rain later tonight. Bob took Murphy to shore and I put things away in case it rained later. Our marina friends, Ned and Kathy from WI, pulled into the bay about 5:30 in their sailboat and anchored. There would be two of us in the anchorage tonight. There had been many boaters and fishermen around all day. More people seemed to be arriving at the campground, too–a sign of the weekend coming, I guess. We cooked dinner and relaxed as the sunset around 6:30. It was completely clouded over now and there was even lightning off in the distance. At dusk, we saw 2 young bucks romping about at the water’s edge. Soon we noticed that a doe and her fawn had come down for a drink. They became harder to see as the light faded.
We read a little as darkness fell and then we took Murphy to the boat launch again for the last time tonight before it became too dark to see. The campground was lit up with colorful lights as the RV’s had decorated their rigs with Christmas lights. It was quite festive. I could only see one star or maybe a planet in the sky. It was cooler now and would be good sleeping. We watched a little TV and then went to bed.
September 20- Pisgah Bay, Kentucky Lake
The moon was still out when I got up at 7:00. It was breezy and 64 degrees. It looked like there was a weather front moving to the south of us, but we had no rain last night. Fishermen were moving about early and the smell of campfire smoke wafted from the shore. The water continues to be warm which produces the steam on the lake in the morning. We took Murphy to the campground boat launch and people were milling about already. The smell of bacon and eggs permeated the air. Mmmmm. We went back to the boat and had breakfast (with mimosas) ourselves. Our fisherman friend came by to fish the area where he dropped the branches with weights into the water. He tried for a long time, but didn’t catch a thing. I guess you have to give it more than one day to attract the fish. The sun popped out and really lit up the trees along the shore.
You could really see a lot more color in the trees today. The cool nights must be helping that along. After breakfast we sat down to tentatively lay out the rest of the trip. We decided to move down the lake about 6 miles to meet our friends, Mary Ann and Bill in Duncan Bay. They were spending the night there with 2 other sailboats and bringing us a gas can with some spare gas for our outboard. At 11:30, I stood at the helm while Bob hauled anchor. It came up halfway with a huge branch attached to it.
He took 15 minutes to get it free and then we were on our way. On our way to Duncan Bay, we passed Smith Bay where we saw another small powerboat abandoned on the shore. Lots of people were boating on the lake today–must be the weekend. We saw a pontoon boat all loaded down with camping gear traveling south down the lake. They looked like they had enough equipment to stay out for awhile. What a way to travel!
We turned into Duncan Bay and were anchored by 12:30 in the first arm of the bay. There is a wildlife sanctuary here and a marker at the entrance lets you know that the area is closed Nov. 1-Mar. 15 because the eagles spend the winter here. We relaxed a little and waited for our friends to arrive. We made our phone calls home today and I did some reading. They arrived around 3:00 with our gas and anchored next to us.
Bob, Murphy, and I went to shore to find a good landing spot to take Murphy. Bob took his depth sounder along to help us determine the depth near the shore. The clouds started to move in and it got darker as the afternoon wore on. After taking Murphy, we dinghied over to their boat with snacks and had a couple of beers while we waited for their sailboat friends to arrive. Bill is from Kentucky and we got to talking about all the strange names of cities you see on the map in this state, like Frog Jump, Beaver Lick, Black Snake, Happy, Rabbit Hash, and Eighty Eight (which is on Highway 90). The best one of all is near where his daughter lives. It’s called Monkey’s Eyebrow. Bob and I could live in cities with these names: Bobtown and Cynthiana. These are real towns! The sky got darker and we heard thunder in the distance, but still no rain. Just about the time their friends arrived (6:00), it started to rain lightly, so we headed back to close up the boat and make dinner. We had planned a dinner that we could cook inside, just in case it rained. Good thinking! The bay is very peaceful and out of the wind. We even saw an eagle perched in a tree earlier this afternoon. We hope to see more eagles before we leave the area. After dinner we relaxed as the rain continued to fall. Bob took Murphy to shore in between showers and we sat in the darkness of the evening and just listened to music. It would be a quiet, restful night.
September 21-Duncan Bay, Kentucky Lake
This morning it was overcast with absolutely no breeze. The lake was perfectly calm.
The four boats in our bay floated in every direction. The clouds began to break up and blue sky appeared as the day wore on.
There was a slight chance of rain predicted. Bob took Murphy to shore and came back to make our weekly Sunday bacon and eggs breakfast. We did some research on the Internet site for the Army Corps of Engineers and found out that south of St. Louis in Chester, IL (Popeye’s hometown) the Mississippi River went from 14′-37′ currently. At Peoria, IL the river is considered to be at flood stage at 18′ and is currently at 27′. The flow of water there has been 62,000 CFS (cubic feet per second) minimum and 533,000 maximum in the 1993 flood. Today it is flowing at 621, 000 CFS. Wow! Parts of the Mississippi River are closed to barge and recreational traffic and other parts have severe restrictions on the use of barge traffic there limiting size, time of operation, and only with a pilot onboard who has high water experience. Some of our friends who were planning on coming down the river in the next two weeks will have to postpone their trip for awhile until the locks reopen and the water begins to recede. It was a laid back kind of day. We took a dingy tour of the bay. It’s got lots of fingers to check out. We saw another stranded rental houseboat
and an eagle’s nest platform.
Mary Ann and Bill met us out there and we floated around together for awhile. Their dog, Kilby, hopped over into our dinghy and came for a visit.
Then they went back to their boat and we went on exploring. We drove out to the lake and went 2 bays south to Sugar Bay where we thought about anchoring early next week.
Bob wanted to check the water depths there before we took the big boat in. We explored around there and then came back to the anchorage.
It was around 1:00, so we had a little snack and created some shade with our Anchor Shade in the cockpit to do some reading. The 2 sailboats left after untying their lines from rafting off and pulling anchor.
Later, Mary Ann and Bill dinghied over to say our last, and final, goodbye. We chatted for awhile and then they went back to their boat to put away their dinghy and pull anchor.
They left around 4:00 and so did all of the other weekenders. We were alone in the bay for the night. We continued to read under the shade until dinner and listening to an owl hoot in the distance. Bob saw 2 deer when he took Murphy to shore and it finally cooled off as the sun went behind the trees. It turned out to be very hot and humid all with little breeze. We sat in the AC before dinner and tried to catch the news. It wasn’t great, but it was something. At least, we don’t have to listen to the political commercials. After dinner, we sat outside for awhile and listened to the crickets and coyotes. An occassional heron squawked to break the silence. We didn’t stay outside for long because a few mosquitoes came to check us out. The absence of a breeze brought them by. Bob took Murphy to shore for the night and then we watched some TV before we went to bed.