July 2014 - Cruising - Captain - Life Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

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July 30 - Hard to believe but the boat is back and safe. So the rest of the story!

As you know, we had left Fort Walton Beach and were in the process of heading for Panama City in my last update. We reached the "ditch" which was dug from the last bay to interconnect to St. Andrews Bay in Panama City. Once again, I was struck with how much better it looks now. Nature is making things look better with time. Thank you Mother, Mother Nature.

Right before we exit the ditch there is another bridge. Here the water is very "skinny" to the outside of the channel. Even though you can't see it in the pictures, the wind is blowing fairly well. It keeps blowing us to the left side of the channel.

We exited the channel you see and headed down to Panama City and past the docks where the larger boats unload. Panama City is a great deep water port.

We began passing marinas which host some of our friends. I believe this one is where Larry and Susan are now located.

Next up is the Panama City Marina and that is another place we've picked up fuel and Roger kept his boat there.

One thing you can never see in pictures is the size of the waves. If you can see whitecaps, the waves are probably 2-3 feet in size. These were about 2 feet and they were right on our beam (side.) That means it was rocking up above where Mike was. At this point, Mike didn't want to miss a thing and really was sorry the trip was finished. However, he was looking forward to seeing Cheryl.

You can see the waves breaking into the wall at the marina and the spray, according to a person we talked to, was breaking over the wall.

This is a look into the marina.
Next is the bridge which really does have to open. Mike doesn't want to do a complete retrofit of his top side on his first passage through this bridge. As you can see below - it does open.

The office you see next has a wonderful location. In addition, this is where Mike's wife works.

As you can see below, they were all waving and believe me they were ready to see each other. That certainly beats the alternative!

Everyone is happy now!

We are almost home but once again the pictures just don't do it justice. The wind wraps around this corner past the sailboat you see and it was blowing about 15 miles per hour down that channel which we had to go.

Let's just say this was a teaching opportunity!

The side of a house boat acts like a big sail and you must compensate for the drift you will have once you turn to head into a dock which is 90 degrees to the wind.

We made it and as Deb would say, no small children died or as I would say, nothing was hurt or injured. Boat made it fine and believe it or not, I was happy that we had the experience. Mike did just fine and learned this large boat needs some more practice along with the fact that he should simply react to the situation with what he has learned.

Life was doing just fine. Time to secure the boat.

We only had so much time to get our, already packed, "stuff" off of the boat - take showers, then head to the airport to get the one way rental car. Mike and I had already figured out it was much cheaper to get a rental car instead of him driving us 500 miles back home then driving the 500 miles back. (Florida is a long state!)

After we got the car, we took off for dinner and enjoyed every minute. Thanks Mike and Cheryl.

Then we returned and packed up the car as much as we could. I would finish the next morning and Deb and I would be underway between 6:30 and 7.

Even though the beetle only had 6,000 miles on it, after about an hour and a half the A/C stopped working. Then it started, then it stopped, started, stopped, started, stopped for about 2 hours. It only took 7 calls and several transfers to learn we should take it to the Budget at Gainesville and exchange it. However, that would put us behind schedule and we couldn't get it back in time. After a bit of "discussion" they agreed to extend the reservation by a day and then credit us for the day. I even called back again to see if they had put it into the contract. According to the person I talked to, they did.

We detoured to the Gainesville airport and picked up a Ford Focus. Actually, the Ford Focus was more comfortable and had more gizmo's than the Beetle. If I was in the market for a small car, the Focus would get my attention.

We then went to lunch and didn't get home to Fort Myers until after 6 pm. That was the time we were supposed to have the car back so good thing we got the extension. Unpack, head to our favorite dive place and a quick dinner.

This morning I headed to the airport and Bob was to pick me up after I called him. Once there, I checked the car in - Full of Gas - and got the bill. They didn't credit me for the extra day. How did I know that would happen? Off to the people who were supposed to adjust the bill. First time they were off by 30 or so bucks. I said, "why doesn't the bill match what I signed to pay for?" They looked at my paperwork and said "Oops, forgot to take off a fee." Then they produced another bill - this time it was for $2 less than I agreed to pay for. I pointed that out and they didn't care so I took it and left. If this makes you wonder about these companies, it should. Keep your paperwork!

Bob arrived about 10 minutes later and we had a good conversation on the way back to my house.

The delivery with Mike was very successful. I'm sure Mike learned more that expected (he told me so), and on top of that it was nice to be with someone who is so open. I just hope MIke and Cheryl really enjoy this boat and it becomes everything they both hoped for.

July 28 - As we were approaching Fort Walton Beach, we pass an Air Force base. They own the beach here and you can get arrested if you decide to walk around. They have radar installations and you see the tall structure to the right. I really don't know what it is. There are windows up high and it appears to be a 2 story building up on those legs. Obviously designed to withstand hurricane winds but - What is it there for?

I don't think I would want to be at the top in a hurricane.


The sand beaches have turned that beautiful white we remember so well. What a treasure in this part of Florida. No wonder so many people come here who love the beach.


We passed that Air Force Base and you can see it in pictures below.

I called the number to stay at the Free Dock but nobody answered. That made sense, it was Sunday. Then we called the police station and they told me it was fine. Mike provided his name and boat information. That said, there were a number of "boat people" who really looked like some of the boat people from Key West. In other words, one free boat away from being homeless. I asked a police officer if it was safe there and he said it was. They really don't have too much trouble. Regardless, Mike and the ladies stayed on the boat while I walked to the Publix to pick up some more drinks. We had ran out of many of them.

When I returned the ladies were off to do a little shopping. They also were to find a place to eat and Lexy wanted Pizza. That sounded good to us too. (Yes, you noticed, I've been misspelling her name - sorry Lexy.)

We received a call about an hour later and they found the Fokkers. I guess someone loved the movie "Meet the Fokkers" so they named the place after it. The ladies had already decided on a Large Mother Fokker Pizza so that is what was ordered.

Below right. It just amazes me what towns have to do in a park. Yes, that is a Low Limb. Duhh

This morning we were off early again. We spring the boat off of the dock and Mike got to practice that maneuver once again. He has that down now. Then he turned the boat around and we were off for the Fort Walton Bridge. You can see in the picture to the lower left the bridge height gauge. It reads about 48.4 feet. No problem for us but when Deb and I go through here with our sailboat, we stick to the high side of the bridge.

Not too much later we were off of Destin and nicely making way right into the sun - Panama City here we come.


You can see Fort Walton Beach behind us.

About an hour later, Mike was at the helm and not much in front o us and nothing behind us either.

As we round this next point, we would see the bridge.

Then came another canal dug to complete the Intracoastal waterway in this area. At this point we are about 40 miles to Mike's dock. We hope to arrive between 2:30 and 3 pm. Then we will need to ensure the boat is put away and make sure we are at the airport by 6 pm to pick up the car. It is actually less expensive to rent a one way rental than it would be for Mike to take us home and then return back to Panama City.

This will probably be my last update until Deb and I reach home. We just have too much to do and 8 hours of driving tomorrow not to mention a loss of an hour as we switch from central time to eastern time.

I'll finish this trip up again with the final pictures and see you Wednesday.

Captain Jim


July 27 - We left you while we were still in Mobile Bay and heading further south until we reached the Intracoastal Waterway and turned East. This was to be our major turn and "Hey Mikey" would be homeward bound.

The birds seem to like the channel markers. They even deposit presents on the face of the signs.

This entire trip has been a revisit of the past for Deb and I. I'm always seeing places we have anchored and remember who we were with or when or even what the weather was like. THe picture below is of a condo complex at the entrance to the Intracoastal. Deb and I talked about someday buying a condo there when we were cruising. We ended up with a better deal in both of our opinions. Sometimes good does come to those who wait.

Below right you can see the bridge and right under that bridge - to the left side - is LuLu's. I had already called and they knew we were on our way and they had a slip for us.

You can see LuLu's to the left and we went just past this, turned around and came up and docked so we could get fuel.

Once we were finished fueling, we took the boat and put it into its slip for the afternoon and evening. Mike and Lexie went immediately for showers. Deb and I waited because we pretty much knew we would be sweating some more that afternoon.

Lower right you can get an idea of the size of the marina. It is actually called Homeport Marina and they give you a Tow Boat, U.S. discount. Mike and I are both members but we couldn't talk them into a double discount.

This was a perfect spot to have dinner and do some minor work on the boat such as getting rid of trash and filling up the water jugs.

In addition, it was the right spot for an evening photo with a timed shutter. Since we had a slip with electric, it was time to turn on the A/C. That was nice and we all slept GOOD with the lower humidity.

This morning Mike and I got underway and again, it was like a drive down memory lane for me. We are seeing dolphins quite a bit since we arrived at Mobile Bay. In the pictures below you can see they were feeding - well you can at least see they were out moving around. Always nice to see dolphins.

Another memory. The building to the left is Pirates Cove Restaurant. There is a narrow opening then it opens up again. We've spent a number of afternoons listening to music at this location. It has character.

Continuing on we were passing Perdido Key on our starboard side (right) and there was the Oyster Bar restaurant right were it was supposed to be. Another favorite place for us to visit with the dinghy.

Once out into Big Lagoon we could start seeing the Gulf of Mexico over the dunes. These dunes are protected and you have to get there by walking or boat. Beautiful beaches and water.

Once past Pensacola Pass, you can see the Cannon on top of Fort Pickens. It is aimed to protect the pass. There were many more years ago but no longer are they all in place.

To the right of that is part of the Naval Air station at Pensacola. Home of the Blue Angles. They weren't flying today.

Then we arrived at Pensacola Beach.

Of course their beach ball water tower is always fun to see. We have several restaurants and anchorages we enjoy out this way. However, we have that feeling such as a mule trying to get to the barn at the end of the day. No time for a leisurely trip any longer. I still may have a class up in Florence, Alabama so I need to be home by Tuesday just in case I need to pack again to leave Thursday morning. The class is looking very doubtful but you never know.

This morning, Mike and I made a decision that Deb and I would rent a car and just head home Tuesday morning. It would be a long drive for him both directions and would end up costing more than a one way car rental. So I now have reservations and it should be a fairly easy trip back to our house from Panama City.

Currently, Mike is at the helm (he really likes running his boat) and Lexie is asleep on the couch. More tomorrow before we get the boat in. Hopefully we will be in by about 1-2.

July 26 - The best laid plans sometimes need to change.


We continued on towards Mobile, except when I calculated again for the push we were to get and the more accurate distance - then added to that the storm possibility for the afternoon, our plans changed. We would not make LuLu's tonight. We wouldn't arrive until 6:30-7 pm and if the storms did occur over Mobile Bay then things could get to be - let's say "not good." Remember, we are on a houseboat and not a sea going vessel. So the decision was made to anchor for the night and leave in the morning to make Mobile and then cross the Bay. It turned out to be a good decision. More importantly, Mike got to see how I evaluate different situations and go with what is happening verses keeping a schedule.

We were still seeing wonderful wildlife and the Cypress trees were showing up with their knees prominent.

We have seen lots of fisherman but these guys were pretty happy about their results. Who can blame them? He they are showing off a pretty darn good catfish. They showed us more and then they passed us and headed for - Dinner!

As we get closer to Mobile the industrialization shows up more and more. In the picture to the lower left you can see a major power plant. It is located here and they use the river water for cooling. About 2 miles down the waterway, you see the outlet of the cooling water. In the fall, it can be foggy because of the temperature of the water.

Next came the "Dolly Parton Bridge." Not my name for it, the locals name. I'll let you figure out why.

This time the railroad bridge was in the up position. Since we were between two tows, we knew it wouldn't be closing on us. Deb and I have had to wait up to an hour to let a train pass. If it is between you and a train - the train wins.

When we reached mile 12, we turned left. Ok, east on a connecting river to head about a mile up then left into another river which is a wonderful anchorage we have used many times.

The house you see to the left is one Mike is considering putting an offer on. With this river experience, he can see himself as a river rat. I'm betting Cheryl will have something to say about that!

This morning we left at 6:25 to get an early start. Anchors pulled, engines checked, started, and underway at 6:25. We really want to get across the bay before anything comes up.

To the right you can see several things in the picture. The land is all flat and everything has definitely changed from where we have been.

Then below, as we round that bend you can see Mobile in the hazy distance. We are back to civilization.

The bridge you see to the lower right is in the open position. As it turned out, you can see a tow vessel exiting the channel off on their way to do some more work. For the next 45 minutes we would have quite a bit of traffic. What's more, this is big ship traffic! Mobile, back in 2006, was the 12th largest port in the U.S. It is time to get in and mix with the big ships.


This is a look in front of us just past that bridge. You can see we are already looking at a tow vessel which wasn't working with barges yet. In addition, in front of us was two tows with barges. This could get interesting!

Mike is doing great and slowed down to ensure we didn't "wake" anyone we shouldn't be waking. In a port like this, safety for the vessels and for the people is very important.

Below you can see some of the ships being unloaded or loaded. We know they are empty because you can see so much of the bottom paint.

It is always interesting to see what kind of ships are in the area.

This is also a major ship construction and repair facility. Looking to the bottom, you see a "dry dock" facility. The rectangular tanks fill up with water and it sinks. They then position a boat over it and divers ensure it will be supported when they pump the water out. As they pump out the water, everything rises up. This is essentially the same procedure they used to float the Costa Concordia again which is currently being moved to a scrap yard.

All of my Masters students could calculate how much weight this device could lift if they had some rough dimensions. That stability portion of the class, I think, is one of the most interesting.

Just as we were enjoying the scenery, here comes an ocean going vessel and he was coming right at us. We passed a tow with barges and headed for the right hand side of the channel to do a one whistle pass. (port to port or for others, left side to left side.)

The boats alongside are to help this ship maneuver and get docked.

And just like that, we were through Mobile and it was time to head out onto the Bay.

Looked like fun didn't it!!!

Once out on the Bay, it was time to miss a dredging operation and ensure we stay on the right side of the channel. Wind was blowing us to the center but ultimately Mike kept us over to the side far enough. Afterall, we had more large ships coming at us along with tows with barges pushing ahead.

It was interesting because once the ships would go past, the fisherman (known as trawling) would be back in the channel trying to get their catch. I posted the picture to the left just for some of my students. It is the only boat fishing which had the correct "day shape" displayed.

So now we are off on the Bay and I had Mike move from on top to the lower helm station. Since we only have a GPS from my phone and no autohelm, we were going to have to steer a compass course for about an hour and a half to get to the right location to then turn due east into the Intracoastal Waterway. Mike has run a compass course before so that gave me time to process the pictures you have seen and write this update. Currently we are about 2 - 2 1/2 hours from LuLu's. Everyone is anticipating a good shower and cooking other than mine.

See you tomorrow as we turn towards Fort Walton Beach.

July 25 - Day 9 - Well, the start of day 9 is when I'm writing this update. We have escaped the closing lock system and made it by a half day. But that is later in this update. So on with the story.

We pulled anchor and once again, the scenery is changing. You could have a bluff on one side and a flat area on the other. It is just interesting how the river forms and what now moves on the river.

With the breadth of the river so wide now, you can anchor anywhere. Although it would never be my recommendation to anchor in a bend because of those tows and their thrust from the engines. Well, at least not on the outside of the bend. In some places, there are buoys and anchoring inside of the buoys is very safe.

I just had to get a picture of the dock. Why? Well, in 2008 I was coming down with our friends Bill and Bettie. We were planning on anchoring in this area but the water was 25-30 feet deep up to the shore. Rather than going another 5 miles, Bill said on the radio, what about that dock. Nobody's home and if they come down we'll just tell them what happened. Well, nobody ever came down and the lights never came on.

All I can think now is, good thing that tree didn't fall in 2008!

We made it to Bobby's Fish Camp at about 10:00 - right on time. We had already called the Coffeeville Lock on the phone. The guy said they had maintenance going on and we would be awhile. That was ok because we needed to fill up with gas anyway. I told him I would call him again once we filled up.

I also called the lady (daughter of Bobby) who run's the fish camp now that Bobby passed away. She wasn't on the property because she was picking up her granddaughter - baby sitting. She would be down in a bit. A guy who has worked there for 40 years came down and he told us he could turn on the gas pump. That was good because it is a gravity fed system so it takes awhile.

You can see below that Mike then got busy filling up the tanks.

We are still on budget and running a constant 7 gallons an hour at the RPM's we are doing.

Once we got fuel and she arrived, we went up to see the inside once again. Immediately, I was struck by the fact that she has cleaned up and fixed up the place. I just wish we would have been able to stick around for a dinner but that lock, I'm sure you remember.

Mike paid his bill and I remember seeing Bobby behind this very counter.That was back in 2006 when we first came down..

I asked, if they had the old guest books and she said sure, they are over on that counter somewhere. I found the one from 2006 and then found our names. There we were, JIm and Deb signed in on October 29, 2006 when we were first off on our grand adventure.

I then saw the map you see below and thought - I wonder if everyone reading this site knows where we picked up "Hey Mikey" and were we were going. So with a tool I always have with me - my finger - I pointed out the start and stopping location.

And what a good trip it has turned out to be.

This is the picture in my guide book we have all wanted to see. Next Lock: None

You get the idea. Now we are just waiting for the lock to call us on the radio and tell us "Come on Down!" Call they did. It was 11:35 and they said you have 15 minutes to get here otherwise you won't be locking now. Mike took care of the engine start, I took care of the dock lines and we were off in no time.

There is the turn for the lock below and you can see the temporary doors they will slide in so they can fix up the real doors. Clearly, they are already working and we have to slide between that barge and the concrete wall of the lock. Mike did this like he's done it his entire life verses 8 days. Other than riding along now, my job is about done. Mike is doing great!

You can see there is a bit of maintenance needed.

What was even more interesting, since this lock wasn't leaking like a , well, a broken lock., was the bird activity. It has been increasing as we have come down the locks but here, we caught some good pictures.

The picture below is one that shows a bird with the small fish in it's beak and ready for that tender morsel to go right down. Now, don't drop it!

The last door opens and we are almost free!

There was a small leak but nothing like Demopolis.

Below, I pieced together 3 pictures to give you an idea of what leaving this lock looked like.

Now we will get a current that will provide us a push of an extra mile per hour or so for at least 30 miles. Free mileage.

The locals enjoy their 4 wheelers and down to the river to cool off seems like a good time to all.

Again, the river is really nice this time of year. The scenery is wonderful and the birds are very active.

And a few more birds heading for somewhere.
Along with a few more locals - a family enjoying a day on the river!
This is a lift bridge with is used by the railroads. It is interesting to me because you can see that big container at each end. That is the counterweight. Then in the picture below you can see the cables that lift the bridge. The motors don't have to be as large because of the counterweights.
We passed a paper mill that was using some of those pine trees which are being grown in the area.

Then we arrived at mile marker 65 where we anchored for the evening. I've anchored here before along with our friends Pat and Paul along with Prancer, and Blue Angle. It turned out to be a beautiful evening with two anchors out, I whipped up some sauteed shrimp with a mixture of alfredo sauce and diced tomato's along with some good spices to create a pretty darn good pink sauce which was served over pasta. Lexie created a very nice salad and all conversation ended. Nothing like good food after a good day!

Today we left at 6:25 and our goal is LuLu's at the end of Mobile Bay. We hope to arrive around 4-4:30. Fill up with fuel then get showers and tie up for the night. Time to have a meal on land along with, we hope, some good music at a great location on the water. For those that don't know, LuLu is Jimmy Buffett's sister. Who knows, maybe Jimmy heard we are coming and he will be there to play a few songs.

July 24 - Day 7 - As the song "Southern Cross" says, "We are nicely making way!"

Our planning seems to be working out and of course luck has also been with us with regards to the locks. Again, this is the strangest trip I've ever made on this waterway. At this point - 8:30 on Thursday morning - we have only seen 4 pleasure vessels (other than fishing and water ski.) Just plain weird. We are hoping the last lock will be ready for us but expect to wait for commercial traffic that may be backed up. I guess we will see in another hour or so. At this point, we've been out of cell range since yesterday afternoon.

We got underway yesterday morning and again, a bit of "Sea Smoke" was rising from the water. Beautiful way to pull up the anchor.

Once again the banks are very beautiful and one thing is true. The Tenn-Tom is getting better from a scenic standpoint with age. It was 8 years ago since Deb and I made our first trip on this river system.

We arrived at Demopolis Yacht Basin and once again, MIke did a great job pulling in. He's got this boat down.

It is time to take on fuel and I had calculated 105 gallons would be needed. Mike put in 106.1 - I guess we've pretty much figured out the fuel burn at this point......

Mike is still smiling with the fuel handle in hand. Maybe that is because we are going to come in under budget on fuel or perhaps it is because the fuel here is 3.99 per gallon. That is the lowest price we have paid so far.

Below right you can see a few gallons were put on - of course this was on a tow boat. Demopolis is a MAJOR refueling station for the tows pushing those barges up and down the waterway. We are just happy that isn't our fuel bill.

This is the shirt in the ship's store at Demopolis. I really liked it because I sometimes get sick of "sailors" one upping each other on things they have overcome at sea. Still, they do make some good stories sometimes.

I haven't bought a T-shirt since the Abacos so guess who has one in blue now.

Our fuel stop was only 30 minutes. We took on fuel, put water into our jugs and got rid of our trash. Then we were underway. We called the lock as soon as we got off the dock and they said they would turn it around for us. We only waited about 5 minutes when we got there.

On the way, we saw this graveyard and an old Moslem.

Just down from there, more industry on the water.

Foscue Creek, the one to the right, is a very good anchorage on back near the Coast Guard Station. In this case they have it about half blocked with a barge loaded with new door panels for the Demopolis Lock. Everything is pre-staged and ready for work to begin. It had me wondering what kind of shape the doors were in or if they just routinely replaced them every 5 years or so.

You can see from the picture below they have their cranes all set up and as we got closer, you could see that people had already started working.

To the lower right is a picture from the top deck of Mike's boat looking over at the spillway. The water is really flowing down here and the spillways keep getting larger. We are about to pick up about a 1 mph push down the river - free mileage.

You can see the pre-placement of the cranes that will start work tomorrow. It is a reminder that we have to get through that last lock TODAY! Still, I was wondering - why so many cranes and is this just routine maintenance?

We had our pictures and Mike said, "Look at that door leaking. You can see through it!" And see through it you could. Time to run and get the cameras and take some pictures. I just wondered now, how far down the door it leaked.

As you can see below, the door at the top stopped leaking but at the bottom, well that's another story completely!

Army Corps of Engineers, we have a problem.

We just hoped those doors hold up until we get through.

I zoomed in a bit too far when these guys took off but it is still pretty cool anyway.

Then as we came out of the lock, we got to see the spillway from the other direction. It really is beautiful. It has truly been nice to revisit this waterway again.

We had word that we would be meeting 3 different tow vessels on the way to Demopolis. Mike has had a hard time understanding the radio because of the wimpy speaker that is installed in them. While he was resting, I also got out a stereo speaker and hooked up an external speaker to the new radio he had installed about a week ago. Now it's much better.

Finally we have some weather. As you can see, the viability wasn't too bad so other than turning on our navigation lights, we continued on. However, we were both watching because this is when a tow vessel will sneak up to a corner.

Just a little after this picture was taken, we could see the bow of a tow. I got on the radio to see if they wanted a one or two whistle pass and they said they would meet us on the one. For everyone that means we would pass port (left side looking forward) to port. It all worked out just fine.

This stretch of the waterway winds around and winds around. Sometimes you have to go 3 miles to get almost back to where you started from such as in this picture.

The other fun thing on a waterway such as this is who you meet. This vessel - yes, one of the 4 - is clearly a homemade boat on a budget. Telephone pole for the mast and some lexan (I hope and not plexiglas) screwed to the sides for windows. Still it floats and don't you just love the storage space for round fenders up in the bow!

Very unique.

Below is a railroad bridge which is in the down position - good thing since there is a train on it! We easily cleared this without having to way.

Then below is also someone with a sense of humor. They even have their own Handicapped parking space on the river bank.

Along the banks of the river we are now seeing crop after crop of pine trees. Mike tells me these are Lollipop Pines. Whether they are being used to make paper or if they are going to the saw mill to make lumber we don't know. However, it does look like they are loosing some of their profit down the bank from time to time.
I had to blow the shot up to the left quite a bit. Regardless, the reflection in the water was pretty nice.

It is finally starting to warm up. Amazing trip for the end of July with regards to the weather. We took swims to cool off and just to enjoy the river. Deb stood watch and enjoyed laughing at everyone.

Mike was all in for doing his initial clean-up in the river.


This morning - Thursday - we passed Bashi Creek. This is an anchorage just below where we had stopped for the night. However, with Mikes bigger boat along with the probability of quite a few bugs in the creek we didn't stay here. I have some friends who will probably read this and this picture is for them to have a few memories of when they have stayed here too.

So much for now - we are about 45 min from Bobby's fish camp and this will get uploaded when it gets uploaded. We are all doing well.

July 23 - I took quite a few pictures since our last update 2 day ago. We run in and out of cell service and the only good way to upload the website is on a 4G connection or at a free wifi place. We'll there just aren't too many free wifi places out here on the water so I rely on 4G. As I write this, we are approaching Demopolis and I expect to get this uploaded while we take on fuel. Back to the story of "Hey Mikey" and our trip.

We have passed a bunch of locks so far and have more to go. In the picture to the right you can see the water color has changed to muddy brown. That is just one of the changes we see along this waterway.

Below you can see the old bridge and the new bridge after one of the locks. The old bridge crossed the original river and they built the new bridge when they created this waterway.

Of course, more industry too.


It occurred to me that most of Mike's family and friends reading my site are new to this waterway so I thought I would put in a list of the lock names and the distances along the Tenn-Tom. As you can see to the left, there are 12 locks in the 450 mile span. We also came up a lock which was at Pickwick Lake. That makes a total of 13 locks we needed to pass through.

Each lock takes from 25 minutes to up to 45 minutes to get us through. This has been the most unique trip with regards to boat traffic. There isn't any! Really, we have only seen 2, yes 2, recreational boaters on this trip if you ignore water ski boats and fishermen. With the lock closures, nobody but "Hey Mikey" is making this trip. The tows are now finished and the last of them is clearing the final lock too. So we simply haven't had to wait for locks. We call a half hour before we arrive and they have it ready for us. Too cool but very weird to me. We are used to having to wait for several locks and sometimes that wait is up to 3 hours.

And another example of an abandoned bridge.

We approached Columbus marina at about 1 pm. It sounds like it may be early to stop but really, it takes time to get everything done you need to when you stop. Columbus marina is like an old friend to me. I had already called and found out they still had a courtesy car and a fisherman I met previously, Jimmy, was still working there. Columbus is a great place to stop and get what you need. Fuel is priced reasonable and the dockage is only a dollar a foot plus electric.

Once we refueled, showers were started along with laundry, we emptied trash along with that microwave that blew up. It is on our list to get another microwave at the store with everything - Walmart.

Before we went shopping, I just had to take Mike and Lexie on a tour of the old homes in Columbus. This area was used as a hospital for both sides in the Civil war so as I understand it, that is why it was spared from all the destruction.

The homes are beautiful but I'm sure they require special people with special budgets to take care of them.

We saw the one to the right and it was being remodeled. It reminded me of the movie - "The Money Pit." I'll just bet this one doesn't come in at the initial budget!

We finished up tour time and were off to the store. Yes, we got that microwave along with a hose to fill our water jugs instead of a dock hose. You literally don't know where those dock hoses have been. On top of that, we needed food for about 6 more days.

By about 5:30 we had everything put away and were installing that microwave and filling water jugs. We ate dinner under the elevated marina office and enjoyed sunset.

When you are on a 44 foot boat, you seem to think it is a pretty big boat and it is. Then there are always bigger ones......... Just have to have one of those - anybody have a maintenance fund they want to give me?

Mike and I were up early the next morning and were into the lock just after 6:30. They were ready for us since we had called from the marina and let them know we were leaving the dock. We were lowered down and out the chamber at 7 am. We were making nice way down the river when I noticed the temperature on the starboard (right) engine was going up. Well, that's a problem. I called Mike and shut off the engine. We must have picked up some of that floating Hydrilla when we went into the last lock. It had to plug the water intake.

We created a plan which involved the vacuum to suck out part and blow out the other part of the cooling system. Then Mike headed into the engine compartment after I had set up the tools for him. He made quick work of it and we were back to motivating again! Life on a boat is dealing with small problems before they become big problems. It's nice when there are two people who both have skills. Things are just, well, easier.

More industry and taking things out of barges into some means to transport it. In this case a hopper that puts this metal into trucks to be hauled off to be processed.

Again, the scenery is changing and that is what makes it interesting.

Wildlife is about the only thing we really see until we get close to a town.


Below is the old Stump Puller the paddle wheeler Montgomery. They have created a museum out of it. Deb and I toured this previously and since we are on a "race" down the river to beat the lock closing, there wasn't time to stop for Mike and Lexie to see it. Perhaps another time.

Then we came upon were "Dr. Who" must have beamed in. Ok, most of you don't know about the TV show Dr Who. Well, that is my guess. He traveled the galaxy's in a telephone booth. It was in a different time and space zone because once he, and his guests, were in the phone booth it had unlimited space and could travel through space and time.

Here we are on the Tenn-Tom waterway and there is his phone booth. Well, that's my story. I guess it could also be somebody's sense of humor. Perhaps this is like the 8 track tape players and just a piece of history.

I am always impressed with the power of the river. To the left is an example of somebody's attempt to stop the erosion which occurs during the flooding time of year and the current trying to take away the bank. It was probably a good idea that simply never was destined to work. The water got behind the structure and took the bank away anyway.

Another lock but this time, the spillway is getting larger. More water must move through as we get further down the waterway.

And you can see, there is some water moving but not near as much as in the spring time.
I just had to surround you with a few of my favorite things - to avoid. Mike and I are trying to ensure we don't hit any of these logs, sticks, stumps, whatever that is floating. It really isn't bad this time of year. In the spring - you see entire trees coming down.

When you lock down, or up, you tie a line from the center of your boat and loop it around that silver thing called a bollard. The bollard floats and it is what ensures you stay were you are supposed to going up or down. There is just one thing you have to make sure of. You have to watch to be sure the bollard doesn't stick. Deb and I have had one stick on the way up before and had to let it go then I had to maneuver the boat so I wouldn't hit the walls of the lock as we continued up.

This time, the bollard stuck going down and not too far from the bottom. Probably about 3 feet from the bottom of our drop. Below you can see the bollard that stuck on us and then what one is supposed to look like.

This was only the 2nd bollard that has stuck in well over 100 lockings for us.

We figured the staining was from clay that was washing down the side of the hill and into the water. Again, it is interesting the changes in the soil, and other composition of the banks as we continue to move towards the Gulf of Mexico.
Beach Volleyball anyone?
One of the prettiest places is coming up. It is here that the banks change to provide you the beautiful scenery you see in the next pictures.

Above is an old trading location which clearly has decayed.

We anchored just around the bend of this beautiful view for the evening. The major storms moved above and below us and all we had was a little rain. WIth two anchors out, one forward and one aft, we didn't go anywhere and got a good nights sleep.

Mike and I were up and going again at 6:30. Demopolis is just down the waterway and we should be getting fuel there and off towards the lock to make more time. We are on schedule.

Finally, we are getting ready to go into Deliverance Country. There isn't hardly anything between Demopolis and Mobile. Cell service will be spotty at best. My next update will probably be in 2 days.

July 21 - I've been having a software issue and I'm sorry yesterday's information didn't work until this morning. I have to reinstall my Dreamweaver Software when I get back home. Still, that is really good news because we haven't broken anything lately or found something else major wrong on the boat!

As we got further down the cut and the slopes got higher, they had to do something with the water that flowed off of the man made hill. Problem is erosion. They came up with this system to slow the water down and spread it out.

Below right you can see us approaching the Bay Springs Lock. It is called the Whitten Lock. It is one of 4 locks that are closing for maintenance.


This is Mike's second lock and he is getting things down. By the end of this trip, he will be very good at twin screw maneuvering. He's also already learned that slower is better than faster.

We are getting ready to drop 84 feet. This is the fourth largest lock in the US as far as drop and lift is concerned.

Basically, a lock is like a bath tub. When you get in, close the doors and want to go down - you pull the plug. Down you go.

The lock master is shutting the doors so he can "pull the plug."

The ladies are working and doing a fine job of it too.

Down we go. One thing you should notice is the doors stop and then it becomes concrete.

Below you can see a few leaks. Hopefully that will get fixed in this maintenance cycle........

Well, that's one big door!

The pictures below show it opening to let us out. "Hey Mikey" needs to be back on the water to make some miles. We have to get through the last lock before July 25th otherwise we have a real problem!

The last lock is still, at this point, about 300 miles away and we are only doing 8 and 1/2 miles per hour. Each lock takes from 25-30 minutes to get through with the exception of the one we just went through and that is about 45 minutes. Of course that also depends if we get right in or if we have to wait for commercial traffic. Commercial traffic has priority over pleasure craft. Deb and I have had to wait several hours to pass through a lock previously. On this trip we are getting pretty lucky but we know that it because the commercial traffic has stopped entering the system. They are just cleaning up the loose ends and the shutting down the waterway.


Then we are down and making way.

That's one big lock!

I always hope the door doesn't break!!!


The commercial traffic is moving and every one is telling the lock operators they will see them when the waterway reopens.

We have had wonderful weather up here. That cold front that went through has really kept temperatures pretty cool. It is amazing for July. That said, we are about to have things start "heating up." Regardless, the scenery is good and since we are moving faster than on our own boat, the trip is more enjoyable.

I love to take pictures that illustrate the concept of a "vanishing point." That picture is to the lower right. Even though the sides of the channel are straight, they appear to come together. Interesting isn't it.

Not only is this buoy out of place - it should be on the other side - it clearly isn't floating properly. Buoys get drug out of position by floods and tow boats. It is always something to keep in mind. If something doesn't make sense, it probably isn't right.

More Tows and more Locks. They are beginning to all look the same.

The picture to the left shows the lock we will go through on the morning of the 21st. We pulled off to the left and dropped our anchor. The charts (maps) don't show depth information so we had to feel our way in. Fortunately, I have Active Captain installed on my Pad and it works wonders to let you know what other mariners have found and reported. They said, you could anchor there and it proved out to be correct. I really appreciate Active Captain and recommend to all of my students in classes that they download the software. It is even FREE!

This morning we awoke to - a MAYFLY invasion. We thought we would change the name of the boat to the "Mayfly Express." We didn't because the glue is just now drying from applying the name "Hey Mikey" to the side of the boat.

Below is another lock but you can see that the size of the spillway is getting larger. As we go down the waterway, they get bigger and bigger.

Below right you can see a very major purpose of this waterway. Commercial transportation of materials.

The materials have to get off the barge somehow. In this case a loader picks up the material then takes it up and drops it into a hopper where it is transported by the conveyor system.

Now, what are all these people going to do for the next month? The waterway is shut down. My guess is that some, maybe all, will be assigned jobs for doing some maintenance or improvements that may have been held off. But then you think, what about the fuel sales at places like Demopolis where they go through a tanker load of fuel a day? It does make you think.

So here we are - Day 5 - as of 11:30 this morning we have now passed through 8 locks and we have traveled a little over 300 miles.

We are looking forward to our stop in Columbus, Mississippi so we can get fuel, water, food, get of the boat for a walk, and of course SHOWERS. You see, Mike has to get his hot water side of the boat working so we haven't had hot shower since we left. We are all ready.

Overall the trip is going well and as I've mentioned before, the boat is doing better than I expected. All good news. We have 5 locks to go and 3 days to get past the last lock. If nothing breaks we should get through that last lock with a half day to spare.

We've already picked up speed from the current and that should continue to pick up 1/10th of a mph every so often. It's nice to get free mileage!

More tomorrow when I get an update and cell coverage. Tomorrow we will be entering an area with very poor cell coverage so don't worry if we miss a day on updates. Captain Jim

 July 20 - If you look to the right, you can see our "makeshift" water system. Mike had already cut a hole in the floor to gain access to the water pump. We then attached a hose to the inlet of the water pump and on the other side of the hose we have a barbed, brass connector so it will have some weight and will pull water from the bottom of the jug. You will remember the water pump was already failing and worked periodically so we had to change the pump too. Now it is great although the water doesn't last that long. We are carrying an additional 20 gallons so getting fuel every 2 days will work out for having enough water to wash with and clean ourselves up somewhat. We are all looking forward to our first real stop and a long shower. Hopefully tomorrow, Monday, afternoon. We need some food too and I've already called ahead and they still have a courtesy car.  

We also have a low voltage situation on one of the circuits. I found loose connections along with one outlet wired wrong. However, that didn't fix the problem. It improved it but it didn't fix it. The microwave had been tried several times and when we finally said we will just use an extension cord from a good outlet and then tried the microwave - the thing blew up. Yes, with sparks and smoke and everything. Not a pretty sight.

Well enough about problems, let's get on with the trip. We really have systems down so we are compensating and everything can be fixed when the boat is home. Lack of prior maintenance or in this case - poor mechanic has effected the vessel in some cases.

The good news is, the engines and transmissions are doing great and we are on track to make a nice trip. Our plans were to take it easy and have a nice enjoyable ride. Plans that are made can and typically will be changed - the change is coming.

As we continued upstream, we encountered the ferry that takes cars back and forth. This has to be cheaper than a new bridge and my bet is the traffic isn't that dense to warrant a bridge anyway.

Then we encountered the shipping terminal that was left stand when the lake formed. The stories go the building was built so it couldn't be destroyed. My bet is they were running low on budget - anything that can be built typically can be destroyed easier. Go get a 2 year old if you need ideas.

Then the ladies are pointing out the name of Mike's boat - "Hey Mikey."

We were ready for our first "official" fuel stop and the nagging question was how much fuel did we burn. We stopped at Pebble Isle Marina and filled up. We had used the engines for 10 hours and 40 minutes plus the generator for 3 hours. Since we took on 69.1 gallons of fuel and we had traveled in essentially no current conditions we felt pretty good. My calculations from the fuel burn curves were just about right. We had used 6.5 gallons per hour which was with the short generator usage.

Since we still had an hour of good time before we needed to anchor we took off again. That said, Pebble Isle Marina still only charges $1 per foot which is a VERY good rate. He just wants to keep his marina full and pay his employees. Smart man!

As you can see below, the river is getting narrower and Mike is happy running the boat from the inside and that's good because it is cool.

When you are on the river system, you will encounter a number of vessels that are "different." This is a dredge and it is pumping up sand and gravel. The vessel in the center separates the tow and distributes it into the appropriate barges for transportation.

What is interesting however, at least to me, are the "day shapes." Those are those black balls and diamonds. They actually mean something. First the ones in the middle - ball, diamond, ball are for a vessel that is restricted in it's ability to maneuver. Well, I would say this one probably is. It has two tow boats pushing against each other to move the thing around. That isn't a very maneuverable vessel.

Then it has the diamonds on one side and the balls on the other. The diamond side is the one you are supposed to pass on. The balls, indicate an obstruction exists on that side.

As it turned out, it was clear we should not go on the diamond side and I was wondering why they had the signals reversed. As soon as we passed, they started to move the vessel out into the channel and were dredging there. I guess they had already changed the day shapes.

The other picture is just a cool house on a cool bluff.

This is crazy weather for July. We haven't had a day over 80 since we've been up in Kentucky. Finally, it warmed up enough that we could go topside and Mike took this picture of Deb and I.

Then we approached the area where I've documented houses about to fall in on the last 5 trips we have taken on the Tenn-Tom. Trip 6 shouldn't be any different.

Look below and you can see the side of the hill collapsed. Then look to the right and you can see the foundation fell right after it.

I guess they have the kids stay away from the edge when they are running their BBQ!

Another example.

Now for the change in plans.

Earlier in the day (Saturday) I received a text from Roger, Vebbie's husband, who said he had heard there were lock closures coming up. He told me about 2 and they were to close on Tuesday. That didn't worry me much because we would be clear of them on Monday. However, I found this listed on the Web and found that Coffeecake was to close on the 25th. Now Houston - that's a problem.

There goes our "leisurely trip" down the Tenn-Tom to Panama City. Now we need to put some miles under this hull and do it while at the same time, without increasing fuel burn beyond our desired rate.

We knew we would increase fuel burn because of the current against us the last 15 miles before the lock. As we approached this point we could already see our speed dropping. Because we were doing more than 100 miles on Saturday and wanted to lock through before anchoring, we made the decision to up the RPM's by 200. Now we will see what that does to our fuel burn curve. In addition, we had to run the "big generator" on the boat instead of my Honda because we no longer have a microwave. Remember the microwave blew up. We have to have the bigger generator to run the stove. We were going to be hungry and it was the night for baked chicken. We had to eat before we got to the lock.

As we keep moving upstream we were seeing some tow traffic but not like we have in the past. The reason was simple. They are closing the entire Tenn-Tom waterway for about a month or so. That means nobody, and I mean nobody wants to get trapped. Especially us but I guess the commercial traffic is just as concerned.

Still, there is traffic on the Tennessee River and on top of that there are a few barges pushing up the Tenn-Tom at the last minute.

Some nice tourist sites still dressed up for the Fourth of July.


We arrived at the Pickwick Lock at just after 8 pm. It was getting dark but my camera has a pretty darn good lens on it.

You can see as we approach the lock and if you look at the doors then up to the right you can see the red light. That mean "Stop." I'll bet you already had that figured out. Once the doors open and the light turns green you can enter the lock. You should be set up with fenders on one side - we chose Port (Left for you land people) and we had our center cleat with a line on it to wrap around the bollard - that is the thing that floats up and down and keeps you in your place in the lock.

Once the doors opened, and we received the green, we entered the lock. Since we were going up, we went more towards the end of the lock. It generally rides better there when you are going up.

As you can see in the lower right, it was getting darker and I resorted to a flash on some pictures.

You can see the turbulence which is caused from the water entering the lock from underneath. It is a cool system because the upper lake fills the lock and then when you want to go down, you just change valves and the water goes into the lower lake/river.

The pictures below are pretty cool in my opinion because they were taken with the available light. You can see the doors opening to the lower right and out we were going to go once the lock master gave us the signal.

We came out of the lock, passed the mooring cells (big round things filled with rock that barges can tie up to) turned right and went over and simply dropped the anchor for the night. We had arrived at about 9:15 to our chosen location so we dropped the anchor, Deb and I drank a glass of wine and then we were done. The next morning would come as soon as the sun comes up.

Mike and I were up and the fog was hanging over the dam. It was pretty cool because we could still get away from it and make it down to our turn into the Tenn-Tom.

It turned out that we caught a few good fog pictures. I really like the one to the lower right - Solitude.

It even happened that everybody wanted to go fishing today.


The picture to the lower left is the entrance to the Tenn-Tom. From this point, it is 450 miles to Mobile and we will go though 12 locks on our way down to the Gulf of Mexico.

Next up, we see Grand Harbor. Deb and I have stayed there a number of times but with the Race to get past the last lock, we won't be stopping anywhere except Columbus on this trip. We will need food and probably a cheap microwave!

Two of my students, John and Sarah, own the boat (I think) the third from the right. It is still floating just in case you two check out this website.

Next up is Sam's Stern Wheeler. Sam owns Captain's Choice and it is a very nice Yacht Brokerage. Our friend Vebbie has now moved to them and if you are looking for a very nice boat you should call and ask for Veb. I know from working with her that she is very reputable and will take care of you while dotting every i and crossing every t.


As we came around the corner for Aqua Yacht Harbor, we encountered a bit of fog. We sounded Mikes "wimpy" horn at the required interval but honestly, he needs a new horn.

We arrived at the fuel dock and it was time to refuel again. This time, you can see, we took on 116.2 gallons. That came out to 8 gallons an hour. Still within our calculation given the change in RPM setting.

Looks like we will make it since most of the rest of the trip is "down hill."

I have already mentioned Roger and Veb. Here they are! They were so nice to come over and say Hi. We had a fun but short visit. I had to break up the party because we have to get down. As much fun as you might think spending 6 weeks on this part of the river might be - it isn't going to happen on my watch.

Thanks again Roger for the heads up on the lock closures. We simply had so much going on with the boat we hadn't even looked yet. I guess that is no excuse but I will say having good friends helping you out now and then is the best thing someone can have.

See you again, hopefully soon. Otherwise, next year when I teach again at Pickwick.

Below you can see the turn heading to the cut which was created when the Tenn-Tom waterway was made. They dug through the Continental Divide to create this waterway.

More tomorrow as long as I can get a cell signal to upload the information.


July 18 - I'll bet you are surprised! Yes, I'm going to start updating my website again after dropping out for the second time and heading back to land life. I have had some emails and comments that people whom we got to know boating and just watching our site were disappointed I stopped posting. In addition, I've been more active with some boating related items so it is just time for me to restart posting. Overall, I have a number of goals:

1) Keep our friends both old land life friends and our boating friends up-to-date about what we are up to. This website provides more detail than social media such as Facebook. However, that said, I am on Facebook.

2) Let people know where I will be teaching my next classroom based Captain's class. I've had a number of people who have said they really want to take the class from me. Thank you and I'll let you know where and when I will be teaching. I've really created a very powerful presentation that only I have. The companies policy is each instructor should teach in their own style. My style integrates all learning styles and I have my own pictures and captured videos to enhance the course. Pretty much a one of the kind presentation.

3) I am also teaching online classes for the Captain's class. Some people are very suited to learning in an unstructured environment. My role is to act as the students guide but I have also created almost 20 additional videos to supplement the ones which are provided by the company online. Between the companies videos, my videos and the manual along with answering your specific questions, my students have been very successful completing their license within the 2 month window. To get me as your instructor, you have to call the company and ask for me before you register. Otherwise you may be assigned to someone else.

4) I also am doing some delivery's. My specialty is to go with an owner/s and provide a mini Captain's class for the educational value. In addition, we go over all the boat systems and discuss troubleshooting techniques. I've found a number of people not only want this service, they enjoy it too. It enhances the future boating life.

I also have some links to fix especially with our past logs. I'll get to that on this trip but don't expect it right away.

Well, enough of what you will see in the future. Let's talk about my friend Mike and how Deb and I ended up on "Hey Mikey."



We have to go back to 2006 when Deb and I started cruising full time. We had gone down the Tenn-Tom and I got an email from a fellow Gemini owner - Larry. Larry said, "my friend Mike takes care of a number of docks and if you would like to stop by, we'd love to meet you." You see, he had been following our new website and I thought Why Not! This was how I also met Mike and it was the start of a good friendship with both of them. Fast Forward to about 9 months ago.

Mike called me and said he had bought a 44 foot Gibson Houseboat. He was looking for advice about the trip from Kentucky Lake to Panama City Florida. There were a few things that needed to be done on his boat then he was going to put it up and take it down in the spring. So, I ended up stopping by to talk over charts and other items about the middle of February. Then he got caught up in the barge collapse which caused the lift to fall and tear up a boat along with eliminating the possibility of launching his boat in the near future. Wow, what a problem.

Tempers were contained but schedule after schedule was delayed. UNTIL, a week ago I got a call from Mike saying they have my boat in the water, could you go with us. I said, SURE, Deb and I will rent a car one way and head your way Tuesday. We did and arrived on Wednesday - to the right is his boat "Hey Mikey."


 We will talk about the issues as I continue to post but the biggest was the water tank turned out to have burst or rotted through over the winter. That meant we had a problem. In a phone call on Tuesday, while driving, I came up with an idea to provide a separate water supply that we could feed to the water pump. Mike picked up supplies and we looked everything over before taking the car to Paducah to drop it off and also to provision for most of the 10 days we expected to be gone.

We were dropped back at the boat about 8 pm and set to getting the cold items into the refrigerator and then having a late dinner. Following dinner, we put away more items and came up with a work list for Thursday morning. Our goal was to leave about noon.

Sorry about the fuzzy picture to the right. It is a picture of Frank and Barb's boat and we hadn't seen them in 5 years. It is amazing what a small world the cruising community is. On top of that, it is a close community. We really enjoyed our short visit with both of them while we were in the area. We hope we will see them again this next winter as they head south again.

 After getting to bed at about 11 pm, we started the day off with a cool sight of "Sea Smoke." This occurs when the colder air comes over some warmer water which causes the water molecules to condense into fog. I just caught this picture before it started to dissipate from the warming of the air.

We had a number of items to do. Get the boat organized, complete the made up water system, check out the engine fluids and make sure the boat is overall ready.

Organization was going well so we got to work on the water system and the fact the shower would not drain. It is nice working with someone else who has skills. I took to the water and Mike to the drain. We got the new water system working but found we had to plug a line. The one someone else did, failed. So, we made that up and got some parts, which included a bolt for a plug, and got the water sort of running. Then we found out the pump wouldn't prime by itself anymore. We later found out the Yard had the same problem when they winterized the system. Next stop - new pump. There goes an hour.

Mike ultimately found the drain was plugged and we got that cleared with a long 1/4" socket extension. He just had to put the thing back together and test it. It now works. Great - showers but no hot water. We're tough - well not Deb.

Then we were into the engines. They had been serviced by the yard but it was time to check everything. Their work looked good but one of the V-drive transmissions was low on fluid. Back up to get the right 80/90 gear oil and fill the drive. With it topped off, we found the engines worked fine and the generator started fine too. I think we are ready.

 3 pm and we untied the dock lines, placed them on the boat and it was time to GO!

Mike had practiced some maneuvering the twin after we had talked about using the engine controls to control the boat instead of the wheel. He learned well and we went out of the slip and said goodbye.

As we left, we looked to the left and saw the Kentucky State Penitentiary and Deb said "I know where we are now." Funny what you remember!

As you can see below, Mike is a happy boater at this point!

Unfortunately, we didn't have the time to stop by Green Turtle Bay and see some of our friends there. There should be a next time!

 After passing through the Canal and heading south which is really North on the charts, we passed the entrance to the Rock Quarry.

 The Rock Quarry is as close to the Party Cove at Lake of the Ozarks as you will get in Kentucky Lake. As a matter of fact, the boat we are on must have seen a bunch of days over there. It has the receptacle for a dance pole on the aft deck. No longer is the pole around otherwise Deb might have wanted to try it out!

We anchored in Duncan Bay which was one of our favorite anchorages when we kept our boat at Green Turtle Bay for 5 years.

We were up the next morning and checked all the fluids again only to find they were ........ perfect! Things are looking up all the time.

Our next challenge is going to be fuel burn. We are working with Mike on this trip to try and get the boat down as economically as possible. I did some research about fuel burn on Crusader engines and came up with a fuel burn chart. From my calculations, we should be able to meet his budget IF we can achieve a certain speed with an RPM less than a certain amount. We were going to find all of that out by the end of the second day.

Below you can see a picture of his engine compartment with the twin Crusader engines and Kohler Generator. To the lower right is a picture of the V-drive for the starboard (right) engine.

 As we were heading "North" on the charts, we came upon a Tow which had it lights on. This was great to me because I could capture the picture you see to the left. It shows the two yellow lights pointing back. Those are actually called Towing Lights. If you see a yellow light over a yellow light, it means there is a tow ahead and it is pushing. Sarah, one of my students in Florence, AL came up with the saying - Yellow over Yellow is a pushy fellow. I still use that saying with my students today!

We approached the Bridge and it brought back memories for me when a vessel carrying solid rocket boosters took out one of the spans. It was a navigational error of great magnitude which I still today do not understand of a professional Captain. The replacement span is shown as the complete span to the left. However, the correct span they should have gone under is shown below. You can just make out the light in the middle. There is always a light in the middle!

Many people think the reason this accident happened was because the person at the helm was confused about which way the charts were oriented. They figure he thought he was going North when on the Charts he is actually going South.

 Looked like we had 58 foot of clearance so we could easily slip under this bridge!

 Once under we found these "sailboats" which are really powerboats crossing the channel. The rules actually say that a power vessel crossing a channel in the inland waters with a current shall not "impede" another power vessel going up or down the channel. Well, I guess nobody told these folks. We abided by another rule which essentially says you can't hit anybody.

So we are underway on the second day and life is doing ok. But wait, I had some problems with my computer and had to figure out another way to upload my website which is why this is a day later. In addition, we had some more items which will capture your interest in our next post. Should be tomorrow. Look forward to what we just found out - Locks are closing and our schedule has to change - longer days ahead!

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