Saturday, October 20, 2018:
We were up way before the sun (0430). It was overcast and 50 degrees. We had breakfast and read the hometown paper on line. We cranked up the diesel and raised the anchor at 0710. At 0800 we passed under the Egner’s Ferry Bridge. At 1100 we passed the Graestone Express tow with nine barges and met the Crimson White down-bound pushing coal.
By 1435 we were at the Pebble Isle Marina fuel dock and Billy helped us fuel up. We took on 254.5 gallons of diesel at $2.99/gallon with our Boat US membership discount. Then we slipped on over to the transient floating dock for a two day stay. We dined in the Grey Heron which is part of the floating dock. The people were very friendly and the food was good.
On Sunday we took the courtesy car to Compassion Church. Jane is pretty good at looking on-line and finding suitable places to worship. The folks there were quite friendly and one lady that came over to greet us asked how we found them. Jane said, “I always look for a good website because we don’t want to end up in one of those places that bring out the snakes.” The nice lady didn’t miss a beat and said, “Well, we are Pentecostal, but you won’t see that here.” I think Jane wanted to disappear at that point. Anyway it was a moving and upbeat service and we were glad we went. After church, we grocery shopped at the Super Wal-Mart. When we returned to the marina, we saw that Rejoice had come in and docked right behind us. We had talked on the radio Friday and were expecting them. A plan was set for docktails later and Jane and I got out the bikes and rode through the Civil War park nearby. It was interesting and some great exercise because it is really hilly. We walked through the Crockett Cemetery there, but I have no idea if the family there is related to Davey Crockett.
We enjoyed reconnecting with Rick and Deedy from Rejoice and it was nice to hang out with just the four of us instead of a crowd. It got chilly, but there was warmth in the friendship. Blankets and red wine also helped.
Monday, October 22, 2018:
It was 35 degrees so we stayed under the covers. We didn’t need to hurry since we were only planning to go to Lick Creek and anchor. It is 33 miles and there are no locks to slow us down. We finally got up and started getting things ready. I refilled the fresh water tanks and we slipped off the Pebble Isle dock at 1030. Ten minutes later, we were back in the Tennessee River channel of Kentucky Lake. It was smooth and easy cruising with little traffic.
At 1320 we passed the Tom Freeman with his 16 empties.
At some point we made a decision to stop short and anchor behind Denson’s Island. It seemed well protected and does not require a trip off the river up a creek. It was a deep anchorage, but the holding was great and we were snugly hooked on the first try even though we were in 32 feet.
After a while Mike and Cindy on Wine Speed came in behind the island to join us at anchor.
They invited us to dinghy over for happy hour which was a blast. We had noticed a kayaker camping on the island and just before dark; he launched and came paddling by us. He said he was from Minnesota or Wisconsin and was going all the way to Key West. His name was Peter and he had his little dog, Medusa, with him. He liked to travel at night since there is less wind. We may see him again along the way. We returned to our boat and cooked veggies on the grill followed by some quality time on the fly bridge.
Tuesday, October 23, 2018:
We hauled up the anchor at 0920. It came up clean as a whistle. It was foggy earlier, but that cleared out by 0900. We slipped on out from behind the island and the day was looking to be sunny and pleasant as we followed Wine Speed up the river which is in a generally southern direction.
At 1420 we passed Father Pat and then Bill Hill. The tow captains are always helpful to us “plastic boaters”. At one point, I had left my radio on channel 13. Bill Hill came on and let me know that Wine Speed was calling me on 16.
We were headed for an anchorage at Indian Creek, but Mike got there first and said it looked too shallow and narrow to him. That was all I needed to hear and we set for the next spot just another mile further. At 1505 we sneaked in behind Swallow Bluff Island (mm 169.5) and anchored there behind Wine Speed in eight feet. Not a bad day in all. We covered 44 ½ miles and all was well. It was a day of abstinence, but after naptime, we launched the dink and putt-putted over to join them for yappy hour. Directly, another Looper boat came into the anchorage. Mike got on the radio and invited them to dinghy over as well. They did and we got to meet the crew of Summer Lynn, Gary and Nancy Eoff and their guest Ken.
They are from Alaska and recently started the Loop. It was a blast meeting brand new Loopers and helping them feel welcome. It was their first official “docktails”, so we taught them the “official” toast of Loopers: “There are good ships and wood ships and ships that sail the seas, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be”.
Wednesday, October 24, 2018:
It was cold again, 38 degrees this morning. An orderly exit was made from the anchorage and we left the same way we had entered. Wine Speed took the lead with us in the middle and Summer Lynn following behind.
The three of us stayed together because we know that it can help to have numbers when arriving at a lock. Soon a fourth boat appeared and joined our little flotilla. At 0900 we passed the down-bound Tresten and Robert Cenac in an odd configuration with one pushing and one tugging a barge with some butane storage bullets.
At 0910 I checked the shaft seal and it is leaking at one time per second. That’s tolerable. By 1300 we entered the Pickwick Lock for the 55 foot lift up. Wine Speed went ahead to the number 2 pin on starboard while we took the number 2 pin to port. The other two boats secured to the 7 pins in the back of the lock.
The lock doors were closed and the lock began to fill. We began the ascent and then the lockmaster called us over the radio, “Pickwick Lock to Sabbatical”. I said go ahead. He said, “Captain, we have a problem.” I looked quickly about and we were still secured to the floating bollard and the water was still rising. Everything seemed normal. So I responded, “What’s the problem?” He said, “We can’t let you out of the lock flying that big Gator flag.” Funny guy. I asked if he was a Volunteer and he said “Bama Fan” so I gave him a “Roll Tide” and he let us go on our way. We had reservations for a slip at Pickwick Landing State Park Marina, but I had a call from Captain Crusty (Magic) that there were a great group of Loopers at Aqua Yacht Harbor and we should join them. We acquiesced and changed our reservations to AYH in Iuka, Mississippi.
Once we were on Pickwick Lake it was windy and the weather began to deteriorate, but we docked at AYH at 1440. Once we got checked in, we first wanted showers and to use the laundry, but we found out that there was a broken water main and the entire area was without water. They had been working on it since early in the morning. It would have been nice to have been told that when we changed our reservations. I also gave Capt Crusty a hard time for not telling us when he called and talked us into coming there. All in all, though, it was just an inconvenience and was fixed by the next morning. We had a great group of Loopers meet for docktails under the pavilion on D dock. At least 17 boats were represented.
Later, we brought our dinner over to Band Wagon and ate with them and Mike and Cindy from Wine Speed. It was a good time.
The next day it was drizzling cold rain all day. Jane did get her laundry done and the hot showers were great. We got crews of Wine Speed, Band Wagon and Magic together for dinner at the Aqua Yacht Harbor Grille and then met up on the fly bridge of Wine Speed for a great time after. Even the inclement weather couldn’t dampen our spirits!