Crossing the Gulf of Mexico

Boating can be spectacular – it can also be treacherous.  We cannot emphasize enough – Weather Advisories must be taken seriously – as Mother Nature has no pity for fools.  Be Smart.  Plan for the worst, establish a safety plan, and travel with a known boat buddy (someone you trust, and care about). When there is a weather window – Go, Go, Go!

Apalachicola, Florida

RawBar

But First, a scrumptious meal with Unfettered & Gypsy at Up the Creek Oyster Raw Bar.  Rick and I agreed, it was possibly the best shrimp we have ever eaten! We also said a tearful but happy “See Ya Later” to Gypsy. Don’t worry Susan and Jim, we will connect again (Jim, there’s still a Gin Smash in the fridge awaiting your return).

Gulf of Mexico Crossing Schedule

Departure:  Thursday, 11/8/2018. Time: 1100 hours

On Board: Flotilla commander – Captain Rick; First Mate – Mary; Seasoned Crew, Co-Pilot, Chef, and Bridge Measuring Tall Guy – David Floyd; Admiral, Safety Officer – Maddie Sue.

Float Plan:  Depart Apalachicola, FL at 1100 hours, Crossing the Gulf of Mexico.  Approximately 171 miles. Average Speed 7 knots.  Lead Boat is Exhale followed by Unfettered. Cavara to fall into rank en-route. Rendezvous with Bushranger roughly 1400 hrs (2 pm). Roll Call includes 1) Exhale, 2) Bushranger, 3) Unfettered, 4) Cavara. Destination: Clearwater, FL.  Estimated Travel Time – 24 hours.

Crew Shifts: 2.2.2

Over the period of 24 hours, Three crew member shifts, scheduled as follows:  2.2.2   Two hour nap, Two hour “on watch” in co-pilot seat, two hour as boat pilot, repeat. Subject to change, or as vetoed by the commander, of course.

Captain’s Log: Thursday, Nov 8, 1124 hours (11 am), Apalachicola

Departed with Buddy Boat, Unfettered.

UnfetteredRidingOnTop
Unfettered. Shoeless Corey, aka “on the threes”, running up top

Captain’s Log: 1404 hours (2 pm), somewhere near Carabelle (open water).

Rendezvous with Bushranger successful.  Package handoff completed.

Thursday204pmhandoff
Cookies transferred (not tossed). Boat Bread received.

Captain’s Log:  1414 hours, Flotilla roll call complete.

Thursday214pm

Captain’s Log 1500 hours.

All Looper’s in position. Water slight chop. Roll call and hourly report from Flotilla, all is well, more or less.

Thursday3pmFlotilla
Crew Report:  Nap in bow cabin failed attempt, water felt like a bucking bronco.

Crew Report 1600 hours  Commander at helm station, taking catnap.

CatnapWithDog
Safety Officer, Maddie Sue, on guard.

Crew Report:  1700 hours – Crockpot filled with beef stew, courtesy of Chef David.

By the way, thanks again Marty & Anders! We used this baby many, many times.

DinnerInTheSink

Captain’s Log: Thursday, 1730 hours (5:30 pm), sun setting on the Gulf of Mexico

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Photo by David Floyd

Captain’s Log: 1800 hours.

Running Lights are on. Flotilla is in position. Gentle Rolling Waves.  All is well.

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Bushranger, Unfettered, Cavara

Friday, November 9, 2018

Crew Report: Friday, November 9, 0100 hours (1 am).  Commander sleeping. Dolphins observed playing starboard, alongside the pilot house cabin door, as if to say “hey”!

Captain’s Log, Friday, 0250 hours (2:50 am), no moon, 3 following, running lights strong.

Friday250am3lights
Bushranger, Cavara, Unfettered.  It’s really dark out here.

Captain’s Log, Friday, 5:56 am, calm waters, 2 following, running lights strong.

Bushranger set a course to Tarpon Springs.  Travel Safe Aussie’s

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Unfettered, Cavara

Captain’s Log: 5:58 am – Crack of Dawn

Friday558am
Friday 5:58 am

Captain’s Log  6:10 am – Here Comes the Sun

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6:51 am, Gulf of Mexico

Friday651am

6:53 am, Gulf of Mexico

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Arrival in Clearwater: Friday, November 9, 11:10 am. On Schedule (Yep, 24 hours!)

Clearwater1110amFriday

WE DID IT!

Thanks Commander Rick for the phenomenal planning, level headed guidance, exceptional buddy boat skills (adjusting speed for the turtle boat) and perfect timing for the weather window; it was a course well set for all! Thanks to everyone in the flotilla, the hourly check-ins by all boats kept everyone entertained and awake, thanks to Capt Rick (and watch dog Maddie Sue), we all arrived safe. And, thanks to David Floyd for making the 11 hour road trip to join us on the final leg.

Clearwater, Florida. Little Toot

ClearwaterLittleToot

Enjoying the timing of this little boat.  In my head: I think we can; I hope we can; I know we can; oh YES, we did!

Turtle Tribute

For all the Turtle Boats

ClearwaterTurtle

For those of you unfamiliar with the Gulf of Mexico Crossing, here’s our Nebo Log, complete with a map showing the route and speed intervals over a period of 24 hours.  Let’s be clear – crossing the gulf of Mexico in the dark of the night, with no land in sight, was a BIG deal!!

Click here for the NeboLog

Next up:  Crossing the Wake in Fort Myers on Sunday!

Invitation to our Fort Myers Neighbors:

Please join us at our house on Sunday, November 11 around 4 pm. Come around to the dock (backyard), watch us come in, and share in the champagne!

Don’t panic, just breathe, inhale, exhale, repeat…

Gulf crossing commences with smooth waters, Nov 8, 2018.

Breaking News: 24-hour gulf crossing in progress, November 8, 2018.

If the water is smooth, it should be approximately 24 hours. Yep, 24. From Scipio to Clearwater is 171 nautical miles. To save you the math, that means 7.125 knots per hour, on average. We left the dock at 11 am, so we plan to be in Clearwater by 11 am on November 9, 2018.

Breathe deep everyone, we got this! We are traveling with three buddy boats, Bushranger, Unfettered and Cavara.

Unfettered

First, Let’s Get Caught Up.

Orange Beach, Alabama

We left off in Orange Beach where we had an Aussie good time with Bushranger

Bushranger Orange Beach
Mark and Heather Rutherford in Orange Beach, Bushranger.

Utopia crosses its wake

Congrats to our fabulous dirt neighbors, Ann and Dale for crossing your wake!!

Utopia

Road Trip to Fort Myers, FL

Exhale was docked in Orange Beach while Rick flew to LA and Mary and Maddie drove to Fort Myers.

MaddieFortMyers
Maddie is happy to be in Fort Myers where couch patrol resumes.

It was a great time to catch up with friends (Hey, Donna!) and meet with nonprofit clients, including Southwest Florida Community Foundation, Wildlife Education Project and Eva’s Closet. 

Happy Halloween from the SWFL Yacht Club

JanAndKerry
Happy Halloween!
Halloween1965
Alaska style Halloween. Alice, Mary, and Frances. Notice the costumes over winter wear! ~ 1965

Hello to our yacht club friends.

Bolder Boards with Dan Pallotta

From an inspirational Long Beach CA TED Talk in 2013, to a personal meeting with Dan Pallotta.  Living a Dream.

BolderBoardDanPallotta
Meet Dan Pallotta. Charity Case. I’m possible. I am overhead. Thanks for listening, Sarah.

Working with my favorite nonprofit, SWFLCF – Dan Pallotta at the Collaboratory. (thanks, Sarah, Sydney and Erica. The Art of Thank You.)

Wildlife Education Project

WEPDotTrooper

Meet another nonprofit client, Dot and Trooper from WEP, taking care of business at Bank of America.

Eva’s Closet

Dear friend, and former colleague, Danielle Visone, strategy chat with Board member of Eva’s Closet.

DanielleVisone

Thanks for Voting!

For all of you who got out and voted, no matter what oval you filled in, THANKS!

 

MijaVoted
Te Amo, Mija.

Sunrise in Fort Myers

An early departure, Dave joined us for an 11 hour car ride with Maddie from Fort Myers to Orange Beach.

FortMyersSunrise

Traveling with Friends

Dave Floyd is back on board, he’s doing the crossing with us. Hooray! And, thanks.

DaveRick.JPG

Reunion with Gypsy – Welcome to Florida

It is great to travel with Gypsy. They inspired us to run from the Fly Bridge.  So awesome.

FloridaBridge
Florida State Line

WelcomeFlorida

Welcome Committee

DolphinEscort
Hello from the Florida girls.

Fort Walton Beach, FL with Gypsy

StandingProud

Standing Proud in the face of Hurricane Michael

PanamaBlueRoofs

Ever wonder where those tarps come from? Operation Blue Roof by the Corp of Engineers is well underway.

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Gypsy

Lighthouse, Panama City

LighthouseMarinaGypsy

North Star

It was tragic to see the 261 foot North Star run aground by Hurricane Michael. A freezer stern trawling vessel, she was destined for the Bering Sea, but did not leave soon enough. If you want to learn more, read here. 

NorthStar

Here we go – may the waters be smooth and the weather gods kind.

Traveling with Unfettered, Cavara and Bushranger. Flat waters so far. Taking turns staying awake!

HereWeGo

We just met Bushranger on the water! The exchange: boat baked bread from Heather for boat baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, packed in a water tight bag in case the handoff (in motion) gets soggy. Yum!

Handoff

Next up: Chill the Champagne, Exhale is about to Cross her wake in Fort Myers!

Where Have We Been So Far? Thanks for asking 🙂

Nautical miles traveled as of November 8 (before the gulf crossing): 4,609, fuel consumption: 2,543 gallons

Total Locks completed = 150

  • Florida – Lake Okeechobee area: 7
  • Virginia – Great Dismal Swamp: 2
  • New York – Troy & Champlain Canal: 12
  • CANADA – Chambly Canal/Quebec: 9
  • CANADA – Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway: 5
  • CANADA – Rideau Canal/Ontario: 47
  • CANADA – Trent-Severn Waterway: 44
  • Illinois – Calumet, Illinois and Ohio Rivers: 8 locks plus 2 dams (wickets thrown down)
  • Kentucky – Kentucky Lake Lock and Dam: 1
  • Tennessee – Pickwick Lock and Dam: 1
  • Tenn-Tombigbee Waterway: 12

States and Provinces traversed on the water, commencing March 1, 2018:

Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama (18)

Canada Provinces (June 10 – August 9): Quebec, Ontario (2).

Side trips (via train, plane or automobile):

Los Angeles (MS [3 – April, May & Sept], Rick [5 – May, June, July, Sept, Oct] & Maddie [2 – May, Sept], Cleveland (RMG, MS & Maddie [2- April and July], Craig [April]), St. Charles, St. Louis, and Chattanooga (with B & B), Lookout Mountain & Missionary Ridge, TN by train (with B & B), MS road trip from Orange Beach, Alabama to Fort Myers with Maddie

Broken Hearts for Pittsburgh, PA

The hateful synagogue massacre, killing 11 innocent people could not be ignored.

On this journey we have been greatly detached from the news. In some cases it is the lack of transmission, in other cases we have chosen to unplug. This week the hateful synagogue massacre, killing 11 innocent people could not be ignored.

This time, it’s personal

Many of you know, Rick was born in Pittsburg. His parents were born and raised in Squirrel Hill, the home of Tree Life Congregation. The synagogue is located “right up the street from Grandma’s house.” Yes, the Ginsburgs still have family in Squirrel Hill.

For a while Rick’s parents lived in Latrobe, PA, a city in Westmoreland County, part of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. Think small town USA. In 2017 the population was ~7,900. Home of the Pittsburgh Steelers training camp, Latrobe was also the residence of comedian Jackie Mason, iconic golfer Arnold Palmer and America’s beloved sweater wearing neighbor, Mr. Rogers.

Tree of Life Congregation, or L’Simcha, is where Rick’s parents were married, and where Rick went as a young child. The tragic news of a mass murder struck hard.

Life in a Small Town

Most big cities are really just a lot of little neighborhoods. So, just focus on your little block, your little corner of the world. In Latrobe, PA, a town where the Banana Split was created, for real, similar to small towns in Alaska, and in Squirrel Hill, everyone felt like extended family. Growing up in a small town gives you a sense of belonging, and of accountability.

Remember the Lost Souls

Perhaps it is easy to click off the news, on the radio and on the tv, to continue with your life as if nothing happened, again. Please, don’t. Don’t bury your head in the sand, and don’t forget the eleven who died:

David Rosenthal, 54; Cecil Rosenthal, 59; Richard Gottfried, 65; Jerry Rabinowitz, 66; Irving Younger, 69; Daniel Stein, 71; Joyce Fienberg, 75; Bernice Simon 84; Sylvan Simon, 86; Melvin Wax, 88; and Rose Mallinger, 97.

You can make a difference:

No matter what your religious beliefs or political persuasion – in our house we are a little of everything – we must stand together. We must have a zero tolerance for hatred and violence in all forms. We must treat all men and women with true equality AND we must honor the human rights of all the people on this fragile planet we call earth.

We can agree, or disagree on so many things, but violence cannot be tolerated.

What can you do?

  • Get Out and Vote. No excuses.
  • Volunteer in your community. Call your local community foundation, they love volunteers!  If you are in southwest Florida, click here for my recommendation.
  • Contact your elected officials, often.  Remind them of their fiduciary responsibility to the citizens who elected them. Demand they act on behalf of the families they represent, and that they take a stand. Hold them accountable.

A lesson from Mr. Rogers, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”

So here’s a little challenge: If you don’t know your neighbors, go next door and say hello. You might make a new friend. And if you do know your neighbors, go check in. Form your own little neighborhood watch.

Just for fun, wear a sweater.

A message from Rabbi Harry Rosenfeld

Finally, in the words of my beloved rabbi Harry Rosenfeld (formerly from Congregation Beth Sholom in Anchorage, AK):

“We need to step out front and change our world for the better. Building a fortress and locking ourselves in does not make us safer. It lets the hate grow and ultimately win. Take positive actions. Voting, teaching kindness, and standing up for what is ethical is positive action.”

Next week we will continue with our journey on Exhale.

Meanwhile – try a little kindness.

Sing it with me now, “We will, we will LOCK you!”

Yeah baby, 150 locks completed! And then we found an Aussie stowaway.

Demopolis, Alabama

Demopolis is a well known holdover for the Fall Migration of boaters, eagerly waiting for hurricane season to officially end. Infamous for its unique customer service …

Demopolis
The legendary Ginger G.  All hippies welcome! 

Demopolis Lock and Dam, lock #149

Another early morning lock.

DemopolisDam

Bashi Creek – anchored out with Bushranger

Our new Aussie friends, Heather and Mark Rutherford on Bushranger, lead the way to Bashi Creek, another serene anchorage.

Bushranger
Who is driving this boat, perhaps another Koala bear?

Some logs are good …

We spend countless hours watching for – and avoiding – logs, since they can cause serious damage. Once in a while, logs in the river serve to be rather useful.

LogBashiCreek
A fallen tree served as a stern anchor, gently securing the boat. Nice job lassoing that log, Capt Rick.

Log patrol continues

NotALog
That’s not a log …
NotALog2
This one is for Heather.  Definitely, not a log

When the apparent “log” is traveling against the current, is more likely an alligator.

Bobby’s Fish Camp – tonight’s dinner special – fish

Although the dock is only long enough for two or three boats, the river is wide, making it easy to raft off.  We heard the record number was 17 boats! Generous, delicious portions of fresh fish are served Thursday through Sunday, so time your arrival.

BFishCamp

ChefBobby
Chef ‘lil Bobby
BobbysDinner
Exhale, Bushranger, kayaker Steve, 3rd Wish, and Recess – zoom for carcasses. 

CoffeeVille Lock and Dam

Drum roll  – we ROCKED the last lock of our loop, a total of 150 since March 1, 2018. Enjoying a little coffee in CoffeeVille, Royal Navy kayaker, Steve Chard hitched a ride. To learn more about Steve Chard “one man, his kayak and 6,000 miles of water” click here. 

CoffeeVilleLandD

CoffeeInCoffeevilleLock
Capt Rick delivers coffee to UK kayaker, Steve Chard, in CoffeeVille. 

Three Rivers – anchored out with Dirt Neighbors

Champagne was uncorked with Bushranger after our final lock.  It was a Double Celebration due to the reunion of Exhale and Utopia, our real life, same street, “dirt” neighbors from Fort Myers.

3RiversDaleAnn
Dale Morgan and Ann Hughes on Utopia

Thank you, Dale Morgan, for taking Capt. Rick and I to a Fort Myers, FL seminar about the loop, long before you guys bought your beautiful boat.  Utopia started their adventure on the Great Loop on May 1, 2018. Perhaps you heard of Ann, the Basket Lady, who handed out sweets and treats to smiling lock staff.  And now we have mutual friends on Gypsy (see you soon, Susan and Jim Merritt). It is a privilege to cruise with Utopia again, as we all share in the Dream Journey.

Mobile River

DollyPardonBridge
Locally known as Dolly’s Bridge, do you know why?
MobileIndustry
Heavy industry along the river.

Mobile Convention Center

We continued to travel with Bushranger, tying off at the wall of the convention center for two days, a strategic location for a “walk about” of Mobile.

MobileConventionCenter

MobileMuseumHeatherR
Touring with Heather Rutherford, Bushranger.

The Rutherford Collection

What a treat, to find the Rutherford Collection.  We didn’t know we were in the company of royalty when we met the Aussies.

RutherfordCollection1

Riding in Style.

RutherfordCollection2

RutherfordCollection3

The Wharf at Orange Beach, Alabama

Congratulations to Beverly Abel, Sea Trek. She’s now a Gold Looper.

BeverlyCrossesHerWake

Champagne at Orange Beach with Bruce and Beverly from Sea Trek. 

Where are we headed next:  Florida Panhandle, weather permitting.

Where Have We Been So Far? Thanks for asking 🙂

Total Locks completed = 150

  • Florida – Lake Okeechobee area: 7
  • Virginia – Great Dismal Swamp: 2
  • New York – Troy & Champlain Canal: 12
  • CANADA – Chambly Canal/Quebec: 9
  • CANADA – Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway: 5
  • CANADA – Rideau Canal/Ontario: 47
  • CANADA – Trent-Severn Waterway: 44
  • Illinois – Calumet, Illinois and Ohio Rivers: 8 locks plus 2 dams (wickets thrown down)
  • Kentucky – Kentucky Lake Lock and Dam: 1
  • Tennessee – Pickwick Lock and Dam: 1
  • Tenn-Tombigbee Waterway: 12

States and Provinces traversed on the water, commencing March 1, 2018:

Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama (18)

Canada Provinces (June 10 – August 9): Quebec, Ontario (2).

Side trips (via train, plane or automobile):

Los Angeles (MS [3 – April, May & Sept], Rick [4 – May, June, July, Sept] & Maddie [2 – May, Sept], Cleveland (RMG, MS & Maddie [2- April and July], Craig [April]), St. Charles, St. Louis, and Chattanooga (with B & B), Lookout Mountain & Missionary Ridge, TN by train (with B & B)

 

Fall Colors on the Tenn-Tom

Fall is our favorite time of the year, surrounded by colorful trees and cool temperatures.

TTW3

The Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway is known locally as the “Tenn-Tom.” Why? Because it’s a lot easier to remember, especially for people of a certain silver age.

TTW

This week we opted to be “on the hook” with Sea Trek at four (4) locations along the Tenn-Tom.

 Whiten Lock – anchorage

SeaTrek

For us, anchoring out is akin to glamour camping, or “glamping.” since we eat under a star-filled sky, surrounded by the sounds of nature.

WhitenSunset

When you don’t have tv distractions, it’s a great time to play Train Dominoes.

TrainDominos

Thanks Marty and Anders for introducing us to this lively game. As you can see, Beverly won this round.

GloverWilkens

Glover Wilkens Dam – anchorage

Pipework4Sam
Pipe Work Southern Style for Sam.

Columbus, MS

ColumbusRainbow
Rainbow at Columbus, it’s a good sign, MO.

Look, Trevor, at the marina in Columbus we found a North Pacific Sedan!

NPYSedan
Morgan and Marty Toland, Elizabeth

Locking with Loopers

We departed Columbus with a flotilla, six Loopers including us.

LockingTT6

Wondering if this is Clark Kent country … that might explain the strategic location of this phone booth.

PhoneBooth4Superman
A tribute to Superman.

Windham Landing – anchorage

We enjoyed yet another beautiful night with Sea Trek.

SunsetRick

White Cliffs, Alabama

Who exactly was “Tom Bigbee?”  As we approached the majestic White Cliffs, we had plenty of time to research the burning question.

WhiteCliff2

Expecting the answer to be a southern gentlemen or a politician influential enough to have his name on a 234-mile commercial channel with ten locks and dams, Wikipedia provided another American history lesson.

WhiteCliffAlabama

During the 17th century, the gentle winding river formed the eastern boundary of the Choctaw lands. In the 1830’s, President Andrew Jackson signed a forced migration of the Native Americans into law. Aptly named, Tombigbee is a Choctaw term meaning box maker or coffin maker, a somber reminder of the devastating Indian Removal.

Rattlesnake cutoff – anchorage

Thanks to Sea Trek, patrol for the night was a welcomed alien.

RattleSnake

Thanks for the ride to shore, Capt Bruce.  We enjoyed anchoring out with y’all.

MaddieTransit
Bruce Peck, ‘lil SeaTrek, another happy taxi ride for Maddie.

Unicorns are more than magical!

A special shout out to Maureen O, who provided this week’s trivia:  the unicorn is the official animal of Scotland! Now that’s a country that appreciates good libations. If you doubt the power of a unicorn – here’s the official word from National Geographic:

ScotlandUnicornDrinks
Of course, unicorns drink martinis!

Next up: finishing the Tennessee –Tombigbee Waterway 

Where Have We Been So Far? Thanks for asking 🙂

Total Locks completed = 146 plus 2 dams, includes:

  • Florida – Lake Okeechobee area: 7
  • Virginia – Great Dismal Swamp: 2
  • New York – Troy & Champlain Canal: 12
  • CANADA – Chambly Canal/Quebec: 9
  • CANADA – Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway: 5
  • CANADA – Rideau Canal/Ontario: 47
  • CANADA – Trent-Severn Waterway: 44
  • Illinois – Calumet, Illinois and Ohio Rivers: 8 plus 2 dams (wickets thrown down)
  • Kentucky – Kentucky Lake Lock and Dam: 1
  • Tennessee – Pickwick Lock and Dam: 1
  • Tenn-Tombigbee Waterway: 10

States and Provinces traversed on the water, commencing March 1, 2018:

Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama (18)

Canada Provinces (June 10 – August 9): Quebec, Ontario (2).

Side trips (via train, plane or automobile):

Los Angeles (MS [3 – April, May & Sept], Rick [4 – May, June, July, Sept] & Maddie [2 – May, Sept], Cleveland (RMG, MS & Maddie [2- April and July], Craig [April]), St. Charles, St. Louis, and Chattanooga (with B & B), Lookout Mountain & Missionary Ridge, TN by train (with B & B)

Chattanooga Choo Choo

Pardon me boy, is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo?
Track twenty nine …

Pickwick Landing Lock & Dam, Tennessee

Pickwick Landing Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the Tennessee River, one of nine dams owned and operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority, which built the dam in the 1930s as part of a New Deal-era initiative.  Thanks, FDR!

For all you boaters, the dam causes one heck of a current as you enter the lock!

Pickwick1

If you want to learn more about Pickwick Landing Dam, click here

Maddie found a new spot to hang out on the long voyages.

MaddieAgain

Road Trip!!

We docked Exhale for a week so we could take a side trip with Sea Trek to Chattanooga.

Battle of Shiloh, April 6 and 7, 1862

As we entered the national park, a rush of emotions overwhelmed us as we realized the battle fields extend as far as the eye can see.

ShilohFields

Monuments are positioned with respect for the lost souls from the Civil War, a battle fought Across Five Aprils (novel by Irene Hunt, published in 1964 and winner of the 1965 Newbery Honor)

ShilohMore

Neither Rick nor I have ever experienced such a gut wrenching sadness, felt deep in our hearts. The official loss: 23,746 casualties over the course of just two days.

ShilohMonument

The Civil War, fought from April 1861 until May 1865, engaged children as young as 10. Tragically, the war ripped the country apart – with many of the same fundamental issues we continue to face today.

ShilohSoldier

Cotton Fields

As we drove by acres and acres of cotton, I couldn’t help but think of the significant role the puffy white balls played in the shaping of our nation.

Cotton

Huntsville Rocket

On the drive we spotted the Saturn V rocket – the one from all the moon shots!

HuntsvilleRocket
photo by Beverly Abel

Chattanooga, Tennessee – by rail

Chatt3
Chattanooga Choo Choo
ForAlisha
for Alisha
Chatt2Station
Chattanooga Railway Station

SongBirds – Guitar Museum

While Capt Rick was on yet another conference call, I got to explore the SongBirds Museum with Bruce Peck and his beloved first mate, Beverly Abel from Sea Trek.

Guitars3

Guitars2
Autographed by Bo Diddley, for real.
Guitars1
Roy Orbison

Ruby Falls

If you visit Chattanooga, take the time to do real touristy stuff. Make your #1 stop Naturally Wonderful.

RubyFalls1

Always 60 degrees Fahrenheit; “below freezing” for Maureen. This 145-foot waterfall is located 260 feet below ground.

RubyFalls2

Lookout Mountain – Incline Railway

Another distinguished tourist destination, found one mile high, is both a National Historical and National Mechanical Engineering Landmark.

InclineRail

72.7% incline, the steepest passenger railway in the world.

Switch

The switch. At the halfway point two cars pass alongside each other. Using a weight and pulley system.

InclineView

Rock City

Hey Susan Merritt, Gypsy, we recommend you See Rock City! Home of the mushroom rock, gnomes climbing rocks, and some rather stunning views.

MushroomRock
Rocks for Susan Merritt, Gypsy, closing the gap.
RockCity2
Gnomes for Jamie

CliffRidge

Overlooking the Tennessee Valley you can see seven states; binoculars provided for a quarter.

SevenStates

Missionary Ridge – a special train ride

Like most of the men I know who are young at heart, Bruce Peck, Sea Trek, loves trains! Thanks Beverly Abel, Sea Trek, for handling all the logistics for our journey by rail on the Tennessee Valley Rail Road.  We loved the trip to Missionary Ridge.

MinionRailforTyler
Minion Railway for our grandson, Tyler Hendry (fondly called Andy by his G’pa).
MissionRidge
Mission Ridge – TV Railroad

Maddie’s First Train Ride

MaddieTrain
Maddie got a window seat.

Iuka, Mississipi

After a wonderful road trip with B & B, we returned to Aqua Marina, where we were joined by Capt. Rick’s younger brother, Bobby G. (aka Bubba). Welcome Aboard – next time, please bring Katy!

BobbyG
Brotherly Love – Bubba and Rick.

Violets for Maureen

Look Mo, with consistent tender care, the violets from Canada bloomed again, reminding us of you. Notice the candle in the background 🙂

VioletsForMaureen
Violets for Maureen. BBF

Next up: South down the Tennessee Tom-Bigby Waterway aka the Tenn-Tom 

Where Have We Been So Far? Thanks for asking 🙂

Total Locks completed = 136 plus 2 dams, includes:

  • Florida – Lake Okeechobee area: 7
  • Virginia – Great Dismal Swamp: 2
  • New York – Troy & Champlain Canal: 12
  • CANADA – Chambly Canal/Quebec: 9
  • CANADA – Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway: 5
  • CANADA – Rideau Canal/Ontario: 47
  • CANADA – Trent-Severn Waterway: 44
  • Illinois – Calumet, Illinois and Ohio Rivers: 8 plus 2 dams (wickets thrown down)
  • Kentucky – Kentucky Lake Lock and Dam: 1
  • Tennessee – Pickwick Lock and Dam: 1

States and Provinces traversed on the water, commencing March 1, 2018:

Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama (18)

Canada Provinces (June 10 – August 9): Quebec, Ontario (2).

Side trips (via train, plane or automobile):

Los Angeles (MS [3 – April, May & Sept], Rick [4 – May, June, July, Sept] & Maddie [2 – May, Sept], Cleveland (RMG, MS & Maddie [2- April and July], Craig [April]), St. Charles, St. Louis, and Chattanooga (with B & B), Lookout Mountain & Missionary Ridge, Tennessee by train (with B & B)

 

Not all Turtles are Cute

Beware: swimming turtles are fast, and dangerous. Especially when it’s dinner time.

Paducah, Kentucky

The city marina in Paducah is one long wall, making it really easy to dock.

Paducah

In Paducah we met Jim and Kelly HoranS/V Jimmy Rigged.  So sad to hear about your sailboat tragedy going into the marina, so thankful you were quickly rescued and your three orange kitties are all okay.

Happy Birthday Bruce

Celebrating 56 (strike, reverse that, Willy Wonka!).  Live Long and Prosper Sea Trek.

Bruce65

Green Turtle Bay, Kentucky

A popular destination for southern folks (Hello, Donna!), there were hundreds of turtles swimming around Green Turtle Bay.  Accustomed to people feeding them, the turtles climb on top of each other – forget about a “dog pile”, the aggressive little turtle piles were insane.

GreenTurtle2
Feed Me!

GreenTurtle1

Deer

GreenTurtleBay
Green Turtle Bay Marina

Patti’s 1880’s Settlement – worth the stop! Click here to learn more!

PattisSettlement

Dry Fork Bay Anchor, Land Between the Lake

Congrats to Forever Friday and HeartBeat – celebrating their FIRST day on the Loop.

NewLoopers
New Loopers – Heartbeat and Forever Friday. Day 1
DryForkAnchor
A dinghy ride to dry land for Maddie Sue.

LandBetweenTheLakes

AnchoredOutSeaTrek
Anchored out with Sea Trek
DinghySpeed
Speeding along on Inhale. This little boat goes 4 times faster than Exhale!!

Hello Tennessee

Bridge

Pebble Isle, Tennessee

Don’t ever underestimate the power of one.  One child, one woman, one man, one voice. Acorn

From just one small acorn, grows a mighty oak.

MightyOak

Savoring the Sunset

PebbleIsle
Red Sky at Night, Pebble Isle Marina

Dense Morning Fog – ARGH! Thanks, Garmin, for the navigational tools. And Thanks, Capt. Rick for keeping out a keen eye.  Well done, babe.

Foggy
Fog so thick you need a knife. Who ordered the Pea Soup, Capt Rick?

Tennessee

From a small seed to a dense forest. Walnut trees, so beautiful.

Bridge to no where

This reminded me of Sarah Palin – If you are from Alaska, you know why.

SarahPalin

SarahsTrainDepot

Beech Creek Island Anchor

Anchoring out with Sea Trek. Another perfect evening. Thanks for the Little Beers.

BeechCreek

Tennessee River Rocks

This is for Susan Merritt, we miss you Gypsy!

RockFormationsCave
photo by Beverly Abel, Sea Trek

Fall Migration

On the waters, “fall migration” is a busy season.  As leaves turn autumn red a virtual “convoy” heads south, filling up the anchorages and marinas along the way. By late November most loopers will be off the mighty rivers, headed to Texas, Florida, the Caribbean, and other warm waters.

So far, Exhale is on track to be in southwest Florida by late December.

FallMigration

RedLeaves

Next up:  Aqua Harbor, Mississippi

Where Have We Been So Far? Thanks for asking 🙂

Total Locks completed = 135 plus 2 dams, includes:

  • Florida – Lake Okeechobee area: 7
  • Virginia – Great Dismal Swamp: 2
  • New York – Troy & Champlain Canal: 12
  • CANADA – Chambly Canal/Quebec: 9
  • CANADA – Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway: 5
  • CANADA – Rideau Canal/Ontario: 47
  • CANADA – Trent-Severn Waterway: 44
  • Illinois – Calumet, Illinois and Ohio Rivers: 8 plus 2 dams
  • Tennessee – Pickwick Lock and Dam: 1

States and Provinces traversed on the water, commencing March 1, 2018:

U.S (March 1- June 10). Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Vermont. (August 10 – tbd): Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi

Canada Provinces (June 10 – August 9): Quebec, Ontario.

Side trips (via auto or plane):

Los Angeles (MS [3 – April, May & Sept], Rick [4 – May, June, July, Sept] & Maddie [2 – May, Sept]), Cleveland (RMG, MS & Maddie [2- April and July], Craig [April]), St. Charles and St. Louis by car (thanks, B and B)