Days 81- 87; September 17-23; Little River Diversion Channel to Green Turtle Bay, KY; 1037 total miles traveled
This was a long stretch with anchorages as the only spots to spend the night while completing the Mississippi, Ohio and Cumberland Rivers. We anchored in the Little River Diversion Channel, Bean Branch Creek, and the Cumberland and Towhead Islands before arriving at The Green Turtle Marina/Resort on Barkley Lake in Grand Rivers KY. It had been a week since laundry, groceries and showers. All were welcome!
Oh yes, you are wondering what the wings, weirs and wickets plus the 1s and 2s are about? Well, www has a whole new meaning for us. These are three differently engineered dam designs that share the purpose of diverting river water flow to create the depth necessary for commercial vessels. It is important to know where the wings and weirs are as they are usually stone walls jetting out from shore and you really don’t want to encounter one. The wicket dams are newer and you don’t see them but basically they are gates that pivot up from the bottom of the river to form the dam when necessary to increase depth. On to the 1s and 2s. This is tug captain speak for how they want you to pass in tricky parts of the river. Passing on the 1s means that you should pass port to port or left side to left side or the usual way on a highway. Passing on the 2s means that you should pass starboard to starboard or right side to right side which feels awkward but is necessary so that they can swing clear of you.
During our river travels we have only had two disconcerting experiences. One occurrence was while anchored and rafted with Ron and Vickie and waiting (3.5 hours) to pass through a lock. A tow was very close by and unbeknownst to us decided to rearrange his barges and seemed to be drifting right for us. We pulled up anchor and moved quickly out of the way. The second event was the very next morning before sunrise as we were scooting to make a lock opening by 8:00. Again a tow was coming along in the channel and I could see both red and green running lights which means it was headed directly toward us. Again, we moved quickly out of the channel and all was well arriving safely at the next lock at 7:45 only to realize that we would again have a two hour wait. Locks 52 and 53 are some of the busiest anywhere and a new dam will take their place but the finish date has been extended from 2014 to 2017! Thanks to Captain Jim’s calm abilities neither of these instances put us in any real danger but there were incredible and yet momentary drama factors at play.
The reward has been a four-night stay at Green Turtle Bay marina and resort in Grand Rivers, KY on Barkley Lake just south of Paducah. There are three pools, two restaurants, and a spa. I got a pedicure and both Jim and I had massages. Early tomorrow I am taking Zumba class in one of the pools. It doesn’t get any better than this in ‘marinaland’. There are probably 15 Looper boats visiting and we are enjoying each other’s company as we work to keep the boats and ourselves in good shape. Tonight we had dinner at Patti’s where their specialty is a 2” thick pork chop and another round of delicious desserts. It is a dry county so imagine this, we didn’t even have a glass of wine with dinner!
We continue to see Monarch’s, Blue Herons and there are real green turtles in Green Turtle Bay. A little food entices them to perform. We saw a fox slightly bigger than Sammy the other evening. A treat on this leg was a full rainbow as a backdrop to a bridge and both were on the same arc.
We will likely head out tomorrow down Kentucky Lake (the dammed up Tennessee River) for 190 miles over the next week or so.
Boat name of the day: “Something Special” (It and it’s crew are on their second loop)
Bad boat name of the day: “Nasty Habit”
Quote of the day: “You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” -Plato