Monday, October 29, 2007

More Beautiful Scenery, and Fog

Hello all:
We started a couple days ago anchored on Chickamauga Lake, just upstream from Chattanooga on the Tennessee River. The day's run took Winnie W. and Tom-Kat farther upstream to the Hiwassee River.

The first photo shows the mouth of the Hiwassee River, once the site of a major Cherokee town. Now it is a nature preserve and we like to think the original citizens would still recognize it.

The 2nd photo shows one of the navigation markers at the mouth of the river. The old saying "Red Right Returning" is easy to remember, and when going upstream it's easy to figure out which side is which. But this red-green-red could be a puzzler if you didn't study the chart & recognize the junction of two navigation channels. This buoy is behind an island that has an "oxbow" (channel parallel to the main river) around it; we want to enter the Hiwassee River which goes upstream from the middle of the oxbow. Because we are headed into the Hiwassee River, this buoy is "green" for us on the right part of the "Y" which means we keep it on our *left* as we head into the Hiwassee; if we were to continue around the oxbow (bend) back towards the TN River (taking the left part of the "Y"), we'd consider it "red" and keep it on our *right*. This is important because the colors indicate shallow places for both the Hiwassee and the oxbow!

The Hiwassee River flows westward out of the mountains of North Carolina. We cruised upstream, kidding about 'going home,' and found a beautiful anchorage about 15 miles from the N.C. border. We could have gone a little closer, but the lower Hiwassee is formed by the joining of the Ocoee River to the upper Hiwassee, and both of these are tough places to travel by canoe, much less a 36' tugboat.

We've also been kidded about how every other picture seems to be of Hank... usually riding in the dinghy with Doug. Well, it's all about Hank (link), for sure. But here is a slightly different picture: Kathie riding in the dinghy with Hank.

This is probably not one of our best photos, partly because Doug took it. You can see that he did not take care to keep his shadow from partly blocking the picture, although he did try to get the scenic cliffs in the background. What this picture doesn't show is how crazy they all three are, two adults taking a 70-pound dog in a 9' rowing dinghy.

The Hiwassee River is part of the pool formed by the Chickamauga Lock and Dam on the Tennessee River. It's mouth is about 55 miles upstream from Chattanooga. The channel is fairly deep, 12'+, and it's well marked. There is some commercial traffic to & from the industrial plants near Charleston TN. Above that, the river is unmarked but still has 6'+ depths for at least another seven miles or so.

Here is a view looking upstream from our anchorage. These rocks have fallen into the river fairly recently, and there is still dirt clinging to the tops of the rocks.

Now here is a photo that was definitely taken by Kathie. This is a closer look at the tumbled rocks & cliff in the above picture, with stunning reflections.

What you can't see in this photo is that although the water is plenty deep for a cruiser to pass, there are LARGE rocks lurking under the surface, companions of these fallen boulders that are visible above. Just like navigating the Georgian Bay and the North Channel!

Currently we are anchored in Richlands Creek, near Dayton TN (link to Google Map). As we were getting anchored and settled in for the evening, a fisherman stopped by to talk a while. Hank and Doug are discussing local history with Steve, a new friend of us all.
Among other things, we learned that the University of Tennessee (UT) "Volunteer Navy" is the twelfth largest in the world, as judged by gross tonnage of vessels. They fly an orange flag with a white anchor on their boats! UT is one of only two schools that have stadiums on the water and fans can go to games by boat. A large proportion of the Volunteer Navy attends home games, with so many boats rafted together that participants in the festivities can walk across the Tennessee River as they go from boat to boat!

A view of the creek yesterday (Monday 10-29) evening

The same view this morning! As of this writing, we have waited 4 hours for the fog to clear enough so that we can safely proceed on.

Best wishes to all for safe trips in your journeys today! Doug and Kathie


Ben said...

Wow. I have really enjoyed your blog. I am from Raleigh. See that y'all hail from New Bern. My hat's off to ya. Sold our Sea Ray a few years ago before gas went crazy. Now looking at single diesel boats with serious envy. Hank is great!

Winnie W. said...

Hi Ben-
We transferred our "Base of Operations" from Carrboro, right next door to Chapel Hill, down to New Bern just last year. The Triangle is an awesome place to live, we'd still be there if it were closer to the coast!

A single engine boat is a good compromise- access for maintenance is easy, fuel economy can be very good... you have to get used to maneuvering, although a bow thruster helps.

Nice to hear from you!

Doug & Kathie