Cruising

A Momentary Lapse of Common Sense

How many times have you done something, then thought back and say to yourself, “I was lucky something bad didn’t happen.” Personally I’ve had many experiences that could’ve turned out worse than they did. Even now just putting my thoughts together many memories come to mind.

Boat living makes you think and act safely on a daily basis. I can say that the times I end up regretting  have been when rushed or thinking “I’ll just hop over that”, or  “I’ll just jump down and get that.”

Well, lesson learned.  I’m going to relate my latest experience in hopes that you, the reader, will think first before just hopping or jumping.

Our day started out fine, beautiful  “let’s go for a boat ride” weather.  We took Bright Angel to the fuel dock at Green Turtle Bay Resort and Marina, did a pump out and headed out onto Barkley Lake. We traveled to a nearby marina, stopped for lunch, had a great ride, and headed back to the slip. Hoping to enjoy our local area even more I set the dinghy down from its cradle to prepare it for a sail or just a row around the marina. Moving the dinghy along side Bright Angel I saw a line on the floor. “I’ll just hop down there, grab that line, and get back on the dock and move the dinghy, so it’s ready to go.”

 

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How I wanted the dinghy to be so we could easily go for rides.

What happened next was quick. I stepped down into the dink, it moved, I lost my balance, went into the side of Bright Angel, crashed down onto the gunwale of the dink and over into the water. My first thought was to grab my glasses, no strap to hold them in place. They were OK.  Steadying myself using the transom of the dink, I began to think of what to do next. By this time Dearest (my wife, Cynthia) was up on the big boat checking out the commotion. “Do you have your phone?” was her first question. Later after things had calmed down I asked her why she thought of my phone before me. Her answer was, “You were above water and breathing so I figured you were OK.”

After the initial shock we both started to act more responsibly. Cynthia’s next comment was, “What can I do to help?” My first request was for Cynthia to switch off the power from the power pedestal to the boat.  (Lately we have heard of people killed by stray electric.)  With the power shut off I moved toward the swim platform on Bright Angel while Dearest lowered the ladder into the water. Back on board we evaluated injuries. No blood, that’s a good thing. Right arm sore, must have hit it on the way out of the boat. Next into the shower to rinse off. By the end of the shower my right arm was becoming difficult to move and more sore. We applied ice packs and did a more extensive evaluation. The arm just above the elbow was starting to bruise, and we knew that it would get worse as the night progressed. We continued with ice and took some acetaminophen.

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First night after the fall

Daily progression of bruising.

By early evening bruising was getting worse. I could hardly move my arm, and the pain was becoming intense. I went for a more heavy-duty pain medication that we keep on board, for that “just in case” event. I kept the arm elevated and the ice packs rotating  throughout the night. The next morning we headed for Paducah, KY and Urgent Care.  X-rays taken, no broken bones discovered, but the bruised area was expanding down the arm and the bicep was looking strange. The Physician Assistant prescribed an anti-inflammatory and said if it wasn’t better in a week go to the Orthopedic Institute of West Kentucky.

Here we are just over a week later, another trip into Paducah and a visit to the Orthopedic Urgent Care, diagnosis;  torn ligament in the right bicep. Arrangements were made for a MRI to see how extensive the damage and a new prescription to help with the pain.

Currently the MRI has been performed and I have an appointment with a doctor to schedule surgery to attach the ligament.

All this because of “I’ll just hop down and get that line.”

I am not looking for sympathy or prayers. I’m passing this along so that maybe someone else will stop before hopping and move more cautiously and avoid lost weeks of fun.

Thanks to all the people at Green Turtle Bay Marina for the help scheduling the courtesy car, so we can get to doctors appointments and procedures.

Special thanks to Cynthia, for putting up with my whining about how much it hurts, and the fact that I will never be able to do dishes again.

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That “Mom face” when I said that I would never be able to do dishes again.

 

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Moving on up

We are currently in Grand River, Kentucky at Green Turtle Bay Marina/Resort. While here at the dock and around the area we’ve met and talked with many people. We’ve also passed out quite a few boat cards. When handing the card to someone I tell them that our blog site is on the back side of the card, however, I have not been too diligent about updates but plan to add more soon.

Now I am keeping my promise.

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Heading out of Turner Marine meeting some others that are heading north also

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We are now heading UP river.

 

Here’s what we’ve been up to;

Mid-April we left Turner Marine in Mobile AL, after spending the winter, and started North. Our first night we anchored in Bates Lake and had a couple tell us that when the tide went out it would be too shallow to get back into the river. So, up anchor, and back downriver a couple of miles to the Alabama cutoff. Now, many others anchor here and sing its praises, however, when we dropped anchor it would not set. After pulling it back up we realized that somehow our anchor chain had wrapped around a log. Cynthia kept the boat in place while I was tried to get rid of the log. Finally we got the log alongside the boat and loose. Now, we were able to set the main anchor. Then climb down onto the swim platform to set the stern anchor.  (Setting a stern anchor keeps the boat from swinging.) We were alone in the anchorage and had a pleasant evening. I was real tired and had no problem getting to sleep.

The next morning we pressed on up river and made it to the Coffeville Lock and Bobby’s Fish-camp for the night. An easy evening with dinner at Bobby’s and another early night.

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View of Bobby’s Fish-Camp from the boat, It’s rustic.

 

From Bobby’s it’s 100 miles to Demopolis, the next fuel and dockage. We decided to stop in between. We passed a good anchorage at Bashi Creek before noon, but did not want to stop that early, so we pressed on looking for a another spot to anchor for the night.

We found Chickasaw Bogue and bumped our way across the bar into deeper water. We anchored in about 7 foot of water, but when the boat would swing the depth would vary. It was decided to set the stern anchor again, so back onto the swim platform and another toss of the stern anchor. While I was on the swim platform Cynthia noticed we were moving, the main anchor had not set properly.  With Cynthia at the helm we raised the main anchor and moved forward to make another attempt at setting the anchor. This time we let out extra chain and gave a good tug to make sure it dug into the mud. Then back to the swim platform and a toss of the stern anchor.  To set the stern anchor I went back to the front and pulled in some of the extra chain to set the stern anchor. This had us staying in one place and not moving too much.

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Looking into Chickasaw Bogue

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Checking the movement of the boat

Tired I sat on the back deck and watched a tree to make sure we were not moving. We were glad that we spent the extra time getting the anchors set because, later that evening a storm front passed through. The winds gave the anchor chains a good tug, but we moved some but stayed pretty much in the same place. That was our first Thunder Storm at anchor. Not something I would like do on a regular basis.

In the morning we reversed our anchor process to release the stern anchor then moved forward to pull the bow anchor. With Cynthia at the helm we started out of Chickasaw Bogue and promptly ran aground, and of course, here comes a Tow as we are trying to get off the bottom. I took over the helm while Cynthia contacted the Tow on the radio. With some extra reverse thrust we backed off the sandbar and with help from the tow captain we angled our way back out into the main river. Demopolis was our stop for that evening and the rest of the weekend.

I had developed a cough and told Cynthia that it was from breathing exhaust fumes while trying to set the stern anchor, she didn’t believe me.  From the beginning of our trip up river we had set our sights on Columbus, MS as a rest stop, because we both like the area and the people. Neither one of us thought our stay would last as long as it did.

The day after we arrived in Columbus Cynthia took me to an Urgent Care facility to figure out what was the matter with me. We found out we both had this seasons flu and bronchitis. Me about ten days ahead of Dearest. After lots of tests and armed with prescriptions we arrived back at the boat,  medicated, and went to bed, for a week.

Our first week in Columbus was gone before we knew. We put our heads out for short periods after that but for almost 3 weeks we stayed on the boat and tried to get over our sickness. Finally we started to feel better and thought of moving up-stream again.

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Making waves again, it feels good.

 

From Columbus north, the Tom Bigbee river has plenty of marinas to make easy days of 50 to 60 miles. Allowing us to be in and tied up well before the sun has begun to set.  We entered Pickwick Lake through Wilton Lock and found the current changed direction and is now running  with us, adding extra speed for less fuel. We made Aqua Yacht Harbor in Iuka, MS our address for the next couple of nights.  

From Aqua Yacht Harbor we entered the Tennessee River,  Pickwick Lock and Dam took us off Pickwick Lake and continued the Tennessee River. Two 60 mile days have us at Pebble Isle Marina, and a great place to spend the weekend.

The last few days of travel has Cynthia having back pain, making it hard to move around and giving her problems while handling lines.  By the time we reached Green Turtle Bay on the North end of Lake Barkley she was in serious pain. Now, with chiropractic care and after a couple massages, she is on the mend, but we don’t want a relapse. Because of this we have signed on for a month here and will remain at Green Turtle Bay until after July 4th. That should give us time to heal.

In the mean time we are trying to figure out what to do, and where to go next. But that is another story.

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Wow! It has been a long time.

It has been a long time since I’ve let my fingers walk on the keyboard. So long that I had to look up my last post to figure out where I left off.

Four Months!

July. It has been a long time.

Let’s get started. Here’s what I’m going to do. Give a brief review of our travels in the last 4 months then go back and expand on what I thought were significant.

Last time we were in Canada celebrating Canada Day with new friends. We still are in contact with them through Facebook.

While traveling the Trent-Severn waterway we had a situation with a recurring problem that required the boat to be lifted out of the water. With out a place to stay we rented a vehicle and drove to our home port of Grand Haven, Michigan. Friends and family were gracious enough to put up with us for almost 3 weeks.20160729_134614

 

Thanks again to everyone that helped out.

With the boat back in the water and August slipping away we pushed through the Georgian Bay in 2 days and back into the North Channel of Lake Huron. At the top of Georgian Bay is Killarney, Ontario. We were now in familiar waters, having travelled here in 2013. My thoughts were to push to Mackinac and down the coast of Michigan to Grand Haven. Silly Me

Lake Michigan is not a lake to mess with. We ended up in St. Ignace, MI waiting for weather and waves to become better. Waves again forced us into Beaver Island. Then with our sights set for Frankfort, we were forced into Charlevoix. Let me tell you this. If you are forced into a harbor Charlevoix is a great place to pushed into.

With an open window we moved from Charlevoix to Frankfort and from Frankfort to Manistee. Where again we had to wait for a weather window to move again. Then to Pentwater, Muskegon and finally on September 4 we reentered Grand Haven harbor and completed our Great Loop.

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We stayed at the municipal marina for 2 weeks, met with friends and family, went to Dr, appointments, and caught up with what needed to be caught up with. We were so busy that by the time we left we were ready to get back to the easy pace of cruising.

A salmon festival had us leaving Grand Haven in not the best of conditions. We traveled the Lake Michigan coast in 17 – 20 feet of water. Very close to shore. But any farther out and we were being banged around by 4-6′ waves. We made South Haven and stayed til better conditions arrived. Then New Buffalo MI and Hammond IN.

We arrived in Hammond on Cynthia’s birthday and went to the Casino next door to the marina. If we signed up for Player’s Cards we would get a free buffet. Whoo Hooo, free food and a birthday dinner to boot.

Now off the big lake and into the rivers again for smooth cruising. Our cruise down the Illinois River was uneventful. The upper Illinois River is highly commercial and is not the prettiest of scenery but in improves the closer you get to the Mississippi River Valley.

The Mississippi River has a great current that makes for easy travel at speeds unthinkable in slow-moving vessels. We would travel around 14 to 15 mph at engine speeds that would usually have us at 8 or 9 mph. Then we make the turn up the Ohio and speeds drop from 15 down to 6 in a boat length. But this is only for a couple of days and we enjoyed our nights at anchor on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.

From there we entered the Cumberland River just north a Paducah, KY on a Sunday. The Kentucky Lock and Dam was closed for repair and barge and tow traffic had been re-routed onto the Cumberland. Where when we first traveled the Cumberland we saw 1 barge this time we saw and passed more than 12 moving tows. The Cumberland is much more narrow than the Tennessee and the Ohio and water levels were much shallower than the last time we were on it, making the passing just a little more nerve-wracking. But a great day and we were able to enter the Barkley Lock without waiting.

Now up the Tennessee and on to the Tom Bigbee River. We are currently in Columbus MS and what was supposed to be a short stay has become weeks. I turned and put out my back and have been here recuperating until we both feel comfortable in my moving capabilities.

Life goes on.

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Celebrating Holidays and People.

We were at the Trent Port Marina in Trenton Ontario on the bay of Quinte. Trent Port Marina is only a year or two old, and it is deluxe. But that’s not the story here.

Canada Day, July 1, 2016. We were ready to enjoy fireworks over the bay. Our transient slip almost at the end of the dock was going to afford us ringside seats for the fireworks display scheduled for this evening.  I had walked up to the marina to use the facilities, and was on my way back. I noticed a Grandma taking a picture of Grandpa and two boys. Being from the Midwest, we talk to anybody, I offered to take the picture so Grandma would be included. The group was very thankful. Then Grandpa said,”let me give you one of the boy’s cards.” Now Loopers and boaters seem to always be giving out boat cards, so I didn’t think much about it. Then Grandpa starts explaining, these are the Tebworth Brothers, Wyatt and Marshall. They play “Blue grass” music. We spoke about music and boats and fireworks for a while and ended up back on the boat all of us watching a great Canada Day fireworks display. No longer Grandpa and Grandma but Doug and Barb. The senior Tebworth asked if we needed anything and would we like to have a day off the boat. “We will pick you up and show you around or take you to a store if you need to pick up anything. How about coming to the house for lunch and the boys can play for you.” My answer? “Sure, but I got to check with the boss first.”

The four were there to pick us up right at 10:00. We cruised up the road to Lock 6 in Frankford to see what to expect, then back to the house for a great lunch. Wyatt and Marshall were happy to show us around the house. Barb and Doug put a great meal together, with lots of laughs, and now music. Even Cynthia and I had a chance on the standup Bass. Cynthia did pretty well, she’s got a place on the bus. I will have to drive and carry equipment. IMG_2753 During the afternoon’s conversation, we found out the boys have a fishing boat that they had purchased with some of their earnings. They like to get out on the Trent river, but have never been through a lock, also Doug and Barb have lived most of their lives in the area and have never been through a lock either. Well! That’s easy to remedy. We checked and arranged schedules then left Trent Port Marina a day early and all of us spent the day on Bright Angel. We went through 6 locks and tied up at the Frankford lock for the evening.

Later that evening the boys, Doug and Barb, plus their son Rob, brought dinner and instruments. Satisfied from another great meal we were ready for some “Bluegrass” music. We were not disappointed.

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Lady walking her dog stopped to enjoy some music.

Again, how blessed are we to meet these people. All along our way it has been the people we have met that make this trip the adventure of a lifetime.

Find out more about the Tebworth Brothers, visit their website TEBWORTHBROTHERS.COM or Facebook at Tebworth Brothers or you can check them out on Youtube.

 

 

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Those Next Door Neighbors

It was a windy day when we entered Liberty Landing Marina, we were glad to be in and tied up at the dock. That afternoon we watched a sailboat motor in and do some fancy maneuvering into the dock next door. They looked like they were ready to be in safe harbor also, but first the crew of eight set about getting the boat “ship-shape”, sails dried and folded, gear washed and stored. Just by the way they moved we could tell that they were not your typical weekend sailors. Everything seemed very regimental and orderly. Foul weather gear was washed and hung to dry and they were all the same brand and colors.

Our new neighbors were military. Turns out British military and the sailboat they were on, St. Barbara V, is the flagship of the Royal Artillery Yacht Club. Currently on what they called the Atlantic Ubique. Latin for there and back again.  I also learned that they had lost their head stay during the night run up the coast of New Jersey. That’s one of the cables that helps keep the mast in place. As one of the crew said ” We were carrying more head sail than we should have.” Very British in the understatement. We had just ducked into Statton Island getting away from 4-5 foot waves and winds over 30 and gusting.

I asked about the emblem on the flag and was educated about the “Scottish Gunners”and how Royal Artillery Yacht Club makes vessels like St. Barbara V available for servicemen that would like to learn more about sailing and puts them with experienced sailors and a rookie crew for 2-3 weeks at a time. Part of what is called by RAYC the Atlantic Ubique. In honor of the regiments 300th anniversary. Left England in September of 2015 and is scheduled to return in August of 2016. This crew had brought the boat from the Norfolk, VA area up the coast to New York City. Now it was time to get St. Barbara V back in shape and shape and exchange crews.

We couldn’t help but notice that one of the crew had a pretty bad cough. Cynthia went after him with cough drops, cough syrup, Tylenol, and any other over the counter remedies that we had on board. He was very grateful and so were the others. His coughing not only kept him awake but the rest of the crew on board.

Soon the crew were catching flights back to England and it left just a few on board until the new crew arrived. Cynthia had been baking and I brought over muffins for those still on board. It was good to have them as neighbors and we enjoyed the company of the fellows.

As they were leaving the “spare Left-tenant” , second lieutenant,  came over and asked if we might have room for some extra “crockery”, and gave us these beautiful bone china coffee mugs. We were blown away by the generosity.

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You can find out more about the Royal Artillery Yacht Club and the Atlantic Ubique on their website www.rayc.org.uk or ATLANTIC UBIQUE on Facebook. (It’s Latin)

 

It’s the people who have made this the adventure of a lifetime.

 

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Manhattan Bike Ride

After our first trip over to New York City from Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City, NJ we decided that our bicycles were an option to transportation in New York. So, on our second sortie onto Manhattan Island we brought our bikes along. There are plenty of bike paths around the city and like the streets the bike paths are packed with people.

We first headed just a short ride to the 9/11 Memorial. Again we were amazed at the different ethnic backgrounds touring the site. Tour guides with different color flags brought groups of people to the edge of the memorial and explained the sight in every imaginable dialect.

 

We headed up the island along the outer bike path then moved toward the center. After some maneuvering on shared paths, shared with taxis and buses, we looked up and found ourselves in Time Square.

With my trusty bike path map in hand we angled for the Empire State Building passing Harold Square and arriving onto 5th Avenue. We were given great advice from a bicycle messenger. “You’re best bet is to take 5th Avenue straight, rather than work your way back to the shoreline.” It worked, another exciting bike ride, but now we are pros. Ha!

We traveled through Greenwich Village on our way back to the ferry landing. Plus had a chance to stop for “a slice”along the way.

 

Day two of our bicycle adventure had us heading for the Brooklyn Bridge.  The bike path took us along the East River under the Brooklyn Bridge and making a circle through China Town and Federal Square.

A great sunny day had us witness to many marriages happening at the court-house in Federal Square. We felt like we were part of the weddings, lots of smiles.

We made our way up onto the Brooklyn Bridge and again the crowds astounded and confused us. Going halfway up the bridge it was decided that was far enough. Now a coast back down off the bridge and bring out the trusty, although getting very wrinkled, bike path map. We were offered help from a New Yorker and left with these fine words. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We New Yorker’s aren’t as bad as they say.”

We made it back to Bright Angel safe and sound. Another exciting day in New York City.

more to come.

 

 

 

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Ellis and Liberty Islands

We had arrived. New York City. Now what? Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City, NJ is just across the Hudson River from Manhattan and blocks from the 9/11 Memorial.

Ali, our dockhand, was very helpful. Not only helping us get into the dock on a windy day, but with plenty of advice for first time city visitors. Ali educated us to the best prices on the ferry across the river to New York and what to watch out for in Time Square. “If Spiderman approaches you wave him away, he wants money.” We didn’t see Spiderman but Elmo tried to get a picture with me.

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On a blustery day we headed for Ellis Island and Liberty Island to get close up with the Statue.

We arrived on Ellis Island and Cynthia’s first comment was “It’s too peoply”. It was crowded and we were not used to crowds. But being a Monday and weather not really the most ideal the crowds were not as they could have been. Imagine what the immigrant people felt like with groups of about 4000 at a time moving into the “great hall”. On our visiting day the population of tourists was at least half that size. It left its impression on me.

Once onto Liberty Island we did the self-guided walking tour around the Statue. Along with hundreds of others we walked around the base of the statue listening to our tour on headsets. We were impressed by the multitude of nationalities and languages all there for the purpose of seeing this great statue. What it means for everyone is different, but the same. In the front of the statue we took pause to just look around at all the people and listen to the various dialects.IMG_1503

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Being from a small mid-western town I was impressed. We returned to Liberty Landing Marina tired from our adventure and looking forward to what would come next.

More to come.

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