Thursday, October 20, 2016

Cleared for departure

We are anchored in the Tennessee River in downtown Chattanooga, between the Market Street and Walnut Street Bridges (map). We're on the north side of the sailing line, just 75 yards or so from shore, where can be seen the remains of the ramps and stairs that used to serve the Delta Queen steamboat during her tenure here as a floating hotel.

Vector between the bridges, as seen through some trees that have just been painted Moccasin Blue.

Shortly after my last post we dropped the hook in Chickamauga Lake, just off channel behind a long bar that forced us to run a couple of miles or so further downriver than planned (map). It was a fine stop, even if we landed a bit past cocktail hour, and we had a quiet night. A long day Saturday made for a very short one Sunday.

Moonrise at our quiet anchorage on Chickamauga Lake.

Sunday we locked through at Chickamauga Dam mid-day, and cruised right past the downtown docks to the Erwin Marine fuel dock to pump out and take on water. Afterwards, we cruised the short distance upriver to the city quay, free for up to four hours, to offload a scooter before anchoring.

We went back to our old spot across the river from Ross's Landing, where we remembered getting at least minimally usable WiFi from downtown (map). It was a fine spot, until the homeless encampment on the north bank decided to have a campfire on Monday evening. With winds out of the north, the boat soon filled with campfire smoke, to the point where we had to close the windward portlights, making things rather stuffy. We moved over here Tuesday morning just to avoid a repeat performance.

Vector at her old digs, as seen from the Trail of Tears monument and fountain.

This anchorage is not for the faint of heart. The bottom is scoured rock, with poor holding. We've got over a quarter ton of ground tackle out, and are being held in place more by sheer weight than anything else. We haven't budged, but if we start dragging downriver, the concrete abutment of the Market Street Bridge is just 75 yards astern. We have good anchor alarms and are seldom away from the boat more than a couple of hours at a stretch.

After Louise's PT appointment on Monday, she was more or less cleared to leave at the end of this week's sessions, with this afternoon being her final session. She's not 100% yet, but she has a list of exercises to do at home, and we plan to stop in Florence in a week or so, and Memphis a few weeks after that, where she can get in some additional sessions with therapists from the same physiotherapy group. Her therapist here has already forwarded her file to the Florence office.

Another gratuitous fall color shot, on Chickamauga Lake.

This week has been a whirlwind of preparations for getting back under way. I still had two sub-projects to complete on the big fire suppression project (dedicated post still forthcoming), and the round trip to Knoxville notwithstanding, many things were still helter-skelter on the boat that needed to be put back into more permanent stowage.

Given this was our final week here in town, we opted to eat dinner out every night, starting with a dinghy ride upriver to The Boathouse upon our return Sunday, and progressing through several of our downtown favorites including Tony's Pasta Shop & Trattoria in the Bluff View Arts District, Community Pie, and Hennen's. We also made a pilgrimage to the local Five, which we first encountered last week in Knoxville.

The Niña passes under the Market Street bridge, under power.

Yesterday, as I was moving from one project to the next, I happened to look out the window to see two fifteenth-century caravels coming upriver. These turned out to be the replica Niña and Pinta , Columbus's ships, on their way to a public exhibition in Knoxville from their most recent stop in Huntsville, Alabama. They won't be stopping in Chattanooga until their return trip downriver. I remember seeing them docked in Stuart, Florida on one of our visits there.

Niña at left, under the Veterans Bridge, and Pinta at right, in front of Audubon Island.

Tomorrow we will deck the tender, weigh anchor, and head back over to the city quay to board the scooter. Today was the final day of the Looper rendezvous a couple of hours (by car) west of us in Rogersville, Alabama, and we're hoping to connect with friends Chris and Alyse, who made presentations there, on their way to Knoxville tomorrow. We'll stay at the dock until we connect, then shove off to head downriver, before the Chattajack-31 paddling event takes over the whole river on Saturday, starting at Ross's Landing and also heading downriver.

My next post will likely be from the water, somewhere downriver of Chattanooga in Nickajack Lake. In the meantime I will leave you with another photo of a supposedly clean nuclear plant releasing giant clouds of potentially lethal Dihydrogen Monoxide gas into the atmosphere, this time at the TVA Sequoyah plant. We learned just today that when we passed the Watts Bar facility Saturday, a photo of which I also posted, Unit 2 there had literally been online for just three days, the newest commercial reactor in the world.

DHMO emissions by the ton.


  1. That DHMO is deadly stuff and here's a little tidbit to keep you awake in the night - absolutely every GMO crop that has ever been developed depends on DHMO to activate its seed. Scary.

    1. Don't get me started, Bob, or we'll be here all night :-)

  2. DHMo eh, whatever floats your boat!

    1. We would never consider using such a toxic substance to float a boat. For that we use hydrogen hydroxide ;-)


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