Swing Set

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

August 2012


A Long Week On the Hook

On Tuesday the 28th, after preparing as much as we felt we had to, soon to be Hurricane Isaac made his appearance here where we were in Alabama, but the most important thing for us was that Isaac was kind enough to make landfall two states away. The first wave produced some respectable wind, but it only lasted about 10 minutes. After that, we had rain off and on for three days, but only mild winds. We had two anchors out, and they both held very well. Sticking them in a few days early helped them settle to hold us adequately. The skies were ominous on Wednesday morning, and we were expecting more wind, but it never materialized. We just had more rain, and we stayed inside and read our books and played Scrabble and dominoes. Plus, we ate good...like always. Wednesday...

Posted at 09:39 AM | Permalink | Comments


Still Waiting on Isaac

Just an update on our current situation: We've gotten lots of well meaning advice from many friends concerned about us with soon-to-be Hurricane Isaac breathing down our necks. The forecast for Isaac keeps getting better for us, and we are keeping a watch on each update from the National Weather Service and other weather applications that we have. The first advice, which was to "stay put," has been the best so far. Thank you Greg and Mike. We are in an open area (not too open), where the boat can swing in a circle, essential because the wind will be shifting direction as the storm passes. There are creeks in the area that would provide wind protection, but not only are they narrow, the trees would interfere with our wind generators. The most important thing is that...

Posted at 10:16 AM | Permalink | Comments


Waiting Out Hurricane Isaac On Coffeeville Lake

It looks like we're going to be here for a week or so. We started watching Tropical Storm Isaac as soon as we got the notice from NOAA via an email. This type of travel is a good reason to sign up and get the updates on storms. You can do this from the BoatUS website or straight from the NOAA website. There is no point in tempting fate by going further south. We are 116 miles north of Mobile Bay, and under current predictions should experience nothing greater than 30-MPH winds by next Thursday, August 30th, and to be safe all we have to do is stay put. Seems like a no brainer to us. From our "front porch," we can watch the river traffic go by, and we are well off of the channel with plenty of room to swing at one anchor, although we did deploy another bow...

Posted at 10:28 AM | Permalink | Comments


Demopolis Yacht Basin

We spent a whole day in the Cochrane Cut-Off. The river was calm in the anchorage there, and we only say two barges and one jon boat. The two annoying things were that the crickets and cicadas were in a vocal mood and serenaded us the whole time. I am a firm believer that if the insects would all get together with a plan, they could drive us all nuts. All they need is organization. There was also an airport nearby, and planes did stunt maneuvers all day. It would have been fun to watch, but we couldn't see any planes due to the trees and clouds, just heard the constant roar of their engines. Swing Set got a good bath, in and out, from Rosie, and my contribution to our floating society was a little Lexan bracket that I pop-riveted to the radar screen cover so I can...

Posted at 04:19 PM | Permalink | Comments


Upper Tenn-Tom Waterway

The sun is just starting to make an appearance over the low tree line on what is promising to be another beautiful day. Our anchorage is 50 miles south of where we anchored in Bay Springs Lake on Saturday night. If you are heading north, our anchorage is the last one on the Tombigbee River before it turns into mostly canal, but more on our transit later. On Sunday morning, I installed our new Garmin GPSMap 640. It's in the picture slightly tilted above our older GPS unit. I had to cover the hole for the old chartplotter even if we bought a flush mount kit for the Garmin, and it costs $150, so we saved the money and installed it as a surface mount where the old unit was placed. The black Lexan trim matches the trim around our stereo remote. It's in the picture on...

Posted at 04:34 PM | Permalink | Comments


Heading Down the Tenn-Tom to Bay Springs Lake

After we got Swing Set back into the water last Tuesday, we headed back over to Zippy Cove to wait for our props to be repaired. I don't know where the week went, but before we knew it, Friday morning was upon us. This may have something to do with our friend Bill of RiverBills.com having declared last Thursday as National Rum day. We embraced the holiday and gave it the treatment any good holiday deserves. I do know we got our sump box cleaned out and a fair amount of waxing was accomplished, too. Our weather had been very nice, with the exception of a decent thunderstorm that we woke up for on Thursday night. We stood watch for the duration of the worst of it to make sure the anchor held, but it didn't last long. We had been tracking our package with the new Garmin...

Posted at 01:53 PM | Permalink | Comments


A Good Day at Aqua Yacht Harbor

We took Swing Set over to Aqua Yacht Harbor on Monday night, courtesy of the service department there, and plugged in at the transient dock. It was a cool, breezy night, and the air conditioning wasn't needed so much, but it was nice to use the cable for a couple of hours. We pulled over to the travel lift in the morning, and Tony was waiting for us. Two of his crew had to switch to longer straps for the lift, so Swing Set could be hauled up and checked out. By 8:30 a.m., they had Swing Set out of the water and were already working on her. There wasn't too much growth on the hull, but there was some due to the fact that our bottom paint requires some friction from the water to sheath off the algae growth, and we weren't producing much friction at 8 miles per...

Posted at 01:55 PM | Permalink | Comments


On Hold for Some Repairs

When we left Florence Harbor Marina on Friday, the sky was overcast and stayed that way for the whole trip down to the entrance to the Tenn-Tom at Mile 215. I had never entered a waypoint into our GPS and set a course for it, but I got out the directions and were able to follow them. The chartplotter took us right to our destination with no hiccups. I feel less concerned about making a crossing in the Gulf knowing that our GPS is accurate. It's nice when things work. What doesn't work is the display on the chartplotter. Put it this way; the display on the GPS unit is small and it works fine. The chartplotter unit sends a display to the radar screen. This is the display that is not working. I get a picture similar to how the old TVs used to do when the horizontal hold was...

Posted at 02:04 PM | Permalink | Comments


Muscle Shoals, Alabama

It rained here in Florence on Thursday morning, so we didn't get Swing Set washed, but we did get the engine synchronizer fixed, or at least the part installed. We'll know if it works when we head down the river on Friday morning. Rosie went to the dermatologist. The appointment was at 3 p.m., and we were 45 minutes early. We were walking out of there by 3 p.m., and it was nothing serious. The doctor froze off the small bump on her temple. I won't get into the medical details. After the doctor's appointment in Florence, we headed across the river to Muscle Shoals. We made another stop at the Tractor Store and Dollar General for some stuff we forgot to get on the day before. Then, we went to Champy's for an early dinner at 4 p.m. There were...

Posted at 02:15 PM | Permalink | Comments


Wilson Lock and Florence Harbor Marina

We didn't get any more visitors in our little cove last night, so the water was calm and quiet, and we got a good nights sleep. We got up early and had a quick breakfast with plans to weigh anchor by 8 a.m. While Rosie was straightening up the galley from breakfast, I took Holly outside for a picture of her new haircut. It took five tries before she would face the camera. The key word here was "treat." Gets her to perk her ears up every time. As soon as I got out of the cove we were in, I called the lock and was told that the chamber was full and we should come on down. Here, we are approaching Wilson Lock from the upstream side. The tower is a tourist attraction, and there are some big hotels at the base of it. We waited a few minutes because...

Posted at 02:20 PM | Permalink | Comments


Joe Wheeler Reservoir to Wilson Lake

We had a long day yesterday, starting out at 8 a.m. and traveling the whole length of the Joe Wheeler Reservoir. In our opinion, it's the least scenic of all the lakes along the Tennessee River. There is lots of industry, meaning smokestacks and power lines galore. One interesting thing was that we hadn't seen any towboats traversing the river for days or weeks. When we came up on the stern of one of them yesterday, it was the first time we had done that in over a month for sure. I called them on the VHF and told the captain how fast we were going and if we could pass him, if so, on which side? He said it didn't matter to him, that we could pick one. He was making a wide left turn on a bend, so we took the "two whistle" and passed him on his port side....

Posted at 02:27 PM | Permalink | Comments


Guntersville Lake

We left our anchorage behind Burns Island on the upper end of Guntersville Lake with intentions of traveling about half of the 75 miles to Honeycomb Creek, where we wanted to be late Friday afternoon or Saturday morning to meet up with David and Jeanie, the couple we met at The Docks at Goose Pond Marina on the way up. Let me tell you that the trip down the lake yesterday was one of the most pleasant we’ve had in a few days. There was a nice breeze blowing on our bow all day that made for cooler temperatures on the flybridge. There are few homes on this stretch of the Tennessee River, and we found it refreshing. The mountains are tall alongside the lake, and in spite of more industry than we’ve seen lately, we both thought it was a scenic trip. It was a good thing...

Posted at 02:34 PM | Permalink | Comments


Chickamauga and Nickajack

Our anchorage at Sand Island was just upstream from the Watts Bar Lock. When we got within 30 minutes of the lock, I hailed them on the VHF and got a report on their activity. There wasn't any. The gates were opening as we got within sight of the chamber. The horn sounded, the green light came on and in we went. We were going to stay that night at the mouth of the Hiwassee River, where we had stayed on the way upriver, but the cruising was pleasant at a mere 1000 rpm, so we set our sights for the 477 mile marker were Kirk and Jeanne live. We had some dog and people medicine shipped there, along with some LED lightbulbs from Superbright LEDS in St. Louis, and, naturally, we planned of collecting our packages. Meanwhile, I contacted the Glenndinning Corporation and ordered...

Posted at 02:58 PM | Permalink | Comments


Some Realities Set In

Sunday night found us on the Upper Watts Bar Lake, where boat traffic did settle down and we had a peaceful night. As I wrote in the last post, our Saturday nearly did us in. There were some things nagging at me that I didn't share before. There were a lot of people on our boat on Saturday, and we didn't know most of them. At one point, we were on the front of our boat, and when I went back to the cockpit, the door to the salon was wide open and a man and woman were standing at the doorway. What was worse, another man was inside the salon coming from further inside. I disregarded the two outside for the moment and asked the guy inside, "What the hell are you doing inside our boat?" I added that no one should go inside another person's boat without asking,...

Posted at 03:17 PM | Permalink | Comments