A Kiwi couple's cruising adventures on America's Great Loop and around the coast of New Zealand

Monday, 8 October 2012

Anchoring and drowned bikes

Well...we finished up staying a couple more days at Green Turtle before I managed to lever Carolyn away from there. The weather hadn't been nice (cold cold cold and wet) and we had gone shopping with Hilary and Bert and had bought a nice pork roast that we just had to share with them so, we finally got away last Tuesday. We had decided to spend a few days anchoring out around Kentucky Lake to see how the extra batteries worked out, and spent the first night in a delightful little Bay called Sugar Bay. When we arrived, we came across JADE, a trawler from Brazil that we had first met way back in Frankfort and had come across from time to time during our journey. Jack and Denise (Ja..de, get it?) had been travelling since 2003 from Brazil to the USA and now the Great Loop with their small dog and recent addition, Beatrice, their three year old daughter. They anchor out a lot and we enjoyed their company for a BBQ on Loopy Kiwi that night. We were also entertained by fisho's from the nearby boat ramp and a photoshoot of a model on the point just on dusk (hence the blurry pic) and a small dinosaur that came down to the lake for a drink.

The next day we kind of "buddied up" with Jade, and have stuck together since then. That day we stopped further down the lake at Ginger Bay, another superb spot, where we were treated to a dramatic sunset.
A lot of Loopers we have spoken to do not anchor much at all and for a variety of reasons. It is a shame as they are missing out on so much. The first night the inverter stopped working in the early hours of the morning from low voltage, despite the additional batteries. I figured that it could be a voltage drop thing, rather than insufficient storage so the second night I turned off the fridge and freezer and the inverter stayed on all night. This is now the strategy and it seems to work well.

The next couple of nights were spent in a marina in Paris Landing State Park, and this was a pleasant marina with all the mod cons at a very reasonable rate of 70 cents a foot (of boat length) per night. The first day we were there, it clouded over and began to rain in the afternoon and in the evening a strong wind suddenly hit us for a short time. Both we and Jade had been out on our bikes in the afternoon and had left them on the dock in case we went out again the following day. At 10pm I decided to bring in our flag which was flapping against the windows and found when I got on the landing board, that both bikes were missing. The first thought was that they had been stolen, but then I remembered the wind. I grabbed our boat hook and reached as far into the water on the downwind side of the dock as I could and after a few minutes of "fishing", I felt something solid. This turned out to be Carolyn's bike, which I managed to get back up onto the dock. However, despite another 10 minutes of trying, I could not locate mine. I then noticed that Jade's bikes were also gone so I went to alert Jack, but found one of theirs aboard. When Jack came out, however, he told me he was sure the other one had gone into the water in front of his boat and he thought he could see it on his forward looking sonar. We decided to leave it and resume the search the next day with a grappling hook.

The following day I tried again for my bike but could not actually reach the lake bottom. I noticed that Carolyn's bike had mud only on the handlebars and seat and it had obviously sunk upside down with the wheels facing toward the surface (probably because of the large tyres) which is why I had been able to snare it so easily. I figured mine was probably lying on its side and my hook was not long enough to reach it. So I managed to borrow a longer boat hook from the Park guys and after a few minutes hit something solid on the bottom. At first it wouldn't move so we thought it might be one of the anchors holding the dock in place, so we tried elsewhere. After no success, we returned to the solid object and found it gradually lifted and when it reached the surface...it was the runaway bike, coated in the mud into which it had sunk! The same process in front of Jade resulted in Jack's bike, along with Beatrice's trailer, being returned to the dock. A thorough wash and a spray with WD40 left them no worse for wear (although a ride later produced rather a wet backside)....thank heavens they fell into fresh water.

Last night we stayed in another super spot, Little Crooked Creek, which used to flow into the Tennessee river but is now a sheltered bay just off the lake. Today we have arrived at Pebble Isle Marina, where we went shopping (Walmart, of course) and may stay a couple of days before continuing towards Pickwick Lake.

I said in an earlier post that we had bought an app that turned our iPad into a chart plotter. Once we had downloaded all the maps from Navionics, it has been our main navigational aid during the rest of the journey (yes - I have paper charts as well). The maps are very detailed and even have contour lines in the rivers that have turned out to be very accurate when tested against our depth sounder. A couple of times it has behaved weirdly with the boat location going off the map several times, but I put it down to the Navionics maps being incorrect and it was particularly noticeable in the Cumberland river. The details on the charts are very complete, even down to submerged towns, roadways, railways and bridges that are legacies of Kentucky Lake being flooded.
There are roads railway lines and bridges 50ft UNDER this bridge.

This grain warehouse used to be on the banks of the Tennessee river
I showed it to Jake and he downloaded the app from Navionics and it seemed to work well. However when he was out of WiFi range, the icon showing the boat would not move, as it does on ours. It was as though his iPad's GPS was not switched on and no matter what we did we could not get it to work as ours did. Today at Walmart we found the reason. His does not have 3G and without it, it can only locate its position from WiFi hotspots. So no WiFi....no location. But then we were also told that even the 3G iPad does not actually have satellite GPS built in as I understood it did. Apparently it gets its "GPS" position from cellphone towers, not directly from the satellites, which may explain the deviance in the Cumberland river, which has high hills around it. Scrounging round the net it appears to be called "assisted GPS" and is designed to overcome problems in cities where direct satellite contact is difficult with mobile devices. Whatever...it seems accurate enough most of the time. I wonder how far offshore it will work?

Anyway..enough prattling. Here's where we are now
Till next time

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