Sunday, October 6th – Green Turtle Bay.  In anticipation of leaving Tuesday, we did boat maintenance such as changing out the racor fuel filters and engine zincs. In the afternoon, some of the loopers made arrangements for a looper get-together at the yacht club. As mentioned, there must have been around 40 looper boats at GTB so the club was packed with loopers. The yacht club and the marina truly appreciate the loopers and the business. One of the locals at the club bar said “we love loopers and glad you are here”. After cocktails we had dinner with Greg & Sonia of Golden Daze, and the crews of B Side & Seabactical. Fun evening.
Monday, October 7th – Green Turtle Bay (GTB). Since we would be anchoring for the next few days, we did last minute provisioning in town and laundry. We had lunch at     T. Lawsons and said our farewells to Ashton our young bartender. Sandi and I played Mahjong in the afternoon for a couple of hours then the 4 of us planned to meet up for a farewell dinner. Sandi & Dick would be staying at GTB until Friday then renting a car and driving to the Looper Rendezvous. So chances are that we won’t see them again until we are all back in Florida at our home ports. Originally, we planned to go to the club for dinner but they were closed so back into town and T. Lawsons for dinner. John from Ecstasea joined us for drinks first then the 4 of us had our farewell dinner.

Tuesday, October 8th – Clay Bay anchorage MM54. We departed Green Turtle Bay after a delightful week at the resort & marina. After a week in a marina with tons of loopers, we were ready to go exploring and anchor out by ourselves. We selected an anchorage about 30 miles down the Tennessee River and in Kentucky Lake. The Tennessee River is so delightful after the miserable (my new nickname for it) Mississippi and the busier Ohio River. It’s wide, its pretty, there is only a slight current and the tow traffic is minimal. Green Turtle Bay was located on the Cumberland River so we had to cross over to the Tennessee River using the Barkley canal. There are tons of little coves on both sides of Kentucky Lake for anchoring and we had Clay Bay to ourselves. Since the lake is down to what they refer to as winter pool (354’ versus summer pool of 359’) we wanted to make sure there was enough depth to take in the Tiara. So Bob hopped in the tender and went in first while talking to me on VHF channel 71. He was calling out the depths he was reading on the Garmin depth finder to me and once we knew that it was deep enough, I brought the Tiara in and we anchored.
After settling in, we jumped in the tender to go explore the cove and were happy to see a resident bald eagle and deer. One doe had come down to the water and was frolicking in about 6” of water. We turned off the engine and watched her for at least 15 minutes. Later in the day, she had company and was on the cove bank pretty close to our boat. The temperature was nice and cool so we had on sweat pants most the day and as it was going to drop below 50 degrees in the night, we didn’t run the generator, AC or fan that night. In the morning, there was quite of bit of fog, so we enjoyed watching the fog roll by as we enjoyed our coffee. On a funny note, we picked up a hitch hiker. A tree frog whom I have named Henry (photo). We first noticed Henry in Paducah on our windshield. Then we didn’t see Henry again for at least a week until Bob opened up the chart locker looking for something and there he was. Don’t have any possible idea on how he got into the chart locker which is always closed. Anyway, I thought Henry would starve in there so we removed him. Didn’t want to throw him overboard as we were anchored so I set him outside on the gunnel. Now he has crawled into our engine room vent. So we shall see if he surfaces again.

Wednesday, October 9th – Birdsong anchorage MM103. While some of our looper friends were stopping in Paris Landing State Park, we opted to pass it by since we had been in a marina for a whole week. Our destination today would have us travelling about 50 miles which would take us almost 6 hours at 8.5 mph. Nice easy run. Some of the reviews regarding this next anchorage were negative with regard to the depth while entering so Bob went out again in the tender to scout it out as it did look pretty shallow along the banks. There were a couple of fisherman near the entrance to the cove and Bob spoke with them. They said that it appeared the red buoy marker was off station (sitting in 1’ of water) and to stay to the left of the green buoy as there was plenty of water there. Had we not known this or gone in without scouting the channel first, we would have been in trouble as we would have gone between the red & green buoys. But there was plenty of water so I followed Bob in and we anchored outside the channel and close to shore in 14’. We had a relaxing afternoon, watched the sunset, had some cocktails and grilled some salmon. Life is good. At dusk, we saw a coyote walking along the beach where we were anchored. Didn’t know what it was at first but apparently they exist in “these parts”. Other loopers have commented about hearing howling sounds at night. Yes, life is good.

Thursday, October 10th – Denson Island anchorage MM125. Our anniversary today – 16 years married and coming up on 25 years together March 2020. Before departing Birdsong, Bob and I took a coffee cruise up the creek about 2 miles. There is a small marina back there and we wanted to see the depths leading up to it. Very picturesque with some really pretty homes up on the bluffs. The Wildlife Marina had covered slips and most were either houseboats or outboards. Cruised back to the boat, had some breakfast and departed the anchorage. We did pick up some PVC pipe (photo) or something when pulling up anchor so it was a bit of a challenge but got it off and were underway in no time.

Our journey today would be a short one of only 24 miles. Along the way, we noticed One Eye Dog on AIS coming up behind us and hailed them on the VHF. We told them we would slow down so they could pass as we would appreciate a slow pass. They were headed to Clifton Marina which is where we will go tomorrow. (We took photos of each other’s boats) Our original anchorage was slated to be Lick Creek but after going in to check it out, we didn’t care for it. It was really protected from the wind (too protected & too hot) and there just didn’t seem to be a good spot so we turned around and went back out the ½ mile entrance. Bob had taken the tender in first to check depths and they were fine but it felt too cramp. We back tracked one mile to Denson Island which is just off the Tennessee River behind a small island. Anchored in 30’ of water into the river current (which flows north) and settled in.

Later in the afternoon, two looper boats (Sand Dollar & Nautilus) pulled into our anchorage for the night. Since it was our anniversary, we made ourselves some cosmos and then went for a cocktail cruise. Stopped over to speak with Bill & Kim (and their Golden Retriever Luke) on Sand Dollar and Rob & Jill on Nautilus as they were rafted off to each other. I had met Jill back in Chicago doing laundry but hadn’t met the rest of the crew. We chatted for about an hour then Bob and I headed back to make some dinner. Kim on Sand Dollar offered us an “anniversary dessert” of a decadent cinnamon roll they had picked up at Pebble Isle. We gladly accepted it and enjoyed half of it after our steak dinner. Beautiful evening and way to celebrate our anniversary.

Friday, October 11th – Clifton, TN. In the morning, all three boats departed about the same time and headed for Clifton marina. We had heard that the marina had new owners and a new on-site restaurant. All three boats got put together and we enjoyed a relaxing day and evening together. About 9 more looper boats came in later in the day including Pearl. Bob & I had met them in early July in Sault Saint Marie, MI. Glynis was the one that had fallen overboard and was seriously injured. We were glad to see Don & Glynis again and see her recovering from the injuries.

The forecast was calling for thunderstorms and rain all afternoon so we opted to come into a marina as opposed to anchoring out again. The forecast was accurate and it stormed all afternoon and got much cooler. Bob & I enjoyed staying in the cabin, reading and listening to the rain. At 6:30 the six of us went up for dinner at the restaurant and were joined for drinks by Don & Glynis. Food was pretty good and we enjoyed our stay in Clifton. Stacey, the new owner, told us they had taken over the marina last April when the water level was 44′ higher! She said the whole area was underwater due to heavy rains. So in the last year, she has seen it go from the highest to the lowest level seen in the area. Luckily, the entire marina including the restaurant and office are on floating docks with massive pilings so they all stayed above the flood waters.

Saturday, October 12th – Wolfe Island, TN MM192. Woke up to 43 degrees. Brrrrr. Sweat pants, socks, jackets was the order of the day as the high would be 63 degrees. Beautiful day though. We said farewell to Sand Dollar & Nautilus as we were planning on anchoring out at Wolfe Island and they were headed further south and through the Pickwick Lock. Because we are going against the current, the 34 miles we would be transiting took us about 4 hours at our 8-9 mph pace. Very scenic with beautiful homes high up on bluffs. We arrived at our anchorage at about 12:30 and settled in. Tons of bass boats up here that only have two speeds; zero while fishing with their trolling motors or all out going 50 mph. These guys fly and in 50 degree weather its got to be cold.

Watched a beautiful sunset and a full moon rise in ideal conditions. Grilled some pork chops and broccoli, shut the generator off and listened to the sounds of nature. Didn’t hear any coyotes howling (disappointed) but it was a lovely evening.

Sunday, October 13th – Woke up to 37 degrees and completely fogged in. Won’t be departing early today. But once the fog lifts, we will head down to Luka, MS, our 14th State and the country of Canada that we visited on our great adventure.

Stayed tuned and we will see you next week!