When we left the Watts Bar lock and headed up the lake we noticed fewer homes on the water, and the hillsides were steep. Steep hillsides mean deep water from bank to bank and the charts verified this fact. There are lots and lots of nooks and crannies to find anchorages, most of them private, but with not a lot of room to move around if a wind picks up. Also noticeable was that a lot of the coves had narrow entrances, leading you into a larger lagoon type body of water once you get inside. It's interesting how the topography changes from one area of the river to another.
Along the way to Blue Springs we encountered lots of islands in the river, some big and some small. Some you could take a shortcut through and save some miles, but some of the shortcuts were for small craft only. This may mean us, but I don't take too many chances on short cuts. We were told about one island, a comparatively small one, at mile 538, near the Euchee Light. Coincidentally, the Euchee Marina is just across the river. Go figure. The island was lined with boaters, but more so, the water from the island to the mainland wasn't very deep, and many smaller boats were anchored in the shallow water and lots of people were congregating, it being a Sunday and all. We like a good party even though we were still green in the gills from Thursday and Friday night, but we perused the crowd with the binoculars to see if we might drop the dinghy and join in. Seen close up, the venue was more like an Aqua Romper Room than a party we'd like to attend, so we pressed on.
Another thing we noticed about Watts Bar was the clarity of the water. The dark blue green color was painted right up to the lake edge, where a light brown or tan lined the last couple of feet to the rocks or trees. This proved that there was deep water bank to bank and the light brown was the bottom of the lake you could see through the water due to its clarity.
We approached Cane Creek where Blue Springs is located, and like some of the other coves we saw, the creek empties into the lake through a narrow cut, and once inside the cut, the cove widens up. It was too early for dinner, so we found a spot to drop the anchor and enjoy the water. The water temperature is cooler than some of the lakes we've come across so far, so we all swam and watched the boaters come and go from the marina.
We cleaned ourselves up and put on our Sunday best and popped a Bud Light to wait for time to head over to the Crow's Nest for something to eat. Swing Set is still loaded with provisions, but weekends are the best time to try out these restaurants on the water, plus there isn't many, if any, other restaurants on Watts Bar and we wanted to try at least one of them out. The wind had been kicking up and clouds were rolling in, and docking any boat during in a wind is something to avoid, so we headed over to the fuel dock to inquire as to where we could tie up.
Two uniformed attendants came down to the boat and when they came within earshot, Rosie asked the question and we were told that we could park right there at the fuel dock. I turned Swing Set around in tight quarters so the bow would be into the wind, plus I moved back as close to another boat as I could to give someone else room at the fuel pumps if necessary. Before I got within 40 feet of the dock, one of the attendants asked me "what are those wind turbines for", and as I was backing down the boat with the wind against me and was rather busy, I told him that I'd be more than happy to explain once we were secure at the dock. As is our custom, and good practice, Rosie tossed him a line from the bow, and then as I moved the stern over, she stepped off and began tying the stern to some questionable cleats. I came off the bridge and stepped onto the dock and the bow line was secured to another wiggly cleat, but the line was not tight and the boat was swinging away from the dock.
There are two things a person can learn from this the preceding paragraph, if not more. Don't toss the stern line first. It's nearly impossible to steer a boat if you cannot move the stern. The stern moves the bow, not vice versa. Also, just because someone at the pier offers to take your line, it's no indication that they know what to do with it, especially at a restaurant with summer help at hand. We'd really prefer to handle our own lines most of the time, but we try to be nice and give the help the benefit of the doubt, sometimes to our dismay. If you do anything, double check someone else's work, even if it offends them.
With the storm looming, we tied to extra cleats and put out a spring line too. I told the story about the wind generators to the curious dock attendant and we made our way up to the restaurant. Our docking job was performed in full view of the diners on the patio and we were given congratulations on our accomplishment. Rosie and I took a table on the patio and each had some gigantic sandwiches and overall we enjoyed our meal. As one group left the restaurant, a woman came over just to tell us how beautiful our boat was, something she certainly didn't have to do. I don't know anyone with a boat that doesn't enjoy that particular compliment. As we were getting ready to leave, one of the dock attendants came over and asked if they could move our boat. I politely declined her offer and said that we'd be moving it as soon as we paid our bill. We picked up a couple cases of Bud Light at the well stocked ship's store there and away we went.
Across the lake from Blue Springs Marina was several smaller coves and we picked one to spend the night. The narrow cut between the trees, seen in the picture, opened up into a wide lagoon with no homes on it. Nice and quiet for a good nights sleep. It was still early, so we all swam a bit and watched some T.V. The storm didn't develop, but we did find out that we had zero Internet connections. We tried again in the morning, thinking something miraculous might have transpired during the night, but we couldn't even make a phone call, so we hauled the anchor and headed out to find us some 3G.
Just three miles up is Thiefs Neck Island and State Park and we were getting a strong signal on both the phones and the iPad. There are no buildings on the island that we could see, so we anchored in a shallow cove. Once our computer and phone transactions were finished, we lounged around in the water until lunch. Right after lunch the sky clouded up, so a nap was in order. The day was progressing perfectly.
We got some more sun at mid-afternoon, so I decided to finish wiring up the water maker. This involved fishing wire to the D.C. panel in the cockpit from the engine room where I had coiled the wire I fished from the transom, back in Kentucky Lake. The going was slow as the humidity was nearly 95% but I got 'er done and triumphantly switched on the breaker to test my work and got nuthin'. Rosie was quietly observing, keeping Holly away from the toolbox, and she asked "isn't that where you turn off the electric?" which was my reminder to turn the battery switches back on that I had turned off in the interest of safety. I switched the breaker back on for only a second, two at the most, long enough to know if my wiring was successful, and to find out how loud the pump for the water maker actually was. I was pleased to find that the pump was no more noisy than our refrigerator. The 11 AMP draw on the motor meant we could make water for hours at night at 3GPM, or even if we were in the cockpit, and it wouldn't be annoying. More about the water maker can be found in other posts. Just search "water maker".
Back into the water we went after a job well done. Another thunderstorm was coming as you can see from the picture. It skirted us for the most part and we grilled some chicken wings and watched the show from the cockpit until dinner was ready. We finished up the rest of the lettuce for a nice salad before it went bad on us, and the wings were perfect. We tried to watch the evening news but had zero T.V. reception, so I posted the previous blog and then we watched a movie on Netflix and really enjoyed it. We could tell a storm was moving in as the movie ended. The anchor, albeit with a short scope, had been holding all day, so we watched the lightening a while from the cockpit and then turned in.
At midnight, the "thunkity thunk" from waves slapping on the bow woke us up, one advantage of a berth forward. (If you want quiet, get an aft, or mid-cabin.) The wind had picked up considerably and the radar indicated that we may be in store for some severe weather. I started the engines and moved us over to center ourselves more in the cove and let out some more scope. A test on the bow of our anchor line told me we were stuck very well, maybe too well, we'll find out later. I set the anchor alarm and we went back to bed where we rode out the night and woke at 6 A.M. to a clear sky and cool morning.
I split this post up because I like to keep them brief enough to write and proofread within a couple of hours, but I also got a complaint yesterday via email that my posts needed to be more brief. I think they are just right; some of you think they should even be longer. I do know a way to make them very brief. Don't read them.
After breakfast, and maybe a bit of waxing, we'll head towards the Loudon Lock, about 58 miles upriver. I don't know if we'll get there by this evening or tomorrow, it depends on what we find today. Before we get to Knoxville, we're taking a side trip down the Little Tennessee and Tellico Lake. We have tentative plans to meet friends from our Meramec River days near the Fort Loudon State Park, but we're still not sure when. We're shooting for the weekend.