Friday, July 04, 2008

Stephen, Katie, Matthew & Allyson Brannon Visit

On June 5-7th Stephen, Katie, Matthew and Allyson Brannon came to the boat for a weekend away from Athens. We took SEASEA out and anchored down at Guntersville Lock. Matthew drove most of the way.

I was actually surprised at his abilities. His 8th birthday was coming up in a few days and he had as much of an intuitive understanding of the chartplotter and how it related to the boat as anyone I have had at the helm. He would find and chart the channel markers and determine the distances to the next marker or landmark. He seemed to enjoy the driving so we took a break and let him do his thing.
Of course the other thing he liked more than driving was fishing. If the boat was stopped he would have a rod in his hand. I don't have a photo but he would even stand along the rail while we were underway (when he wasn't driving) and pretend he was fishing. First thing in the morning he would wake Stephen and ask to be taken out in the dinghy so he could "catch supper".
Katie and Allyson took the dinghy with Stacy and went out exploring the area. They found a "beach" that was covered with mussel shells and collected a bag full. They then just played around in the dinghy for a while.

That evening we had a surprise for them. We took the dinghy out just before dusk and headed for the Bat Cave. This is a cave that is a nursery for an endangered grey bat and some 30 or 40 thousand of them exit the cave each evening to try to cut down on the mosquito population. We couldn't get pictures of the bats leaving as it was just too dark for the camera to capture the bats. There were 3 other boats there and the bats would come out and fly just over the surface of the water and right by you as you sat there. It was actually quite incredible and was the first time we had seen the bats.

The next day we locked down through Guntersville Lock and locked back up so they could experience going through a lock.

The Corps of Engineers requires that everyone be wearing a life jacket while locking so we all donned our PFD's for the lock through.

After our locking we traveled up to a new anchorage and spent some time exploring. We had been told about some "swimming pools" at the end of the creek so we dinghied up the creek to the rocks and then hiked a little ways to find the "pools". After we returned to the boat we were treated to a float plane performing "touch and go's" nearby.

The next day we headed back to the marina and Stacy backed SEASEA into her slip. On the way, we had some fun playing cards.

After cleaning up and helping our neighbor finish a project on his boat we headed back to Athens.

Jerry Barnes-Joyce Kitchens trip to Chattanooga

On Memorial Day weekend we were visited by our friends Joyce Kitchens and Jerry Barnes and made a trip to Chattanooga. They were leaving us in Chattanooga and we were continuing on our trip up the Tennessee River to Knoxville.

We did what we always do on trips (Eat, Sleep, Read).

We traveled up the river and landed in Chattanooga along the waterfront downtown.

After a delightful time, J and Kendra Tingle came by and drove Joyce & Jerry back to Goose Pond Marina to get their car.

After they left we were visited by our friends Tim and Joy Gibbons. We had not seen them for about 17 years and it was a great visit catching up on our lives.

We made a day trip up to Chickamauga Lake and they left us at Harrison Bay state park. The next morning we got a phone call that Paul's mother had unexpectedly died overnight and so we once again aborted our trip up the river and headed back to the marina in order to go back to Athens, GA. We now may try to make the trip in the fall.