Monday, June 8, 2009

GUNTERSVILLE/BATS

June 7, 2009---Maryann demonstrates what the rest of us are supposed to be doing to stay fit. Seems like a fine idea, but she has not yet gotten any followers.








One lock and a short run today made for slow and easy travel. We ran about 7 1/2 MPH just enjoying the scenery. It is really nice to see some hills. Folks in the area call them mountains.

Guntersville Lock is at mile 349. There was a little waiting time as the chamber had to be emptied before the gates could be opened. Also some repair work on the lock is taking place and some of the pumps did not seem to be functioning.

About a mile past the lock we saw the opening in the side of the cliff near water level that is the opening to a cave. This cave is the home of more than 20,000 Gray Bats. There is a fence in front of the opening and a sign on the rock face that indicates this is a desginated sanctuary. These bats are an endangered species primarily located in 9 caves in six states: Alabama, Arkansas, Tenessee, Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri.

We continued on Guntersville Lake to mile 351.5, the entrance to Honeycomb Creek. Selected a spot in a cove on the north side of Goat Island and set the hook (anchor). Made a total of just 17.5 miles today. There was quite a lot of weekend activity in the area. Many of the boaters were enjoying a swim while others were fishing. We launched the dinghy in preparation for the evening journey to the bat cave. At 7:15 p.m. we left the "Dream Manor" and made about 2 miles to be at the cave entrance. There was a boat setting anchor in a good location and we got next to them to hold onto there hand rails to keep us from drifting about. We waited patiently for the bats to come out for their night feeding. Eight other boats arrived for the activity. Rough count looked like about 50 people were present. Shortly after sunset at 8:10 p.m. the bats began their exit from the cave. It was quite a sight as thousands of them flew out over the water in the last remaining light. They have a wing span of 11 to 12 inches, but fly so fast it is difficult to get pictures of them.
video

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