Thursday, August 13, 2009


Aug. 13, 2009---Weighed anchor and moved into the main channel of the Tennessee River from behind Goat Island. Passed by the cave entrance of the Grey Bat Sanctuary. It seems a little different in the daylight.

It was a short run to Guntersville Dam and we got into the chamber with no waiting. This dam and hydroeletric plant was completed in 1939. The dam is 94' in height and extends 3979' across the river. Looking back "BB" had no idea we were leaving Guntersville Lake that had entertained us for 73 miles. We were lowered 40' into Wheeler Lake. Being on the water there is no sensation that Huntsville, AL is only about 20 miles north and a little west from here.

At mile 349 is one of the highest bluffs on the river between here and Paducah, KY. This bluff is the end of Merrill Moutain and looms above the river more than 350'. Known as Painted Bluff because of the diferent shades of yellow and brown rock.

Reaching Decatur, AL the home of Meow Mix could be seen on the port side. We had seen this before, but Dan & Anna had not. We attempted to stop at the Riverwalk Marina located just past the bridge that takes highways 31 and 72 across the river. It was rather crowded with boats and the spot assigned to us was not logical. We called on the radio and told them we would not be staying. This seems to be a home for permanent slip holders. It looked as thou "BB" shook his head as we left the marina behind. Immediately past the marina is the Southern Railway bridge that is only 9' above the water. Called the bridge tender and since there were no immediate trains he raised the bridge and let us right under.

A large tow was going toward Decatur as we continued westerly on Wheeler Lake. We often wonder, what are they hauling? The covered barges must be hauling grain or perhaps soybeans as that is an important crop in Alabama.

Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant is on the north shore of Wheeler Reservoir in north Alabama. It was TVA’s first nuclear power plant, and the largest in the world when it began operation in 1974. It was the first nuclear plant in the world to generate more than 1 billion watts of power. Tennessee Valley Authority employees about 1000 people to operate this plant. Notice the tall tower is a very different design than other plants with the shorter towers that are much larger in diameter.

As Dan steered the "Dream Manor" between the bouys that us lead near the plant he is looking all around to make sure of our position.

At mile 287 we crossed the river and entered the Bay Hill Marina. It is protected by 4 large barges that are permently positioned to protect the marina from wind and wake. We were glad to get tied up for the night as we had traveled 64.5 miles today.

The Captains Table restaurant is located on site and we enjoyed dinner.

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