Thursday, September 20, 2018

Mayfly Invasion, Close Encounters of the Heavy Kind and Back in Cleaner Waters

A 0630 departure from Paducah would allow us to travel in cooler air for a while and arrive at Green Turtle Bay before it gets so hot in the afternoon.  But first, we had to deal with the massive mayfly hatch that covered the outside of Viridian and the inside of the flybridge, (flybridge, get it?).  Some cultures enjoy  making a paste from these flies mixed with mosquitos and formed into a cake for eating.  The first mate and chief cook was  not interested in taking on a new "culinary experience" so she washed them off with the hose while underway and picked them one by one out of the flybridge.  This took a good portion of the morning to accomplish but soon we were fly free.

By the time the flies were vanquished, we were turning off the Ohio River and onto the Cumberland River.  Why not just go down the Tennessee River?  That looks like the logical route to take by virtue of distance alone but Kentucky Dam has a reputation of being one of the busiest commercial dams in the country and add to that the heavy construction underway makes little pleasure craft take a back seat when it comes to passing up river.  The Cumberland River eventually takes you to the same place but the Barkley L&D is usually not busy, as was the case for us, so we took the longer way.

The Cumberland river section that we traveled on is mostly remote.  There is this huge rock crusher plant, Lafarge Aggregate,  that keeps tugs working 24-7 bringing large boulders for crushing and taking barge loads of  aggregate away for construction use.   Up the river a piece is Cumberland River Quarry and Pine Bluff Sand and Gravel. 

Before getting there the river makes a 90 degree turn to starboard.  Naturally, the AIS showed a vessel that appeared to be a tug arriving at the turn at the same time we were getting there.  The velocity of the tug was only 2 mph, which could just be one of the little service boats that help move barges around for filling.  As we approached the curve the we could see a barge loaded with boulders creeping around the bend.  Usually, we just pass on the One without yacking on the radio with the tug captains, but there seemed to be no end to the stack of barges coming around the bend.  There soon looked to be more barge than bend so I picked up the mic and called the tug captain.  We found out quickly that there was no room for a pass and were told to stop, turn around and get away because he was fixing to go to full power to make the turn.  The  narrowness of the river made simply turning left or right a non-option so shifting into reverse and backing around then turning was the way we had to go.  Normally, this is a no brainer, you just do it.  This time the engine dies when shifted into reverse.  Like popping the clutch.  This happened once before in Little Diversion Creek when we backed down on the anchor to get it set.  Long story short, we got back underway and out of the barges way and were soon safely past and on our way to GTB.  After discussing the situation with the boatyard repair shop we decided it had to be the cutlass bearing rolling up and binding the shaft when shifting into reverse.  It never happens when shifting onto forward and if a little throttle is added before shifting into reverse it transitions smoothly.  Now that we know what it is we can manage this until we get to a boatyard on the Pickwick and get it fixed.

Barkley L&D was putting a tug up and we had to wait a few minutes before we could be put through.   But soon enough we were in and out and on our way to Green Turtle Bay Marina where several other Loopers had stopped as well.  We got a ride in a 6 seat golf cart with two other couples to a pizza house and had a good time telling stories and eating pizza.

We will stay here a few days and do some scheduled maintenance before heading south to Pickwick.

That's the news and here's some views:

We are here 

Today's route from Paducah to Green Turtle Bay Marina, KY

Going to work

Sunrise on the Ohio

Dredging Operation

Looking tired

The Cumberland River Inlet

Wonder how that got skewed

Rock Crusher on the Cumberland River

Heavy Load coming around the bend

There she goes

Pieceful cruise on the Cumberland

Locking through Barkley L&D

Serious Discussions

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