Destination: Anchorages on Kentucky Lake

It is time to say adios to Green Turtle Bay.  Our one hard date is to attend the AGLCA Rendezvous at Joe Wheeler State Park Marina October 16.     It is about 265 miles south on the Tennessee River, so could be done in about 5 days of traveling.     On the other hand, Kentucky Lake is known to have some of the most beautiful anchorages and bays on the loop, so our plan is take our time and explore a few of those anchorages.   

We threw off the dock lines on Friday October 7, this allows 8 days to get to Joe Wheeler marina in Rogersville, Alabama.    Our first course is to pass through the Barkley Canal which is the only canal that connects the Barkley Lake with Kentucky Lake.    Kentucky Lake runs north/south for about 53 miles parallel with Barkley Lake.


Is this a sign we are in the south?   Even the sail boat is  camo.



The Tennessee River is 650 miles long, but we will only travel 250 miles on it.   The land between the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers is referred to the “Land Between the lakes”.    It is a National Park and Wildlife Refuge Area- offering many anchorage sites. 


We will be heading “upstream” on the Tennessee River so must remember that the red nuns are on the starboard side, and the LDB (left descending bank) will be to starboard.    Thus, the green channel markers and RDB (right descending bank) is on our port.     May sound straightforward, but we reviewed this conversation several times !   It’s VERY important to know which side of the red or green markers is the correct channel to follow.         Also indicated by going up stream or downstream- the rivers wind east -west ; up down- always need a watchful eye!  



Red Right Return is a common phrase for boaters. The meaning is that “when returning from the sea, keep the red navigation aids on my right side when passing by them”.    As a gentle reminder, we clip the corresponding color on the left or right–     For this trip, we are going downstream, except on the Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers – where we will be against the current.    Got It?  Let’s move on.


The day begins sunny and 76 degrees with a light wind.  Our RPM is 1850 and average speed is 8 MPH.


The traffic on Kentucky lake is distinct from the heavy commercial traffic we have experienced lately; instead we see  bass  boats, sail boats and pontoons  with the occasional barge passing through.  

The anchorage we chose for the first night is only 15 miles away and we have set anchor by 1:30 PM at Sugar Bay.   There are several fingers off the bay, and one has a boat ramp- popular spot for launching fishing boats.   

The dingy was in the water and camera in hand to record the wildlife in the bay.   By dusk a few more critters had come to the waters edge.






One of the things we miss most since leaving the Great Lakes, is the chance to swim off the back of our boat.    So today is the day to anchor and jump in.     By chance, the daily prompt in Colleen’s Inktober  art challenge is “JUMP”.  So here is a page from the art journal:




We invited our boating partners over for happy hour-  Kurt and Patty picked up Barry and Alicia from M’Lady and joined us for a snack on the upper deck.   What a way to cap off the day.     We said good bye to M’Lady as they were leaving early the next morning. They want  to get a jump on moving down the river toward Alabama where they will store the boat and go home for the holidays, then return in January to continue on the loop.    




Leaving our anchorage at Sugar Bay, it is sunny, with blue sky and gusting winds to 20 MPH.   We logged 26.5 miles, 3.5 hours and pulled in to Panther Bay for our second night at anchor.   As we entered the bay, we saw a boat already anchored.  Small world- it is Last Call who we met in Chicago, and also at Green Turtle Bay.    Dave yelled out “nice boat”.    (They have the same boat as us; a Mainship Trawler) 



Once again, we set anchor, dropped the dingy and took it for a spin.    Last Call (Scott and Karen) invited us all over for drinks.   Colleen made a plate of Corned Beef & Pickle Dip wraps using Brent’s recipe and of course they were a hit.   Last Call had been at anchor a night already, and told us about taking a hike along shore and finding an old cemetery that dated back to Civil War era.    We swapped stories about conversations with the tow boats and all had a good laugh.    Colleen recalled hailing a tow captain by his boat name, And he responding “I think we already talked and passed”.     (we jotted down the AIS boat names on a list and had called the wrong name).  



The nights are cooler and a result is the morning mist that rolls across the water just as the sun starts to come up.   If you are up before 7am, it’s an opportune time to get a few great photos. The trees changed colors over night. T

 The fishing must be good at sunrise, as each morning we see someone fishing just outside our boat.   Even in the morning fog-   .   


 Dave and I took the dingy for spin in the morning before leaving.  Since we had not purchased gas  for the dingy; Dave was a little nervous as Colleen kept pointing to go a little further up the shore!!   Alas, we did not find the spot to go ashore and view the old cemetery.   Guessing there will be other cemeteries to explore before this trip Is over….

We did spot herons, egrets, pelicans  and hawks but they are all difficult photo subjects.    Maybe a sketch instead?


A sign that we are at anchor–    the electric coffee pot is put away and replaced with the trusty percolator.   Same with our electric skillet and toaster oven-gone.      We have a propane stove top- dinner may be cooked underway.  The days are getting shorter, and the happy -hours cut into the grilling time in the evening.      So much to consider, and so little time!


Next stop will be at a marina that is known for serving fresh cinnamon rolls each morning.   Everyone has a niche.     Will report back tomorrow.   



About mnsailors

Our blog will highlight our travels along America's Great Loop. We sold our sailboat on Lake Superior for a Trawler to do America's Great Loop in 2016.
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