Busy day in Green Turtle Bay

September 12

Got back to Green Turtle Bay with Debbie last night and unloaded a small mountain of gear and supplies for the next 2 weeks. Witnessed a beautiful sunset and this morning begged the harbor master to let us stay another night, which she agreed to.

Woke up at 6:15 this morning to a sunrise that promised another great day.IMG_3003

Most of the boats on our dock are doing the Great Loop too. Our neighbor is sporting a Great Loop burgee (the little white flag on the tip of the bow) like ours. Poor fellow, his transmission went south and he is waiting for a replacement from England!

So I got up so darn early that I figured I would change the oil in the 2 main engines and the generator. Probably get the job done before Deb got up I mean really, how long can a oil change take?

IMG_3005

Quite a while it turns out. Whisky Business is equipped with a marvelous device that pumps out the oil from each engine, but it is slow. These are the empty GALLON containers that I used to fill up these engines. Oil changes on diesels are recommended every 100 hours of operation. So while we are cruising that’s about every 2 weeks. A total of 12 gallons plus the filters (which are the size of a half gallon milk jug. After depositing the spent oil at the marina’s recycle tank I met a guy who installs bow thrusters. A bow thruster is a propeller in a tube that, after cutting a big hole through the the bottom of the front of a boat, the propeller and motor are inserted. This makes larger boats much more maneuverable in tight places. IMG_3006 2

This is the hole he just cut in the bottom of his clients boat. I too, could be the proud owner of a bow thruster for only $13,000! I prefer feeling the $13K in my pocket. He had this really cool work truck that had everything necessary to do the job. He travels the country installing them.

The marina has a shuttle service that we wore out today. The golf cart driver gave us a wonderful tour of the town of Grand Rivers, Ky. Not a stop light to be seen anywhere. He dropped us off at Patti’s 1881 Settlement which if you haven’t been here, put it on your bucket list. They had a very nice restaurant which burned down last year that was famous for their signature 2 inch thick pork chops. They are now served out of a food truck on the property. Debbie and I each availed ourselves to these along with a bottle of pinot noir from WB.

Guy to my right is Chris Kohler, grillmaster extraordinaire at Patti’s.

This place is full of shops and I made a herculean effort to keep up with Debbie in the shops but when I got to the tutu’s I had had enough. So I did what all wise husbands do in such circumstances.

 

 

After a breathtaking sunset and tour of an adjacent sailboat marina on Kentucky Lake we adjourned to WB for “docktails” with our neighbors I mentioned earlier, Brian and Sue Ramsey. Sue commented she likes manhattans. I wonder how much she is going to detest me in the morning after 2 of these beauties.

So far this trip has been great. Only regret we had was, we wished we would have had the forethought to have someone take some photos of WB leaving Louisville. Got a text shortly after passing downtown Louisville from my great friend Dan Meyer who is the attorney for the wholesale liquor dealers association. God bless ‘im, Danny saved my bacon a time or two! He texted me this photo he and his wife Patty took as they were crossing the downtown bridge!

IMG_2942 2

Thank you Dan and Patty!

 

From Nashville back to Green Turtle Bay

September 8, 2018

Yesterday around 5pm, picked up Justin Shaw from my “boat school” at Kentuckiana Yacht Services as he agreed to be my first mate for this leg of the Loop. Deb and I wanted to see the Cumberland River to Nashville and having accomplished that, Debbie had seen enough of Cumberland water, mud and trees, hence the replacement.

Two days on a boat at less than 10 mph required a bit of a bribe to get Justin to go along so a trip to Bar B Que Nirvana was promised and in the pouring rain last night we headed to Martin’s Bar B Que Joint in Nashville. Killer Q, great atmosphere, this is a must visit on any trip to Nashville.

Today started as a beautiful day cruising down the Cumberland after departing Rock Harbor Marina

IMG_2961

 

IMG_2963

Pretty cool hacienda on the Cumberland. Due to the shape of the hull on WB, she throws quite a wake. These waves were generated at 10 mph. At top speed of 20 she would swamp a bass boat. Today even a tug pushing 12, count ’em, 12 barges asked us to pass at idle speed. The Mighty Motor Vessel, WB must’ve sceered him!

IMG_2971

Cruised by Clarksville, Tennessee during a festival of some kind and we were a bit concerned a bit at first as there was a fireboat and police boat with blue lights flashing. Just a presentation of a some sort. Looked like everyone was having fun.

Weather was great when we left the marina at 7:30 this morning. Debbie called to warn us of impending bad weather but that was not near us. We did not escape unscathed as we were in and out of showers most of the day.

 

IMG_2970

Check out the canon on the hillside overlooking the river at Fort Donelson where the Battle of Fort Donelson was fought in 1862 during the Civil War. The Union capture of the Confederate fort near the Tennessee-Kentucky border opened the Cumberland River for the invasion of the South. The Union’s success elevated General Ulysses S. Grant from an obscure leader to the rank of Major General.

IMG_2972

No, we did not enter the Twilight Zone. Just a true north heading.

We cruised 11 hours to get within striking distance of our bogey, Green Turtle Bay near Paducah. Found a really great anchorage that we had to ourselves and after dropping the anchor the rain stopped. Sun tried to come out just a bit.

IMG_2978

Justin took the helm while I installed a new VHF radio on the flybridge. Shout out to Keith Sheffel for this technique to heat shrink a wire connection. The ABYC (American Boat and Yacht Council) dictates all wire connections on a vessel be water tight with a particular type of wire connector. Keith showed me how to use a cigarette lighter in lieu of a cumbersome heat gun. Just one of many gold nuggets of info I picked up at KYS.

IMG_2994

Talk about hacienda’s on the water! Check out this place!! Uh, what does KSP stand for on that water tower? Maybe Kentucky State Penitentiary? Our “guests” at this state funded facility have a better water front view than my brother has at Rough River!

IMG_2988

September 9, 2018

Finally got to Green Turtle Bay this afternoon after a 4 hour cruise in showers the whole way. After 8 days of cruising the Ohio and Cumberland Rivers, Whisky Business is sporting quite the “mustache”. A bottle of lemon juice will give her a clean shave.

IMG_2990

 

 

Day 5

IMG_2860

We woke up to a bright day in Green Turtle Bay, one of the most well known stops on the Great Loop. You might notice the 2 large things tied off Whisky Business. These are big round fenders used for going through locks. We put T-shirts over them as the lock walls are really nasty and this protects them.

While I am waiting for the rest of my crew to stir this morning I will share a few tidbits of info with you. If you are wondering what the “mv” means in the title of this blog, it is Motor Vessel as opposed to “sv” which denotes Sailing Vessel. I have had a few people ask me about the peculiar spelling of “Whisky” in the boats name, referring to the lack of an “e” as in whiskey. Couple of hundred years ago when the Irish immigrants came to these shores they included the e in the second syllable. The Scots however, eschewed the e hence all bottles of Scotch have no e in their spelling. There are 2 bourbons that are at the top of Debbie’s and my hit parade and they do not have the e, Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whisky and Old Forester Bourbon Whisky. Exception to that rule is Rip Van Winkle 12 year, but you know how hard that is to get. When I make one of my fabulous manhattans with any of the aforementioned bottles of “dirty water” Deb thinks I look just like George Clooney.

IMG_2824

 

IMG_2861

IMG_2825

The above photos are of the wet bar on the aft deck and the saloon (pronounced “salon”) table on Whisky Business. The unusual finish is explained in the bottom photo. Probably the coolest feature of the boat.

IMG_2822

Another cool feature is the artistic rendering of the Motor Vessel Whisky Business on a large bottle of Woodford Reserve. Dave Shaw who actually designed many of the Jefferson’s drew this for me. Probably displayed in the Louvre someday.

Image-1

The largest expense Debbie and I faced was the replacement of all of the navigation equipment on board. One of the nav features we added was AIS or Automatic Identification System. We installed a new state of the art radar from Garmin but radar cannot “see” around bends in the river. That is of particular concern on a small, winding river like the Cumberland. Since AIS works off the VHF radio waves it does see around the bends in the river. Not only that it also identifies the name of the vessel and what type of vessel it is. Important to know that the bogey that appears on the chartplotter screen is 30 feet long or 120 feet long and 60 feet wide. Yesterday, we were approaching a bend in the Cumberland when we got a call from a large tow warning us that we would meet in the bend. After completing that turn there were 2 barges ahead passing one another. This rather expensive piece of equipment paid for itself!

DUE TO THE LACK OF WIFI ALONG THE RIVER/S and my particular computer skillset following are Days 3 and 4

Day 3

Today began with taking on 125 gallons of water and 90 gallons of diesel fuel. We topped off the tanks with 170 gallons of diesel just prior to our departure from Louisville. Thirsty bastards those Cummins engines!  It is now 11:15am and we pulled away from the dock at 9:30. Started the day with a light drizzle, stopped raining after a few minutes so we cleared the water off the isinglass and rolled up the windows. No sooner had we got the water off the windows that it began to rain again. All part of boating.

The following information might read like a Tom Clancy novel as it is a little technical. Whisky Business has 2 HUGE batteries that start the engines and a bank of 5 Group 31 batteries used by the inverter. These batteries are about 50% larger than your auto battery. The inverter batteries power the lights, electronics and all other manner of small electrical draws as we cruise since we don’t run the generator unless we want to run the air conditioning. Kentuckiana’s Keith Sheffel installed a couple of really neat devices called ACR’s when we replaced all of the navigation equipment. These gizmos channel electricity from the alternators to the inverter bank of batteries after they charge the start batteries. This gives us a fully loaded battery bank when we shut down at the end of the day in case we anchor for the night. While we are running during the day we are generating more electricity than we use. So today we performed a grand experiment that, unfortunately failed. My friend Dave Shaw had a portable 12,000 BTU portable air conditioner that he wasn’t using so he donated it to the “cause”.  With all of this electrical power being produced by the engine alternators the thought was we could run this portable AC unit on the flybridge on hot days while underway. Shout out to Dave Hobbs who made a plate that fit in a window which vented the hot air produced by the AC unit out of the flybridge. Worked fabulously, thanks Dave! Darn thing pulled 95 amps and was too much for the alternators to keep up with. However, it will work splendidly when we are on shore power or running the genset.

Got to send out another shout out to one of my mentors, RJ at Kentuckiana Yacht Services. We pulled the screen off the windshield today and noticed the trim was coming off. After re-installing the windows on that big ass Sea Ray in KYS’ shop RJ taught me how to replace the trim on the windows. Mine now look great, thanks RJ!

Found this great anchorage on Active Captain behind Hurricane Island near Cave In Rock, Illinois. Got the grill out and Dave and I prepared some beautiful filet’s and a gorgeous New York Strip. Been saving a 2008 Premiere Napa Valley Ardente Cab for such an occasion. Beautiful evening to sleep with the windows open tonight. Preparations for fabulous Manhattans to begin immediately. See ya tomorrow.

OK, so we are now anchored out, had a splendid dinner with a great bottle of wine. Now injesting Manhattans as big as our heads.

Day 4

Headed downriver with a stop in Owensboro for a lunch of Bar B Q at the Old Hickory Inn. Sort of a pain in the butt to stop and tie this 40,000 lb beast up but this place was worth the effort. Proceeded downriver and spent the night at the fuel dock at Inland Marina in Evansville, Indiana. No real services here but fuel and water.

I probably should have titled this blog “Water, Mud and Trees” cuz that is about all you see. Throw in a tow array (barges) every now and then and you have a pretty good picture of this journey so far.

 

Today we left the big and muddy Ohio River and entered the Cumberland River. With the current at our back we had been running around 12 miles an hour. When we entered the Cumberland we started running upstream against the current.

IMG_2852

Felt like we hit the brakes! Running at the same engine speed and our headway was almost cut in half. At 12 mph things are a little slow, at 7 mph, zzzzzzzzzzz.

Just installed Captain Dave at the helm so I can update this. At this speed your mind wanders a bit. I was just thinking of this buddy of mine in Burnt Store Marina where Debbie and I have a home. Fella’s name is Tim Dam and he is one funny guy.

IMG_2912

Tim and his bride Karen live in San Francisco and winter in Burnt Store Marina down the street from us. Prior to his retirement he was a partner in a sausage producing company. Among the many pork products they produced they made a small sausage they referred to as “Bobbitts”. The large 3 pound sausage they referred (in-house only) as the “Home Wrecker”. Can’t help thinking of this story every time I think of this guy. Damn near soil myself every time. If the term Bobbitts doesn’t ring a bell, google Lorena Bobbitt.

 

Finally getting the hang of inserting photo’s. Notice the bouys or “cans” are of differing shapes and sizes. These things mark the channel of deepest water in a waterway. It can be an issue making out the color at a distance but you will notice the green has a flat top where the red can has a pointed top. Rarely does one appear directly across the channel from the other. When traveling up river (against the current) the red cans should be on your starboard (right) side and the greens will be on your Port (left) side. There is a rule that all mariners follow, “Red Right Return”. When returning from the sea (traveling upriver) the reds should always be on your right. When traveling downriver the reds will be on your left. Got it?

 

Take a look at the above photos. The photo on the left (Port!) is a shot of the chartplotter. On the bottom of the screen you see the little boat icon that is Whisky Business. A really cool feature on board is the wind indicator. The circle around the boat is a compass rose and the tan and blue arrows indicate the wind direction. The tan arrow is the winds True direction. Since the boat is moving the blue arrow indicates the apparent direction of the wind.

Remember the electronic gizmo AIS I mentioned earlier? Here is the really cool info it gives us. In the middle of the chartplotter there is a red triangle with the name HB Stewart. That is the name of the boat in front of us. The radar can’t see him because there are 2 bends in the river blocking each others view. When I “touch” that red icon the information in the right photo comes up on my chartplotter. The big red Dangerous tends to catch your eye. It tells us she is 150 feet long and 30 feet wide. It is moving at “0” mph. He was waiting to go through a lock. Although he wasn’t moving, I was, which meant we were closing on one another. If I were stationary and he was moving away, he would have appeared as a green icon.

 

Day 6

IMG_2899

We finally arrived in Nashville at Rock Harbor Marina where WB will sit for 2 weeks while we return to Louisville. Got in around 7 pm. This is a photo of WB taken from the restaurant on the other side of the marina. Owners pride, she sure is pretty!

Day 7

Rented a car today (actually a crew cab truck, such a deal) to return to Louisville and headed to downtown Nashville. Middle of the day and that town was rocking!

 

My sister Pat and her husband Steve came by the marina to see WB and get a tour. My niece Kaelin along with her husband Matt and their 2 daughters Tate and Ainsley came also. The young ladies were absolutely delightful and were quite interested in the boat.  They were a joy to have on board. Their parents and grandparents, not so much…

August 26, 2018

There are a lot of boxes to check when provisioning for a trip such as this. Many times we are at anchor which is like camping in the middle of nowhere. There are many spares on board heaviest of which are the spare propellers.

 

We had all 4 props reconditioned before we left and they came back from the prop shop shiny and beautiful. Heck, I didn’t want to put ’em in the damn river! They are 2 feet across and weigh about a brazillion  pounds each. We store them under the chairs on the aft deck.

Debbie and Sue did a splendid job provisioning for meals and beverages but Deb told me I was in charge of procuring enough Champagne for the journey. Taittinger is our mostest, favoritest, tastiest producer of Bubbles.

IMG_2714

IMG_2823

Also brought along some stunning bottles of bourbon. Prior to the historic resurgence of bourbon, Maker’s Mark was aged between 7 and 8 years. The bottle in this image was bottled in 1996. There are a lot of these bottles in the aftermarket place and you can get them for around $50 for a liter size bottle. The extinct bottles that bracket the Maker’s are barrel picks from Party Mart’s Bourbon Board of Directors. Carla Carlton, Mike Veach and Susan Reigler went to distilleries and selected the tastiest bottles of “dirty water” I have ever poured down my neck. Old Forester Single Barrel and Woodford Reserve Double Oak Single Barrel were 2 of my favorite picks. These published bourbon book authors were responsible for selecting all of the single barrel picks when Debbie and I were stilled involved in Party Mart. All of the bottles from barrels they selected had their names on them. Debbie and I were that proud of their sensory abilities. If you should ever find one of their picks on the secondary market, BUY IT!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3

Today began with taking on 125 gallons of water and 90 gallons of diesel fuel. We topped off the tanks with 170 gallons of diesel just prior to our departure from Louisville. Thirsty bastards those Cummins engines!  It is now 11:15am and we pulled away from the dock at 9:30. Started the day with a light drizzle, stopped raining after a few minutes so we cleared the water off the isinglass and rolled up the windows. No sooner had we got the water off the windows that it began to rain again. All part of boating.

My alert and able bodied crew…

 

The following information might read like a Tom Clancy novel as it is a little technical. Whisky Business has 2 HUGE batteries that start the engines and a bank of 5 Group 31 batteries used by the inverter. These batteries are about 50% larger than your auto battery. The inverter batteries power the lights, electronics and all other manner of small electrical draws as we cruise since we don’t run the generator unless we want to run the air conditioning. Kentuckiana’s Keith Sheffel installed a couple of really neat devices called ACR’s when we replaced all of the navigation equipment. These gizmos channel electricity from the alternators to the inverter bank of batteries after they charge the start batteries. This gives us a fully loaded battery bank when we shut down at the end of the day in case we anchor for the night. While we are running during the day we are generating more electricity than we use. So today we performed a grand experiment that, unfortunately failed. My friend Dave Shaw had a portable 12,000 BTU portable air conditioner that he wasn’t using so he donated it to the “cause”.  With all of this electrical power being produced by the engine alternators the thought was we could run this portable AC unit on the flybridge on hot days while underway. Shout out to Dave Hobbs who made a plate that fit in a window which vented the hot air produced by the AC unit out of the flybridge. Worked fabulously, thanks Dave! Darn thing pulled 95 amps and was too much for the alternators to keep up with. However, it will work splendidly when we are on shore power or running the genset.

Got to send out another shout out to one of my mentors, RJ at Kentuckiana Yacht Services. We pulled the screen off the windshield today and noticed the trim was coming off. After re-installing the windows on that big ass Sea Ray in KYS’ shop RJ taught me how to replace the trim on the windows. Mine now look great, thanks RJ!

Found this great anchorage on Active Captain behind Hurricane Island near Cave In Rock, Illinois. Got the grill out and Dave and I prepared some beautiful filet’s and a gorgeous New York Strip. Been saving a 2008 Premiere Napa Valley Ardente Cab for such an occasion. Beautiful evening to sleep with the windows open tonight. Preparations for fabulous Manhattans to begin immediately.

OK, so we are now anchored out, had a splendid dinner with a great bottle of wine. Now ingesting Manhattans as big as our heads.  These Manhattans were prepared with Old Forester Single Barrel selected by the bestest, most knowledgeable bourbon afficianados that I have ever met, Susan Reigler, Mike Veach and Carla Carlton. These fine folks selected ALL of the single barrel bourbons I bought at Party Mart. YUM!

Day 4

Woke up to an overcast day. Good day for cruising. Might have gotten over served last night as I am moving a little slow this morning. Got the anchor up with no issues and headed back down the Ohio. Boat is performing flawlessly, knock on wood. So, for 3 days we have been cruising down the Ohio River, no left turns, no right turns, just follow the river, right? Just never occurred to me to make that150 degree turn to enter the Cumberland River. So, Dave says, “Didja miss your turn on the Cumberland?” My reply: well sort of… Only missed it by a mile or so. Entered the Cumberland River and traversed the lock by which we entered Lake Barkley. This was the first lock that we were raised in rather than being lowered. There was a great deal of turbulence in the lock chamber that really moved us around even though we were tied to the bollard (the device in the lock wall that rises and falls with the water). Since Sunday we had been cruising down the Ohio with the current giving us an extra push so at a low engine RPM setting we were making 11 mph. When we started up the Cumberland River we were going against the current which dropped our speed (speed?) to around 7 mph.

Made it to Green Turtle Bay on Lake Barkley around 6:30 today. Cleaned up the boat had dinner and ready to crash and burn. Uploading photos is a royal pain as I am sure there is an issue of operator error. Will work on that.

The Journey Begins

IMG_2782

What the heck is the Great Loop and how did we get here?

The Great Loop is a counterclockwise circumnavigation of the eastern United States by boat, usually done over the course of a year, following the seasons. Many who have done this have said they will do it a second time to see all that they missed the first time around. The prospect of buying 3000 to 4000 gallons of diesel fuel a second time does not appeal to us so our plans are to travel from Louisville to Florida with side trips up the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers this year. Next year the Bahamas and the east coast of the US and 2020 will find us on the Great lakes, traveling down Lake Michigan, right through downtown Chicago to the Mississippi River to the Ohio thus crossing our wake and proceeding back up the Ohio to Louisville. Google AGLCA for more information on this voyage of a lifetime. Friends Bob and Pam Shircliff undertook this amazing journey 7 or 8 years ago and it really got my interest. Debbie and I had done some barefoot cruises in the British Virgin Islands and really enjoyed those trips. So much so that after our first trip I promptly enrolled in sailing school in Fort Lauderdale, living on a sailing catamaran for a week sailing to the Keys and back. We had also owned a 22′ runabout that we had on Taylorsville Lake and the river. So I get to thinking that Debbie and I should/could/WOULD undertake this grand adventure. Only issue was, ya need a big boat that you can live on for extended periods. Over the course of 4 years I attempted to get Debbie to drink this particular brand of Kool Aid while I searched the inter-web daily over coffee looking for our Loop Boat. We went to Detroit first to look at a boat that piqued our interest but was not a very good candidate. A few years went by and we went to Michigan again and looked at a few boats on Lake Michigan. Nope. Looked at a few boats in Florida but nothing worked for us. One morning I came upon a Jefferson (named for Jeffersonville, Indiana where they were designed and sold at Kentuckiana Yacht Sales by the Shaw family. This particular 46′ Jefferson was 90 miles upriver just this side of Cincinnati. Deb and I and some knowledgeable boating friends went to see her and Debbie knew this was the boat. It was and is. Learning about a boat this size is like drinking from a fire hose. There is so much to learn as she has 2 main diesel engines (420HP each) plus a diesel generator. Two bedrooms with ensuite heads (bathroom/showers), 3 air conditioners and enough hoses to plumb an apartment building. We spent 2 years preparing the boat for this journey with countless upgrades and maintenance. My buddy Dave Heilman helped me replace every sanitation hose (there are a LOT) on this boat (you may address me as Craptain Rogers). A trip like this cannot be undertaken while still working so 2 years ago Debbie and I sold the Party Mart stores and began planning. In November of last year RJ Meiers and Keith Shifflet were on board Whisky Business winterizing her. The owner of KYS, Dave Shaw shows up to say hi and I offered my post-retirement services, washing boats, sweeping floors or whatever if he would just teach me about the myriad systems aboard this complex vessel. He agreed and allowed me to hang out in the shop handing RJ and Keith tools and helping out where ever I could. A HUGE shout out to Dave, Justin, RJ, Keith, Joe and Randy for accepting me and using small words and hand puppets teaching me these systems and giving me the confidence to make this happen.

Day 1 of the adventure begins!

Whisky Business departed Captains Quarters Marina at 9:15 am Sunday, August 19. One of my training captains (yeah, I needed 2!) Dave Heilman and his beloved bride Sue are accompanying us for the first leg to Nashville. We hope to arrive there within the week. We sped down the mighty Ohio at 11mph! Traveled for 11 hours and covered 125 miles to get to a safe dock for the night in Cannelton, Indiana. During the day naps were enjoyed by my alert and ready crew. Enjoyed by everyone but the Captain, that is.  After such a long day on the river Dave and I finished our day with Manhattans made with Maker’s Mark that was bottled in 1996. Back then Maker’s was aged significantly longer than todays offering. Been saving that baby for a special occasion.

Day 2

Day 2 dawned with the promise of showers that did not materialize other than brief periods of drizzle. We got a quick transit through the Cannelton locks which were about 1 mile from where we docked. As always, we donned our life vests for the passage through the lock as the water is quite turbulent with an undertow ever-present.

We arrived in Owensboro around 1 for lunch at the Old Hickory restaurant. A bit of a pain to dock and tie up just for a lunch stop but well worth the effort. We had heard that one of the locks was down at the Newburgh dam and there could be a bit of a wait to get through. There were 5 tow arrays waiting on the upriver side of the lock to wait their turn. We waited 2 hours before they locked us through whilst the waiting barges and tugs prepared their transit. More barges waited on the other side of the lock to transit upriver. Quite the mess and we were quite happy the lock master got us through as quickly as he did. Since we had a late lunch cheese, crackers and grapes were dinner for the evening. Finished up with a rousing game of dominoes!

post