Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day Weekend

Father's Day weekend and perfect weather...does it get any better than that?  :)
We went up to the boat early on Friday morning this past weekend.  We spent several hours cleaning the outside of the boat from top to bottom.  It was so nice to see her sparkling finally.  :)
The marina had hauled the boat this past week and put on my spare shaft and spare props as they sent out the original props and bent shaft out to be repaired from our "incident" the other week.  I still wish I knew what we hit but who knows.  

Friday evening we headed out to our favorite cove in the area and dropped anchor for a few days of resting on the water.

The weather was absolutely perfect this weekend...clear skies, mid 80's, just perfect!

Caleb is getting older and really enjoying learning how to drive the dinghy.  This weekend he pretty much ran the dinghy all over the place...starting it himself, etc.  I loved these two pictures of him with our boat in the background taken Friday evening.

Saturday morning dawned perfectly beautiful after a great night sleeping on the hook.  We took our usual dinghy ride with "Daisy the reluctant boat dog" to take her to shore.  She actually is getting more and more used to being on the boat and really likes our pilothouse a lot more than she ever liked our trawler for some reason. 

 Saturday was a great day of swimming and relaxing on the water.  It felt good to just hang out quietly with our family.  We had some friends anchor nearby during the day with their two daughters ages 12 and 8 so pretty close to our kids in age (10.5 and 9).  They had a blast playing together all day on the kayak, taking them for fun dinghy rides and bouncing on the waves in the main channel from all the boats, having them swim back and forth between our boat and theirs, etc.  LOTS of laughter and smiles from them all which is truly a joy to see.  We ended the night with a great "sunset cruise" on the dinghy haha:

Most everyone left by evening on Saturday though so it was a quiet evening anchored out again Saturday night with only us there until around 10 P.M. when a nice 43 Californian came in and dropped anchor.  For some reason most all my pictures this past weekend were only taken from the dinghy so here is our Sunday morning shot from Daisy's shore run with our boat and the Cali anchored quietly in the early morning calm:

Best though was waking up Sunday to my Father's Day surprise banner and signs my wife Tarne and the kids had put up around the boat:

 We had a great morning of "boat church" together Sunday morning in the pilothouse.  Caleb is really getting into playing guitar as I have been letting him play our small backpacking guitar I got as a gift from Tarne a few years ago (meant for backpacking but great for boats too!).  So...he lead the worship music part of our family boat church and we took turns reading Psalms, praying, and sharing what God was showing us. 

 As we finished up our worship time we took a family photo:

Followed up by a "funny" family photo.  :)

Forecast Sunday afternoon was for storms and after 2 solid days of anchoring out and feeling sun drenched, we decided to head back to the marina soon after lunch on Sunday.  This gave us time to pack up, head home, and still have time for grilling out ribs at home for a nice Father's Day dinner.  The storms rolled in last night with lots of lightening and thunder and just pure summer beauty.  I have some meetings this week that will keep us off the boat but we hope to be back up ASAP this week.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there- hope you had a great day with your family!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Cruise up to the Hiawassee River

Last week we spent about 5-6 days on the nice to get away!  We intended to cruise up to Lake Tellico but took a more leisurely route and just did about a 30 mile one way trip up the TN River to a great anchorage on the Hiawassee River.  Some pictures.....

Cleaning the boat at the dock prior to departing...great to finally have some good weather instead of the cold rainy spring we had!

We stopped by Shady Grove Harbor about 10 miles up the river from Island Cove to take advantage of the "low price" diesel they had....never thought I'd be excited to pay "only" $3.80 per gallon!  Considering that other marinas in the area are around $4.40 a gallon though this was a good deal.  So we took on about 160 gallons to nearly top off our tanks for this season's cruising.

My wife Tarne and our daughter Sarah at the helm as we cruise up towards the Hiawassee...beautiful day and love my girls!

Sarah had lots of solo time at the helm as we sat in the settee behind her as she cruised us up river.

One of the joys of your children growing up is that they can drive the boat (with our watchful eye!) while my wife and I relax together in the pilothouse settee and enjoy the day together.

Even Daisy, The Reluctant Boat Dog, was having fun.

Our anchorage on the Hiawassee could not have been prettier.  It had a narrow entrance with water only about 10'-12' deep but it opened up to be a wonderful wooded cove with more birds than you could imagine.  It was like anchoring in a bird sanctuary.  Truly, truly beautiful!

 View of the boat from the back end of the cove....

 Tarne kayaking around the cove in the evening peaceful!!

 Sunset off the transom as we grilled out and watched birds from blue herons to 2 peregrine falcons that had a nest in a tree at the back of the anchorage.

 Usually the kid sleep in their separate staterooms but one night they had fun sleeping in the bunk beds together reading.  You can also see the hamsters that travel with us sitting on the writing desk.  :)

Sunrise dawned calm and beautiful with the water still as glass and bird song everywhere.

 This picture reminded me of when the kids were younger so much.  They used to paddle around together with Sarah sitting in the back of the kayak way back when we used to be on Lake Lanier which seems ages ago these days.  They had fun singing songs and kayaking around together.

 And I could not resist kayaking around myself to the back ends of the cove and exploring the wooded shoreline. 

 All in all, a great, great 5 days on the boat.  The kids had fun swimming in the Island Cove Marina pool, fishing on the docks, cruising the river, and just hanging out together as a family.  Unfortunately on our way back to the marina we hit something submerged in the water.  We never did see what it was but felt it and heard it when it happened.  We immediately noticed the vibration afterwards.  So....this morning the boat has been hauled out and the yard has determined we have a bent shaft and bent props.  FUN!  Calls to the insurance company have been made, surveyor coming tomorrow to asses the damage for them, and hopefully new props and shaft installed by end of tomorrow so we can get back on the boat and do some more cruising around the river ASAP.  Thankfully no major damage at all.  Other than the shaft and prop repair the boat is running great.  We had the injector, timing, and valves all done and the smoking issue we had with them is gone and she runs smooth as could be.  We also added a new remote control spotlight and a new hot water heater to the boat this season which we have enjoyed.   Even more fun....we replaced the worn out gypsy on the anchor windlass and ordered and installed 175' of all new anchor chain.  A new bimini and mooring cover for the flybridge is on order as well.  Stay tuned!

Monday, March 11, 2013

A long overdue update and fun in downtown Chattanooga

A long overdue update! 

Well...It somehow has been a long time since I updated our blog.  It has been a cold, wet, and not so much boating oriented winter.  Thus...not much to be updating about as it relates to boating.  Thankfully though, spring is arriving and with that, warmer weather.  Much of the winter was spent in sports, with our son playing football and our daughter doing horseback and now volleyball.  Our son's doing Lacrosse this spring instead of baseball so that has been interesting and fun thus far.
This weekend my wife had a group outing in downtown Chattanooga with friends to look at some of the public gardens and outdoor art.  We took the opportunity to bring our pilothouse down to the downtown waterfront in Chattanooga for the weekend.  The weather was pretty nice- a little hazy but temps in the mid 60's and after this winter, it felt great.  The kids and I took the boat down through the lock that is between our marina and the waterfront while she was out looking at art.  Here is our daughter piloting us down the river:

 They even let me pilot the boat for a bit:
We walked over to the northshore from the waterfront across the pedestrian bridge and got a good shot of the boats:


Picture of my wife during our Sunday afternoon walk around the northshore area parks:

 Our son has fallen in love with the little backpacking Martin guitar we keep on the boat and pretty much played and sang the entire time.  All he needed was a hat put out for tips and he'd be in business:
 Our son Caleb on the waterfront dock:


Going through Chickamauga Lock on the way back up to the marina Sunday evening:

Some "artistic" shots from around downtown Chattanooga that I took:

All in all it was a great weekend!  We are steadily making improvements to the boat and really enjoying her.  Our plans right now are to basically load the family up right after school is out, untie the lines, and cruise around the river system or beyond until the kids or family mutiny's!  :)
Let's hope the weather improves and warmth continues.  We are really, really looking forward to spending more time aboard this coming season!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Glorious weekend

It was a glorious weekend indeed.  Lots happened this week- we placed our children in a private Christian school this year and Monday was their first day.  We had thought about homeschooling them again but everything worked out for them to go to the new school so we are excited, though it means we probably are not leaving next week to do the great loop!  :) Our son also has started football and our daughter cheer.  Saturday we had their "Jamboree" which was a series of 20 minute scrimmages between several different teams so Saturday until lunch was spent cheering on the football field and having fun.  
The weekend weather was amazing though.  Gone, at least for now (and hopefully for good this year), are the 105 degree days with high humidity.  This weekend had highs in the low to mid 80's and the Saturday night the low was around 60.  Plus Saturday night had a forecasted meteor shower!  Can you say perfect??!!  
So- Saturday afternoon we got up to the boat and cruised over to our favorite cove to anchor out.  
The evening was peaceful to say the very least:

It was so nice to be able to be out all afternoon, evening, and night and not need the generator running for the air conditioning!  It was so peaceful and beautiful out.  Just before we went to bed I could resist hopping in the kayak and paddling out a bit from the boat and just looking up at the stars and all the meteors.  So peaceful on so many levels.  I loved looking over and seeing our boat sitting there at anchor with the cabin and pilothouse lights on, stars and the universe as the background, my family safe aboard, just pure bliss.

The dawn was just as wonderful, with mist rising up off the river as the sun came over the horizon:

I may have mentioned previously why we like this particular cove so much for anchoring.  Not only is it just about the perfect size for our boat, well protected from weather, currents, and winds, surrounded by a state park on all sides of the cove and completely wooded with deer and blue heron everywhere, there is something even better that boaters and cruisers can appreciate...a small dock at the back end of the cove with a grassy spot we can take our dog, Daisy, to shore to!  :)  Sarah and I are on our morning run (you can see our boat very far in the distance on left side of cove):

Ours is the 4th boat from the left...small spec out in the distance:

And coming back to the mothership with Daisy and Sarah:

After breakfast and our "boat church" that we do as a family on Sundays when aboard, we spent the morning fishing out of the dinghy around the edge of the cove, went for a long dinghy ride at full throttle around Harrison Bay, went swimming, relaxed, and finished off the afternoon with a nice slow cruise around the area just enjoying the sunshine and being on the water.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer bliss

What a great summer on the water it has been!!!  So much to say!  :)  The kids have been having a great time on the water.  Biggest event for them this summer has been learning how to really wakeboard properly.  If you follow our blog a bit you know we bought a nice little 17' Boston Whaler Dauntless this winter.  I tried taking them wakeboarding on it once but it did not go well.  :)  Luckily, my good friend and broker who works with me, Steve, used to be a professional skier and is an excellent teacher.  We spent an afternoon with him and WOW what a difference it made.  Not only did I learn how to properly pilot the boat to help them get up easier but he used a boom on the side of his ski boat to really walk them through how to get up and ride on the wakeboard.  They both graduated to the long rope behind his ski boat and then we tried pulling them behind the admittedly less than perfect wakeboarding vessel but the kids hopped right up on it.  So- lots of weekday evenings on Lake Allatoona (10 minutes from our house in Woodstock, GA) have been spent wakeboarding with them all over the place.  TONS of fun watching them do it and to see how much they love it.  Here are some pictures:

And of course every once in a while you have to stop wakeboarding and just go swimming:

This weekend was the perfect weekend for us as a family anchored out.  We went to our favorite cove not far from the marina and dropped anchor and enjoyed life.  Work has kept me largely up in Chattanooga between brokering boats and doing boat projects after the storm such that Caleb and I spent most of the last month living aboard the pilothouse, with my wife and daughter going back and forth some due to our daughter having horseback riding lesson (she LOVES horses!!).  Here we are anchored out in our quiet little cove:

My beautiful bride, Tarne, and my wonderful daughter, Sarah, relaxing in the cockpit:

First order of business was swimming for everyone!

Saturday was a hot but sunny day but then out of the blue a passing storm cloud came over us.  The sun was shining and everyone was swimming but it was pouring out for maybe 10 minutes- very fun!  Luckily no thunder or lightening so just a nice summer rain.

One of the favorite activities for the kids is jumping off the flybridge into the water.  That extra height makes it a lot of fun.  Tarne snapped a picture of the 3 of us jumping off together- such good times!

Daisy likes our "new" pilothouse a LOT more than our Monk 36 trawler.  That being said, she still does not seem to really like the water all that much.  She likes the dinghy ride and doesn't mind being on the dock but she seems to have little to no interest in swimming with us.  Usually when we are anchored out and swimming, this is the view we have of her as she does not want to come out on the swim platform with all the splashing going on haha:

And or course, it would not be a weekend anchored out for our family without the kids paddling around the cove exploring.  Here Sarah is shuttling Caleb around as he sits in the back of our kayak:

And Saturday night Sarah went for a solo paddle to watch the sun going down and contemplate life it looked like from our vantage point.  Our "quiet" anchorage became pretty popular and ended up having 30 boats or so anchored in it during the afternoon.  A few stayed the night anchored out but thankfully everyone was nice and quiet and it was extremely peaceful.

In the morning we woke to a perfect blue sky and calm waters:

The boat projects have been coming along nicely.  We have 7-8 coats of varnish down on all the brightwork.  This, plus the full wax and compound from waterline up before relaunching after the storm all translates into the boat looking MUCH better these days.  There is nothing I love on boats more than new varnish!!!

After enjoying most of the day in the sun on Sunday, we decided to pull up anchor and cruise a few miles up to Aris' Restaurant up in Soddy Daisy, TN.  Good food and a nice outdoor deck overlooking the water.  Here is a picture of "Watermark" tied up to their docks there at the restaurant while we ate an early dinner:

After dinner we went back to the dock to plug in and relax after 2 solid days in the sun.  The kids love fishing off the dock, usually catching tons of bluegill, etc.  I fished with them and surprise surprise, look what I caught!  This bass was HUGE!  I should have weighed it but it had to have been in the 8-10 lb range.  It was by far the biggest largemouth bass I've ever personally caught.  The kids were so excited.  Caleb picked the spot we were fishing at, Sarah picked my lure, and poof... I caught the fish.  We actually were watching him before I caught him as he was just sitting there 12" below the surface staring at Caleb's hook with bread on it.  I grabbed my pole and put the lure I let Sarah pick and dropped the lure in the slip he was in and worked the lure past him and he took off and grabbed it right away!  It was very cool and the kids were so thrilled.  Caleb REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted to cook him and eat him!  I was certainly tempted but Tarne and Sarah wanted him to be able to live so we took some pictures and put him back in the water to live another day.  

And then a beautiful sunset on the docks....

All in all, it was an excellent weekend on the water.  We spent last night on the boat and today (Monday), I worked on some varnish for our trawler that we are selling and spent time with a client, his wife, daughter, and grandson that are staying at one of the cabins at our marina since we sold their boat sooner than they thought and their older grandkids were going to a sailing camp this week.  We fished on the docks with them and while their youngest grandson did not catch a huge largemouth bass like I did the night before, he caught one heck of a big catfish and had a great time.