The sun makes almost everything better.  As do “The Beatles.”  Play this whilst you read on:

Start: Pebble Isle Marina, mm94, 0921
End: Cuba Landing Marina, mm 115.5, 1258
Total Distance: 18.2 nm
Time: 3:37
Average Speed: 5.0 kts
Number of locks: 0

Start: Cuba Landing Marina, mm 115.5, 0659
End: Clifton Marina, Clifton TN, mm 158.5, 1334
Total Distance: 37.7 nm
Time: 6:35
Average Speed: 5.7 kts
Number of locks: 0

Cinnamon Rolls
AJ will wake up for sugar!

After two days of damp, cold misery, today turns out to be a delightful sunny day. We are all up by 0730, which is a miracle…AJ hasn’t seen the early side of 9am in quite some time. Few things can begin him up this early; one of them is cinnamon rolls. Hot, fresh baked cinnamon rolls with a ton of frosting on the top. Dock master Billy is at the marina by 0740 and at 0800, all the transient boat crews are gathered in the cafe for free coffee and cinnamon rolls. They are big, they are hot, and just the thing to get us going in the morning.  I overindulge in the caffeinated beverage and annoy the snot out of Jan, AJ and Lucky for the rest of the day.

We take our time this morning because there is a bit of fog across the water and we aren’t going all that far. We are heading only 20 miles down the lake to the next destination. So we relax, enjoy the coffee, come down off the sugar buzz and head out at just before 0930. The day, as mentioned, is gorgeous. Not much wind, sunny blue skies, perfect day to be on the water. And we are not alone. The fishermen/women are out in force today–there are boats all across the lake. And the scenery is great to look at as well. Every so often you can see remnants of the infrastructure that was in place before they created the Kentucky lake; parts of bridges for roads and railroad tracks.

Since our trip was so short, I basically put the engines a tick over slow idle and we slowly moved down the river. We all wanted to warm up and enjoy the day. Even with our slow pace, we were at Cuba Landing Marina by 1pm.

Cuba Landing is another in a series of small marinas. In a small cut just off the river, it has three covered docks for the permanent slip holders, comprised almost equally of fishing/go fast boats and of pontoon/house boats (some of which are ‘go fast boats’ as well). And they had a stick of a dock off of their fuel docks for transients. Us. We were in at 1pm, Chrysalis arrived at 3pm and that dock was full. We had one other transient boat arrive at 5pm; a 50 foot Trojan1, which was put at the fuel dock.

While we tied up a fishing boat pulled up next to us, and an older, grizzled gentleman limped into the convenance store for some soda and chips. On his way back to his boat, he exclaimed (as he held his back), “I hate those damn loopers.”

Well this is awkward. Since we are, like, loopers.

When queried what brought about this outburst, he told us that there is a big fishing tournament today (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday)2 And when those fishing boats are moving from place to place, they are moving at a high rate of speed and the wake from the loopers was causing this particular gentlemen to fly all over the river. But, good news, he had caught one fish, so wasn’t going to be shut out of the tournament. He grumbled for a couple of more minutes, gingerly climbed back into his boat and he was off looking for more fish.

We had three projects for the day. AJ had to finish his homework, Jan and I had to fix the leaking hose in the A/C system to prevent further collections of water in the bilge. And we needed to clean out the back locker that was growing a colony of black mold (and figure out why).

First was the back locker. We emptied the thing out and everything inside was wet. We then took some bleach to the inside to remove the mold. Then cleaned out the drain. And finally, closed it up and ran water over the top to see if it was leaking. Which it wasn’t, but the next locker back now had problems; we could see the water spilling out of there. So into the back locker and it turns out both lockers are joined to the same through hull to drain out the water. While we cleaned out the first locker, the water was getting blocked at the T and going up into the back locker. We took at the through hull and drains with some wire and a pressure hose and we quickly had everything draining.

Second was the AC. This fix was removing the valve the was on the hose for winterization, and then taking some plumbers tape, putting it over the fitting and capping. Jan’s idea. It worked like a champ. No more leaking.

And AJ got his school work complete. We had enough daylight left to walk out of the marina, down a dirt road and to the river where Lucky met Okee, at 14 year old dog who was walking her owners. They (mother and daughter) were collecting driftwood to make into art.

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Back to the boat for some pancetta pasta and our nightly argument about what show we want to stream. Bottom line from Cuba Landing Marina? Big thumbs up!

Second day of sun and we are up early to welcome the sunrise. Us and about 100 fishing boats. We leave our marina at about 7am and the sun was just peeking over the horizon. We took a left (south) and what greeted us was wave after wave of apparently suicidal fisher people. They were clad head to to in cold weather gear and driving their boats down river (towards us) and INSANE rates of speed. Trying, one presumes, to be the first to the elusive sweet fishing spot. Or trying to ram each other off the river. Either way, our first thirty minutes was spent hoping we wouldn’t end up a (large) hood ornament on one of the boats.

By 0730 they had gotten wherever it is that anglers go and our day turned into much like yesterday. We were going significantly father–40ish miles to the next small marina on the Tennessee. We were ‘flying’ (for us) for the first hour or so, but then the lake turned into the river and we began to buck against current, and our forward pace began to lag. But other than that, there wasn’t much not to like about the day. Sunny, a bit of a breeze. The scenery has changed to more of what we thought the rivers would look like. Hills and limestone bluffs line the river, capped by trees. Occasional vacation houses. No real towns to speak of that we could see. Nor was there much commercial traffic…we saw one tow coming towards us and passed a small tow going with us. And tons of fishing boats. And pontoons. It is the weekend…our days of having the river almost to ourselves are past.

Into Clifton Marina just after lunch. Four transient boats here today and a mix of permanent boats that were in line with what we saw at Cuba landing. We walked a bit into Clifton, but there isn’t a lot to see here. And the temperature has started climbing, so we wilted and went back to the boat to enjoy the new, improved AC system.

Clifton is run by exactly two people. That is pump fuel, dock boats, cook, run the store, pump out. Everything. It is a small operation. They are great. We had dinner at the marina. You order at a small counter at the back of the ship’s store. They walk out back to a grill and grill up your order. And serve it to you outside on the patio. Cheap, good.

IMG_8441Tomorrow is another long day with some wind and rain…we will have to see tomorrow what we want to do…

1: I will pause 10 seconds for any number of trojan jokes here. Jan had to suffer through me exclaiming every 20 minutes “LOOK! A 50′ trojan!” Take pity on her…it was a long night.
2: Which explains all the fishing boatS!