Monday, 22 November 2010
Locking Seminar and Demonstration at Old Hickory
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On Sunday afternoon 22 November, eleven members and guests of Music City Power Squadron had a delicious Cajun lunch at Steamboat Bill's in Hendersonville. A number of our members are on track to get their Inland Waters Boat Operators Certification with a locking endorsement, which requires both classroom and on-water knowledge of locking. Others merely wanted the knowledge and experience. During lunch, Mike Majka led us in the workshop showing how locks operate, and the giving us the necessary safety and communications procedures for locking through a dam. 
 
Prior to lunch, Ray Alley and Mike Majka had launched their boats at the Rockland ramp and docked them at Creekwood Marina. After our seminar, we walked across the road to the dock and boarded Nothing to Fear and Reel Time II for a quick cruise to Old Hickory Lock and Dam. The air temperature was in the mid 50's, with overcast skies and very little wind. Fred Burr has had extensive experience using this lock, and he handled communication with the lockmaster over the VHF radio; we had to wait at the barge dolphins as the lock was filled. There was no commercial traffic to worry about, so we entered the 400' x 84' lock chamber from the upstream side and looped lines around the floating bollards in the lock wall. With engines off, we marveled at the silence of the experience, as over 15 million gallons of water were emptied to lower us the 60' from Old Hickory Lake to the level of the Cumberland River above Opryland. As we started engines, cast off lines and motored downstream, Fred radioed the lockmaster that we would be returning for a reverse trip in a half hour or so, and he told Fred in jest that we might have to compete for space with the two upbound tows he was expecting soon. 
 
Cruising down the narrow channel that is the Cumberland between the dam and downtown Nashville, we noted several fishermen along its banks and one camper perched on a ledge of the bluff. We proceeded to within sight of the Old Hickory Boulevard bridge, where we turned around and retraced our track to the lock. Seventeen minutes after the downstream gates were closed and the chamber began to be filled, the upstream doors opened and the lockmaster came out of his office to receive our thanks and wave us on a safe journey back upstream. 
 
We cruised back to the Rockland Ramp where the boats were pulled back up onto Mike's and Ray's trailers as a few drops of drizzle came down, and we shuttled everyone else back to Steamboat Bill's to retrieve their cars. All agreed it was a successful and enjoyable afternoon. Thanks to Mike and Ray for the use of their boats, and to Mike for leading the workshop.
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Posted on 11/22/2010 3:57 PM by Barry
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Tuesday, 2 November 2010
Music City's Second Annual Blue Heron Fall Colors Cruise (a.k.a. Flood Be Damned!)
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On a fine fall day at the end of October, ten of our number boarded the Blue Heron for a leisurely cruise on the Cumberland to share fellowship and close out the cruising season. It was the day before Halloween, and while the hardwoods along the bank were in full costume, none of us were. Instead we soaked up the sunshine, told a few tales, and generally enjoyed an afternoon on the river.
Unlike last year, we did not enjoy a fine meal at the Riverview Restaurant prior to boarding - that option was foreclosed to us by the May 2nd flood. Cap'n Jim Steele says the local landmark will reopen in the spring. Other evidence of the flood was visible - note the photo of the fishing cabins on the bank.
There were the usual birds to see, a red-tail hawk here, an osprey there, several dozen blue herons greater and lesser, and even a kingfisher. And then there was Tamara Nelson, in her full plumage, courtesy of the captain's balloon pump.
P/C Tom Hudson
photos by P/C Candyce Corcoran are not available
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Posted on 11/02/2010 3:26 PM by Barry
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