Into the eye of the storm…

Our plan today was fairly simple. We only had 45 miles to cover and there was no reason to rush getting off early. So we agreed to go to The Docks for a good country breakfast at 9am and then shove off. We lingered over breakfast and it was 10:30am when we cast off. Rain was forecast 100% and some thunderstorms predicted. All of them must have been on our route.

Poor visibility and a tow comes out of the mist. Thanks to AIS we knew he was coming and radioed to coordinate passing in this soup.

It rained so hard we could not see the buoys. The lightening was striking all around and the thunder was so loud it would make you jump! Now our flybridge is completely enclosed in canvas and we are running an oscillating fan as a defroster of sorts. But things tended to fog up anyway.

We passed by the infamous Kentucky State Prison. It holds the record for most executions(7) in the same day. In 1889 it opened for business as a supermax facility.. It is known as the castle on the Cumberland. I will get better pictures on the return. It really does look like a castle.

Lightening is not as dangerous as you might think on a well equipped boat. First, most of the surrounding landscape is taller than we are so it would more likely strike a tree on a ridge than a boat. Second, you have a tall antenna that is the highest thing on the boat. It creates what is called an inverted cone of protection. What does that mean? Pretend the point of the inverted ice cream cone is the highest point of your antenna. Everything inside the cone is somewhat protected because the lightening will be attracted to that point and run down that antenna and through the boat’s grounding system and out through the hull to a large lead plate bolted to the hull underwater. When the electrical charge gets to that plate it is theoretically discharged with no harmother than some fried electrical equipment. That is unless you happen to be holding onto something that is connected to the grounding system and it discharges through you! We put a hand towel over the top of the stainless steel helm wheel to drive as if that would help!!!

Luckily we took no hits but mant were nearby. Harder to hit a moving 10mph target even with a 186,000 miles per second flash of light. We had nothing but storms all day and the next two days may be the same. One of the joys of boating. On the Loop, Jan and I would never have intentionally traveled in such weather but we have a boater’s worst enemy with a fixed schedule to meet. Our reservation starts Saturday in Nashville.

We passed several tows with barges in that soup. The last one was in a perticularly tight channel and he asked us to wait for him to clear the turn before moving as all his barges were empty and floating light made them more prone to wander with the wind. We held off and I was glad we did. When he rounded the bend he was all over the river. There would have been no place for us.

You can see why we were reluctant to pull in here. We covered up the whole place but it was fun once we got there.

Tonight we had no choice but to stay at Bumpus Mills Marina. We have stayed at smaller and worse but I just cannot recall when. On sighting it Steve said, “We can’t go in there. There is no room for two boats.” But Wally, the manager, insisted there was and waved us to tie up around the store and fuel dock. After much discussion we headed in as another really bad storm was on our tail. What a chore to tie up the boats. Then we find he only has two 30 amp power plugs and none for our 50 amp boat. So we are running on generator power tonight. Good thing that part arrived on time. The docking only cost $25 which is cheap and there is no place near. Beggars can’t be choosers.

Steve took an outdoor shower and then served dinner aboard Little Funhouse.

A storm set in shortly that made us happy to be at Bumpus Mills. Steve prepared a delicious pasta meal on Little Funhouse with sausage and mushrooms. We dined well in our country marina. We gave thanks for our safe delivery and enjoyed ourselves.