Sunday, June 26, 2011

WHAT HAPPENED TO ME?

I received an email from the UK asking why there have been no new posts on the site.  It's nice to know someone  is concerned about the fact I haven't posted any new material to the blog in over a week.  An explanation is in order I guess.
I hired on to the Fisheries division of The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) on June 20, 2011.  This is a very positive change to my life that I've been patiently waiting and hoping for over a five year period.  The job entails operating a 22 foot boat on Cherokee and Douglas Lakes in East Tennessee.
The past couple weeks have been tiring as I haven't closed on the house I'm buying located 87 miles East of my present location and am forced to drive that distance twice daily until I can close on the property.
The driving part will end within a couple weeks.  But, the boat is new and has been parked and not used over the past two years when the previous TWRA employee assigned to Cherokee and Douglas Lakes retired.  At that same time;  the state government froze hiring.  In short;  the boat requires a complete cleaning and mechanical inspection top to bottom.  I have, with the help of an agency friend, been spending up to 15 hours a day cleaning and performing preventative maintenance on the boat.  As an example;  I had to hand scrub above and below decks to remove oxidation and filth accumulated over a two year period.  The trailer wheel bearings needed repacked with grease and the preload reset.
She's a 22 foot long boat and that's a lot of area to clean.  Batteries were taken out and two of the three require replacement.
We finally got to the point where the engine was ready to be started and tested yesterday.  During this process we found the bilge pump was faulty.  No doubt sitting dormant without water lubrication did it in.  The bilge pump, by the way, is a pump that activates when a flooding situation occurs below decks.  It pumps on board water out of the boat.
A water supply was attached to the motor for cooling and the motor was cranked over.  It started but, there was no water coming from the proof hole in the back of the motor.  The proof hole is a hole where a small stream of cooling water is pumped out of the engine to prove that the cooling system is pumping water.  This indicated that the impeller (water pump) had taken a set (the impeller blades became hard and were no longer capable of drawing water through the engine) and would have to be replaced.  The agency wants this boat on the water by the first of July to start lake coverage.  We made the decision to take it to a good marine shop for an engine going over.
So, that's what's been going on.  Everything will smooth out here in the near future and life will be good.  The blog entries have suffered because I haven't had much personal time to accumulate experiences.  I assure you that the experiences to post and write about will be coming fast in the very near future;  probably faster than I like.  I appreciate the concerns and no;  there isn't anything wrong at all.  Keep watching the blog.   We have two new enormous lakes to explore and with that will be lots of shallow and deep water, storms and odd occurrences that should prove interesting and entertaining.

On another note;  Douglas saw two Mallard ducks floating near the shore.  Those duck lured him far out in deep water on a wild goose (duck) chase before taking flight and leaving him alone.  He is the brown pin head object way out in the lake.  He's amazing and fearless when it comes to water.
The mallards lured him away from shore.
They stayed just ahead of him and then took flight when he closed in
Click on the picture to see him.  He's half way across the bay