Monday, February 6, 2012

HENDERSON ISLAND & SHIPWRECKED

click photos to enlarge
The air turned cool by late afternoon and the sky became dark and beautiful.

The schedule had me running on Douglas Lake (Reservoir) for the afternoon shift which is 1 PM until dusk.  I'm still not sure when dusk is but I love being out there and just stay as long as I can.  Shade and I were on the water at noon.  The day started out bright and I was in a cheerful mood - as always.  Well;  it's true!
Look at the size of these powerful feet.

Shade was being a baby doll right from the start.  How can anyone not respect and fall in love with a dog?
You're probably getting tired of hearing me harp about how great a dog she is but she's my best friend and she lets me know.
Sweet baby!
Spoiled rotten too!

I just can't get over the size of those feet.  Shade has really wide webs between the toes to aid swimming.







 "Want a treat Shade?  That got your attention didn't it?"








We were heading up stream toward the town of Dandridge and would soon be passing Henderson Island.  By the way - You might wonder what the town of Dandridge, Tennessee has to do with George Washington.  I knew that was on your mind.  George's wife was from Dandridge.  Fact is her maiden name was Dandridge - Martha Dandridge.

Henderson Island

 Henderson Island is a 300 acre TWRA wildlife management area that contains a 6 acre fish rearing pond and a 2 acre waterfowl wetland area.  The 6 acre pond on the island has been used as a waterfowl "refuge" since 1990.  Note the term "refuge."  The term wetland refers to the habitat for waterfowl.   Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) leases the island from  the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) as TVA owns the lake and property.

There was an issue of getting water to the island to maintain the 6 acre lake and wetland areas.  Wells were drilled and did not supply enough water to supply water requirements of the habitats because the aqua firs were inadequate.  A six inch pipe was run over a cliff that stood a hundred feet above the lake.  A pump was attached to the pipe and a constant supply of fresh water was made available as needed at the flip of a switch.  5 days of constant pumping are required to fill the the 6 acre pond.  This operation became fully funded in 2004.  TWRA is constantly striving to better fish and waterfowl habitat in the state and the successes at Henderson Island places kudos upon TWRA for a job well done in these areas.
Water pipe from cliff to the water

Closer view of water pipe

I took the boat around the bottom of the island and beached in a cove near Crappie habitat constructed by our reservoir fisheries people.  Ancient tree stumps dot the exposed banks of the shore.  These stumps have survived here ever since the reservoirs were constructed.

Just having a great time
"Shade - Come!"


I love to watch her react instantly to my commands.
What a friend!
It was time to get back on the boat.  I said, "Shade" in a normal voice and she looked at me.  All I did was say the word boat and pointed to the boat far down the hill.  She turned and ran at top speed toward the boat.
She is half way to the boat almost before I can get the camera to my face.
Wow;  look at her fly onto the deck.  Her forward momentum nearly carries her across the deck and off the other side.
"Dad; where are you?"
What more could anyone expect from a dog?  She lives to please me.  I've not seen such total dedication since my golden boy, Douglas.  "Well done Shade."
We followed the coast line back toward the boat ramp at the dam at a slow pace.  I took notice to homes that appeared to belong to some lake God.  The sizes of some of these homes is amazing!  They must have super large families.  Maybe the owners adopted 20 or 30 kids and needed an ultra large dwelling with at least 30 bedrooms to house them all.
Got to be at least 20 bedrooms in that baby.

It's nice to finally see a modest home after viewing all those mansions.  Nice little apartment  up there.


Yep;  it's a boat garage
The sky was getting dark and the threat of rain was lurking far off in the distance.  There were no fishermen on the lake in this area.  We had better burn it back to the boat ramp and load up..

We were skimming along at 28 miles per hour and approaching the boat ramp when a hard jolt with a loud thump sound occurred.  The boat had hit something.  I checked the depth finder just prior to the collision and we were in 47 feet of water.  I checked again just after and we were still in 47 feet of water.  Nothing was floating on top the water.  We were still under way and I left the throttle alone until we approached close to the no wake zone at the boat ramp.  I throttled down and eased up to the boat dock and the boat very gently touched the edge of the ramp.  I kicked the engine into reverse to adjust the attitude of the boat to the ramp.  The boat didn't move.  Reverse was gone.  There was damage.  I then used my wooden push pole to pry and push against the dock to set the boat up for loading.  Once on the trailer and away from the ramp;  I investigated the damage.  Wow!
The entire skeg and the bottom of the prop shaft housing were gone.  A gaping hole was present in the bottom of the lower unit casting.
Total disaster!  The transmission was toast.  Repairs would cost at least $3000.  We have several engines salvaged from other TWRA boats and maybe I could find a good transmission (lower unit) that I can bolt up to my engine.  I'll check tomorrow.
The damage appears to be from striking a rock.  The fact that I was in 47 feet of water doesn't make sense though.  I'm beginning to think I hit a half waterlogged telephone pole size log floating beneath the surface a few feet deep.  I don't know.  I will, however, idle back out there to see if there is a reef that is not on the charts, that is, if I get this thing fixed.  I'll know tomorrow.

That's the end of another adventure and fun filled blog entry.  I have been really pressed for time lately with fisheries work on the lake, doing taxes and assisting the fisheries habitat people. I'm trying to keep up with the blog.  As an added comment - I'm just about finished with the Scona Lodge entry.  It should prove to be a most interesting piece to read.  It is the only written word about Scona Lodge anywhere.  If there is something written;  it isn't on the internet anywhere.

I appreciate your dedication to this blog and I'll try my best to keep things happening.  From myself and Shade (Shady Lady) - see you soon.  What follows was added on 2-16-12


I replaced the transmission on the engine last week and launched the boat at Douglas Dam.  I retraced the same course across the lake where my boat struck the obstacle that ruined the transmission on the boat.  Whatever I hit was submerged and did not appear on the sonar or GPS navigation screen.  The lake dropped a foot and a half in depth since the accident and I should be able to find the offending rock.   I did find it.  Great Scott!
There it is dead ahead.
It could have taken the bottom of the boat out had it been 8 inches closer to the surface.


That thing needs a buoy attached to it before someone kills themselves out here.  It was just under the surface when I hit it.  I marked the spot on my GPS which will show up on the navigation screen.  I wonder how long that rock ledge, reef, extends.  That would be good information.  I'll just stay far away from it.