Friday, February 14, 2014

ON THE WATER AGAIN AT LAST


The weather finally offered up a decent day with comfortable temperatures, 40 degrees, that would allow me to get back onto the lake for a change.  I was scheduled for an afternoon run on large bay areas and chose the 22 foot bay boat for the task as it rides big water and foul weather very nicely.  Even though the snow was over, the color of the sky held promise for more surprises.
 The boat ramps and docks over here in this mud hole leave a lot to be desired.  Everything associated with launching a boat is awkward.  The dock is out of the water too far and the iron skeleton of the dock is exposed where a fiberglass boat can strike up against it and become damaged.  Notice the show still on the deck of the boat.
The dock does not stick out into the water far enough due to the draining of the lake so the tied boat swings around sideways to the boat ramp and concrete makes contact with the bottom of the boat.  These two lakes over here are simply frustrating.
 The deck drains located in the corners at the stern of the vessel were frozen below deck and I had a swimming pool form on deck as the sun melted the snow.
The shot above shows how awkward it is to maneuver a boat near these docks that are elevated out of the water due to water draw down.  It was just before this picture that I had a scare.  I was standing on top the dock you see above looping that bow line in the picture when the dock slid out toward the water a couple feet.  The boat was directly in front of the end of the dock and was struck.  The sudden stop of the docks forward motion shot me off the end of the dock and onto the deck of the boat and "almost" off the other side.  I wanted a sledge hammer in the most sincere way!  My left leg did go over the side of the boat and got soaked.  Then I couldn't find Shade.  The loud grating noise the dock made sliding on the concrete scared her and she ran and hid.  I knew where she'd be though.
She ran straight to the truck and laid down under the drivers door.  I had a soaked leg and had to get home to change clothes so I'd take Shade home and let her chill out for the rest of the day.
 I finally got the boat underway and settled back to enjoy the afternoon.  Again, there was not one boat trailer in the parking lot.  Oh well.    I noticed a couple ring billed gulls making passes on the boat and took a couple shots of them.  The backgrounds seemed a good shade to highlight the white plumage.




A black vulture is investigating a cliff side in search of a cave.  He has a mate with him and she was in that cave above him but flew out of the picture.

 I'm not sure if the mate on the wing is carrying sticks or not.  It certainly is that time of year.  Not sure what vultures do about nests.

It didn't take long until the first eagle showed up.


These eagles weren't going to allow me to get close to them.  They still looked magnificent.
And then the next eagle appeared.

I wonder why they are so jumpy.  Bet it has something to do with this odd weather.
And yet two more.
OK, one more below:

 This is the last bald eagle I photographed but there were four more different birds.  I couldn't get close to any of them.  It might be do to lack of foliage on the trees.
Well, I see another new house is going up on the lake shoreline.  I don't understand why folks desire to live on a gooey mud bank for 6 months out of 12.
The lake's water belongs up there at the top of the embankment.  I guess Ethel and Henry can watch the water recede together in the fall and again watch it return when the TVA Gods decide to bring it back in the spring.  The mud is very pretty, I guess, maybe depending how one looks at it, preferably with eyes closed.
That white line in the shot above is ice .  Not a bad day at all.  I got to get home and unhitch the boat because I'll be in the truck tomorrow on the tailrace of Cherokee Lake.  It should be a nice afternoon tomorrow.
It's 9 PM right now and the wind has started howling outside.  Now what?  It's to rain and turn to snow all night and continue in the morning.  We'll see.