Saturday, December 15, 2012


Remember what I said about the Army Corps of Engineers? It looks like I was wrong. They are going to start releasing water from the lake in the next couple of weeks and are seriously talking about going below 440 by a foot or more. They admit that this will do a lot of damage to the marinas at the lake though they don't mention damage to boats. I guess they think there is room for everyone on the hard. (There isn't - nor are there enough stands and cradles since many people share, pulling their boats every other year.) This also leaves very little water in the lake to support irrigation through next summer's growing season and puts the water level within a couple of feet of the intake which provides drinking water to the town. It is also doubtful any of the marinas can survive a season of drastically reduced income. They, like hundreds of other small business owners in the area, may well be bankrupt before the lake level is allowed to rise back to normal once again.

In return for all of this potential for disaster, the barge companies get six more inches of water in the Mississippi for (according to one report) 5 or 6 days. Who ever is making this decision is nothing less than certifiable.

But there is no use getting angry over it. Crazy people are a rouge force of nature, like a hurricane, tornado, or forest fire. All one can hope is having enough warning to get out of the way. If we are going to live the life of live-a-board sailors, altering plans and adapting to changing conditions is all part of the gig. Lake Carlyle, as much as we love the place, and as big a part as it has played in our journey so far, is being rendered untenable by an unrelenting drought multiplied by the lunacy of politics.

So we are shifting plans, figuring out what we need to do to get Kintala out of the water. We have until the level gets to 444, the shallowest level that a 5 foot draft can get into the lift across the lake. (The only one on the lake that can take Kintala's weight.) Just before or just after she gets dry, the mast has to come down. Stepping it was a near disaster so - will the jinn pole get the job done before we lift the boat, or will we have to bring in a crane after the boat is on the hard? Can the lift lift her with the mast still up? Decisions.

Once the boat is in the lift do we put her down in Carlyle? To do so means taking up residence in a different marina, buying stands to hold her up, (stands we will have no use for after this one episode) and face being up out of the water for an unknowable number of months. The up side is Boulder isn't that far away and we can do a lot of work on the boat while Deb and I both have incomes. Big deal that, since we still need bottom paint, self-steering gear installed, through-hull inspections, a cutlass bearing, maybe a new drive shaft, and a new drip less seal installed.

Another option is to put the boat on a truck rather than stands, and send it to big water. Maybe east, maybe to Kentucky lake. Kentucky lake is a three hour drive, a bit far for weekends. But it is on the Ten-Tom and big salt water is just a couple of weeks of river travel away. Get the boat ready to go and, from there, just go. That has some serious appeal to it. And there is still the thought of a Mississippi marina somewhere not far from the Central West End, though how well river marinas will endure the drought is any one's guess.

Or the house can sell and we just go ... east probably. Find a marina to be on the hard for a few weeks, do we we have to do, shove off. Each choice plays off the variable of lake level, policy, rain, and the housing market. If I knew what was going to happen in any of these areas I wouldn't have to work and could probably afford a $2,000,000 brand new Catamaran to boot. (Not saying I would live on a $2,000,000 Catamaran even if I could, but not saying I wouldn't either.)



Latitude 43 said...

Money talks. Corporations and banks rule. Use this as an opportunity to get the work done on the hard, and get closer to big water. It is all about adapting these days to all the changes in climate, economy, politics, etc. I can't even read the blogs where everything just fell into place for the people, and they outfit their perfect boat with expensive gear, and head off to sunshine filled days without a care. We're still trying to figure out how we will afford to live on the water without pensions and health care. I guess we just sail until the money runs out :)

TJ said...

Wow, there are people who outfit their perfect boats with expensive gear and head off to sunshine filled days without a care? What planet are they from? When did they get here? Most importantly, how did they find a perfect boat?

Just kidding. Adapting is the name of the game any more. The next few weeks will probably be filled with getting the boat safely out of the disappearing lake. After that we'll have to see.

Robert Salnick said...

How many signs do you need that it's time to go?