Paddler Tattler February 2020

New On-line Waivers
Save you time

TVCC and ACA waivers now online
Fill out both waivers once and you’re done for the year!
We are now using smartwaivers for all of our events! This new online service will reduce paperwork and streamline the check-in process. You can now sign your waivers on smartphones, computers and on iPads.
Even better news, ACA has made some really great changes to their waiver process and simplified their waiver system. Previously, ACA had multiple waivers for members, non members and events…it was a very painful process. Now, ACA has a single waiver for everyone and everything. We expect these and other changes to make your check-in at club events much more efficient.
You will need to sign BOTH waivers. Please sign them NOW and you are set for 2020!
TVCC Waiver:
ACA Waiver:

First 2020 Roll Practice is
Tuesday, Feb 4th

Come out Feb 4th for first Roll Practice this year!
As usual, Roll Practice will be in the awesome UTC Aquatic and Recreation Center (ARC).

TVCC Paddlers will pay $5.00 for each session. You will also pay $5.00 for American Canoe Association (ACA) Insurance for each pool session if you do not have an ACA Membership Number. Join ACA now by clicking here! ACA membership is just $25 for the entire year and covers all roll practices, Paddle School and other events that require ACA insurance.
We are hoping to greatly speed up the time it takes to get everyone in the pool by asking that you register and pay online in advance of the event. Everyone must fill out the two online waivers (links below) each year. Take care of it online once and you won’t have to sign those again for the rest of the year!
We accept cash and checks at the door only. No credit card payments will be accepted at the door. If you are not currently a member of TVCC, you will be asked to fill out the membership form and pay the $20 annual dues.
Please CLEAN your boat before coming to the pool. That means taking your air bags out and rinsing the inside thoroughly. We don’t want to lose our pool privileges because we contaminated the UTC pool! UTC has equipment you can borrow if necessary and arrive early enough to grab what you need.
Helmets must be worn while in the pool. There are a lot of paddlers and paddles swinging around.
No problem bringing your kids to play while you roll, but please put them in a helmet.
Be gentle with UTC’s pool. Boofing off the coping or hard entries and exits from the pool may damage the tile work. Exercise caution when trying out your gnarly dynamic moves.
(one of each per participant)
TVCC Waiver:
ACA Waiver:

TVCC is looking for Instructor Candidates to attend ACA Instructor Qualification this season!

Becoming an ACA Instructor is challenging both as a paddler and as a teacher. ACA Instructor candidates are evaluated on their ability to show students what ‘right looks like’ and teach this sport. They are recognized as the best teachers in paddlesports. The club offers scholarships to selected instructor candidates and expects those candidates to perform as instructors and leaders at our club events (Paddle School, Rescue Rodeo, Training Trips, etc.) over the course of two years. If you are interested in becoming a better paddler, here’s your opportunity to make that happen. Contact for an application.
Darren Caputo
Club Training Officer

Sandhill Crane Report

Flatwater Cruisemaster
By Eric Fleming

On Jan 5th, 18 paddlers met at 10 am at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge ramp near Dayton, TN on a beautiful sunny and 50 degree calm day, which was a lot better than the windy, rainy and cold day before. That’s the good news. The rest is not so much. First, apologies to Nancy who I cut out of the photo. I’m going to blame that on Mike as he looks like he’s framing out the end of the photo with his paddle!! LOl. Of course Pete was off doing laps while we were taking the photo. I need some of whatever he’s on!! While driving up Hwy 27 we saw that Soddy Creek was at summertime lake levels instead of the winter draw down due to the three inches of rain we just had. I knew this was bad as the birds normally congregate on the sand bars and when we got there the water was up in the grass and very few birds around. Last year was bad but this year was even worse and I’m officially calling it the end of an era. In future, we’ll have to call it our winter paddle with a chance of seeing wildlife. Very sad. However, we may be able to still see them in NOVEMBER or DECEMBER which I’ll explain later.

We did see two Bald Eagles, a huge flock of sea gulls, and a new shipwreck.
OK, so where have all the Sandhill Cranes gone? I went to a meeting in November with the TWRA (Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency) ranger from the Dayton area and it turns out there are many reasons.
First, the TWRA was concerned about diseases spreading so they wanted to spread out the migration concentration. Every year they have been planting less corn there and contracting with surrounding farmers to grow corn like the McDonald farm in Sale Creek.
Second, with the winters getting warmer every year, we are no longer the half way resting point as the birds don’t fly any further than they have too. This means that instead of just passing through, they may decide to stay here, depleting the corn quickly and then have to move on. So, there were more birds here in November but they’ve eaten all the food so late arrivals can’t stay here.
Last, in 2013, the State of Tennessee allowed Sandhill hunting. Now outfitters set up blinds and decoys in the farm fields all around the refuge, then take groups of hunters who can each bag three birds. These hunters are shooting about 1,000 birds per year, but scaring off thousands more.
So, with so few birds here, why do they need to disperse them? Doesn’t make sense to me.
January 18th and 19th is the Sandhill Crane Festival with people coming from all over and being shuttled over to the viewing area on buses. They are advertising the possibility to see 20,000 cranes, however, Ruthie and I stopped by on the way to the paddle and there weren’t more than 200 birds. So, they have killed the Festival also.
Anyway, it was a great paddle and the whole group did the 5 mile trip around the island and then we went to the nearby Monkey Town bar/restaurant. Good times.
To give you an idea of what it used to look like, check out the pictures below. The photo of the two immature bald eagles from BG and the photos of the Sandhill Cranes from Phyllis are from previous years. . fl

2019-2020 TVCC Florida “Blue Holes”
Week of Rivers Trip Report
by Judy Norton

Photos by BG Smith and Judy Norton
TVCC members rendezvoused on December 27th, 2019 at the Suwanee River Cove Campground for the annual Florida Blue Holes overnight trip. Ben Johnson was the Trip Leader and developed an awesome plan to paddle four great rivers near the campground.
On Saturday, Dec 28th, we paddled the clear Santa Fe River from US Highway 27 River Rise to Hwy 47 River Park ramp. This 10-mile paddle included stops at beautiful Poe Springs, Lily Springs, Gilchrist Blue Springs, and Ginnie Springs. Several people took advantage of the crystal-clear water at Gilchrist Blue Springs, which is now a State Park, to swim and explore the springs with some snorkel gear.
Day 2, December 29, was a beautiful Sunday morning. We met up and caravaned to paddle the world famous and quite spectacular Ichetucknee River, just a short drive from the campground. It was a relatively short run of just four clear water miles, and steady gentle current of the Ichetucknee turned the trip into an awesome float trip with a great opportunity to enjoy the scenery and abundant wildlife along the way. We encountered spider lilies, several different types of birds, and more turtles than could be counted.
Monday, December 30th, the group shuttled over to Steinhatchee Falls for a 6-mile paddle down the blackwater Steinhatchee River. The Steinhatchee empties into the Gulf of Mexico but not before passing through the classic fishing village of Steinhatchee, FL. After the paddle, everyone headed over to Roy’s, a seafood restaurant on the bank of the river with a view out to the Gulf and a fantastic assortment of perfectly prepared fresh seafood.
The last paddle of the trip was appropriately on the last day of the year. It was an 11-mile run down the Suwannee River from Fort MaComb Ramp to Ivey Memorial Park in Branford. It was also a perfect “Chamber of Commerce Day” with warm temperatures and cloudless blue skies. This section of the Suwannee is a black water river, punctuated by several clear flowing springs adding to the flow. An interesting lunch stop on the Suwannee was at Troy Springs State Park where the remains of a Civil War-era sidewheel steamer can be seen lying along the bottom. The boat was scuttled by her Confederate captain rather than allowing it to fall into enemy hands.
Several miles down from Troy Springs is Little River Springs. It has beautiful sandy beaches perfect for swimmers. The springs here include more than a mile of caves and caverns that can be explored by scuba divers.
As is usual with the annual Blue Holes trip we enjoyed a couple group get-togethers. The traditional shrimp boil was first on Sunday night and another pot-luck to celebrate New Year’s Eve on Tuesday.
The 2019-2020 Florida Blue Holes Trip was a total success. This year’s group included Ben, Beth, David, and Amy Johnson, Scott Painter, Liz Young, Mike Shillinger, Lisa Lemza, Pat Carver, Ned Smith, Lynne Dorsey, Carolyn and Mark Rand, Judy and Gary Petty, Nancy and Mike Harrison, David, Dixie, and Rebecca Riall, Misty Smith, Kem and Jan McNeese, Hook Hill, BG Smith, and *judy norton.

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