Narrative and Photos by Eric Fleming.
A total of 26 paddlers drove to Dayton, 50 miles north of Chattanooga, to see the TOTAL Eclipse from our boats on August 21st.
Ruthie and I left at 10 :00 am for the 1:00 pm meet time as we didn’t know what to expect and we had all the glasses so we had to be there on time. We got there a little after 11:00 AM and there were already eight people there as traffic was pretty much straight through.
Paddlers trickled in over the next two hours with reports of heavier traffic, but everyone made it on time. There were nine paddlers that got there early, went ahead and put on and did their own thing.
At 1:00 PM we headed downstream on the Tennessee River from the Garrison Road ramp to fellow paddler Linda’s private dock. It looked like everyone who had a watercraft was on the water, from huge cigarette boats down to jet skis, and of course, us. We hung out at Linda’s dock to watch the Eclipse. While waiting for the Eclipse we saw an Osprey do a high dive into the water and catch a fish, and had a visit from an Ultralight plane.
The Eclipse was just awesome! Seeing it getting darker with the stars coming out and a 360-degree sunset was indescribable.
The first Eclipse photo was through the special glasses and the second one a naked eye during the Total Eclipse. There was Total Eclipse of The Sun and then Here Comes The Sun blasting from one of the power boats and much applause for the event. There sure were a lot of people playing hooky from work today!!
When it was over half the group headed back to the put in and the rest of us went over to an island to swim. The group that headed back early were escorted part of the way by a Bald Eagle; maybe he was a little confused by having the sun disappear in the middle of the day.
With everyone leaving at the same time (especially from Spring City up the road) it took us twice as long to get home on HWY 27 as getting there but it was well worth the trip.
All in all, a very memorable bucket list event!