Day 56: River Gorge Explorer – Chattanooga, TN

by Jeff

“The Suck”, “The Skillet”, “The Frying Pan” and “The Pot”

The River Gorge Catamaran caught in a 360º spin!

The River Gorge Catamaran caught in a 360º spin!

First, some quick points about the boat! Will stop from 55 mph to 0 in 10 seconds or less? You may experience 60° spins, 90° turns at cruise speeds and sudden stops while cruising the Tennessee River all in a safe experience.

At top speed the boat will draw less than 18" of water

At top speed the boat will draw less than 18" of water

This is no ordinary boat, able to come from cruising speed to a dead stop with zero wake in less than 3 boat lengths. The 70-foot catamaran is powered by four Caterpillar diesel engines driving water jets that propel craft smoothly and swiftly downstream.

Rendering showing the profile

Rendering showing the profile

The boat has been designed for the Tennessee River Gorge experience. In fact, this catamaran is the first to be commissioned and certified for river use. It is the only boat of its kind to operate in inland water anywhere in Europe or the U.S.

Patrice, Pam, Danielle and Mike on the observation deck

Patrice, Pam, Danielle and Mike on the observation deck

Patrice’s brother Mike and his wife Pam surprised us with tickets for the River Gorge Explorer. As we boarded, the comfortable cabin was about half full with a mix of locals and visitors. Angled seating allows each guest to relax in the cabin and enjoy the scenic beauty and wildlife through large windows. We were ready to see the River Gorge Explorer and experience ‘Tennessee’s Grand Canyon’ as it is meant to be experienced…from the water.

The Tennesse River Gorge with Signal Mountain in the background

The Tennesse River Gorge with Signal Mountain in the background

The Aquarium naturalist does a wonderful job of engaging the group with bio about the captain(s) and what we are about to experience and points out wildlife and historic points of interest along the way.

The Tennessee River Gorge winds along 26 miles of the Tennessee River, and contains over 27,000 acres of land. Often referred to as “Tennessee’s Grand Canyon”, the Gorge is the fourth largest river canyon east of the Mississippi.

View of the gorge from Raccoon Mountain

View of the gorge from Raccoon Mountain

Mixing history with local lore, the guide points out former navigational hazards on the river known as “The Suck”, “The Skillet”, “The Frying Pan” and “The Pot”. Long before the Tennessee Valley Authority tamed the river, the Tennessee was a wild river.

This journey is as much about the history of the Gorge as it is about the plants and animals. I have always shared a “useless fact” that we live in an ecosystem with more diversity of foliage than anywhere in the world sans central China. The River Gorge is a natural treasure that has been preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Getting up to speed!

Getting up to speed!

The excursion will take 2 hours unless you opt for the 3 hour sunset cruise. Please allow 10 minutes for loading and disembarking. I also recommend you purchase tickets in advance. The boat boards at the Chattanooga Riverboat Pier – two blocks from the Tennessee Aquarium.

Save some $$ on your tickets

Save some $$ on your tickets

note: there are light snacks available for purchase and restroom facilities on board.

Jeff & Patrice Wishmyer – Full Time Realtors with Prudential RealtyCenter are the real estate experts for those considering buying or selling a home. They work with employees of companies such as Volkswagen, Alstom Power and TVA as they relocate either to or from Chattanooga, TN. ChattanoogaAndBeyond.com is quickly becoming the Relocation Guide for the Southeastern Tennessee area featuring housing, events, attractions, recreation, schools, dining, local news and much more. Put Us to Work for You Today! 423-424-8749

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