Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New Seven Bridges Cruise - Bird Watching, Fascinating History and More

 Wow! We have certainly had some great boating weather lately. And, the extended forecast calls for more great weather ahead for the Chattanooga area. Passengers aboard the Tennessee Aquarium River Gorge Explorer have been enjoying the sunshine on the new Seven Bridges Cruise. The area upstream from downtown Chattanooga isn't known for wildlife sightings, but many people are surprised by the creatures being pointed out by Aquarium naturalists on these new excursions.
 In fact, some of the wildlife sightings occur on the Chattanooga Pier. This great blue heron looked as if he was posing for photos near where guests board the Explorer. Ducks and geese frequently pass by the Pier before or after boarding. Naturalist John Dever says there's plenty to see upstream. "Bird sightings are exceeding expectations on the New Seven Bridges Tour," said Dever. "Cliff swallows, red tail hawks, bald eagles, osprey, green herons, kingfishers and vultures have been conspicuous between the Chattanooga Pier and the Chickamauga Dam." According to Dever, guests are able to get close views of active osprey nests on this cruise as well as the downstream Gorge Cruise.  
 The Chickamauga Lock is also fun to see up close. The captains are able to communicate with the lock master, and occasionally the Explorer is allowed to enter the lower lock doors giving passengers an opportunity to see what it's like inside this massive structure.
 Easing into this area is a fascinating experience for anyone who has never "locked through" before and hopefully gives everyone a greater appreciation for the river and the role it plays in transportation.
 The upper lock appears like a waterfall. On this occasion it was adorned by a hungry heron looking for a fishy treat in the waters within the lock. (Click to see the full-sized image.)
Dever also reports that cruising along the cliffs below the Hunter Museum of American Art has revealed some interesting surprises from time to time. "We've seen climbers, herons, swallows, vultures and even a raccoon inhabiting the cliff," said Dever. "I enjoy pointing out the layers of Mississippian time that's locked within the limestone as we pass the rocky face up close. People spot metal rings and are fascinated by the history of this location."

So we invite you to take advantage of the great summer weather and come cruising with us! View the cruise schedule and book tickets online.

1 comment:

city said...

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