Andreas Fath continues to conquer the Tennessee River. Today, he approaches Guntersville Lake in Alabama. Martin Knoll, TenneSwim’s U.S. Project Director, summarizes the team’s journey so far, “The scenery all along the way has been just gorgeous. It’s like a Huck Finn dream.” Martin goes on to describe some of the spectacular wildlife the team has encountered.
“Ospreys! We don’t look at them anymore. I’m joking. We’ve just seen so many of them along the way. They are beautiful birds. We like to watch them fish.” He added, “We’ve also seen eight or nine bald eagles along the way.”
In addition to admiring the natural beauty of ospreys and eagles in their habitats, the team has witnessed some unusual wildlife occurrences. Martin describes several of these encounters:
“A few days ago, we saw lots of fish breaking at the shore. There was a heron there that was patiently hunting at the shoreline, when it was disturbed by a rustling in bushes hanging over the river. The heron flew away, and the rustling turned out to be a raccoon. It was hanging out over the water, trying to do some fishing of its own.”
“On Nickajack Lake, we saw 30 to 40 deer wading up to their chests, with their heads going down over and over into the water. They could have been drinking, but there were a lot of weeds there in the water. We think they were feeding. I’ve never seen that phenomenon before.”
Along with beautiful scenery and exciting wildlife encounters, the team has experienced warm welcomes from people throughout their journey. Martin says, “People along the way have been great. We had terrific receptions in Knoxville at Ijams Nature Center for the start and then again in Chattanooga. It seems to be everywhere the news media has spread the word. People come running out on their balconies, taking photos with their phones. Following us in boats, cheering us on, blowing on their air horns.
“We had a funny encounter on Monday when we stopped at a marina. A woman came out of a large boat and said to Andreas, ‘Did I just see you on the news?’ Yes, we said, she did.”