How Blue Moon Cruises Began

The story of how we brought Blue Moon Cruises to the Tennessee River took place over several years. The eco-cruises were the idea of our staff at Ocoee Adventure Company LLC which is headquartered in Benton, TN. We have been in the business of providing quality outdoor adventures for more than a decade, primarily in whitewater rafting. Our adventures include rafting, kayaking, hiking, biking and overnight camping trips on the Ocoee and Chattooga Rivers. In addition, we offer a variety of adventure trips in Costa Rica through Ocoee Adventure Travel, which include trips focusing on wildlife, birding, photography, ecology, yoga and outdoor sports.

It started in 2005....
Ocoee Adventure Company (OAC) began running boat excursions into the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in January 2005 to enjoy the experience of the Sandhill Crane migrations. The trips met with huge success – but they were run on a 25 foot houseboat and could only accommodate 6 people at a time!

The search for our boat...
Our search began for a larger cruising boat that could accommodate more people and provide the amenities needed for our eco-tours. After a two year search we found the Blue Moon Skipperliner cruiser in Virginia. The Blue Moon was sent to Beaufort, North Carolina to get a brand new paint job and overhaul and was transported by water to the Tennessee River.
Blue Moon’s Staff - Rick Houlk
It was no mystery to come up with an accomplished staff for Blue Moon cruises. Rick Houlk, one of the partners in OAC, has been running one of our whitewater rafting outposts for over 10 years – Rick is very excited about this new venture for our company. Becoming completely immersed in birding in Southeast Tennessee, he has been traveling extensively in search of new and different birds to add to his "life list". His travels have taken him to north, central and south Florida, the Dry Tortugas, coastal and western North Carolina, many areas in Georgia, both north and the panhandle area of Alabama and most recently to Acadia National Park in eastern Maine. Rick’s dedication to studying wildlife locally for the Forest Service, his conservation practices and education have awarded him recognition from the Cherokee National Forest. He is an avid enthusiast and we are happy to have his experience and professional management for Blue Moon Cruises.

Rick Houlk, Naturalist
Rick Houlk enjoys sharing his
wealth of outdoor experience with
Blue Moon customers.
Blue Moon’s Captain - Dave Anderson
Captain Dave Anderson has always had an extraordinary interest in nature - mountains, oceans, rivers, lakes and forest and the creatures and fauna that inhabit them. Studying the habits and ranges of the grizzly bear and the gray wolf, he went on a 7 day horse-back biological expedition through the Canadian Rockies. At sea, he is fascinated at the boundless opportunities to see the vast abundance of sea life - pods of whales, some breaching within 50 feet of the boat, a herd of hundreds of porpoises playfully leaping from the ocean swells, an ominous 30 foot Great White Shark lurking just beneath the surface, a turn of dozens of giant sea turtles on an seemingly endless journey, flocks of seagulls, packs of Orcas, seals, sea lions, manatees, schools of shad, flying fish, tuna and mahi-mahi.

Captain Dave Anderson loves sharing his stories of nature, natural history and Cherokee Indian lore.


He has seen rogue waves, as many as 6 waterspouts at one time, thousands of shooting stars in a single night, Saint Elmo’s fire, and the extremely rare phenomenon of a moon bow. His love for natural places includes hiking and backpacking throughout the forests of the southeast. His most memorable birding experience came in Canada with the gathering of 8 pair of the normally reclusive Loons in preparation of the flight south for the winter.

Captain Dave obtained his first Master’s license working in the Gulf of Mexico for the offshore industry in 1982. He then worked on seismographic and oceanographic research vessels on the Pacific and Gulf coasts. He has crossed the Atlantic Ocean enroute to West Africa, worked in the Caribbean, and locked through the Panama Canal. In 1985, he piloted the M/V Campeche Seal through the eye of Hurricane Juan, one of the most hazardous hurricanes to the marine industry in modern times. He has 16 years experience on sightseeing/dinner vessels in Miami, Chicago, and Chattanooga. He has spent over a decade on the Tennessee River.

In his spare time Dave carves North American animals from soapstone and wood. He also assembles and sells "totem" necklaces through his home business called Spirit Creatures Great and Small. Wood working and working on his log cabin in the mountains of north Georgia are some of his favorite pastimes. Dave is from Hutto Hill in Anniston, Alabama and is a 1988 graduate of Auburn University.

If you have the fortune to be on a cruise with Dave on a clear night, he can point out the animals in the heavens, telling you the timeless legends scattered across the night skies and introducing you to many of the stars of the stories.

Other Adventures in the area:
Ocoee Rafting

Outdoor Adventure Professionals

Blue Moon Cruises was developed by Ocoee Adventure Company, with more than a decade of providing quality outdoor adventures.

We Take You There

views of the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge
Blue Moon Cruises offers opportunities to enjoy the beauty of the Tennessee River and experience the natural world up close and personal.

Blue Moon Cruises from the Chattanooga waterfront
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