Sunday, August 21, 2016

Making too much mileage, too fast.

     We made it the rest of the way down the Illinois River and into the Mississippi River.We passed Grafton, IL on the 16th of August where we had a chance to meet up with some friends but didn't know about the meet because I couldn't check my internet so we missed them. We did stop at the infamous Hoppies on the 17th of August where we met some real nice folks on the loop as well. From Hoppies we anchored at Rockwood Island at mile 102.5. What a night, there was drift wood coming down the river by the ton. Huge trees and rafats of brush and branches. I thought for sure we would get out anchor rode snagged by some of those trees. From Rockwood Island we anchored at Little River Diversion Canal which would have been a nice anchorage except for the floating debris coming down little river. We weren't so lucky this time, we got a huge log around 13 or 14 inches in diameter snagged on our anchor rode. I tried to dislodge it with my boat hook but only succeeded in breaking my boat hook. I finally had to use the boat to push the log off my anchor rode. Then twice more that night we got fouled by logs. It's funny we didn't lose another anchor that night. We traveled 218 miles down the Mississippi and into the Ohio. Nothing but barges as far as the eye could see. I saw as many as 30 barges rafted together being pushed by a tug, quite a site! We turned up the Ohio on the 19 of August and had to weave our way through all the barges that lined both sides of the river and even a few anchored in the middle of the river. These tow boat drivers on the Ohio and Cumberland didn't want to give us little pleasure craft drivers the time of day. Most wouldn't even reply to a call. I guess they didn't like us very well. The only time I heard from one of them is when I was in the middle of a pretty sharp bend in the river on the Cumberland and the guy couldn't make the turn until I cleared the bend, then he called me and let me know about it. He had to back up to wait for me to clear the bend because he said he needed the whole river, bank to bank. I don't think he was very happy. He could see my AIS around the bend because I could see his, but he didn't bother to call me until it was too late and he had to back down. I didn't bother calling him because none of them would answer me anyway. He was down bound so he had the right of way and I told him to do what he had to do and I would stay out of his way. He said he needed the whole river so he had to back down and let me clear the bend. He was a little more cordial on the radio after that. We cleared the Barkley lock at around noon on the 21st of August and landed at the Green Turtle Bay Resort and Marina. We are going to spend a couple weeks here because we need to kill some time before we hit the Mobile Bay. I can't go south of there until after the first of November because of my boat insurance. 

St. Louis Gate Way Arch

They really churn up the river!

Barges Everywhere!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Still underway!

     We have traveled a long way since my last post so I will attempt to get everyone up to date. We managed to complete our trip down Lake Michigan. We had some really rough seas a few times and the weather forecast never seemed to match what we actually encountered on the lake. We met up with my brother and his other halves kids at Muskegon, MI. We had a great time and took everyone out for a little trip around the lake on the boat. We headed south again and made it to Chicago on the 8th of August and stayed at the Hammond Marina before heading down the Calumet River.We decided to go down the Calumet River instead of the Sanitary Canal and into the Illinois river. We were a little concerned about going down the river through south Chicago. The stories abound about lines being cut, boats set adrift, and all sorts of things happening to boats along that stretch of the river but we made it without any problems at all. Going down the Illinois river has been quite uneventful so far except for the commercial barge traffic. I've never seen so much Tug and Barge traffic. Some of these bigger tow boats can push a raft of barges three wide and five or six long. They fit into the locks with inches to spare all the way around without the tow boat. We had to wait over three hours at the Marseilles Lock because of a double lock through of a tug and barge. The tow boat had so many barges that he had to lock through after the barges were lowered. That took over three hours and there was another double lock through waiting behind us but the lock master took us and another pleasure boat through before the next double. We've had some long waits at a few of the other locks as well. You just don't know how to plan your day because of the locks and commercial traffic. I try to make around fifty miles a day, but can only make thirty some days. The only problem with that is there isn't always a place to tie up or anchor so you really have to wing it. The river is pretty easy to navigate and the current is quite slow. We are making over eight mph though so there is a little current pushing us along. We are currently in a little town called Rome, IL at a marina called Hamm's Holiday Harbor Marina. Nothing fancy, but very accommodating and the price is right. We have about 178 miles to go to the Mississippi, and then up the Ohio to the Tennessee. It's been a challenging, Interesting, exciting, and sometimes a little nerve racking trip so far but it's been fun too.
Until next time,
 Take care.