3-15-2014: Anchored out in the beautiful, clear blue water by Manjack Cay, Abaco, Bahamas

Saturday, August 21, 2010

8-21-2010 - Dubuque, IA to Sabula, IA

Saturday: Back on the river after a day off. Today was a good day; the river is clearing up, we didn't have to wait at the lock, and we got to our destination early. Although, there still was a lot of debris in the lock and Keith had to turn both engines off and on again and do the backup thing, but that did the trick.

Most of the locks so far have been very windy and hard to hang onto the rope. By the end of this trip I should be a lot stronger than when I started. Keith is getting used to me driving the boat and today I drove most of the day.

We are staying at Island City Harbor Marina. It was too far to walk to town so they gave us a golf cart to use. First time I ever went grocery shopping in a golf cart. We were running low on some staples; i.e., beer, coffee-mate, and starbucks! The people here are real friendly. We rated this marina a 7.5. Our power went out at about 16:00; it was a transformer, and it was back on by 18:000 which was good because it is 85 degrees and humid.

Keith washed the boat this afternoon(we miss you Craig). It was really dirty and needed it badly. I had a chance to get caught up on things. It was nice not to be in a hurry.

CO's comments: At our berth, 75' from the shore, we have 21' of water below the hull. There are 60' yachts in this tight marina. Cost for slip was $30.00 and we would stop here again and recommend it to anyone. It is not real fancy but the people are friendly and helpfull. If you can maneuver a 40' boat in tight spaces you would have no problem. Bobbie can recieve 12 TV stations off of our newly installed antenna from Dan and that makes her happy.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

8-19 and 20, 2010 - McGregor, IA to Dubuque, IA

Thursday: I drove for 2 to 3 hours this afternoon to give Keith a break. We were southbound and met 2 northbound Tows and when we called on the radio they said "just come right down the middle; that was something new for us.

Barge going through Lock 8

This is a picture of some of the weeds and junk in the river and this is pretty good compared to most of the river. When it's really bad I don't have time to take pictures!
We are staying at Dubuque Yacht Basin Marina in Dubuque, IA; we rated it a 9. Very nice but their channel is not marked good at all and unless you are from here, you have to call to get instructions on how to get in otherwise you could easily end up on a sandbar. When we were eating at "Catfish Charlies" tonight we saw a boat do just that. By the way, we rated "Catfish Charlies" a 10+.
Friday: We are staying an extra day because of thunder storms, we needed to unwind, and Keith wanted a mechanic look at the boat because we had even more weeds last night than previous days. He took the hoses all apart, opened the seacocks, and made sure we were getting enough water flow to run the engines and we are. We budgeted for boat problems and repairs but I did not think it would happen the first week; but it's not the boat, it is the river conditions.
CO's comment: Hourly rate for mechanic is $85.00. Very friendly and they do a good job.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

8-18-2010 - Genoa, WI to McGregor, IA

Tie up at Lock 8
Wednesday: Slept late and got on the river by 09:30. Same conditions as yesterday with all the weeds and junk covering a large portion of the river. We found out that the Tow Captains were having the same trouble as we were.

Water levels were so high in some areas (Mile Marker 675 by Lancing, IA) that both the green and red buoys were under water. I spent most the day looking through the binocular to help Keith find the channel; thank goodness for GPS.

As you can tell, we finally got the Internet working again. That's a load off my mine. It's good to be caught up. So far we are on schedule, averaging 53 miles/day.

CO's comment: If you don't have a competent XO for a trip like this, you're up the creek without a paddle.

8-17-2010 - Winona, MN to Genoa, WI; Lock 8 (tied up to north side)

Tuesday: Our first slip. Stayed at Winona Yacht Club, Winona, MN. Very nice marina-rated 6; friendly people.

Yesterday we had a little problem with our engine gauges overheating and we were worried that we had a problem. After talking with the mechanic at the marina and talking with Mike we found out it was all the weeds and junk in the high water. It was clogging up the water intake for the engines. Mike told us to check the water strainers for blockage and we found they were coated and half full of weeds. It helped a lot; thanks Mike. It looks like we are going to have to check them almost every day because we were told by a Tow Captain that the river is full of it all the way down to Alton, IL. We spent the night at Lock #8 in Genoa, WI. We tied up behind the lock wall. Keith rated this stop an 8. We stayed up late and watched a tow go through. It was pretty cool being at eye level with tow.

CO's comment: If you cannot side step a twinscrew 40' out a tight berth or make 45 and 90 degree turns in reverse with only 50' of space , learn how to before you start a trip like this. Be well versed on the mechanical aspects of your yacht in crappy water or weather conditions. Always on the river contact the tow captain as to which side you should pass; decending or assending, they really appreciate it and will give you all kinds of information that may be helpful to your voyage.

8-16-2010 - Bill's Bay Marina, Red Wing, to Winona Yacht Club, Winona, MN

Monday: We are finally on our way. It is bitter-sweet leaving our friends at Bill's Bay but excited for what is ahead. We hit a few bumps this last week but it is good to be going down river.

It was great to see so many of you at 07:00 on Monday to see us on our way. The day started great with a nice calm river but as the day progressed it got real windy and the current was very strong. The wind took Keith's Sea Ray hat and also his windsock. Lock 5A was so bad there was a houseboat that got caught up in the wind and current it was sideways and out of control; it almost hit several boats before it got under control. While we were waiting to go into the Lock Keith put the boat in idle and we were still going 6.8 knots. The good thing about the current is our gas mileage is great.

My Verizon Internet is not working and hasn't since we left Red Wing. As soon as it gets working I will post this blog.