Friday: We were all rested up and ready to get back on the river. We thought we could get out of Green Turtle Bay Marina before the rain and thunder storms but the rain came early. It looks like we will be here until Sunday AM. We are anxious to get on the Tennessee River (Phase 4) of our trip. Pictured is a view of GTB from the gift shop.
For those of you concerned about our fuel over our long stretch of 218 miles we did just fine. We got here too late to get fuel so we don't know how many gallons we used yet but, after adding our 4-5 gallon cans of extra fuel, we ended up with about a quarter tank of gas. We also did good on our water with about half a tank left.
We have kind of a funny story that shows the differences between the north and the south. Up north we always would call the lock and say we were either northbound or southbound. When we called to get into the Barkley Lock (800'x110'x57') we said we were southbound and wanted to lock through. The Lock Master said to come on through and he filled the lock up with millions of gallons of water and then looked out and saw us coming up river so he had to let millions of gallon of water back out to let us in. He called Keith and said that we had to learn the "river lingo"; down south they use up river and down river. The Cumberland River starts at Mile 0 from the Ohio River and runs south for a while (which is up river) so now we know to use up river and down river.
CO's comments: We finally found someone that out does Craig. He has an older Trojan (abt 57') and the boat just shines. He has been shining the boat from dawn to dusk every day we have been here; even today in the rain.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Tuesday: It was a long day but we did it. We combined 2 short days into one long one. We got an early start and had only 2.5 miles to our first lock on the Ohio River; Lock 53. We called ahead and he said the water was high and the wickets were down and to go right over the dam. Wow, that was a strange feeling. We saw another very large barge again today. This one had 30 barges (6 across and 5 deep) and the Tow had 3 engines again; The Tow was named "Susan Johnson".
When we got to Lock 52 we had to lock through but first we had to tie up to the outside lock wall and wait. That was interesting as it was very windy but I managed. For this lock we had to give the attendant 2 long ropes and he helped us tie up inside the lock. He was a very nice man who just got back from Iraqi with his guard unit. He said that there are only 4 locks left in the US that were this old; 1929, the 2 on the Ohio we just went through and there are 2 more on the Illinois River. We broke another fender clasp again today; so far 2 for 2. The large round fenders work good in the locks but the clasps are good for nothing. Barkley Lock on the Cumberland River is pictured.
We got to Paducah, KY and decided to keep going and skip our Cumberland Towhead anchorage. We started up the Cumberland River about noon. The river is narrow and very clean. It was a pretty quiet drive; we only met one barge. We got to the Barlkey Lock by 17:00 and locked through. This lock has floating bollards and we went up 57'. Green Turtle Bay Marina is just 1 mile from the lock. We called when we got out at 17:30 and told them we were coming in. She told Keith where our slip and pier was and that she was leaving. Keith asked for help getting in as we were unfamiliar with the marina and she said she was leaving. Their hours are until 18:00. When we got to the marina Keith call on Channel 16 and there was still a young man working and he helped us to our slip. So far we are not impressed with Green Turtle Bay Marina. We were both beat from the long day and after we were tied up didn't do much of anything.
CO's comments: I have come to dislike the Mississippi River. There are bad currents, Tows full power churning up the water, and logs & deadheads all over. A person cannot go in a straight line, we probably added an extra 10 miles with all our turning to miss junk in the water. Besides, you look at the water and it looks like mud. I was happy to turn up the Ohio. The water changed to clear water, very little debris on the river, and the tows all seem to be going at half power with very little backwash.
Lat N37 0 4533
Long W88 13 5307
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Monday: Ran the generator just long enough to make coffee. Then we had engines running by 08:05 and anchor up by 08:15, called for either north or south Tows in the area and there were none so we were on our way.
At Mile Marker 24 we met the largest Tow and barge since starting our trip-28 barges and 3 engines on the Tow. What a backwash! Big enough to capsize a 20' boat if behind it; turbulence 4-5' high and it lasted a good mile and a half behind it. I always wave at Tows and this time right after my wave I got one flash of the light in reply. Pretty cool. I had been smelling smoke for the last 10 miles or so and when we got to Mile 24 there were 2 huge fires in the area; smoke so strong it gave me a headache; glad to be past it.
Mile 4 is one of the worst bends in the Upper Mississippi according to Fern. This is a sharp, narrow, bend with underwater dikes to prevent the bend from filling up with sand but it didn't work and all it did was create huge whirlpools and stronger currents and you do not want to meet a large barge going through it. We called to see if any barges were coming and there were 2 so we had a 45 minute wait before it was safe to go on.
Cairo, IL, where the Ohio River, Mile 0, meets the Upper Mississippi is a very busy commercial barge port. We saw 35 to 40 Tows and at least 1,000 barges. Cairo is also a Vessel Training Center. This marks the end of the first phase of our trip. Good bye Mississippi and Hello Ohio. What a difference in the 2 rivers. It looks like someone drew a line separating them. The Ohio is very clear and clean.
We anchored on the Ohio at Mile Marker 965.5 close to the Kentucky side. Originally we were told we could tie up to the new Olmstead Lock under construction but when we got there they said no. It was a nice anchorage and a peaceful night. Olmstead Lock under construction pictured.
N37 14 9917
W89 31 1282
Sunday: We got an early start as we had a long day ahead of us-80 miles. We were ready by 07:00 but had to wait about an hour because of fog. When we first left the dock I saw something fly out the back window (I thought) and then I heard a loud thump. At first we thought we hit something under water. Then we heard another thump; then it happened again and again. We had our first encounter with Asian Carp. All the way down the Kaskaskia River we heard hundreds of loud thumps under and along the sides of the boat and we saw them fly through the air with some going above our dinghy; I shut the side doors! If that wasn't enough; fishermen set nets on both sides of this narrow river so it was slow going. It was also duck hunting season and we saw several decoys set up and heard several gun shots. What a morning. Evansville Bar and Grill on our way out of town pictured.
We anchored out for the night at Little River Diversion Channel, just 3 miles south of Cape Girardeau, MO. After settling in Keith emptied our 4; 5 gallon tanks of fuel into the boat. What a job that was; it wasn't easy but Keith did a good job. We took our settings on the range finder so we could check to see if the anchor was holding and then relaxed on the porch. We encountered more Asian Carp tonight but not as many as this morning. We are thinking they don't like the strong current of the Mississippi so they go into the tributary's.
N37 14 9917
W89 31 1282