Champ III: Going Places

The adventure starts here.

Mile 78 Near Grand Tower, IL on the Mississippi to Angelo Tow Head, Cairo, IL — October 4, 2013

We were up and at it about 6:00 this morning.  I did my engine checks before I started the generator.  I needed the power to brew coffee.  Candy and I went to shore and I
took a photo of the boats at anchor.  It is a real nice anchorage other than the depth if runs from 15” to 45’ with the deeper portion in most of the area. There is no current and the holding power was good.  Great protection from the tows on the river with the rock walls around it.

We had some local fishermen come in last evening and set some lines for catfish.  They had floats on the surface and the lines went straight down.  They were back this morning and they showed me one of the fish and it must have been at least 30 lbs. as the guy had a difficult time picking it up.  They said they had 2 tubs full of fish so their work paid off. I am assuming they will sell these when they get back to shore.

We started down the river today and the sky was pretty dark and low clouds.  I had checked the weather radar and the only rain I could see was a line of showers and storms up around Chicago stretching east to west.  The visibility was only about 2 miles but plenty for river traveling.

We had a lot of tows today.  We passed a couple going south but there was tow after tow headed north.  I think the dredging in St Louis has slowed things up because they were talking that the Cairo area (intersection of the Lower Mississippi, Upper Mississippi and the Ohio River is al jammed up.  I think the biggest tow we saw was a 5 wide by 6 long, 30 barges with most of them loaded.  The prop wash behind the tow is really something to see.  In some cases it was worse than the freighters on the Detroit or St Clair Rivers.

We ran into a tow near the end of the day that was kind of strange.  I was leading the group and called to the tow for a preferred pass. He did not respond.  I waited a
few minutes and another tow called him and said some pleasure boats were trying
to contact him and he acknowledged that transmission but did not call me back.  I waited and then decided to tell him what I was going to do so he could respond if he did not like it.  Well he heard it and said OK to pass on the two (starboard).  As he went into a slight bend in the river he cut me off with no room between the buoy and the barge to
pass.  I slowed and waited for him to pass the buoy but as soon as he did he speeded up to the point he was going almost as fast as us.  Well we speeded up and passed him.  I am not sure what his issue was but today he did not like pleasure boaters.

We arrived at the anchorage around 3:30 and it did not long for the 4 boats to get anchored and setup. The shore is great for Candy and she had a chance to visit the other boats in the dinghy, when we checked on plans for tomorrow morning.  We have 60 Miles tomorrow and we are going against the current of the Ohio River. We also have two locks.  The first one may have the wickets down which means we do not lock thru but cruise right over the wickets.

Hoping for good weather.