From Hoppies in Kimmswick to Kaskaskia lock and dam

We continued south on the Mississippi yesterday, headed for Kaskaskia Lock and dam.   There is a wall here that traveling boats tie up to.  They said there was space for three on the wall, but we shoe horned four into the space and got two more tied off on the fuel barge.  The amount of logs and debris was not bad today; thankfully there weren’t many barges.One in particular  was pushing a long line of barges up the river giving us a huge wake.   It felt like we were out on Lake Michigan in 3 to 4’ rollers after it went by. Consequently, it rearranged everything that was not tied down.

One section of the river we were warned there would be a lot of turbulence. That proved to be an understatement.   The Core of Engineers has added Wing dams,  Weir dykes, Jetties, Bend wiers and normal dams.   Some of the structures are completely under water and the boats travel over safely, some come out from shore up to 300’ and you must avoid them.   The area where the most turbulence was (mile 130) had the kind of structures you travel over, but they create swirling water, like giant whirlpools pushing the boat from side to side making it impossible to steer a straight line.  As you travel the rivers and follow the charts for them, the charts have mile indicators just like on the interstate highways.

Today we are waiting for the fog to clear, then we plan to travel to an anchorage south of here called Little River Diversion Channel (at mile 48.8).

 

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Froggies at Hoppies

 

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Post Office in Kimmswick

 

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Conducting real business at the Post Office in Kimmswick

 

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Sitting with the mayor of Kimmswick in front of the post office

 

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Teresa had to visit the “library”

 

 

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One of the many interesting old buildings in Kimmswick. Tiny, quaint and friendly town. Wishing we had more time to go exploring.

 

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MeeMaw’s cabin — this one’s for you, sis!

 

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City Hall

 

 

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Last Call and Glorious Dei at Hoppies

 

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Leaving Hoppies Marina

 

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Lots of sticks, logs and debris trapped by barges. When they move the barges, the debris is released creating large islands of hazardous moving junk.

 

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Tied up at Kaskaskia Lock and Dam–Sanctuary is the 2nd from the front of the line up.

 

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Tied up at Kaskaskia Lock and Dam

 

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Foggy morning, tied up at Kaskaskia Lock and Dam waiting for fog to clear

 

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Foggy morning, tied up at Kaskaskia Lock and Dam waiting for a go-ahead with a fog clearing.

 

Later today, we plan to travel south to the Little River Diversion Channel and anchor for the night.

 

Today we are in Ottawa IL

We traveled yesterday from Joliet to Ottawa IL.   We had a long wait at the Marseilles Lock, so we tied up to a barge with three other loopers and had “Locktails.”  We had planned to travel south today, but were told there was a 4 hour wait at the Starved Rock Lock.  It was raining this morning and I wanted to be able to photograph the Starved Rock limes stone cliffs as we went by, so we are waiting till tomorrow.  We saw White Pelicans on the trip yesterday, and found out that a group of them is called a pod.

This was the view from our boat on the wall in Joliet.

Pusher Tugs at Joliet

Pusher Tugs at Joliet

 

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Teresa attaching a line to the Bollard in the lock.

The bollards are in the wall of the locks.   The post is attached to a large cylinder that floats up and down with the water level.

You tie to the post to keep the boat next to the wall as the lock fills or drains.

 

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At the top of the lock waiting to be lowered to the river below the dam

 

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Midway down the lock

 

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Lowered all the way lock gates open ready to travel on.

 

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Pusher tug on river with pilot house raised, when they are not pushing or need to go under a bridge, it can be lowered.

 

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Floating cottages along the river

 

 

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Deer visiting the lock

 

We are staying tonight in Ottawa IL, and plan to travel south tomorrow.

 

Looper Seminar and Trawler Fest

Looper Lifestyle

We visited Fort Myers and attended the AGLCA (America’s Great Loop Cruisers Association) event.  This included a daylong seminar titled, “Great Loop Cruising: A guide to the Looper Lifestyle.”

The loop is a circular route going around the eastern half of the United States encompassing about 6,000 miles.

 

Great Loop Map

Great Loop Map

During the seminar, Gold Loopers (people who have completed at least one loop) told about their experiences. Sitting at our table, we met boaters who keep their boat in Holland and winter in Florida. It’s a small world after all! There must have been 150 attendees. Everyone seemed eager to introduce themselves and were friendly.

A couple of tips gleaned from the presentation:

  • Keep no schedule; and stick with it!
  • Be flexible
  • Slow down and savor the waterways!

Chris and Alyse Caldwell gave presentations on: “Cruising Together,” “What Not to Leave Without, Provisioning and more.” If you get an opportunity to attend one of their seminars, we’d highly recommend them. The couple gave practical tidbits and advice for those who plan to cruise.  Visit their site for more information;  http://captainchrisyachtservices.com/

 

On the way to Trawler Fest, we stopped at a park by Lake Okeechobee and enjoyed a picnic lunch.  While there, we saw the Port Mayaca Lock and Dam. Loopers travel through the Okeechobee Waterway to get from the Gulf to the Atlantic.

Lake Okeechobee is a fresh water lake.

 

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We traveled along the canal leading from Lake Okeechobee to the Atlantic and saw looper boats going through.  It is hard to imagine that one day this could also be us on our boat going through that same passageway!

Looper Boat going through the canal

Looper Boat going through the canal

 

 

Trawler Fest

We also attended the Trawler Fest in Rivera Beach, Florida.  Steve attended a 2-day Diesel Engine Maintenance and repair training class. One classmate lives in Singapore. The presenters were Nigel Calder and Steve Zimmerman.  The class proved very informative and hopefully will help keep Sanctuary running at her best.

 

Graduation Certificate

Graduation Certificate

 

After the class, we attended the Trawler Fest: a boat and equipment show.  Even though it rained for two days straight, it was still preferred over the frigid weather at home. We saw everything from multimillion dollar yachts to simple inflatable dinghies.

While at Trawler Fest, we ordered an expensive shiny metal object for Teresa and Sanctuary. It is important to keep the girls happy. In the spring, Sanctuary will have a new Mantus anchor (AKA – expensive shiny metal object).  The salesman and wife team originated from Ludington Michigan, but now live on their boat in Florida.

 

We are now a new member of the MTOA (Marine Trawlers Owners Association) and received a burgee for Sanctuary to prove it.   Our MTOA member number is 5310.

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While only present at the marina site for one day, we gathered a lot of information, boat cards, and links to investigate.

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In our travels, we find it extremely interesting to view Florida even from the car windows. Wildlife, orange trees and flowers, road signs, pooling of water in such low elevation reminds us that we are indeed in a “foreign” land.