Tuesday, June 2, 2015
High – 76
Low – 60
Skies – overcast and fog
Wind – 5 – 10 NE
At first it just looks like a big dent in the river. However, since we’re getting much quicker at recognizing these things I yelled, “Whirlpool” to LaNae. She was just behind me and to my left. By now this cartoonish looking creature was not simply a dent, but a live entity about 15 feet in diameter. I back paddled and then made a hard right turn and LaNae also made a quick and hard turn to the right. Remember, the river is moving at about five-mile an hour, which makes sudden stops/turns quite difficult. LaNae is getting pretty good at this though and so our brief monster soon faded behind us. That one was huge. Not sure what it would have happened if it had caught one of us.
We had only been out about an hour when the whirlpool was encountered. Today would be a short distance day since we planned to take care of a few things in Memphis this morning. Our box 9 food parcel waiting for us, the need for a few more fuel canisters to complete the trip, and a newly opened BassProShops accessible from the river meant that we would be stopping in Memphis.
We arrived at the foot of Mud Island about 7:45am. Jason at the marina (Memphis Yacht Club) had described the landscape and told us the current would be strong and it may be hard for us to turn up into the backwaters. We found it exactly as he described except for the current, which really wasn’t too bad. We had a seat at their outdoor tables until the Manager, Andy, arrived about 8:45. He opened up for us and gave us our food parcel (they had allowed us to have it shipped there), so LaNae and I got to the job of stowing all the new food items.
Once the food was stowed, our clothes were changed, and our boats secured to the cleats on the pier, we headed off for BassProShops.
Please allow me to expound on the term “accessible from the river”. This sometimes means 40 yards up a hill (from the river EVERYTHING is uphill) to the destination. Today, however, it meant a two-mile hike, a portion of which was on a highway bridge. The bridge, (of course) looped steep and high up over the inlet and ended on a railroad track next to BassProShops. A quick look both ways followed by a 100 yard hike down the tracks (seems like either tow boats or trains are trying to get to us), and we arrived at the store.
Most of the items we procured were simply for the purpose of restocking our stores (biodegradable soap, fuel canisters, etc). However one item we picked up was the one (only?) piece of gear that we felt we had overlooked. A pair of binoculars. Keep in mind that LaNae (at this very moment she’s insisting I add this part), had suggested binoculars be included on our gear list but of course I knew better and dismissed her council. (Ooops). The Mississippi is just so big that it becomes impossible to confirm a mile marker, the presence (or lack of) a dike (remember the latest Core of Engineers charts are 2007), or the name of a vessel we need to contact. These are now added to our arsenal of tools and will help keep us safe.
Once we had made the trek back to the marina it was time to change and again restock the boats. This included filling all of our water containers with the hose that Andy let us use. Fortunately our water supplies were not too low. On Monday morning we gathered the rain water that we had collected from the previous two days. What I mean by this is that instead of dumping all the rain water that had poured into our cockpits, we simply pumped it through our Katadyn water filter and into our water containers.
Back on the river by 4:00pm, we paddled another 4 miles when we spotted a good-looking site 2 miles across on the right bank. Hmmm, on the charts the dikes had stopped by now but there were green buoys in the sailing lane to keep the tows away from there. New dikes present that aren’t on the charts or simply an intrusive sand bar? We decided to chance it and with the aid of the new binoculars determined all was clear. By 7:00pm we had finished dinner (including desert!) and begun to relax. Only 13 miles but an exhausting day.
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