Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Happy birthday, Chris! (Our son-in-law)
High – 80
Low – 64
Skies – foggy followed by mostly sunny
Winds – light and variable
Last lazy start to the day for a while since the heat is going to start rising tomorrow. We are some of those northerners who do not like to sweat – I’d rather put on an extra layer. So, you may ask, why didn’t you start your trip later in order to miss the heat? The answer is simple – the Wabash River’s water levels are too low later in the year – we would rather paddle our boats than pull them.
Not a lot of action today – no one fell out of their boat. We did, however, connect with one of the large tows we spoke to earlier in our journey. We were approaching the mouth of McKellar Lake, when a large tow pushing a 1/2 mile of barges came into view around the point ahead of us. She was pulling out into the sailing line, but as she transitioned it was not clear to us if she saw us and/or on which side she preferred we stay. John radioed her and found out it was the Deana Ann. This is the tow on which the cook was on the deck flipping 20 oz steaks when we had squeezed behind her a few weeks ago. No such dreamy aromas wafted over us today. Direction communicated, we passed safely on her starboard side.
In addition, we saw three Bald Eagles. It’s been awhile. Actually, two of them have been soaring around over our camp site, which is, of course, another beach. I certainly don’t miss the mud and mire of the Wabash and Ohio Rivers!
Hmmmm….. “Not a lot of action today” ……. We did encounter barges, dikes, turbulent water, rolling waves and floating trees. At the beginning of the trip, any one of these bits of “action” would have scared me. However, each bits of “action” has become the trip and part of our normal every day life. Just like getting up, eating breakfast, tearing down camp, paddling, taking a lunch break, finding a place to camp, setting up camp, doing laundry, bathing, eating dinner, journaling, and going to bed are part of our normal life. We’re back to perspective!
We did see a towboat actually doing what its name implies – towing! It was towing a small work barge. I wonder why it was towing instead of pushing. Ponder, ponder, ponder……
John realized he didn’t talk enough yesterday, so he wants to catch up…. Heeeeere’s Johnny!…
So, you may recall in yesterday’s journal entry we spoke of the largest whirlpool we have experienced to date. However, I failed to mention a notable phenomenon that we encountered at about the same time. A missing buoy. The sailing line buoys on the Mississippi are quite large. I would estimate them at about eight to ten feet tall and three feet in diameter. In the water, approximately
four feet is exposed above the water line. You get the picture. Big steel cylinders that are hard to miss. Well, yesterday we were heading in the direction of one of those buoys when suddenly it was no more. I checked with LaNae, “am I crazy” (don’t answer that)… “or was there a sailing line buoy just up ahead?” It was about this time that we encountered the massive whirlpool we spoke of yesterday. Suddenly, there was the buoy – nearly submerged with the currents tugging it under the surface of the water. We literally could have run into it. That would have been a very bad thing.
I add this addendum to simply highlight the powerful and odd currents on this river. The buoy that was being pulled under was not directly in yesterday’s whirlpool, but I can only assume due to the proximity of the two that the same or similar currents were causing them. Awesome.
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