Saturday, June 27, 2015
High – 87
Skies – Scattered thunderstorms this morning with heavy thunderstorms this afternoon.
Winds – W 10-15
Decisions. Decisions. Life – even routine , every day life – is full of decisions. However, the decisions we make on our trip are completely different from the decisions we were making on a daily basis three and a half months ago. In addition, every decision made has an impact (positive or negative) on our (and sometimes other people’s) lives.
Decision – to arise at 4:00 am in order to have and early start to the day. This decision was arrived at early in the trip, much to my chagrin. (Although, I am seeing the benefits.)
Impact of 4:00 arisal – see beautiful sunrises. I don’t always decide to look at the sunsets at home. This needs to change! Today’s sunrise was not a disappointment. (See Instagram @Separateboats)
Impact of 4:00 arisal – we have more time for divergence from the daily plan. Today’s divergence began after only three miles of paddling, when we saw a tow cross the river with what looked like only one barge. Hmmmm….. John consulted his map and discovered this was a ferry crossing for the Angola State Penitentiary. The distance from Natchez to Baton Rouge is 120 miles, which should take four to five days. We estimate our water supply to be three to four days. So John made another decision – ask if we could fill up our water at the ferry dock.
He radioed Captain Brandon of the Mister Cue and asked if obtaining water was a possibility. He said, “Sure. I’ll meet you on the right bank dock.” We paddled across (and some upstream) the river to the dock and exited from our kayaks just as Mister Cue docked. (See Instagram @Separateboats) Once the ferry ramp was dropped, the vehicles and their passengers drove off and back to their homes after a night’s work in the prison.
We were greeted by Captain Brandon and Ernie. (See Instagram @Separateboats) They welcomed us and began asking how they could help us – food, water, ride to store, shower , etc. (Apparently many travelers have stopped.) We graciously accepted water and ham and cheese sandwiches with tomatoes and lettuce. (I didn’t know a sandwich could taste so good.)
Impact of 4:00 arisal – we are able to look for a camping spot earlier in the day and be a little picky. However, our criteria has drastically changed due to flooding, we look for somewhat flat area (Flat is becoming relative.), some sand (the amount of sand needed to satisfy us is becoming less.), shade (This is a must!), and some breeze (another must!). Today, we had thought we would stay on an Island. As we were getting close to the island, John spied a spot that seemed to meet our criteria, through his binoculars from across the river.
Another decision needed to be made. What if we pass this spot and the island is under water? What if we take this just OK spot and tomorrow see that the island was as perfect as last night’s beach? I suggested John ask the upstream-bound tow if the island had any visible beach. So John did just that. He called the Aurora and asked him about the conditions on St. Maurice Towhead (island), which his ship had recently passed. The tow captain indicated there was no visible beach. Decision made – paddle across the river to the OK spot.
Impact of 4:00 arisal – we can dodge storms and still cover our allotted miles. Today was another of those days. We watched the radar, as storms just missed us all day. However, we could tell the next storm would probably hit us. Decision – set the tent up as soon as we land – just in case… An approaching storm is really beautiful if you are prepared. (See Instagram @Separateboats)
Impact of 4:00 arisal – we are able to take care of housekeeping tasks. Today when we stopped, before and after the storm, we were able to charge the Sherpa, dry a blanket that was wet from some water getting in my hatch as a result of my being swamped by waves, do some laundry in the river, and journal.
While the previous decisions were quality-of-life decisions (perhaps safety also), we also made a trip-impacting decision today. We have decided to continue 100 miles past New Orleans to mile marker 0 – the actual end of the Mississippi River. Making our trip a “Source to Sea” trip – from the source of the Wabash River to the Gulf. Now to decide how we get from mile marker 0 back to Venice – 11 miles upstream.
Thanks for following our adventure. For photos and videos of the events mentioned in this daily journal, check us out on Instagram @ separateboats.
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