Tuesday, June 30, 2015
High – 92
Low – 74
Skies – Sun and cloud mixed. A stray shower or thunderstorm possible.
We are sitting in our tent safe and dry as the thunder rolls, wind blows, and rain pelts our tent. The weather forecast was for “A stray shower or thunderstorm possible.” Hmmmm…… Today we had to race to shore and under the tarp to escape a storm. (See Instagram @ Separateboats) Once that storm cleared, we paddled hard an extra five miles to our campsite and set up the tent during a brief break in storms. “A stray shower?”
We tried something different today. We have been waking at 3:30am or 4:00am in order to get our miles in and be off the river during the afternoon heat.
The problem? –
Now we are on the shoreline during the afternoon heat. This was not an issue in the wilderness, as we could usually be in the shade of the trees. However, from Baton Rouge to the Gulf, the river is constantly contained by levees and industry. There are now few chances for wilderness camping and shade. So, today we slept in until 6:00am, thinking we would simply paddle later into the day.
The problem? –
Afternoon thunderstorms could arrive before we’ve gotten in our miles.
So, tomorrow morning we will split the difference between 4:00am and 6:00am and wake at 5:00am. It should be perfect!
When we woke up this morning it was already getting light. (Are we done seeing the beautiful sunrises?) I cooked breakfast on the top of the levee while LaNae began breaking down camp. Once breakfast was done and the boats loaded, we pulled them down to the waterfront next to Stone Petroleum. They sell diesel fuel to the tow boats. We walked up to the office and were greeted by Martin. He is the same gentleman from whom we had asked permission to tow our gear across their lot to the levee the night before. Martin was kind enough to allow us to top off some water bottles and throw away our trash. LaNae and Martin began discussing our food, garden etc…, when
Martin revealed that he also runs his own spice company. It is called Andy Roo’s and it specializes features a lot of Creole and Cajun specialties. He showed us some of his varieties and wow, did they smell and taste great. We have learned that if we want to properly make any Cajun or Creole recipes back home, the spices and recipes need to be imported from Louisiana! He gave us some to take home! (See Instagram @ Separateboats) His products are available at www.andyroos.com
Once we were underway, we made good time and stopped a couple of times, as usual, to pee and grab a snack. During one of our break stops, we saw our first moving ocean-going vessels (Yesterday, we saw three anchored in Baton Rouge.) traveling beside a rather large tow/barge. We used to think the tow was large! It looked like a small car traveling down the highway next to a semi.(See Instagram @ Separateboats)
Later in our day we were paddling through the chute behind Plaquemine Towhead, when a loose headed tow (a tow boat with no barges) came around the bend toward us. Wanting to ensure we stayed out of “his” way, I raised the boat on the radio. Imagine our surprise when a bright young female voice responded back! The boat was the City of Freeport and the captain acknowledged us and then asked, “How would you like to see me?” This was the first time a tow boat skipper had actually deferred to me in regards to direction, position, etc. I responded with, “meet you on two whistles.” (which meant I would pass her on her starboard side) Once we were past and the noise of the diesels had faded I raised her again and asked her to go to channel 10 so we could chat. I told her how surprised and impressed LaNae and I were that a female was captaining a boat. I then asked her if this was common, to which she replied that she was one of only a few. I later looked it up on-line and saw that apparently there are only four female tow captains in the whole nation!
We paddled on and had covered about 27 miles when the skies to the west became black and full of lightning. A quick glance of the radar confirmed that a significant mass of afternoon thunderstorms had popped up and we were directly in their path. We made a dash to the only accessible shoreline, grabbed the tarp, radio, snack, and a water bottle, and waded through a mass of poison ivy to a downed tree. We no sooner had the tarp pulled over our heads when the first storm blew into us. (See Instagram @ Separateboats) When it finally let up a little I checked the radar and determined we might have time to make a dash for a suitable campsite. Seven miles later in strong winds and just ahead of the next wave of storms we came upon a nice spot on LBD (left bank descending).(See Instagram @ Separateboats)
We had barely gotten the tent set up when the next wave of storms came hammering through. God is good!
One look at the radar (See Instagram @ Separateboats) determined we were destined to eat snacks in the tent for dinner. Fun times being “rained-in” in the tent during “A stray shower or thunderstorm possible.”
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