August 13, 2014
WEDNESDAY: Hauling anchor at sunrise, again, two-miles’ run got us heading upriver into the Ohio River. We navigated mile after mile of “fleeting area”, where tows from the Tennessee, Ohio, and the upper & lower Mississippi Rivers meet to reorganize their barges and move on.
There were 30 to 60 AIS signals on the chart all day long, and those indicated only the large tugboats (50 to 215 feet long), not the even-more-numerous small ones.
Note: “Tows” usually have at least nine barges and we’ve seen up to 35. Each barge is 35’ wide by 200’ long. A typical tow is 1200 feet long (five barges plus tugboat) and 3 to 5 barges wide. But, we’ve seen 6 wide.
We had only two locks today, one of which we could bypass because its dam’s “wickets” were down, allowing us to drive right over the damn. That’s fast and cool but just the thought is a little scary. Our last lock was Lock 52. Unbelievably, Lock 52 passes more cargo tonnage each year than the Panama Canal !!
We anchored easily about 4:30 behind Cumberland Towhead Island, near the mouth of the Cumberland River. It’s been a 62 mile day, a respectable distance since we’ve had the Ohio River’s current against us all day. Naps, dinner and a movie finished the day. And, we saw deer and turkeys as the sunset on the island shoreline.