August 5, 2014
TUESDAY: Another early morning start after a quick rainstorm. We left the Mississippi’s strongest currents (4-5 knots) by passing through a lock & dam. There are 27 locks in the Upper Mississippi up to St. Paul. The Lower Mississippi has none, letting the river run free. Locks rise going up stream and fall going down stream. We had two locks today. Chain of Rocks Lock rose 12’ and Melvin Price Lock rose 23’. Locking through Mel Price took 3.5 hours because of repairs to the main lock. The current now has slowed to 2-3 knots. Fred & Linda stopped back at Alton Marina so she could fly to her daughter’s home in Washington for three days and we continued on our own18 miles to the mouth of the Illinois River, to a small marina in Grafton, Illinois. After fueling for the first time since Spring 2012 in Demopolis, MS, (about 500 gallons) we docked for a quiet evening. Louie was thrilled with land after almost a week. There’s a little town ashore but the marina’s nice with a well-kept ship’s store, restaurant, and pool.
WEDNESDAY Aug 6: Early morning at Grafton Marina went quickly, with topping the water tank, laundry, and other boat chores. After another morning rain shower, we re-entered the Mississippi from the Illinois River about 10:30 A.M. A few miles north, the river had been closed for dredging a silted stretch but, luckily, it just reopened. We moved slowly past the giant dredge, seeing nice 12’ depths. The “tows” (a tugboat with barges) had more worries because they’re so wide (usually 105 feet) and have 10-12 foot drafts.
At 5:30 P.M., after 50 miles, we turned behind an island listed as a possible anchoring spot (by one reviewer on Active Captain). While scoping the depths, a submerged dam appeared much closer than expected, with the current pushing us on it, but Captain Mike quickly applied power, leaving fast. It’s not really fit for anchoring so now we’ll write our own review! Across the river a small cluster of tiny, flood-worn homes called Hamburg just beyond the channel looked okay so we anchored there for a comfortable quiet evening. Standing on SeaDream’s deck in the late cool air, surveying our surroundings, we heard many large fish splashing loudly. Too bad we don’t fish!
|Mike's Inc. dry dock for repairing tows.|
|Grafton Marina on Illinois River.|
|"High living" on the Mississippi.|
|Charting desk using computer, IPad, and paper charts.|