Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday 10/02/15– in Ottawa IL.

Weather/Sea   Sunny, Windy temp 45 to 63

   Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Stewart and Greg Murphy

Dutchess is heading down the rivers, into the Calumet River, the Cal Sag channel, the Little Calumet, the Des Plains River Canal, Des Plains River and then into the Illinois River which we will take to the Mississippi River.

We are now in Ottawa IL, in Heritage Harbor Marina on the Illinois River. This Marina is a very new place with housing still under construction. They give a discount to LOOPERS so it only cost $44.00 per day and we are staying 2 days.

Our first day from Hammond was only a 3 hour run with one lock Thomas S. O’Brien this is only a 2 foot drop and exists to keep river water from flowing into Lake Michigan. We stayed at Marine Service Marina in Dolton IL., at a cost of $59.00 for dockage.

On Tuesday 9/29/15 we traveled for 7.1 hrs. to Joliet IL, where we tied to the free concrete wall with free electric. The price was right so we stayed 2 days. We had to ride the bikes up a long hill to get groceries and we had dinner in Charley’s Irish pub and Charley bought the pizza, we only paid for beers. For the next dinner I made Beef Stew which the crew appreciated. On this run we went thru Lockport lock which is a 40 feet drop and they have floating bollards but they are located very near the lock doors. We passed the first bollard and went to the second but it was so close to the door that instead of a mid-ship tie we wound up with a bow tie on the bollard and they dropped a long line for the stern. This would have worked except for the 20 knot winds gusting and swirling in the lock canyon. Dutchess swung like a weather vane with Chuck trying to hold her on the stern. Because of the depth the stern line was almost vertical and not much use. That was the worst locking experience I have ever had and this was about my 90th lock. “Sometimes you watch the show and sometimes you are the show” as one of the other boaters said.

On October 1, we traveled for 8.7 hrs. to Heritage Harbor Marina and traversed 3 locks on the way. These all had floating bollards and we made use of them. In Brandon Rd Lock we simple hooked on a floating bollard on the starboard side using a center line and the boat rode down easily. In Dresden Island Lock the lock Master insisted that we tie to a motor boat “SERENDIPITY” already at the Bollard. Again the wind pushed both of us around and we had to loan him a fender to keep him off the wall. In Marseilles Lock we simple took a starboard bollard and a midship tie and rode down easily. These locks can eat up a lot of time because you have to wait for the barges which have priority. Luckily we only had to share one lock with a single barge and tug. We saw tows as large as 3 barges wide by 5 long with the pusher TUG, they totally fill a lock. We travel at about 5.5 knots on the river the other pleasure boats traveled faster but at each lock they would have to wait for us. I would call the Lock Master as I was approaching and he would hold the lock open for DUTCHESS she is a lucky ship!!!

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