Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Benjamins to Spanish

Being in Spanish marks two milestones. First, we say goodbye to Jesse, who's traveled with us for a week. We had great weather during that time, saw some amazing islands and coves, and had a wonderful time.

Second, Spanish is the north-most point for us. Yep, from here on out we're heading SOUTH. Chicago, here we come!

We've mucked with the schedule a bit due to some lock closures. These came up without warning within the last month. All loopers know the locks will be closed next year, from September to November (the same time you'd really like to get through them). Which is why a number of loopers are looping this year -- to get it done rather than wait another two years. However, three locks on the Illinois River (Starved Rock, Marceilles, and Lockport) announced last month they will be closed for two weeks; Sept 21 - Oct 5. There's been much debate on going sooner or going later.

Stunning sunrise in the Benjamins
Originally for us we were going later. Chicago is lovely in early October. However, this has been a rather cool summer (following a rather cool spring and a cold winter). I just saw on that they are expecting a rather cool autumn as well. Sooooo... we've moved up our schedule a bit, and that means getting outta Canada toot-sweet! Rather than putter about here in the North Channel, we're going to get to the US in the next couple of days.

Last night we thought we'd exit our cove via the "back door," which was a very narrow inlet surrounded by sharp, fiberglass crunching rocks. It was recommended that it only be attempted on calm days with good visibility. When we woke, however, there was enough of a breeze to make it more exciting than we were willing to do. We took the long way around.

Fog hiding islands in the distance
Friends texted us who stayed in Little Current yesterday that there was fog when they woke. We could see it in the distance. As we approached Spanish, it was a race to see who'd get there first, us or it. I really didn't like the idea of entering a unknown marina without seeing where I was going.

As luck would have it, we beat the fog. We got some fuel and pumped out before heading to our parking space, which was on a T-head. When the dock master gave us the assignment I cringed. It was directly across from the entry into the marina. There were two reasons I didn't like it. First, it's a bit tricky getting into and out of the place, and while I'm sure everyone is seasoned and responsible, I really didn't want to be bumped or banged from some hotshot going way too fast. Second, the opening is a large gap in the protective breakwall that surrounds the marina. If the wind kicks up from that direction, things will get bumpy.

The bluffs of Spanish, from our t-head
Of course the wind kicked up. And things got bumpy.

We asked to move, got a new assignment, and now I'm happy.

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