Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Grafton to Alton

Talk about your swings. For months now we'd been dealing with crazy high water lines; closed marinas and challenges for loopers. Get on the rivers and wham! Low waters.

Recall we put in a couple of really long days to get to Grafton, largely because there weren't many places to stop unless you wanted to anchor, and even then good anchorages were hard to find. Grafton (and Alton, just 15 miles down river) are key stops since they have fuel. The next fueling stop for recreational boaters won't be until Paducah, which is a stretch for a number of boats. So Grafton and Alton are key. 

The roofs are 20 over the water line,
the pilings are another 10 feet about that.
THAT's how much water is missing.
Water wasn't always low this year. In fact, the winter melt and spring rains were so bad they had near record flood levels on the Illinois River. If you look at the picture of the marina you can see how tall the pilings are. They had to raise them an extra 5 feet to keep the docks from floating away -- it was that bad. And for Grafton, devastating. Their fuel doc was trashed and is still under reconstruction. Should be open in a couple of weeks, they say.

Leaving all boaters looking at Alton for fuel. Problem there is that flood left a bunch of silt in the entry channel. And now that the water levels are low, only low draft boats (like us) can even get into the place. So no fuel there for most. 

A tow hauling both windmill blades and coal.
That made us laugh.
That's one of the reasons we left -- we gave up our space in Grafton to a boat with a deeper draft who can't stop in Alton. The folks here plan on dredging the entry a bit, so come Monday folks can get fuel at least.

The only other option sis to head back up the Illinois River to Port Charles. We're told, however, that it, too, has issues. Rumor has it that one boat grounded so badly he had to contact a tow to drag him off.

Stay tuned folks -- things are gonna get interesting on the Mississippi.
Our last night in Grafton we had docktails by our boat.

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