Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Joliet to Ottowa

Three down, one to go.

During the night 4 other boats joined us (making 6) on the Joliet wall, around 9 pm. We tried to organize an early departure, but no one really wanted to talk about that given their long day. I don't blame anyone a bit -- we, too, were tired. When we got up around 5 am we wondered if it were rude to just knock on doors and let everyone know we were leaving. We decided our engines would do the trick. 

We peeled off the wall around 6 am, just as twilight lit up the river. A tow was going our way so we waited for him to pass, then got behind him. After calling the lock ahead he told us we was ready to take us down. We passed the tow and headed right into the lock, green lights waiting for us. At that moment we were hailed on the radio that 4 of the boats on the wall hustled up and were following us in (apparently, engines are an effective alarm clock). The lockmaster held the lock, and we all locked down together.
We moved right to left, around the cell.
That gap is 60 feet. Or so they told me.

The second lock of the day was Dresden. A bunch of barges (9) were in the lock coming up. These locks are too small to hold the barges AND the tow boat, to the barges had to be hauled out of the lock by wench while it's tow boat waiting to lock though. After the chamber was emptied, we were to go in.

The lockmaster gave us the go ahead. But the space between the barge and the cell looked pretty narrow. As I approached it the lockmaster hailed us, saying "THE OTHER SIDE!" We turned and went between the cell and the lock wall, which wasn't much wider, but made for an interesting obstacle course run. The other boats followed, all of us with raised eyebrows ("they want us to do what?!") Everyone made it in without any bumping or damage, and down we went.


In the center are the barges, and the white tower behind them their tow boat.
On the left is the tug that went down without us, just because.
We were told not to tie off on those handy cells on the
right during our 4 hour wait. Why? We all wondered...

We came to the last lock of the day. Technically, we wanted to get the next one done too, since it's the last of the locks closing in a couple of days. And since we arrived around 1 pm we thought that was doable. The lockmaster had other ideas, though. He locked up some barges then locked down a tug ALL BE ITSELF, then locked up the tow pushing the barges, then locked us down.

We were there for 4 hours.

1 comment:

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