Pushing Barges and Dancing in the Dark

Pushing Barges and Dancing in the Dark

Aug 18, 2019 Sunday Mariners Marina, Seneca, IL  to South Shore Boat Club, Peru, IL   26.7 nautical miles.

41°19’13.0″N 89°08’01.6″W
41.320275, -89.133784
Elevation: 449 ft               Locks: 2  Descent: 36 feet

There might be one or two people feeling groggy or under the weather this morning from the ‘Rock the Dock’ party. What a great party it was! Dale and Mary behaved knowing they were heading downstream today.

Dale called the lock at 3:00 AM to see if we could lock through at 5:00 AM. They said our best chance of getting through was between 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM as they are pushing the huge back log of barges through as quickly as they can.
Back to bed.

Along the Way

Pushing barges through the under-repair Marseilles and Starved Rock Locks. The most efficient way to run high volumes of tow traffic through these locks is to first run tows in one direction for ~6 hours then run then run the tow traffic in the other direct for the next ~6 hours. With this approach it prevents obstructive build up in front to the lock doors allowing the traffic to move more efficiently, in a planed manner. The lock can also turn the water around quicker for the next passage.

Pleasure boats have the lowest priority. Lock masters have been letting pleasure boats through the locks twice a day, at most and sometimes only once. Occasionally, they might slip a pleasure boat through with a three-barge tow only if it is not a chemical tow. One of our Looper friends waited 10 hours at the lock before they were locked through. Shake of the dice.

Guess it’s time for us to go…. Weekend is over and everyone is going home.

3:00 PM Dale called the lockmaster again and we headed out. Kerry C blessed us as we left ‘May the Lock Gods be with you!’

And they were. We locked through Marseilles around 5:00 PM as projected and Starved Rock around 7:30 PM. All I can say is timing is that everything!

Leaving the marina. We just barged right in with them.
It’s incredible how many barges and tows are anchored along the river edge, occupying all the viable spaces.

Leaving Starved Rock Lock around 8:00 PM. Dancing in the dark… it just kept getting darker.

Thank goodness for radar. Barges anchored along the shore line.

Dale piloted and Mary ran shotgun with the 1000-lumens spotlight. You know how you hate bugs at night when they splat against your windshield? It’s worse on a boat because there is no windshield. Bug splat in the nose, ears and eyes.

Whew. We finally made it to the South Shore Boat Club about 9:15 PM. Asian carp were jumping all around the boat in the moonlight as we backed into the slip. Members from the club came down to help us dock. We went up to the bar to settle our $30 marina fees (and stayed for a beer and great conversation). The South Shore Boat Club was a great little stop.

Nauti Words

Feeling Groggy

Meaning:   feeling drunk, tipsy, weak or dazed
Origin: In 1740, British Admiral Vernon (whose nickname was “Old Grogram” for the cloak of grogram which he wore) ordered that the sailors’ daily ration of rum be diluted with water. The drink was common aboard ships due to the fact that the drinking water aboard ships often got pretty slimy and disgusting. Thus, a little rum was mixed in to kill the putrid flavour (and hopefully the alcohol would kill some of the bacteria). The men called the mixture “grog”. A sailor who drank too much grog was “groggy”.

Under the weather

Meaning: Feel unwell
Origin:  Keeping watch onboard sailing ships was a boring and tedious job, but the worst watch station was on the “weather” (windward) side of the bow. The sailor who was assigned to this station was subject to the constant pitching and rolling of the ship. By the end of his watch, he would be soaked from the waves crashing over the bow. A sailor who was assigned to this unpleasant duty was said to be “under the weather.”

Sometimes, these men fell ill and died as a result of the assignment, which is why today “under the weather” is used to refer to someone suffering from an illness. A related theory claims that ill sailors were sent below deck (or “under the weather”) if they were feeling sick.

Drolleries and Yuks

What’s the most terrifying word in nuclear physics?
     “Oops!”

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