A cold day on the water is better than a good day at work

A cold day on the water is better than a good day at work

15-OCT-2020 Thursday – Fort Madison Drawbridge, Fort Madison, IA (~UMR mile 386)  to Kings Island(a.k.a. Tower Island), Hannibal, MO (~UMR mile 306)    69.9 nautical miles (80.5 statute miles)

39°42’01.4″N 91°19’28.4″W
39.700390, -91.324558
Elevation: 460 feet
Total Elevation Change: -59 feet

Locks (3)
Mississippi River Lock 19 – mile 364, Keokuk, IA
Mississippi River Lock 20 – mile 343, Canton, MI
Mississippi River Lock 21 – mile 32,5 Quincy, IL

States (3)
Iowa, Illinois, Missouri

Good Morning!

Anchor pulled and were on our way at 7am for an early start. We really wanted to put miles on today. The Fort Madison Swing Bridge that was closed for high winds had reopened.

Along the Way

Our timing for the Fort Madison Swing Bridge was off. Trains were crossing from both directions at the same time.

Vehicles crossing on the top level have to stop to pay a toll at a booth in the center of the swing.

We hailed the bridge tender for a swing. He would neither reply to our hailing or open the bridge. One of those kinda guys…… After about 15 minutes later another train came through. 15 minutes later, another one. And then another one. And then another one. And then another one…….

The bridge appeared to be stuck. There were a bunch of guys standing around looking at something and pounding on it.

Every time another train came through the workers scrambled to clear the bridge.

We tried calling the local Coast Guard number to get the status on the bridge. No one answered any of the multiple times we tried calling. It was nearly impossible to find but, Dale finally found the Fort Madison non-emergency police phone number. The police connected us with the bridge. Apparently, the microphone on our helm VHF radio quit working. We were not transmitting. Ugh! It was ok yesterday. Fortunately, the lower helm VHF is working and our hand-held is too.

After two and a half hours we were on our way again just before 10am. So much for our early start.

When we check fuel this morning the tank was about 5/8 full. The next place we can get diesel is either the Keokuk Yacht Club 20 miles away or Two Rivers is at 283 approx 120 miles.

Keokuk is on the Mississippi River at the very southeastern edge of Iowa.

Lock 19 at Keokuk – 38 foot drop

For the most part the Mississippi River in areas we’ve traveled the past two days is not very scenic and frankly uninteresting, unless of course you like trains, tows and barges.

Houses between the levee and the river.

There is a large fleeting area in Quincy, IL

Hannibal, MO Railroad Lift Bridge. The train rails to the bridge come straight out of a tunnel. Rails also run north south along the river.

Good Night

You’re getting south if you’re in Hannibal, MO.  To me Hannibal is in the south.  It’s still cold.

Nauti Words

Levees protect land that is normally dry but that may be flooded when rain or melting snow raises the water level in a body of water, such as a river. Dike
Dikes protect land that would naturally be underwater most of the time.

Levees and dikes look alike, and sometimes the terms levee and dike are used interchangeably.

River Rat 102 – Nuns and Cans

Aids to Navigation System(ATONS) are buoys and other markers that guide vessels along waterways.

A pointy red buoy is called a nun. A green buoy is a can. Red nuns are even numbered and green cans are odd numbered. When looking at nuns and cans in distance it’s often hard to discern colors but you can generally tell shapes. The shapes must really help out color blind river pilots.
Daymarks are signs (red triangles and green squares) that are posted on structures that are on land or in the water and are typically used as channel or hazard markers. The same color rules apply to daymarks as to buoys.

Games people play

Kick the Can or Hugging the Nun.
When piloting long stretches of water we like to set the autopilot pointed at a distant buoy to see how close we can get to it with out making a course correction.  Sometimes we get pretty close.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *