September 1, 2015 – Tuesday – Joliet to Harborside Marina (Wilmington) – 14.6 statute miles traveled

As the Brandon Road Lock and Dam were only two miles downstream from where we were moored we called the lock master before we cast off to see what that locking timeline was going to be. He indicated they were just taking a load down and then would need to bring a tug with barges up so it would be about an hour. We stayed on the wall for another half hour and then cast off and proceeded the two miles at slow bells (1.3 mph).

Sunrise at Joliet

Sunrise at Joliet

Even at this pace we arrived before the locking up procedure was completed so had to hover awhile. Once the lock gates were open it took forever for the tug to get his six barges moving. These were loaded barges of petroleum so the load was massive. The tug churns away at full throttle for quite awhile before perceptible movement occurs. It takes quite awhile before the barge train is operating at cruising speed. These tugs are pushers with high pilot houses so they can see over their load.

When the tug cleared the lock we got the green light and moved in to tie up to the third floating bollard on the port side. Sea Moss went in ahead of us and tied to the second floating bollard as instructed by the lockmaster. These floating bollards are great. We only have to put one line around them mid ship and it can be tied off leaving you free to move about the boat as the lock descends. This time the drop was 34 feet.

Floating Bollard - when you tie to this it goes up or down with your boat making line handling easy

Floating Bollard – when you tie to this it goes up or down with your boat making line handling easy

This was the only locking we were going to do today and we were off for an eleven mile trip to Three Rivers Marina, our intended stop. It was a pleasant cruise with hot sunny weather and light variable breeze. When we arrived at Three Rivers it was out intention to take on some fuel as we had not fueled since Charlevoix. The fuel dock was outside of the marina and right at the mouth of the little bay. As we edged toward the fuel dock the depth sounder continued to show shorter and shorter depth. When we were within about 200 feet of the dock the depth sounder indicated that we were going to touch if we went any further. Vicki called the marina to ask how to get to the fuel dock. They said they would send someone out right away.

When the guy arrived he took one look at our boat and at the water over the edge of the dock and then yelled at us to go to the next marina. I would guess they do not sell much diesel here as most of the boats with shallow enough draft to get to the fuel dock most likely burn gasoline.

Harborside Marina was only 1.3 miles further down river. They too sold diesel so we pulled in to their fuel dock. We were glad that Three Rivers had not worked out as Harborside was a very nice marina that included a pool and restaurant. We took on 103 gallons of fuel that is less than half of our capacity so again, I was pleased with the economy of Sea To See. This time I remembered to use my dip stick in the tanks once they were full so I knew the total capacity and could more accurately guage how much fuel was left in the tanks. If every drop in the tank is used and I do not run the engines much at standstill then the range of Sea To See is nearly 1100 statute miles.

We were moored in our slip by about 12:30 PM. It was a very hot day so I turned the air conditioner on to find that the cooling pump had, once again, lost its prime. We felt we needed to have it for survival so I climbed down in the hot engine compartment, trying not to touch the engine, and opened the water line while Vicki turned the pump on. With no back pressure the water immediately came out of the hose so I forced the hose back on the fitting, tightened it down and the aircon was off and running. Now I was so picking hot I couldn’t wait to get to the swimming pool while the aircon worked to get the boat cooled down.

Having spent time with family in Chicago Namaste, with Jim and JoAnn aboard, was now on its way. The plan was to catch up to us so they had a long days run. We were in touch by phone as to their progress so expected them to arrive around 5:00 PM. At the same time our niece and nephew, Kari and Eric from near Madison, Wisconsin were driving down to see us and the boat. As it turned out they arrived just as I was helping Namaste with their lines.

Sea To See finally meets Namaste.

Sea To See finally meets Namaste.

We enjoyed showing Eric and Kari the boat and then went to dinner with them to catch up on their lives. Time went quickly and soon they needed to leave for their three hour drive back home. How nice of them to drive a six hour round trip to see us. By then it was dark so after touching base with the Namaste crew we hit the rack. We sure were glad to have a functional air conditioner.

Vicki and Kari aboard Sea To See.

Vicki and Kari in the Sea To See cockpit.

Ron and Eric on the bridge.

Ron and Eric on the bridge.

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