September 2, 2015 – Wednesday – Harborside Marina to Heritage Harbor Marina (Ottawa) – 32.5 statute miles traveled

Once again it was two miles to the Dresden Lock and Dam. One mile out we called on vhf channel 14 to let them know of our arrival and check lock status. It was about a half hour wait so we went to minimum speed and crept toward the lock.

The barges coming up in this lock were three abreast and three deep so with nine barges to get going it took a lot of time to clear the lock. Just prior to our entry American Pie came around the bend and followed us into the lock. We took the first floating bollard, Namaste took the second floating bollard and American Pie had to use lines provided by the lock attendants. I don’t know what happened but after dropping about 10 feet American Pie started listing to starboard and there was some yelling going on then all of a sudden something gave and the port side of the boat dropped down. Somehow it was hung up on the wall and whether this was because a line was tied off or some part of the boat actually got hung up I do not know. The lockmaster told the attendant over the radio to stop draining the lock as this was happening but by the time this order was received the boat was freed so we continued down the overall 20 foot drop.

On down the river we went. At about mile marker 263 near a bunch of grain elevators a Tow Boat was attached to a single empty barge and was backing it away from the bank. I went to the south side of the river to give him plenty of room but he kept backing faster and faster such that I was not able to get past him. I was wondering what his attentions were when quickly he started going forward giving him leverage to quickly turn the barge into the middle of the river. Namaste had been following us about a quarter mile behind and all of a sudden they found a barge swinging across the river between us and them. Jim slowed Namaste down and turned to starboard to give the tow room and the tow kept swinging around until it was pointed down river and then was pushed over to the northern bank allowing Namaste passage her starboard side. It was a lesson for us in who really has the right of way.   There was no question in this case.

At mile marker 256 (Barry Island) we met another Tow Boat with long tow. I moved to the inside of the curve in the river and stayed on the edge of the channel. I was thinking that the tow would like swing wide but found that he cut the corner instead of trying to stay on the cruise line so it was necessary for me to hug the shore pretty tightly keeping an eye on the depth sounder. Since this was the first tow I had met coming up river full steam I learned some more about tow operations and staying out of their way.

Heritage Harbor Marina is tucked into a dredged bay on the north side of the river. Namaste had called ahead to get us moorage for the night. We pulled in and went to our assigned places and docked. Then it was discovered that somehow we had mixed up the assignments and needed to switch places. Once in our new spot it was determined we were to move one slot to the left so we moored for the third time. As I had tracking on my chart plotter there are lines all over the marina.

Once moored and hooked up to shore power it was on with the airconditioner while we headed for the pool. As it was another 92 degree day this was a very welcome activity. We stayed there until after 6:00 PM and were in the water most of the time. We had dinner at the Red Dog Bar and Grill where we discussed the future days planning. It was decided that since the weather forcast was for at least three more days of weather in the 90’s and because it was going to soon be Labor Day weekend when marinas would be full we would ask if there was any chance we could just stay put at Heritage Marina. This would be done the next morning.

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