Friday, November 9, 2012

Cape Girardeau to Angelo Towhead – Anyone for pea soup?

We all know the quote “The best laid plans of mice…”, yada, yada, yada. And this was the case Thursday morning. We and Pampered III had planned to slice off of the Kidds Fuel dock at around 5:30am to start down the Mississippi River and for us, up the Ohio River to a set of mooring cells near the Olmstead Lock project. But the weather was making it a no-go. Thick fog settled into the area and as I am writing this at 7:40am we can’t see a thing outside of the boat. We can’t see the river, we can’t see the other shore (nor our shore as far as that goes), nor could we even see the huge bridge crossing the river just a half mile down from us. So here we sit as we wait for the fog to lift.

This did help us make up our minds about our cruising plan for today. We’re just going to go to Angelo Towhead where we will drop anchor for the day and night. We will then start our slow drudge up the Ohio River to the Cumberland River Towhead on Friday.

So here we are…Lisa and I on Why Knot, with Kevin, Mark and Carl on Pampered III all waiting around for the fog to clear. 7:00, 7:30, 8:00, 8:30 all passed by with no noticeable change in the situation. The fog was still settled in thick and heavy. Then, in what seemed like a magical transformation, at 9:00 am the fog was gone in about five minutes. Poof! No more fog. So we all scrambled into action. Lisa and I got Why Knot off of the raft and headed on down the river. Pampered III is a fast trawler so when she undocked she came up on us, dropped down to give us a slow pass, and then zoom – off they went. We ran at a slower pace than the day before. We did not have to be in a hurry since we were only covering fifty miles with the current pushing us along. We still managed ten plus miles per hour most of the way. We arrived at our anchorage at Angelo Towhead about 2:30. It was a nice anchorage with plenty of water to drop the hook in, the light current to keep us pointed in the right direction and a view of the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Good view.

One small side note here…On our way down the river we approached a tow that was heading up river and coming around a bend. We radioed them about what side to make our pass. The captain replied to do a one whistle pass (port side to port side). But as we looked at the situation we decided to drop down into neutral and wait for him to pass as the turn was narrow. The captain thanked us. When it passed we saw that the name of the tow was the Stephen B. Colby of the Marquette tow lines. This was the third time that we dealt with this boat: once on the Illinois and twice on the Mississippi, once going down and this time coming up. Those tows sure do get around.

Our anchorage at Angelo Towhead was terrific. Every now and then we would get a gentle roll from the wakes of passing tows. Twice I woke up during the night. Both times I would take a look out of the salon windows and I was surprised how busy the rivers were with tow boat traffic. And not just up and down bound traffic, but also tender tows moving barges around all of the staging areas that were all just down river from us. There were lots of high power search lights sweeping the area. At one point one of these high beams aimed right at us and I got an eyeful of bright white light. I’m sure we were zapped a number of times during our sleep, but we were well off of the channel so we were just of passing interest to the tows.

Tomorrow we head up the Ohio River to our next anchorage at the Cumberland River.

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