The photo album (link above) has been updated.
Slow, slow, slow, slow and slow. Those are the only words to describe how the trip up the Ohio River was. There was a ton of current coming downriver, mostly from Hurricane Sandy. Remember on the Mississippi where we were cruising at 11.5 mph and even peaking at 14.6 mph? Not so on the Ohio. We were lucky if we hit 7.7 mph, most of the time hovering around the 6.5 to 7.0 mark.
The day started out beautifully. Our anchorage at Angelo Towhead was delightful. The weather was clear and it was going to be a warm and sunny day. There would be a bit of a breeze from the south but otherwise a grand day to cruise. We had 59 miles to cover upbound on the Ohio River but we knew that we would be slowed down by the aforementioned current. We weighed anchor at sunrise and finished the one mile on the Mississippi and turned up into the Ohio…and our speed immediately dropped down to 6.5 miles per hours. We passed Cairo, IL and started the reach up.
The first landmark was Lock and Dam 53. It is a wicket dam which is a kind of dam where the dam itself is completely lowered into the river and can be cruised over avoiding the lock. That was the case here so it was no big deal. Our speed crept up a bit into the sevens but that was as fast we would travel all day. The miles slowly passed by with not much to see until we got to Metropolis, IL. Just upriver from there was Lock and Dam 52, also a wicket dam, but they were in the process of pulling their wickets back up. The lock was closed during this process so we had to wait for about an hour. This apparently is not so bad as we have heard from other loopers that the wait time could be two hours or more. But we did get through the lock, but due the gusting winds and the general decrepit condition of the lock it was a bummer. (Locks 52 and 53 are being replaced soon by a super-lock being built in Olmstead, IL. Hurry!) We crept by Paducah, KY and the mouth of the Tennessee River into a very wide pool area that eventually led to our anchorage at the Cumberland Towhead, a wide slip of water between and island and the mainland at the mouth of the Cumberland River. It’s a very pretty area and a great anchorage. Like Angelo Towhead there is a gentle current that keeps the boat exactly where we put it.
Saturday morning saw us with a bit of a relaxed atmosphere as we did not have a great distance to travel to Green Turtle Bay in Barkley Lake. To get there we would cruise up the Cumberland River some thirty miles, go through Barley Lock and Dam into Barkley Lake with the marina just one mile past the lock doors. The river was a nice cruise. We were both surprised at the amount of tow and barge traffic that would be on the river if this were a work day. There were several very large quarries along the way and quite a few barges both empty and full in staging areas on the shore side. There was some tow and barge traffic but only a few boats. For most of the trip we travelled alone.
The wind had been picking up during the morning and when we reached the bottom of Barkley Lock the southern winds were in the ten to fifteen mph range with higher gusts. There was a tow coming down in the lock so we had to tread water in a large pool at the bottom near the lock entrance. But treading per se was difficult with the wind and a heightened current coming from the dam. So much so that if the boat was in neutral we would drift back down river at up to three miles per hour. I put the boat into neutral forward and even that wasn’t enough to keep up with the current. I finally had to throttle up slightly to keep ahead of the current and I ended up making circles and figure eight patterns under power to maintain control. After about forty-five minutes the tow left the lock and we scooted in and got onto a bollard for the long ride up. We were very concerned that once we reached the top of the chamber the winds would be strong enough to make keeping control of the boat difficult. Fortunately the walls of the lock were very high so we were protected all of the way.
We motored out of the lock and entered beautiful Barkley Lake. Green Turtle Bay marina was just a mile down. As we pulled into our slip we were greeted by a very friendly staff and the tie up was simple with their help. Green Turtle Bay is not only a large marina but a resort community as well with condos, rental cabins, a yacht club…all the amenities. We went to dinner at the yacht club where there are signs with the boat names of the members. One struck us both as being a fun and original boat name – “Cntrl Alt Delete”.
So we will remain here for a few days. There is a storm system set to blow through here Sunday evening and Monday morning with very favorable weather, albeit cold, for the rest of the week into next weekend.