Saturday, August 2, 2008


8/1/08---What a beautiful day! We pulled out of the Belmont Harbor at 6:30 a.m. The short trip in Lake Michigan was great, and we got thru the Chicago Harbor Lock with no wait. This lock lowered us just 2' into the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. The morning trip thru downtown Chicago was great with the sun behind us. We also beat one of the bridges being closed for repairs. The work crew was just starting to get set up. We did have to wait 30 minutes at the Conrail Bridge before the Amtrac trains had cleared and the bridge was raised. The commercial water traffic was not too bad and we made good time going down river. Arriving at the Lockport Lock we got right into the chamber. This lock lowered us 40 feet. Tied to a bollard which goes down with the water makes it quite handy. We cleared the lock ar 12:30 p.m. The Brandon Lock was not as convenient. We had to wait 1 hour for a split tow to clear the chamber. Since this had put us just on the south side of Joliet, we are past the low bridges. The wait gave us time to raise the radar arch and the bimini top. We are grateful for the shade. We arrived at the lock at 1:10 p.m. and cleared at 2:35 p.m. after lowering us 35 feet. Things were going a bit too well I guess. The sun was shining brightly on the channel markers and reflection from the water made them a little dificult to see. The wide open area of water seemed to lure us out of the channel at mile marker 283. The shallow water alarm sounded from the sonar as we turned toward the channel, but it was too late. The loud noise of the props tearing thru rock was very unnerving. The port engine had to be shut down because of excessive vibration. Fortunately the starboard engine could be run at reduced rpm. As we made our way downriver on one engine I called ahead to Harborside Marina. Yes, they have a lift large enough to pick the boat up out of the water. Upon arrival they had personnel available to assist us in getting the boat thru a narrow passage into the harbor and parked us along a wall directly in front of the lift. By now it is 4:00 p.m. on Friday evening and work is over until Monday. We will have all weekend to ponder the navigational error. I am sure the co-captains have learned a valuable lesson.

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