At daybreak we and new Looper friends Andy and Cindy (on Aquaman) and Jim and Marilyn (on Spinning Dreams) left the Kaskaskia Lock Wall hoping to make many miles on the Mississippi River today. Aquaman was in the lead, R&R next, and Spinning Dreams behind us. Unfortunately, soon after entering the Mississippi River and turning south, we ran into unpredicted heavy fog with low visibility. We could not see far beyond the bow of our boat.
It was disorienting. We slowed down to idle speed, kept R&R in center of the channel as shown on our chartplotter, turned on R&R’s high definition radar to “see” boats near us, and followed the green AIS (Automated Information System) triangle that marked Aquaman on AIS until the fog lifted.
Aquaman entering the fog bank.
R&R emerging from the fog (thanks to Aquaman for this excellent photo!)
All day there were many trees, logs and other debris floating on the surface of the Mississippi River. We steered around almost all of them to protect our propellers from damage.
With help from the Mississippi River current, we traveled around 15 MPH even though our engines were running slowly.
Our goal for the day was to travel about 95 miles to the Boston Bar Anchorage just north of the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. But….because of heavy barge traffic and the fast currents and roiling eddies and whirlpools of the Mississippi, Aquman, Spinning Dreams and R&R decided to continue on, turn left onto the Ohio River, and find an anchorage along the Ohio.
When we made the left turn from the Mississippi onto the Ohio, it was like moving from 3 foot waves in Lake Michigan into the Holland channel where the water is glassy smooth. We went from downstream to upstream immediately, and lost 7-8 mph with the same engine speed. We found a safe anchorage along the shore of the Ohio River, outside of the ship channel. It was our first overnight anchorage after a very long 137 mile day.
We are happy to have conquered the Mississippi!