Day 10 The Illinois River
14 October 2011 | Peroria, IL
Chris/ Clear again
Day 10 Thursday October 13, 2011 We wake up in Seneca, IL and in the daylight get to see just how big the marina is. They have seven huge sheds and a ton of land. They are Viking dealers, but have no parts in inventory. We are looking for new 32" windshield wipers and some light bulbs, but they can't help us.
After topping off the fuel tanks (214 gallons) and the water tank, and cleaning all the water intake filters (one for each engine, the generator, and the AC system) we depart Spring Brook Marina at 8:57. It's drizzling and a little chilly. Apparently this is going to be our first day of nasty weather after ten perfect days.
We get to out first lock of the day and we have to wait for a tug with three barges to go first. We stand in the rain while we tend to lines, dropping 37 feet in the Illinois River. As we make our way to the next lock the rain stops. We go through the second lock with the Coast Guard tug and barge that we dropped with yesterday. The commercial captains have to give a private boat permission to enter a lock with them rather than wait, and these Coasties are the only ones to welcome us so far.
After we get out of the lock and continue downstream we encounter three new things. First we see a beautiful bald eagle in flight. What a majestic bird. Then we see a couple white pelicans. Then dozens. Then hundreds. Ultimately we see thousands of them. More on that in a bit.
Then we have our first encounter with Asian carp. We see one or two jumping out ahead of us. I go to the back of the boat for the camera, and notice the dozens jumping in our wake. They are suddenly everywhere. Doug Faust, avoid the Illinois River. After awhile I get their pattern down and mange to photograph some 'flying' fish. You'll get to see those and lots more photos when I get to a wireless LAN somewhere. The air card is just too slow for pictures.
We make our way to Peoria, IL and Hamm's Holiday Marina (which is no holiday, trust me). Very shallow water going in, and several river boats, barges, and tugs that have been intentionally run aground and are waiting to be scrapped. There are also two in the harbor waiting for buyers. Anybody want to own and run a river boat casino.
We're at the 'fuel dock' at 2:45. They run the diesel hose down the hill to the dock and we begin filling up. The guy at the top of the hill yells down the gallons pumped to the guy on the dock who relays it to us. We take 226 gallons, and head for our overnight dock. We wind our way by the river boats, past the power line floating in the basin and dock in just enough water at the end of one of their piers. We're about 15 yards for the opposite shoreline. It feels like we should have used a shoehorn to get where we are.
After I do a little exploring on the beached riverboats (pictures to follow) the marina owner gives us a ride to a near by restaurant on the river. While we are sitting there we watch the white pelicans, thousands of them, begin there evening's migration. They fly in single file and rise and sink like they are on a rollercoaster. It's like watching a wave make its' way down the river. It is awesome to see. I hope I see more of it when I have a camera with me.
Then it's back to the boat, and a good night's sleep. We hope to cover 170 miles tomorrow and make it to the Mississippi.