Chris and Bud's Excellent Adventure

Vessel Name: sidebandit
Vessel Make/Model: OP 75
Hailing Port: Rochester, NY
Crew: Bud, Chris, Bob, and Mike, and JC
About: Two Sailors, an Uncle, and a Pilot, and a guy from th U.
Extra: Somewhere near Peoria we pick up JC. He's a licensed captian from Miami (who went to Miami University, the U).
24 October 2011 | Ft Lauderdale
23 October 2011 | Marco Island
22 October 2011 | Clearwater
21 October 2011 | The Gulf of Mexico
20 October 2011 | Pensacola
19 October 2011 | Blanton, MS
18 October 2011 | Columbus, MS
17 October 2011 | Grand Harbor Tennessee
16 October 2011 | Green Turtel Bay
15 October 2011 | Hobbie's Marina
14 October 2011 | Grafton
14 October 2011 | Peroria, IL
12 October 2011 | Seneca, IL
12 October 2011 | Hammond, IN
10 October 2011
10 October 2011 | Chicago
08 October 2011 | Betsie Bay, Frankfort, MI
07 October 2011 | Mackinaw City
Recent Blog Posts
24 October 2011 | Ft Lauderdale

Day Twenty (d)one

Day 21 Monday October, 24 We push away from the dock on what is supposed to be our last day of the trip at 9:00. It has rained overnight, but appears it will be yet another delightful day for us. (I'm not really fan of the word delightful, but I've grown tired of writing beautiful and perfect and [...]

23 October 2011 | Marco Island

Day 20 Final Stop

Day 20 Sunday October 23 Up early, because it's what we do now, but instead of leaving in the dark, we have a delicious and relaxing breakfast aboard the boat while we await the tide. After cleaning up, we're underway at 9:45.

22 October 2011 | Clearwater

Day 18 Part Two

Day 18 (continued) Saturday, October 22 .....Only serves to make us stronger. The second sunrise of our Day 18 looks a lot like the sunset did. As the sun is rising we get word from the Coast Guard that Tow Boat US has dispatched two boats and that they should get to us around 8:00. At 8:30 they arrive. After [...]

21 October 2011 | The Gulf of Mexico

Crossing the Gulf?

Day 18 Friday, October 21 We're up before the sun again and we follow a barge out the channel to the Gulf. By the time we actually enter the Gulf, the sun is rising. We get to the open water and pick up the pace.

20 October 2011 | Pensacola

Day 17 Leaving the River System

Day 17 Thursday October 20 We're up and ready to leave by 5:00, but again commercial traffic at our first lock keeps us at the dock. It's cold, 36 degrees, and foggy. So foggy you can't see the opposite shore. You can barely see the bow from the stern. But if you look up, there are stars everywhere. [...]

19 October 2011 | Blanton, MS

Bobby's Fish Camp

Day 16 Wednesday, October 19 Up at 5:00 and talking with the Lockmaster at Columbus Lock. He's got an upbound tug in the lock, so our 5:30 gets pushed out a little. After a relaxing cup of coffee we push away from the dock at 5:45 and head for our first dark lock in.

Day 17 Leaving the River System

20 October 2011 | Pensacola
Chris/ Clear and warm again
Day 17 Thursday October 20 We're up and ready to leave by 5:00, but again commercial traffic at our first lock keeps us at the dock. It's cold, 36 degrees, and foggy. So foggy you can't see the opposite shore. You can barely see the bow from the stern. But if you look up, there are stars everywhere. The fog is only on the river, where the water is 76 degrees.

We get under way in the dark at 5:45 and proceed with great caution. Spot lights don't help, as the fog is too thick. Using them is a lot like having your high beams on in a snow storm. And it's almost that cold. Standing on the bow and straining to see whatever we can, we head downstream at idle. Hoping we see the barge ahead of us, or the lock, with enough time to respond.

Finally, and with no definition, the lights of the lock become visible. The tug and barge are already in the lock. We have to hover in the fog for nearly another 25 minutes. That's a little tricky in the fog. When you can get a glimpse of the shoreline, you can tell there is no fog beyond the first trees, and still plenty of stars to be seen above.

We enter the lock, our first of the day and last, and 46th, of the trip, in the dark. By the time we exit the lock it is starting to get light. But the fog on the other end is just as thick, almost as thick as the butternut squash soup Linda sent along with Budd that we ate last night. The fog is so concentrated low in the river that the visibility is better on the fly bridge than it is anywhere else. But it's still cold up there.

Eventually, as the sun rises, the fog begins to clear. It provides really sweet scenery. And after one still foggy barge passing, we're making good time. Today's only wildlife is white tail deer on the beach. The river is still winding ridiculously. But doing thirty knots in a river for hours is really quite fun. We're still making great time.

That ends when we get to a railroad bridge that is too low for us to clear. Riddle me this: When is a lift bridge not a lift bridge? When it's still a swing bridge. When the bridge tender is asked to raise the bridge, he replies, "We don't lift this bridge, we swing it." We have to wait for the bridge, which is like the one in the middle of the Genesee River by RYC. That one I've always been told is one of only two left in the country. Alabama is in the middle of getting rid to this one too. And theirs is still in use. Later we'll go by yet another one. So much for the one in Rochester being so unique.

Not far beyond the bridge we get to Mobile. It is a fairly nice looking skyline, and an interesting waterfront. Lot's of shipping, ship building, and dry docks. We all nearly get whiplash there is so much to look at. And we're going slowly. There are some really cool looking new ships being built. Including a bow that looks like it might be the bow of a sister ship to the Independence. The Independence is a tri-haul built in Mobile out of steel from the World Trade Center.

We get to the end of the river and out into Mobile Bay. It's huge, larger than Tampa Bay, and full of shipping, fishing, and oil rigs. If you think the US is not drilling, think again. Not to take any political stance, but we're doing some drilling.

We pass lots of fishing boats, which are easy to spot, as they are the ones surrounded by sea gulls and pelicans. This is as opposed to the barges, on which many sea gulls hitch rides.

In the early afternoon we clear the shipping channel and are now in the Gulf of Mexico. We're skidding the Alabama, and then Florida shoreline, and on our way to Pensacola. We get into Pensacola at 1715 and refuel. We put 500 gallons in, and that's all the marina has. Then we're off to dinner, with another long day ahead of us tomorrow, as we'll be crossing the Gulf to Clearwater.
Comments
sidebandit's Photos - Main
Ft Lauderdale and the River Boat Show
53 Photos
Created 26 October 2011
Marco to Lauderdale
22 Photos
Created 26 October 2011
Clearwater, Anna Maria Island, and Marco Island
47 Photos
Created 24 October 2011
Day 18 and 19 going to Clearwater.
62 Photos
Created 23 October 2011
The Bay, the Gulf, and Florida
38 Photos
Created 23 October 2011
The riverfront of Mobile, AL
88 Photos
Created 23 October 2011
Clear sailing, so to speak, to Mobile
33 Photos
Created 23 October 2011
Leaving Bobbie's Fish Camp and Heading For Mobile.
23 Photos
Created 23 October 2011
From Demopolis to Bobbie's
34 Photos
Created 23 October 2011
Lunch and a tug tour
19 Photos
Created 20 October 2011
The early part of a day that started slowly.
73 Photos
Created 20 October 2011
A day that could have been much longer.
117 Photos
Created 18 October 2011
The Tennessee River is in lake mode again.
41 Photos
Created 18 October 2011
The Tennessee becomes a lake again.
32 Photos
Created 18 October 2011
Now it's a River.
53 Photos
Created 18 October 2011
The first half is lake like.
29 Photos
Created 18 October 2011
Off the Ohio and into the Tennessee
20 Photos
Created 18 October 2011
78 Photos
Created 18 October 2011
Leaving Hobbies Early And Heading For The Ohio
18 Photos
Created 17 October 2011
Beyond St. Louis to Hobbie's
16 Photos
Created 17 October 2011
40 Photos
Created 17 October 2011
75 Photos
Created 17 October 2011
73 Photos
Created 17 October 2011
Our one cloudy day so far.
87 Photos
Created 17 October 2011
The second part of the day, after leaving the Calumet
85 Photos
Created 17 October 2011
Our first day off the Great Lakes
54 Photos
Created 16 October 2011
Leaving Chitown and heading for the Calumet
28 Photos
Created 12 October 2011
Leaving Frankfort, Arriving Chicago, Burnham Marina, and Chicago
115 Photos
Created 9 October 2011
Leaving Mackinaw City to Frankfort
102 Photos
Created 9 October 2011
22 Photos
Created 9 October 2011
69 Photos
Created 9 October 2011
Mid River and Detroit
20 Photos
Created 9 October 2011
20 Photos
Created 9 October 2011
23 Photos
Created 9 October 2011
Pictures of The Wellend,
53 Photos
Created 9 October 2011

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