Log #5d Peoria to the Mississippi River

October 31, 1998 in Log Series 02 - 07, Series 05 Chicago - Illinois River, The Logs

Log #5d Peoria to the Mississippi River

Oct. 31, 1998
Midway Marina
Ten‑Tom Waterway

Hi folks,

I am really getting caught up on my logs as you can tell from the frequency of my E‑mail. We stopped for two days for the first time in ten days at a marina. We lucked in as last night they had a pot luck supper/Halloween party to which we were invited. We also caught up with Cassia Lea, an American trawler we met a few days ago at Diamond Island, just above the Civil War battleground of Shiloh. In addition, we met while motoring down yesterday, George and Sheilah van Nostrand in Dreamcatcher from Keswick Ontario. Just the day before I got an E‑mail from Bob Anglin, an old acquaintance from the Toronto Power and Sail Squadron, asking us to look out for his cousin in Dreamcatcher which left Ontario in September. We met them while waiting for a lock, and came down 3 locks with them and stayed here last night.

I have received several E‑mails from friends new and old. I have the E‑mail of one of my fellow teachers at Glenforest Secondary School, and will send him and his students copies of my logs. I am also glad to hear from friends we met in Peoria, Chicago, and Cairo, Illinois. These people have befriended us in these different ports, and it is good to keep in touch with them. This is one of the joys of liveaboard life, meeting such interesting and helpful people.
Thank you.

We hope to be in Mobile Alabama by Nov. 10, and plan to stay there for two weeks or so, going to a Seven Seas Cruising Club Rendezvous in Melbourne Florida, and visiting Cape Canaveral, and New Orleans. We will rent a car and use Mobile as our base of operations for this period.
After that our next mailing address will be when we get to Caloosa Cove in the Florida Keys for Christmas. We will meet Judy’s parents down there. After that we are off to Cuba, then the Bahamas for the rest of the winter. Our address in Florida up until Jan 7 for those of you sending out Christmas cards or pictures of yourselves and families will be:

BOX 446
USA 33036

I will close for now and attach the log #5d the last log of our trip down the Illinois River.

Take care,
Aubrey Millard

Oct. 28, 1998
Diamond Island,
Tennessee River,
Near Shilo

On board Veleda

Getting into the IVY club on Oct 4 was difficult as we were ploughing a furrow for about 30 yards as we went out of the channel over to the yacht club buoys and into their channel. We had called ahead and were assured there was enough water, so in we went. We were directed to a vacant slip by the manager and assisted alongside by a fellow boater. The hospitality of the club was very pleasant and congenial. They were well equipped with excellent showers, laundry facilities, bar and restaurant. The dockage was only $25.00 a night. They provided me an office from which I was able to send off some E‑mail, and of course Judy had a chance to call home. We were offered the use of their crane to put up our mast, but it was too small.

The next day we went over to their gas dock for fuel and pump out, then were helped to back into our original slip by Bill Zeithammer so we could do some work on the upper section of our mast while it was still down (changed the upper mast steps and put in a new roller furler bearing, as the one we replaced in Beaver Island had a crack in the main washer). Bill also took us into town to his ACE Hardware store for some SAE 30 oil and propane. When we returned another lady took us up into town to do some grocery shopping. Our experience there was very positive Thank you IVY club.

When we left Oct 6, the weather was still grey as it had been for the past week. We went through Peoria Lock and down to anchor that evening at Bath Chute at the side of the river at Mile 106.9. We started at Chicago at Mile 327.0. However their mileage on their river charts is in land miles, not nautical miles. While here we did an oil change and changed the oil filter. This was only our third oil change for this new engine, which has now 400 hours on it. We only had 13 hours on it when we left THSC on July 3.

Grey again the next day! We had to wait at anchor at La Grange lock for one of those double tows to go through. It took us two and a half hours until we got through. We continued down river and anchored for the night just below the highway bridge at Florence. It was disconcerting to anchor in the river with a one and a half knot current going past. The boat doesn’t move much once anchored in a current. Usually any wind isn’t strong enough to push it perpendicular or upstream of the current. A bit of information we had in order to avoid any swinging in a current was not to put out a stern anchor, but stream a bucket astern as a sea anchor to offset any wind effect. We have not tried this yet, but it sounds plausible.

Oct 7, Judy had a nice conversation with a tow skipper on MISS DIXIE. She called him up to identify which side of the channel he would like us to take as he passed us. After he passed he called up to ask where we were from and going. She had a pleasant chat with him for a couple of minutes. All the tow boat skippers have a southern accent (just like truckers on CB have Arkansas accents). Women are always called “Ma’am” and men “skipper” regardless. We have not heard a female tow operator yet, but we understand there are some women tow operators. They are all very polite and wish “Y’all have a good day now”.

Tow operators communicate on channel 13. When meeting a tow going in the opposite direction, you have to determine which side of the tow you will pass down. This is not just a rule of the road situation, as the tows may be rounding a bend giving you minimal room or manoeuvering their tow into a “barging” area. They or you could use sound signals, but they communicate readily on 13. I doubt if they know the origin of the sound signals, but they use the term “one whistle side” or “two whistle side”. One whistle side means you will pass port to port. The one whistle means “I am altering my course to starboard” which then would put you on a port to port passing situation. Similarly the two whistle side is a starboard to starboard pass, as it means “I am altering my course to port” thus causing a starboard to starboard pass.
So when we call them, I suggest which side I would like to pass if that is O.K. with them. I would call and say something as follows

” Upbound tow at Clark Island, this is the downbound pleasure craft VELEDA. We will pass you on your one whistle side if that is O.K. with you.”

They will usually come back with:
” That’s fine skipper. Y’all have a good day now.”

They do not use full VHF voice procedure, and so the repetition of your boats name three times plus your call signs and channel being used would be time consuming and confusing to the tow operators. You are either another tow or a “pleasure craft”. They do not care whether you are a sail boat or power boat or what your name is. I have found and been told by other boaters to try to pass a tow on port to port unless coming up to a bend. At bends it is best to pass a tow on the inside of the bend to give him and you the most manoeuvering room.