Day 179 … Mon, Oct 16, 2017 … 37.3 miles; 6:30 hours
Midway Marina to Blue Bluff Anchorage
Sometimes boats coordinate leaving, especially when the 1st lock, Fulton, is less than 3 miles away. One group left at the crack of dawn. We were basically ready when the next group started leaving; I was walking Cally. She was quick to do her morning business so I could get back to the boat. We were off fast and in line with the other boats. The lock was open and ready, but we waited for more boats to join us. Ended up with 8 boats,making for a full lock.
Interesting, this was a first … a guy stood on top of the dam doors after they closed behind us. He gave hand signals to the lock operator for a couple minutes, then gave the thumbs up. Glad for the that signal.
All 3 locks were open and ready for us today! WOW, that has never happened and made the days travel so much easier and not so long of a day. However, waiting for boats to catch up so we can all lock together each time did take a lot time.
By the 2nd lock, Wilkens, another boat joined our parade making for 9 boats. One sail boat rafted to a trawler (Darak) as no one wanted to go to the forward pin on either side. Lockmaster couldn't tell us the distance between the pin and the gate opening position … it looked too short for any of us. Lockmaster tried to get a delivery captain on a Selene to move up, but he refused saying there wasn’t room. he was probably right.
By the 3rd lock, Amory, we were the last power boat (only ahead of the 2 sailboats who are slower than us) and 1 of the pins wasn’t in operating condition, so we were invited to raft to Keokuk. The smaller sailboat went forward (and fit). again, a full lock!!
We tried the Canal Cutoff Anchorage first. No luck there, the water was too high. All the beaches for Cally to go to shore were under water … so we moved on to the anchorage the sailboats were going to use tonight. The other, faster, 6 boats kept moving and went thru at least one more lock, if not two.
As it turns out, really happy the first anchorage didn’t work out. Blue Bluff was fabulous. The sailboats took the two spots on the FREE town dock (they offered one to us) and we anchored right behind them. A small sandy landing beach by the dock for the dinghy and Cally to get to shore where we had an expansive grassy park for her to play off leash AND a trash can!! I like anchorages with trash cans.
There were reports of the entrance to this anchorage being too shallow and boats grounded trying to get to it. Frist, Rip believed with the last anchorage beaches being under water, we would have enough water here to get over the “hump” at the entrance AND … the sailboats went first!! All was good with a minimum of over 6’ depth. We need 4’ of water.