We got off early again today expecting a bit of delay at the 2 locks on the Ohio River plus the addition of the construction of a new lock that will replace the old 2 locks in 2020. We hear the wickets are down at both locks which if you recall is a lock where at the side of the lock there is a wall that lowers in high water to allow flow. We are currently in high water. Leaving Angelo’s Towhead where we were joined by two other boats, one going south and one north, we leave the other south bounder anchored and leave with the north bounder. The sun is barely up.
We are off the Mississippi River now. Turning into the Ohio River we are met with several tows and docked barges waiting. The river is now a dirty brown instead of the disgusting brown of the Mississippi. It changed colour instantly. For the next several miles we pass another hub of barge industry. Moving south to the new construction lock we are met with a construction accident that will close the river down for several hours. We are allowed to pass through as they set up. They have a procedure where one boat, or tow and barge can go through single file, in only one direction at a time, for about 3 miles with an assigned tow to escort you through. Only us and one other boat get through before it is shut down for 9-10 hours today to clean up the accident. We feel like we won the lottery. In fact we hear on the radio the other south bound boat we were in Angelo’s with last night ask to pass. They were told to find a comfortable spot and it would be late afternoon before they could pass. Of course they wouldn’t be the priority when it was open.
At Lock #53 the barge is putting up the wickets. The lockmaster had to call the big guys to find out if we could pass. It was about a 10 minute wait. We were told that some wickets have been put up and some are only half up. We are instructed to talk with the working barge captain to find out where we can get through. A bit hair raising. Current, half up wickets and trusting the guys on the barge to know exactly where we are to pass through in a small opening at a no wake speed as well. We made it! That saved us several hours because it was probably that or have to wait until the procedure for opening the lock for the first time after several months of closure is done.
What’s that in the sky? Is it a bird? Is it a Plane? No, it’s Superman!!!! Everyone knows Superman was from Metropolis. We pass Metropolis with its casino boat and that would be the highlight in this little town. No big introduction to the “Big Guy in the sky”. Not even an acknowledgement about Superman.
The Ohio River is busy with tows and barges all the way. We make it to the entrance of the Cumberland River. The Ohio River weaves through and around to the entrance even though it looks like you can go straight across. Very shallow everywhere so must stay in this weaving pattern in the channel on the sailing line. It is about 10 feet deep in several spots on our depth gauge.
At the confluence of the Cumberland and Ohio the water changes colour again. There is a mix of a greenish hue and a light brown that weaves through promising us clearer waters on the Cumberland. The Cumberland is narrow from what we have been used to on this trip. It meanders around and seems to really go nowhere fast. It is starting to look beautiful again. The green trees, blue skies and greenish hue of the water is welcoming after so many days of the brown. There are rock formations, sand grooved by rushing flood waters and industry…..and more tows and barges. It’s a tight squeeze to pass these big guys carrying 10 barges or so in such restricted space. Scott does it like a pro, as always.
Moving through the Cumberland our next stop before civilization is a lock. Barkley Lock and Dam. 57 feet lift. She’s a big one. We tie off to a moving bollard that goes up with us that makes the big lift easy. It takes awhile. I’m on the bow in a lifejacket sweating in 90+ degrees in full sun. By the time we are done locking up my shirt is completely soaked. That shower is going to feel good tonight.
Green Turtle Marina Resort & Spa lives up to its name. Carrie and Melissa at the office are super friendly and help us with all our needs. There are 2 outdoor pools, 1 indoor, a spa, a fitness centre, our fuel, laundry, showers, even a courtesy car. It has condos to rent if you want off your boat and so much more. Turtles, turtles, everywhere turtles. The turtles here will eat out of your hand.
After we gas up and needing only a half tank, we get our favourite number 5 slip. Always a coincidence. The number 5 follows Scott around all the time and this is just one more of those times. Of course the pool was a must, laundry and dinner. Aiden found 6 tree frogs on board over the last couple days. He can finally let them go on land. Of course before that happened he had to learn the “sound” of a green and grey tree frog. Understand their habitat and be sure they would have a good start in their new home of Kentucky. We checked….they have them here too.
Coming from Angelo’s to Green Turtle is a long 10 hour day even though if you choose you can get up on plane on the Cumberland and parts of the Ohio. The Cumberland Towhead looks like a great anchorage but we really wanted to gain a day and pushed onto Green Turtle.