Wednesday, June 12
Today is our daughter Jenny's 26th birthday. She is big in our thoughts today. She lives in Portland, Oregon where she has completed her second year of law school. We are very proud of her.
We left at 4:20 a.m. this morning hoping to get through New Orleans before traffic got too heavy. It was a beautiful ride through the city.
We had two locks to go through….one before we got into the Mississippi River through New Orleans and one when we left the Mississippi and returned to the ICW.
The first one, the Industrial Canal Lock, we had to wait our turn behind a very large barge. Then we went in behind the next large barge. We tied up to the back of the barge. The excitement came when the barge started up his engines to exit the lock. He made an incredible wake and we found ourselves wheeling in circles, the captain driving excitedly forward and reverse trying to keep us from hitting anything. Stephen and Arlene ran from port to starboard with boat hooks also trying to keep us from hitting anything. We regret we did not get a video. It was more exciting than any amusement park ride. We, by the way, did not hit anything.
The next lock was less eventful. We got to go in immediately and had the entire lock to ourselves. However, after the lock opened we had to wait a long time on a railroad bridge that had opened for a train. Eventually the train came and our trip resumed.
By now it was 9:30 a.m. and we were all hungry. Arlene cooked a big breakfast with ham, fruit and pancakes. Before we got to eat there was a slight delay. We had picked up a stray line on our port prop. We had to tie up to a nearby parked barge ( no small feat) and Ralph got into the water to free the obstruction.
After that, breakfast was especially delicious.
We spent the rest of the afternoon motoring peacefully down the ICW. We know we're getting close to home. It's really hot in the afternoons now. We're again grateful that we have the shore powered AC for our evenings rest.
We traveled west through the swamplands of Louisiana. There was lots of debris in the water. Much of it was a plant named Hyacinth that seemed to be spreading everywhere. There were also lots of logs and sticks. We had to be careful driving through the debris as well as make frequent checks of the engines to be sure they were clear of the floating grasses.
We saw lots of industry and many cranes along the way.
We also saw many barges and tugboats. The tugboats all monitored Channel 13 on the VHF as did we. They all identified themselves, their location and the direction of their travel to each other. Ralph did the same, letting them know who we were and where we were going.
We were really happy to see a rain cloud appear before us. We welcomed the relief from the hot sun. The rain never came, but it was definitely cooler for the rest of the afternoon.
We passed several bridges. One of them was a pontoon bridge. It looked almost like a barge itself. This was the first bridge of this sort we had seen in our travels. We also went through a swing bridge.
We arrived in Houma at 6:30 p.m. It was a lovely tie up by a city park with electricity and water with a nice restaurant nearby.
Life is good.
Franci and Stephen