15 Oct Day 31,32 Off to Ottawa
Oct 14th. The plan was to leave Joliet at 7AM to be able to clear a lift bridge that would not open during rush hour and then make our way through 3 locks ending in Ottawa at a recommended marina before dinner time. It almost worked…
We cleared the bridge opening no problem.
After a short delay we locked through Brandon Road lock and cleared Dresdan Lock quickly.
Approaching Marsellis Lock we were told there would be a 2 and a half hour wait, no big deal as we were on schedule.
We all mulled around at the entrance to the lock to wait for a northbound tow to clear.
But, then when he was about to come out of the lock he made a radio call to say we were all in a bad place and could possibly get sucked into the side of the barge when he passed. We needed to get farther away from his path when he left. I decided to hightail it out of the way to where the canal was wider and pulled off the channel to find a spot to wait. Big mistake! I promptly ran aground and got stuck firmly in the mud bottom.
Now I was not only stuck but, there was a huge barge coming out of the lock heading our way. Fortunately, Bill and Marilyn were able to pass us a line and pull us out of the mud back to the channel. Unfortunately, we had no where to go and had to run ahead of the tow out of the canal to wait for him to pass. It was a huge tow and I am glad we didn’t have to meet him while stuck in the mud.
Long story short our 2 hour wait at Marseilles lock turned into a 6 hour ordeal. We finally got through at 9:30 PM and had a short, but tense trip in the dark to get to Heritage Harbor Marina.
I can’t say enough about HH marina, they knew our predicament and waited until we arrived with flashlights and radio instructions to get us safely into a slip for the night. Their professionalism was greatly appreciated and will not be forgotten.
The next day we needed a day off and stayed at HH marina. It was awesome, they lent us a courtesy car to use to go do laundry and groceries. There was also a meeting at 4 PM where we were briefed on what to expect and where to anchor for the next 300 miles. All for $1/foot. A great deal and a recommended stop for other loopers.
We finished the night with a pot luck supper with our travelling companions on Two Loons’ beautiful power cat. A good time was had by all.