September 9 – 15
We left the free dock with Shell Belle at about 7 am or so – in the hope that we might be able to make the upcoming locks without a lot of wait time. Wow, was that hopeful thinking! We were immediately followed by another Looper. We had three locks – Brandon Road, Dresden Island, and Marseilles – to get through before we reached Ottawa.
The wait at Brandon Road was at least an hour, since there was a red-flagged tow coming through. Several other Looper boats caught up with us while we were waiting. The waits continued.
It was 3pm before we reached the Marseilles Lock. There were about seven pleasure craft (PCs) queued for the lock. When we reached the lock, it was lifting some other PCs, and there was a red-flagged tow approaching. We were very fortunate that we had contacted the lock before the tow did AND the lockmaster allowed us to move through the lock before the tow arrived. We waited for the lift to complete, and then to move into the lock. The lock turned slowly, and it was after 5 before we reached Heritage Harbor.
The harbor entrance was very shallow, and the channel to the fuel dock just as shallow. We finally reached our slip around 6.
Despite the shallow areas, Heritage Harbor is a great value – floating docks, in-slip pump-out, cable, pool, and on-site restaurant. Jim and I decided to slow our trip – the marina was nice, the LaGrange Lock would open Friday, and we really didn’t need to be in Grafton/Alton for a week or so. So, we bid Jim & Mandy good-bye, and settled in for a few days.
Sunset over Heritage Harbor.
We intended to leave on Thursday, but we were socked in with fog. The fog also shutdown the nearby Starved Rock Lock for a couple of hours. This caused a backup and we weren’t sure when we could get through the lock. So we decided to hang one more day. We took advantage of the nearby I & M Canal Trail and biked into Ottawa for some exercise.
A portion of the I & M Canal Trail.
Ottawa park next to the Fox River.
Mileage Today: 40.4 nautical
Trip Duration: 6.5 hours (moving time)
Loop Miles: 3235.4 miles
Estimated Loop Completion: 59.9%
Segments Completed: Okeechobee Waterway, Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, North Atlantic Ocean, Hudson River, Erie Canal, Oswego Canal, Lake Ontario, Trent Severn Waterway, Georgian Bay, North Channel, Lake Michigan