We lightheartedly cruised out of the 4 Seasons Marina feeling great after last night’s dinner “out” and the spirit at one of the boats near our slip. GO HAWKS!
We didn’t stop IN Cincinnati but enjoyed the view from the river:
We merrily proceeded past some very remote and pretty state parks (lots of people out fishing) and then the next lock loomed on the horizon.
Perhaps if we’d realized that it was to be our 13th Lock, we would have been more on our toes. We weren’t. First, the Lockmaster called us out on the radio to put on our life vests (something NO ONE has done in the prior 12 locks. Although we did wear them thru the first 2, but then noticed no one else doing so and had grown confident in our locking skills anyway). Ok, so that’s not that big of a deal…they are hanging up at our side throughout the boat and at our immediate reach, so it was easy to comply. It was our longest wait to enter a lock yet…probably about 25 minutes (which isn’t bad compared to what I hear from others). Again not that big of a deal.
This is from another day but here you can see a “bollard” –that grey post on the right. Normal tie off is to loop the line (aka the rope) around the bollard and tighten both ends down (one at mid-ship cleat (which is off the picture but you can see the black line(aka rope) going off to the bottom right) and the other at the stern cleat (which is hidden behind my head. As the water drops so does the bollard (it’s a floating bollard) and the boat drops too. So there is no need to “manage the lines” (ie hold the ropes and loosen or tighten –which you would have to do if it was NOT a floating bollard like in some of the other locks)…at least that’s the theory!
However, TODAY we entered behind 2 other smaller boats and as we cruised forward to the evenly-spaced bollards along the wall of the lock and as Nick expertly maneuvered the boat closely along the edge without touching the wall toward the next bollard for me to do the trickiest part (loop the bollard as we passed by….like roping a cow) just as I could see where the bollard should have been, it was clear it wasn’t there. Ok no problem: “Let’s go to the next one up the wall.“ Again, no bollard. “Gee, Lockmaster! You could have radioed THAT to us!” (perhaps w/ some expletives thrown in there)
Since the other 2 motor boats had taken the other remaining bollards, we had to turn around in the lock, go backwards and take a bollard at the far back. Again not THAT big of a problem…just aggravating (in 90 degree heat) and a needless waste of time for everyone (including the boats on the other side waiting to go UP river after we got out).
While I was negligently taking this picture of the empty lock and the up-river back gate to show you the close=up view (since we were in the back for the first time….so maybe it’s YOUR fault??) and who knows what the Captain was doing, suddenly it became clear to me that the bollard had stopped floating DOWN and was stuck higher than the water line. This meant that the side of the boat that was tied off was higher than the other side. In fact technically we were dangling tied to the wall (although the other side of the boat was still resting in the water). The rope ( ok, ok, I know it’s a line…but in extreme moments of stress, I revert to baby-talk) was so taut that it was impossible to un-loop it from the cleat so by the time I had absorbed the intensity of the situation, I yelled for the knife and the Captain came down to the stern faster than I’ve ever seen him move and sliced our nice long 75 foot rope into two (nearly) equally nice sections (one 15’ and the other 60 ‘). So something good DID happened, right?…we got two nice lines! Haha. But it could have been much worse. So a lesson was learned without the loss of anything irreplaceable (or that can’t be solved w/ the Visa card as the Captain always says). And also may well explain why the Lockmaster demanded the life vests–it’s a hazardous lock!?!?
In addition to this lock leaving our boat the dirtiest ever, two other weird/different things at this lock:
Big barge waiting for us to get out of his way as we left so we had to go backwards and wait on the side. (Note how it barely fits the lock!)
I will wrap up by saying that while our marina last night was nice in many aspects, we also think he doubled the price on us city folks. Another lesson learned.
Marina morning with raising fog–almost worth double the price. ( Note the height necessary on the marine pier posts for the river height potential)
P.S. Look! The same hotel we stayed at in 2012 after Alex and Lauren’s wedding in New Harmony while we did our East Coast Harley Loop! Random, small world!