The first hundred miles of river disappeared in Paulinchens keel wake and it looks like it is time to speed up a little on the way south. Storms and rain made the last trip to Ottawa, Illinois a little less comfortable.
But I appreciate the weatherchange as every drop of rain raises the water level a little bit. And that is more important than I thought in the beginning. Doing all the research I before heading this way I was tempted by reading the about a controlled depth of nine feet all the way down. Now I found what I have overseen in the planning. This does not apply to the facilities for pleasure craft.
Ottawa was the second stop on the rivers and turned out to be the first I could not go ashore at. More then 150 feet off the next dock Paulinchen stuck in the mud. Not too deep and so I could just drop my anchor a little back the way and dinghy ashore the next day.
But this experience changes a little how I have to handle this river passage. Looking up the „free town docks“ and many of the marinas along My way it showed that many of them are charted 5 to 7 feet at normal pool level. And currently this part of the river seems to be about two or three below. So I made a few decisions: No, I will not turn back!
Tomorrow, on Monday, I will stock up the amount of diesel-jugs and also buy one more for fresh water. Yesterday I did already a major Bahamas-Style-Shopping. So from now on I return to „independent mode“. The dinghy will be the primary land connection even if tons of free docks are in range. But I can fill up diesel that way and do not have to get to town docks at all. Power is not a problem as I have to run the engine all the time traveling the rivers anyways. Only, I will not use the water maker as the river still is 70% chicago‘s sanitary canal and looks muddy and brown.
This way I think even if the low water persists I will be able to make it along the planned route down the the Illinois River into the Mississippi and via Ohio-River and the Ten-Tom-System down to mobile this fall. And maybe I find more helpful Loopers like Fred and Mark who assisted getting off the mud and into a safe anchorage in case I will burry my keel again.