To Quiver Island (Day 45)

The water level is down. More on that later. First, the eagles.

I see bald eagles often at my rustic camp on Lake Superior. I hear them even more often. I’ve missed that, so it was cool to hear and see them today at our anchorage just inside Quiver Island after covering 43 miles of the Illinois River.

We got here early enough to row (Jeff) and paddle (me) over to visit our neighbors on Wind Shift. Early enough for me to take a quick dip and then a “just-sit” high up on the fly bridge, watching the eagles and herons. Early enough to enjoy a good dinner of grilled pork chops with fried sweet potatoes.

One boat after another joined us here until, by 2030 — 8:30 p.m. — seven other boats were anchored around us, anchor lights winking in the darkness. (The last one arrived after dark!)

Eight boats at anchor in the pitch dark. It’s nice.

We have entered the “anchor-out” section of the river, when marinas are hard to find. I like it. I’d like to anchor out more often, with time to go ashore. Time to read. Take a nap. Take a break from planning. Take a long, leisurely paddle. Not think for awhile.

But thinking ahead is a constant necessity on The Great Loop. Our food and fuel situation is good, but our water tanks are something to watch. We are conserving our tank water any way we can.

When you live on a boat, everything gets measured and calculated.

After dark, we watched a webinar about what’s coming next … not just the rest of the Illinois (121 miles to go) but also the Mississippi, Ohio, Cumberland, and Tennessee.

It’s a bit much to absorb. We’ll decide in the morning just how far to go next. Right now, to sleep! It could be a long day tomorrow. We are just ahead of a big bulge in Looper boats that are coming down the river behind us, all looking for the next marina. With the river so low, we hear that some marinas are closed, so Jeff wants to get ahead of that bulge if we can.

Makes sense. But, oh, I would so like to sit still for awhile. Soon, I hope! Photos and captions follow.

Today’s landscape was mostly farmland.
We traveled with two other boats today, but fell behind them (since we are slower) so had to negotiate our own way with the barges rather than letting them do it for us. When I asked this one if it was ok to pass, he said “yeah, come on” in such a strong southern drawl that we had to laugh.
The operator of this bridge called to say “the bridge is open, come on through!” We could see it was open, at least 30 feet! Many of these RR bridges remain open most of the time, and close only if a train is coming. We think he just wanted to talk to someone. Or maybe he loves Loopers. 😉 We’ve discovered that the locals tend to know a lot about Loopers and like them. They see a lot of us come through this time of year.
Remains of an old dock show how far the water level is down — at least 6 feet.
Windmill parts on the shoreline, waiting to be picked up by barges.
Three of the seven Looper boats that joined us at our anchorage.

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