Monday, September 21, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Wow, was it foggy this morning! We were up at 6:30 and could barely see 20 feet around the boat! The forecast called for the fog to clear out by 9 am; however, it lingered until 10 am where we were. When the fog lifted, we could see that we were in for another absolutely gorgeous day! At 11:30 am we moved Blue Heron to a nearby sandbar where the Starved Rock Yacht Club leases an area from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It was cleared out nicely and included a few picnic tables, a fire ring and some party lights and flags. Yesterday before Dan & Julie and family arrived, we met Joe from the SRYC who encouraged us to use the spot for a picnic. We were able to anchor the boat and pull the stern close to shore so we could just step off the back of the boat and wade in. We gathered up what we needed to have our lunch on the beach. Kevin and Justin looked for more shells and played in the sand and water. Lucy ran and swam and fetched until she was so tired she simply lay down on the sand – quite unlike her but the warmer temperatures certainly had a lot to do with that. About 1:30 pm, boats began to arrive and the beach was starting to get crowded. Evidently, the Yacht Club had just finished a meeting and everyone was coming to the beach afterwards for some fun in the sun.
We left the sandbar and traveled southward toward Starved Rock State Park. After going as far as the marina, we decided we really wanted to swim and the best place to do that was back at Buffalo Rock. We anchored near the cliff face and everyone jumped into the water! Most of us swam to the cliff, but Gale and Lucy came in the dinghy both as support for the swimmers and also to keep Lucy from trying to climb up on the kids while she was in the water. Julie and Dan were on the hunt for wildlife on the cliff face and found a little brown snake and the biggest wolf spider any of us had ever seen! We had our pictures taken with the snake – Grandpa Gale said that the snake was very friendly and that the one we found was as big as any of them ever get. Julie surprised us by grabbing on to a rope hanging down from the cliff and climbing about a third of the way up! Dan followed her, only he wasn’t able to find the footholds she had used and ended up having to use a lot more upper body strength to get himself up out of the water. There was a lot of cheering and hollering from us and other nearby boaters for the two of them to jump. They counted to three and jumped together!! Looking back at the cliff later, Julie thought that they should have climbed higher before the big jump!
As we knew it must, the time came when we had to take the family back to the dock in Ottawa. When we arrived at the dock, we realized that our friends on Get A Way and Laura Lee were still there along with another very large trawler that was rafted up beside Get A Way. Rob and Richard recognized our boat and hailed us to come alongside Laura Lee. We rafted up with the sailboat allowing the kids to unload, disembark and take off. We said our goodbyes on shore, wiped a couple of tears from the faces of our grandsons and wished each other safe travels.
Back on Blue Heron and before casting off, we learned from Richard that as of yesterday (Saturday) pleasure craft are no longer required to be towed through the fish barrier. Oh well, we figured we would have easily spent that $600 waiting and wondering in the Chicago area for that 9-day interval between September 3rd when we were towed through and September 12th when we could have passed on our own. This way, we enjoyed two very special weekends in the Ottawa area with our families that we might not have been able to do had we waited. We said good night to our friends at the dock and found ourselves, once again, at Buffalo Rock for the night.