Day 389: Saturday, September 28, 2013
Port to Port: Le Claire, Iowa
Underway: 0:00 am Motor Off: 0:00 pm Miles Traveled: 0 Stayed At: City Dock
Mile 497 to Mile 497: It was a day for rest, relaxation, reading, restaurants, rah, rah rah, rock and roll and rescue. Wait, what? Rescue? Thankfully, not us, but the universe gave us another reminder to be cautious out there.
We decided to be good little sailors and stay securely tied up for the day even though a nice south breeze was forecast for the day. A little too nice. By late morning the winds were expected to be 15 mph out of the south with gusts to almost 30. Not a fun day to be on the river going north no matter how big a boost we would get. Rain was also forecast for the late afternoon and we needed a little break from the daily grind. So we stayed and were really glad we did.
The morning was beautiful, of course, with light winds and sunshine testing our resolve. We walked a couple miles to have breakfast at McDonald’s (none of the restaurants in our part of town were open for breakfast) and get a little exercise. What a nice day so far. We stopped at a grocery store on the way back and briefly veered up someone’s driveway to look at a small motorhome – cheap but too small and too old – before returning to the boat. Cindy read while I did some internet research and ordered something online. I happened to look out the companionway and noticed a police boat in the channel and then another one and a white triangular thing sticking up out of the water and then some flashing lights at the boat landing near us. Huh. By this time, we were rockin’ and rollin’ pretty good with a strong south wind and waves rolling north up the river against the current. Not a good day to be on the water. It turns out three guys were out fishing in a small, open bow runabout just upstream from us trying to make headway in the waves when the transom section where the outboard was mounted started pulling away allowing water to flood into the little boat unimpeded. It sank almost immediately. All that remained above water was about 3 feet of the bow. By the time we noticed the commotion the three guys had already made it to shore – probably picked up by a passing fishing boat – soaking wet but okay. They must not have yelled or we would have heard them.
They spent the next couple hours towing the boat to shore and dragging it upside down up the boat ramp. The story even made the local TV news on WQAD in the Quad Cities. We were parked right where they set up the TV camera to film the boat floating mostly underwater right by the dock. This is the second sunken boat we have witnessed – the other was in Delaware City, again in nasty weather conditions but that boat hit an underwater dike. These are good reminders to be conservative sailors and not take anything for granted no matter how “experienced” you think you are.
After all the excitement, we decided to wander down to a free ice cream social a couple blocks down and enjoy some treats before the rain started. Well, we enjoyed the treats but the rain started a little early. It didn’t last long, though, and we were able to get back to the boat without getting wet. Off and on mist and sprinkles kept us inside for the rest of the evening. Thankfully, the wind started dying a little in the late afternoon making conditions less lumpy. We were able to find the Iowa – Minnesota football game on our EyeTV device and watched until it became too painful and switched to watching a couple of movies on Netflix – we found a random internet signal that was decent and the movies streamed without a hiccup – better than most marina internet we have paid for. Tomorrow we head north again – we should pass the halfway point home. A nice milestone to look forward too.