Hurry up and wait. As the guidebooks suggest , one captain from our group called the next lock and was advised that barge traffic was not too heavy, and we could enter the lock within the hour. The taller boats also had to be aware the first bridge needed to open for them to get under; and it is restricted from opening during rush hour (between 7:15 and 8:15. )
Once past the bridge, we called the lock for status only to find out it would 1.5 wait. They planned to lock a barge upbound then lock one downbound before allowing pleasure craft to enter.
Its difficult to coordinate the bridges and locks; especially as the commercial traffic gets priority. So we hovered in the basin waiting for 1.5 hours for barge traffic to pass through the lock before receiving permission to enter the Brandon lock to drop 34 feet. Departed the lock at9 am. On toward the Dresden lock for a drop of 20 feet/ easy in and out.
Hook our line over the bollard and wait for the ride down. Previous boaters have signed and dated the bollard!
Here you get an idea of the walls and bumpers that can get slimy as we drop 20 feet.
On to the last lock for the day, we are cruising. Marseilles Lock is our fifth lock and will be a few miles before our final destination for the night- Heritage Harbor Marina. We arrive to find there are 6 power boats, 3 sailboats, and one canoe waiting to lock through.
The lockmaster was adept at giving instructions for smaller boats to enter first, then the larger boats would raft off each other across the lock. Quite a sight, we were happy to complete this lock too.
It was difficult to get a photo, but here you can see the partial view of three boats tied together, plus the canoe got on the swim platform of one of the boats! Yes he is doing the loop in a canoe!!
Within 45 minutes we were locked down 26 feet and on our way. A quick call to confirm our reservation and get a slip assignment at Heritage Harbor as we were only minutes from the harbor entrance.
The dock hands did a great job helping everyone into the slips- only a few of the 9 lock boats continued on; so it was busy as everyone filed into the marina at the same time.
To celebrate, we had dinner at the Red Dog Restaurant on site with Don and Elsa of Port Bonheur.
With the offer of a courtesy car on site, it seemed like a good idea to stay an extra night. This allowed us time to drive into town to reprovision a few items at Walmart. It also gave Colleen a chance to pull out the sketchbook for the first time on this part of the trip…
Sadly a sign that the season is ending- both the tiki bar and pool were closed for the season.
STATS Sept 10 and 11 :
- 45 Miles
- 8 hours
- 3 locks (dropped 80 feet)
- 12 bridges