Turbulent lock 52 night; calm Cumberland Towhead Island anchorage

Big sigh of relief as we successfully passed the construction site of Olmstead dam.   We cleared the lock at 11:20 and needed to decide how far to travel for our  nights anchorage.  Due to  high winds, we scratched the plan to anchor at Bean along the river bank, and continued to Lock 52 – 26 miles up river.  ( about 3 hours travel time).


The lockmaster suggested anchoring just below the lock and dam, so that we would be in good position to lock through the following morning.  (we are going up stream on the Ohio, and will be locking up this time).

Sounded like a good plan until we got there and found it to be just to the side of the dam, practically on a sand bar and quite open to the wake of passing barges going into the locks through out the night.   No other choice but for all 9 boats to drop anchor for night.    Many were either on anchor watch during the night, or took turns popping up to check the anchor for drifting when the wake would cause the boats to rock and roll during the night.

Home of Super Man

We are on the Kentucky side of the river near Paducah.   Across the bridge is Metropolis- Home of Superman.   http://www.supermuseum.com/

A quick google search refer to Metropolis as a fictional city, but proof is here before us- Metropolis Superman is in Illinois.


If you visit, you will find a museum, a large statue and the water tower showing you are in the right town.   We were on the water and can not deny or confirm the artifacts.



Lock 52 on the Ohio River

We were all up and ready for the call from the lockmaster at 6:30 am.   The lock is open 24 hours, and we had hopes of locking through early.  We watched barges approach and enter the lock, then barges leave the lock.  The radio traffic from the tows confirmed that the lockmaster was scheduling barge traffic ahead of us.   7:30, 8:30, 9:30-…  waiting at anchor.  no call from the lockmaster.



Finally at 10:20 we are called up, and an hour later we have all passed through the old lock.   It is showing some age.   The new Olmsted lock will replace two locks,  (52 and 53) and it looks like maintenance on this one may have stopped back in the Clinton era in anticipation of then new lock.


We all squeezed in and had to float rather than tie up.  The sides are large rounded metal bollards- very hard to secure to.   A Tow captain also came in with us.   You can see in the photos that we are very low compared to the buildings and walls as the doors close behind us.


The water level rises, and we are ready to move on upstream.

It is now almost noon, and we have two choices.   One is to go all the way to the Cumberland River, through the next lock and arrive at Green Turtle Bay.    Our concern is that we would risk arriving in the dark.  The  faster boats opted to go all the way. (Home Office, Horizon Chaser, Dream Fever)


The rest of us stopped at the entrance to the Cumberland- called the Cumberland Towhead Island.  We anchored in a quiet , beautiful spot tucked behind an island.

Enjoyed the sunset, peace and quiet and tried to capture a few shots of the birds.  Anchored with Jo-Ella, Enterprise , The Journey,  sailboat -Suite Blue  and M’Lady just up the river.

Later in the evening we were joined by a small tug- that didn’t put an anchor light on.  Even later, the sailboat Kettle Ann joined us and almost anchored on top of the dark boat!

Once everyone was settled in, we could say it was another great day on the water.

Tomorrow we leave the Ohio River and enter the Cumberland River  which will take us upstream 31 miles, through the Barkley Lock and Dam and to Green Turtle Bay marina.

Season Miles:   1133 miles

Engine Hours :  143 hours


About mnsailors

Our blog will highlight our travels along America's Great Loop. We sold our sailboat on Lake Superior for a Trawler to do America's Great Loop in 2016.
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