Charenton Canal to Bayou Black

The currents on the next section of the waterway are some of the strongest we have encountered to date. We have a steady 4 to 4 ½ MPH current and of course it is against us, slowing our progress considerably. The swirls and eddies are very visible as we move along and it makes steering interesting. Our only tactic is to hug the side of the waterway as much as depth will allow to at least not be in the strongest flow. One particularly sphincter tightening spot is the Wax Lake Outlet. As you approach the intersection you can see the strong flow from the currents moving across your path. As we entered the intersection we were swept down stream at a pretty substantial pace. The boat was almost pointed straight upstream to make the crossing. Water depths at the center of the intersection are over 50 feet. This is not a crossing you want to make at the same time as any other vessel. We crossed crabbing hard to port at full throttle and as quickly as we were in the soup, we were out of it. Delightful weather again today - sunny, cool and light winds make this a great traveling day. A cold front later in the week may hold us up for a few days but for now we will just wait and see and keep moving east.

Once we left the waterway and headed up the Atchafalaya River we encountered even more current. Our best speed running almost full out was about 2.9 to 3 MPH over the ground but our knot meter showed over 9 MPH. We traveled up river with 2 large tugs and barges that did not do much better than we did although they probably could have. A few miles up river we turned off into the waterway again. Then the excitement really began. We needed to transit the Bayou Beouf Lock just 2 miles off the river.

When we arrived there was a tug transiting west bound so we had a short wait. Then it was our turn and we entered the lock and eased over to the starboard side to tie off. Just as we were about to tie off the boat began moving forward quite rapidly. The engine was in full reverse but we should no signs of slowing down and the gates at the other end of the lock were heading in our direction. At first we thought we had lost the prop or transmission, but that did not explain the acceleration. At almost the last minute we got a line wrapped around a timber on the side of the wall and the boat came to a screeching halt. As the water levels started dropping we did a little checking. The transmission shifted into forward and reverse and seemed OK, so what happened? We really, really hate mysteries, (unless they are by best selling authors). The gates opened after several minutes and we motored out of the lock with no problem. Upon later reflection we realized the lock master did not check to see if we were secured to the wall yet and we believe she opened the gates and let the water out of the lock too soon. The water rushing out carrying us forward so fast that being in reverse had no effect. We did scratch the new paint a bit but it could have been a whole lot worse.

Finally at about 3:00 PM we arrived at Bayou Black. This too is a busy waterway so staying out of the channel is important to safety. We ran a short distance up the bayou and anchored on the port side well out of the way. We dropped the anchor in about 12 feet of water, which is pretty good since the Bayou is 20+ feet deep almost to the tree line. But soon another annoyance was to sprout and we found that with the wind and current the bow of the boat was sitting in about 15 feet and the stern kept
swinging into the tree line and we would sit on the bottom at the stern with the bow in deep water. It would not have mattered except every time a boat went by, the rudder bumped on the bottom and we did not like that. We dropped a small Danforth anchor over to try and keep us out in the channel a bit more but the soft mud would not let it set well enough. So we hauled up anchor and moved to another spot down river a little closer to the waterway intersection. Everything seems to be working out better in this spot so we expect a quiet night and a short trip to Houma tomorrow.

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