7AM: We literally, rolled out of bed, and found that Dream Seeker was listing five degrees to port and we were hard aground. The night before we comfortably and confidently anchored in a sanctioned anchorage just north of the Hardin lift Bridge on the Illinois River.
Call Boat US! Sorry we are 80 miles away we cannot come. A lifetime member! It is still too far. We will call the Department of Natural resources and call you back. They never did.
10:00 AM: Tired of waiting, Denny launched the dinghy and attempted to pull the sixty thousand pound boat into deeper water. Along came one of those enormous barges calling on his radio. Move that PC (Pleasure Craft), that’s what they call you when they are annoyed. Get out of the way PC you are in the channel! We weren’t in the channel but the barge needed to make a wide turn and wanted us to move. Chasing Eighty, another Looper boat, saw our distress, rafted up with Dream Seeker, using his engines to maneuver both boats, he kept us safe. Thank God for other Loopers.
The barge is still calling, you are in the way! You must get out of the channel! Cut your anchor! Cut it! Cut it! Get out of the way. Denny cut it! The result: the anchor dropped, the line wrapped around two props, the engines could not be started, Chasing Eighty’s engine was sputtering and we were still hard aground. The barge went merrily on his way.
11:30 AM: A seventeen-foot boat came slowly into view, it wasn’t the cavalry but it felt like it. Uniformed officers of the Illinois State Coastal patrol. They had no equipment and said they were totally unaware of the actual situation. The Patrol helped us launch another anchor onto the trees on the riverbank and secure Dream Seeker just in time for Chasing Eighty to be able to limp away with a vibrating prop and looking for fuel.
The officers assessed the situation and realized we needed more help than they could give. Somehow they were able to encourage Boat US to take the eighty-mile journey. Calls from other Looper boats along the river. Help is on the way just saw the tow go by.
2Pm: Boat US arrived, the diver promptly jumped into the Muddy waters and spent two hours cutting lines off the props. They pulled Dream Seeker into deeper waters and we were floating again.
4:30 PM Dream Seeker is ready for action minus an anchor and 200 feet of chain but no worse for wear. As we started out for Alton our reserved Marina for the night the marina called and said sorry the river lost too much water and Dream Seeker cannot get into their docks. Homeless again!
The Riverboat restaurant about four hours down the river said they had a dock we could tie up at for the night if we had dinner there. Considering we had no food or water left on the boat and no choice at all of a berth for the night we started out.
9PM found one of us in the bow, flashlight in hand searching for floating debris and green and red markers, and one on the fly bridge driving and avoiding barges.
In the dark, we stumbled upon the restaurant and the docks were full. Out of the night came “are you Loopers “ what are you doing out so late? Come and raft up with us. A big sigh of relief we are safe for the night.