Green Turtle Bay

Stay tuned to this developing blog post about Green Turtle Bay and the village of Great Rivers KY.

Great docktails session last evening, thanks to Diane Parrish for organizing it! Everyone finally learned where Radian Journey got her name! (Ray-Diane Journey!)

We went round robin and heard from loopers who were just days away from crossing their wake!!!

We heard from (2) loopers who were just about to start!

For example Green Eyes (Orin and Sherry Riddell’s) was delivered by truck to this marina on Sunday, and is promised to be in the water Friday so that they can begin their Platinum Loop. They are looking forward to the great anchorages of the LBL, the “Land Between the Lakes” just south of here.

Another (different boat) just launched early Monday. (Names to be filled in soon!) Reportedly, their first passage of their Loop (0.05 nm) from the travel lift to their slip here went smoothly without incident! “Any boating day where you don’t need to call for a tow is a good boating day!”

Just three weeks ago, Larissa Parker of Knot Fantasea started her new loop!

Rick and Christi (below) of Inked Mermaid were among the many Loopers who rekindled friendships with us and others at this docktails session.

This resort marina sports multiple restaurants on-site, two swimming pools, one indoors… part of a full service spa (which Shelly and I plan to try out tomorrow!)

Mac and Deb of Janthena signed out one of the marina’s courtesy vans, and we all went shopping and had dinner last night.

Ray Parrish tells me there are a bunch of new arrivals exiting the lock… arriving here soon!

Shelly’s new favorite refresher. Even though we are in Kentucky, this comes from Scotland.

Ray, Mac, and Deb resorted to the more local Kentucky Straight Boubon: Basil Hayden’s last eve on the fly bridge, after we got back from dinner. Thanks Eric! For the introduction to Basil Hayden’s.

Wednesday Addendum:

Loopers were crossing paths all over the venues of this resort this evening.

Too much to account for. All we can report is that we enjoyed a cocktail with Bryan & Marcy Holmes of Elenor Grace and Bob & Diane Hansen of Soulmate at the yacht club before shuttling over to the Thirsty Turtle pub to meet up with Brenda & Dave Merchberger of Slo Pace for some grub. Earlier today they gave us the nickel tour of their Mainship 400. (It is the bigger brother to our Mainship 390.)

Tomorrow an electronics tour of Shellerina is planned as Dave – KN4VS and Ray – N1RY are both Amateur Extra licensees and RF technology enthusiasts. Brenda – KD4SRO is also a Ham Radio operator.



Change of subject: We give the spa (Jade & Earth) two thumbs up! Shelly: “Rejuvenating!”



Mainship 400 -s outnumbering Mainship 390 -s ?!?!

This doesn’t happen often! We are surrounded by Mainship 400’s:

Slo Pace – Brenda & Dave

Betty Gail – Chris & Roger

Imagine – Judi & Jerry

  • The 390’s usually outnumber 400’s in every venue. But not here, and not tonight.
  • The crews of Betty Gail and Imagine at breakfast with Ray on Sunday. We let Shelly sleep in, and brought her something back. Everyone at this busy little breakfast and lunch spot called Dockers looked happy with what what was brought out to them!
  • More on Paducah…

    Walking distance from the boat:

    Lisa (above) Loren and Ray (below) at Barrel & Bond… getting some firsthand education on Kentucky Straight Bourbon. Impressive staff… very knowledgeable.

    So… Ray & Shell were able to take in ALL of the sites on the map above, except the Quilt Museum.

    The historic murals on the flood walls were worth taking in.

    We’ll hit the Quilts next time thru. All the other sites we got to!

    Paducah: A noteworthy port!


    Are you a Caterpillar owner! Boyd’s CAT parts dealership is 1 mile away. They had my next two oil filters in stock.

    Blasting Zone!

    Boston Bar to Paducah KY

    This shows our Boston Bar arrival near power cat, Nine Lives. We pushed off at sun-up the next morning.

    These pics show our exit from the Mississippi River to the Ohio River at Cairo Point. Instead of a healthy 2.5K current to help us, we now had just as much current now against us! This adds time and fuel to the equation.

    This particular morning, time was our more valuable resource. We were up with the sun to make Paducah KY early, as I had some work to do in the afternoon. Plus there was a BLASTING ZONE coming up at 10:00a.m. which meant all traffic on the Ohio River would be stopped for an undetermined number of hours. We had to get to and through the blasting zone before they closed the river!

    So we sped up to see if we could make it. I knew it would be close.

    Here you can see the brand new Olmsted Lock. We got here at 9:45a.m. Just 15 minutes before the river closure. This lock was the down river limit of the 2.5 mile no traffic blasting zone.

    So, I radio’d the Olmsted Lockmaster and asked him WHO was the authority (Coast Guard, Army Corps, etc.) for me to ask for permission to proceed. He answered, “You’re speakin’ to him!”

    So, I asked if I could continue upstream, or if I should hang back. He said to go ahead. His instructions were to go slow near the cranes and work boats, as “those guys are handling dynamite.”

    ((The wickets were down, so we didn’t have to go through the lock. What are wickets? Wickets ))

    Here you can see the “Diver Down” flags on one of the barges preparing the explosives. These guys are in the process of doing underwater demolition of the old Olmsted Lock & Dam so it is not a hazard to future river traffic.

    A few hours later we arrived in Paducah KY. Adam is a young but great Dockmaster BTW!

    This city dock was rebuilt for transients like us, to welcome our business to this very nice town. The old marina was washed out by a flood. From the looks if it, this one is engineered to be here a long time!

    Loopers assembled at Broussards for dinner! Thanks to Mike Hayes of Windshift for remembering to take this pic, and sharing it!!!

    Top to bottom:

    Ray & Diane of Radian Journey

    Loren & Lisa of Irrational Exuberance

    Mike & Ginny of Last Laugh

    Mike & Jeanne of Windshift

    Graham & Larry of Knotsofast

    Ray & Shelly of Shellerina

    No one was disappointed with their meal!

    This is a great port in which to get re-provisioned.

    After a week on the hook, we were able to take on fresh water, re-fuel, and restock the ship’s store with other essentials. For example, they have a great Farmers Market on Saturday mornings very close by the dock. It was great fun to go and trade for some of their fresh harvest and goodies. They even had live music AND a hot dog stand with the local’s gourmet twist to this versatile comestible.

    Last but not least, Paducah has one of the most effective machines for pump out as we’ve ever experienced… I guess they are famous now for many things, all good.

    Boston Bar (mile 8)

    (Mile 8 means we are 8.0 statute river-miles to the convergence of the Ohio River… south of that, the Mississippi numbering changes to miles from New Orleans LA, (NOLA).

    But we will head UP the Ohio River instead, sometime tomorrow.

    Message from Sabbatical.

    Sabbatical reports 5 feet

    Shellerina sees 7 feet

    Nine Lives reported 8 or 9 feet.

    Everyone is happy here. +Room for more.

    I-57 is a bit noisy though.

    “Little River Diversion” as it is called.

    With guidance from Lauren Steen of Irrational Exuberance, we made safe anchor in “Diversion” at mile 48.7 last night after dark, 8:30pm.

    It’s safely out of the 2.5+ knots of current one would not like to anchor against on the Mississippi.

    Our Plan A was to anchor tucked inside of one of many wing dams we saw well before dark. That didn’t go so well (soft grounding – no apparent damage).

    Since we could see (on Nebo) a friend already secured inside Diversion, we knew we could lean on them for guidance coming into this common anchorage, also known as Hubble Creek on some charts.

    Stick to the middle, we have 6 feet beneath us.

    A near full moon lit things up well!

    Irrational Exuberance this morning

    We are a bit closer to the right side than I’d like, but still plenty of water.

    Some video early this morning of a tug passing, apparently with something actually in-tow (abnormal!)

    Kaskaskia L&D

    The Kaskaskia Lock and Dam (mile 117.5 … easy to miss on left descending bank) is a popular 2nd night’s stop after Hoppies, south of Alton/Grafton/St Louis. Plenty of water, and from the looks of it, this should be a good anchorage as well. ((You don’t have to go through this lock, you simply tie up and peel off this ‘free wall’ in the a.m.))

    Get permission from Lockmaster on VHF-14. Set up your fenders to port, keep to the right, to tie up on the non-lock side of this wall.

    Most will be tempted to tie up to the nice hand railings. But don’t! Loopers have been asked not to. Figure out how to use the available cleats.

    Late-in-day Addendum:

    Full House here; looking South:

    My Way a Tiara with Dave and daughter, Shelly.

    War Eagle a Mainship 34 with talented photographer, DeeDee and husband Jon Hinson.

    Last Laugh a Mainship Pilot with Mike & Ginny Smith

    Irrational Exuberance a Mainship 390 with Lauren & Lisa Steen

    Sakedo a Monk 36 with Captain Kurt & Mary Eylands.

    Shellerina a Mainship 390 with Shelly and Ray Sirois

    KnotSoFast a de-masted sailboat rig with Graham Mowry and friend/crew “Larry”. As pictured at the top of this post, these guys arrived just ahead of us today and then helped us with our lines (Thanks guys!).

    K-Bear a 50 footer late arrival who had to anchor out.

    So 7+1 here tonight (wall+anchor).

    FYI, there is not enough water depth on the wall for Loopers north of the last piling. So, we recommend anchoring or rafting up if the wall is full in this popular spot. If 50-foot K-Bear can anchor out, most of us can too.

    There is no shore power or city water here, but “What do you want for nothin’ … your money back?!” <wink>

    A great secure & protected place in a section of the loop where these characteristics are very hard to find.



    For decades, a famous stop (mile 158.4, right descending bank) for Loopers on the Mississippi River; Hoppies has been a family-owned “last place” to take on fuel before a few days on the hook before Paducah KY.

    “Deb” like her parents before her, gives a nightly “Briefing” with local guidance and river conditions. (By her own admission, lots of Deb’s intel is second-hand. But she generously shares info that she has for the safe passage of all customers.)

    Strong cleats are not a problem here.

    Doubling up / rafting is common here if “OK” with the captain who tied up first with advanced reservations.

    With few options for many miles, it is a nice thing to do if asked by late/comers.

    Lock 27 – “busiest lock in the country”

    Five of us left Alton at sun-up. We went through the Congressman Mel Price Lock without delay. But we waited for 3-4 hours at Lock 27 “Chain of Rocks” lock, just north of St Louis IL, “PC-s” or “pleasure craft” are last in the priority queue for locking. Dredges, government vessels, commercial tugs and tows go before they try to fit us “PC-s” into queue.

    Radian Journey, Last Laugh, Irish Hurricane, Shellerina, and Sakado were part of this early group who waited for hours. It seemed like they were enjoying making us wait. I finally asked permission to drop anchor in the lock approach area, (granted).

    Another hour or two passed.

    But then, finally, the POSSE showed up!

    Look at all these “PC-s” coming down the Chain of Rocks canal towards us!!!

    Within minutes, of seeing all these PC-s, the L-27 Lockmaster announced on VHF-14 that we’d finally get to go into the chamber to head down river!!!

    Was this large group that influential?!?! Sure seemed like it to this crew!

    We’ve also heard that a change of gender helps. If we let our Admirals handle the lockmaster communications on VHF-14, perhaps we’ll get better cared for???!

    Shellerina seen in the “Chain of Locks” canal.


    Gateway Arch – St Louis…

    Here’s a double selfie.

    But Ray wasn’t smiling, so here’s a second (overall not as good a pic).

    Hardware stores, West Marine, Harbor Freight, groceries… it was our first time renting a car since we began our Loop. What an empowering feeling to actually get to go out and get stuff we need, and go places we want to go.

    The Arch was great, and a nice meal at nearby Ruth’s Chris steakhouse was super.

    Where three rivers meet …

    We have come to the end of the Illinois River and are now on the mighty Mississippi! The Missouri River also converges near here.

    Several great marinas compete for Looper’s business here. At least two have covered docks (something new to us), clean showers, restrooms that all work! (Take nothing for granted!) The two we stayed at have dock and buildings designed to float up during periods of flood waters and down at low times like now. Even the swimming pools are integrated in with this floating-facility-system!

    Here are some pics of Grafton Harbor Marina and Alton Marina. Notice the very long/high pilings, they enable the whole facility to go up with the floodwaters.

    Sonny & Linda Diehl of Beachfront, Shelly & Ray of Shellerina behind them, Sandy & Peter Kurtius of Tipsy Turtle, behind them Diane & Ray Parrish of Radian Journey, Terry Patchen of Beachfront front- right.


    Everybody followed Peter & Sandy up to the dance floor!

    Terry Patchen, Alton Marina owner Karen Baker-Brncic, and Linda Diehl


    Jeff of Many Moons, Loren Rich of Das Boot, and Mike Hayes of Wind Shift


    above: Marcy & Bryant Holmes of Elenor Grace with Shelly!


    Terry, Linda, Karen, Marcy, Sonny, Brant, Diane, Ray, Mark, and Ray… poolside docktails!

    After a stretch of river where we were close to nature and “on the hook” each night, we really appreciate a bit of civilization too. The staff and management at both Grafton Harbor Marina and Alton Marina are great. They really appreciate the business of both the season-long customers AND the transient Loopers like us.

    This week these marinas both showed their appreciation with live music parties, fireworks, and all the trimmings.

    We are glad we stayed at both.

    Above: the grand finale fireworks!

    Major renovations to “The Lodge”

    As seen from Shellerina on the Mississippi River late Wednesday.

    One of Ray’s most meaningful and inspiring places on the planet is The Lodge at La Vista in Godfrey IL. This wood and stone structure looks west from high on the bluffs right on the edge of the Mississippi River.

    Almost forty years ago, Ray spent countless hours writing, reading, observing sunsets, severe weather, wildlife, stars, and large tows on the Mississippi River below, from this venue.

    Sr. Maxine Pohlmann SSND gave Shelly and I an updated tour of The Lodge and the grounds at this special retreat and Novitiate for the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

    Sister Max is the Director of the La Vista Ecological Learning Center also on these grounds. (FMI:


    About 36 years ago, Ray and 20 other young men lived on these grounds for a full year as “novices” in preparation for a life in the ministry. Several persevered, like Father Jack Lau OMI, who returned here as a Novitiate STAFF member a few years ago!

    Ideally, our Great Loop adventure would have happened while Jack was still here! But he got us in touch with Sister Max, who loves this place as much as Jack and I, and she did a great job getting my endearing memories refreshed! It was also a special visit for Shelly as she knows my time with the Oblates was a big part of my life for 3 years before she and I met, married, started our family with Nick, and now, of course, are on our new life afloat!

    Above, Sister Max shows off the spectacular view from La Vista… Just 24 hours earlier, Shellerina passed on this river below en route to Alton Marina from points north.

    Below, she and Shelly pause for a pic on the long (newly paved!) road in.

    After our tour of La Vista, it was time for us to give Sister Max a tour of our home, the Shellerina!

    Thank you Sister Max for your ministry and for a memorable few hours at this very special place on the Mississippi River.

    Log-a-diles! Hazards on The Loop

    When trying to take off from our anchorage in behind Bar Island, we found our anchor was snagged very badly on an old sunken waterlogged tree! The tree was about 20 feet long, and its root ball was intact. There was actually a second log as well, which we were able to clear ourselves. But the larger was only cleared with the assistance of Mike Worsley of Islena and his outboard-equipped dinghy.

    The whole ordeal held both boats up for an hour. Fortunately, that delay did not cost us additional delays at the LaGrange Lock just 6 miles downstream. Steaming down to that lock, another submerged log hit our running gear even though we had 12 feet of water beneath us inside the marked channel. Thank goodness there was no evidence of damage or vibration!

    Other Loopers that day were not so fortunate; Knot Fast detected a bad vibration after a similar “hit” below the lock and had to shut one engine down. Fortunately, she is a twin screw, and was able to make Port Charles under her own power later that day.

    Knot Fast status Sat 9/18:

    Uber Dinghy by Islena

    Anchored together at mile marker 86 (Bar Is, Illinois River) “Mimi” called at 3:00 inviting us to docktails aboard Islena, a power cat 40 by Endevour. We arranged for an Uber dinghy pick up at 4:00pm. Captn Mike was prompt. Janthina’s crew was also to join us. These three boats had shared more than one anchorage together without any ceremonious meet & card exchange. So Mimi knew it was time to fix that!

    Below, Shelly and Ray of Shellerina, Deb & Mac of Janthina, Mike and Mimi of Islena assemble aboard Islena for the end of a successful cruising day. Janthinia & Shellerina as seen from our host vessel at the golden hour … before Uber-ing back.


    Jeremy Fowler, native to these waters (Ottowa IL). Someone whom everyone around here knows. His reputation precedes him, even for those of us from away.

    Jeremy’s nightly “Looper Briefings” are a must-see for anyone heading south on these inland rivers. He is generous with his incredible first-hand knowledge (and subtle humor) for all things coming up for the rest of us.


    Below is Jeremy’s boat!

    Obviously, he sometimes works strange hours on top of keeping his marina staff productive & happy and, of course, keeping all of us marina customers more than satisfied!

    For example:

    Late last night Jeremy was working on freeing a hard-grounded sailboat well into the wee hours of this morning. That was his finish to a busy Labor Day weekend.

    I know this because this afternoon I met the grateful captain of that lucky sailboat that finally got pulled off. (Like Jeremy, he hadn’t gotten much sleep!)

    SO, after that…

    Did Jeremy come in late this Tuesday a.m. after Labor Day?

    No! I was in the office ten minutes after it was open for business. He personally took my request for a courtesy vehicle … bright and early; and he was running on all cylinders.

    It won’t take you long when you visit Heritage Harbor Marina to see that this guy makes this place go… he has a calm competence.

    I actually noticed even before I entered the harbor.

    (One can pick up a lot even over the VHF radio!)

    “That must have been that Jeremy-guy I’ve heard about,” is exactly what I thought before my arrival. Sure enough, it was.


    “Thank You, Jeremy, for your dedication to Loopers from everywhere, and ALL boaters from anywhere.”

    A big lock!

    The Lockport (IL) Lock & Dam is impressive. Two miles from the town of Lockport, it helps boats like us who are traversing south an average of 39 vertical feet to the lower water levels of the waterway which will bring us from Chicago eventually to the Mississippi River.

    Shellerina, the lower gate is submerged so we could all enter the chamber.

    Ranger Tug, Sea Moor comes into the chamber and rafts up with us. (Lower gate is still submerged.)

    Minutes later, the submerged lower gate comes up from below. Then, water drains out of the 600×110 foot chamber; the emptying process takes 15 minutes.

    Then we all exit!

    Looking forward we see Shelly preparing the boat to get underway to exit the lock chamber, about 40 feet lower than we were before.

    Invasive Carp Fish Barrier – Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal

    Friends Mark and Karen aboard Kay Dee, pass a sign ahead of us warning of a fish barrier which is designed to prevent any fish from entering the Great Lakes from points south including the Mississippi River. One species of particular concern is the ‘Invasive Carp’

    Here is the sign that follows where the actual “electric fence” begins.

    Here is where it ends… maybe a half mile later.


    Docktails – Joliet IL

    Tashe & Sebastien of Kittiwake

    Ray & Diane Parrish of Radian Journey

    Karen & Mark Semone of Kay Dee

    Robin & Joe Kunstlebun of Sea Moor

    Ray & Shelly Sirois of Shellerina

    … taking advantage of a free wall with shore power, a popular Looper stop first day off of Lake Michigan.

    We had a 90 minute wait at Lockport for some in this group.

    Everyone’s pre-calibrated measuring tapes worked well before braving the low bridges along today’s 7.5 hour passage.

    Low Bridges on The Loop…

    Bridge clearance… only inches!!!

    This video shows us passing the lowest bridge all week… about 17 feet, leaving Joliet IL.

    Our small stainless steel whip antenna, mounted to the left of the the radar actually rubbed the bridge (no damage). The white cube atop the radar is the camera that this video was taken from.

    (This bridge can open if need be.)

    The lowest fixed span bridge (that cannot open) on the entire Great Loop is in Lemont IL at mile 300.6 on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. It’s vertical clearance is 19.6 feet above the normal water level.

    Ray & Diane aboard Radian Journey easily clear the 19.6′ of this infamous bridge, (shown above).

    Below, Mark & Karen on Kay Dee clear it as well as a train passes overhead.

    There are two rivers from Lake Michigan one can take to access the Inland River-ways. One is right through the middle of downtown Chicago, which we took as shown below.

    This route requires the ability to clear the DuSable Bridge at Michigan Avenue 18.7 feet, which we cleared (as shown in the video below) by taking down some antennas and other things. Shellerina passing under Franklin St bridge in Chicago.

    Boats which cannot clear that 18.7′ DuSable Bridge need to take the alternative, the Calumet-Sag Canal south of downtown Chicago. But that does not get them a pass to avoid the 19.6 foot RR bridge at mile 300.6 further downstream! Every Looper has to go under that one.

    On this topic of low bridges, see our June 9 post about the Western Erie Canal:

    Is Ray workin’ part time at UPS?!

    Not exactly. Sometimes we seem to have the worst luck getting deliveries to marinas!

    The latest, a replacement amateur radio from, aka HRO, was not deliverable two days in a row… long story. So I finally told them I would go to them (UPS) and pick it up. It was going to be $35 each way with Uber or Lyft. So, Shelly suggested one of the self-serve rental bikes here on the lakefront walkway.

    I found the lakeshore, parks, and main roadways like (E-W) Roosevelt Road had bike lanes (or big sidewalks). It was a pretty safe 6-mile round trip, $16!

    It has been 20 years or so since riding a bike … with Nick.


    Shellerina before she entered this port’s very large breakwater… north entrance shown below.

    In Chicago we stayed at DuSable Harbor Marina, right near everything!

    The lakeside walkway next to where we tied up was a popular walking, biking, and jogging route. To the north it joined the riverwalk west along the Chicago River. I’ve been to Chicago many times, but never saw these parts!

    This is the lowest bridge we need to go under when we leave. The DuSable bridge at Michigan Ave.

    So, who was this harbor and bridge named after?

    The founder of Chicago: Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable.

    This bust of him, and this plaque is placed near the bridge bearing his name.

    Also in that neighborhood…

    Wrigley Building


    Then, Wednesday night we met up with friends Zach Lavoie and GF Hannah for a nice dinner up on the fly bridge. Here are the four of us with Shellerina in the background. Thanks to Michelle, a passer-by for taking the gr8 pic. (She was a cool chick with obvious talent.)The fireworks were a nice touch which we added for our dinner guests!

    Zack and Ray on the fly bridge in front of the Chicago skyline.

    There are lots of flowers all over this town.

    The Architectural Boat Tour is THE thing that everyone rants and raves about. So, of course, we did that too.

    We enjoyed Chicago very much!

    We push off tomorrow.