Where is the Crew?


Eight Again, Carp-Punching, Sunset

At long last, we are a full crew again. Dave made it back safe and sound with some great stories from the Georgia wedding. The eight of us reconvened at the Hannibal Boat Club, 50 yards upstream from the Mark Twain Riverboat. Brett Arndt saw us off. We were all happy to have a partner in our canoes. Yet another gorgeous day was ahead of us. It has been about three weeks without a drop of rain. The River has lowered a bit, but the current is still pushing us along. For a few years, there have been news stories and Youtube videos of Asian carp. You just don’t know what it’s all about until you canoe down the Mississippi. As we near the shores, the carp begin their frantic jumping. One fish, then two. Usually, no more than that. But today was a different story. The aluminum Grumman canoes served as giant lures for the invasives. The dirty backs of the 20-inch fish rise to the top of the River, then it all goes haywire. The fish leap up to three feet all around the canoes. They pound against the gunwales and flop over the bow. At this point our paddles become shields and weapons. A few fish have come charging like uncoordinated falcons at our bodies. Our grips tighten. Our paddles swing. A couple carp should have bruises at this point as we’ve punched some away from us. Some still land in the boat and flop their way back into the River after a few seconds. These things are aqua-monsters. Ugly, fat, and smelly. When we’re done screaming like school girls and the fish settle back the muddy River bed, we burst out into laughter and cursing.
Tonight, we floated onto shore with the sunset. 42 miles and feeling great. Magenta waves of clouds swirled with the grey to the west. The three-quarter moon floated higher in the sky, waiting for the darker hours. It was a pleasant end to the day. We ran through two dams today as we didn’t want to wait for the barges to spend their two hours in the lock. Our routine continued as usual at camp with a quick dinner over a fire. We’ve only been here an hour and we have sautéed veggies, lentils, and spaghetti. River life is only as difficult as you make it. Barges pass by, shining their spotlight on shore. Surely, the captains are cussing about our being faster than they are. Amanda is finishing up with tomorrow’s lunch. Dinner’s not done and we can’t wait for lunch tomorrow. We’ll pass through St. Louis in the next couple days, which means we’ll join forces with the Mighty Missouri River. It’s exciting to predict the change of pace as the arteries join. All that water from another part of the country will join with all the water we’ve been experiencing. We’ll accept it with open paddles and hopefully more miles per day.
It’s good to have Dave back.

1 comment:

  1. News article from October 19, 2010
    How timely...

    CHICAGO -- It may come down to the DNA. But this court case doesn’t involve murder or rape. It’s about Asian Carp, and how to stop them. Final arguments were made in the lawsuit.

    Federal Judge Robert Dow may rest his decision on whether or not to close the locks on the Chicago Shipping and Sanitary Canal on the reliability of DNA tests. Michigan Assistant Attorney General Robert Reichel say 50 tests have detected the carp beyond the electronic barriers and the locks. Lawyers for Illinois argue that just because the DNA is there, that doesn’t prove the fish are.

    At stake on the one hand is The Great Lakes Fisheries and on the other hand, the commerce generated by the flow of cargo on the canal. Lawyers from Michigan and 4 other states say there are alternative ways to ship goods, but you can’t replace the Great Lakes. Judge Dow did not set a date for his decision