The Mississippi River Project
Mississippi River Project: Day 10 river

Today was a special day.  This leg of the journey would close the gap between our trek starting from Randolph landing to the north, to Helena, AR.  It’s just less than 120 river miles surveyed.  The total estimated survey length is close to 200 miles.  We started our journey at river mile 699 and would end it at 684. 

Today we had two guests with us:  John and Stephen from the Arkansas Democratic Gazette.  They picked our brains, asking a number of questions and taking numerous pictures.  We were on the stern looking at the incoming Chirp data when Tony hopped down the stairs with his radio in hand running to the port saying, “we’ve got to take care of this.”

A 25-30 foot tree (roots and all) had lodged itself between the velocity meter and the Strong’s hull.  The only way to safely remove the tree was to call the Echo, the chaser boat, to come rope the tree and tow it away.  The Echo, doing reconnaissance downstream, was radioed and began heading our way.  Suddenly the tree slipped loose of the velocity meter and proceeded downstream toward the seismic array.  “Not good” was said mentally and verbally.  Tony piped some commands into his radio…the Strong’s engines roared.  Everyone was running aft to the stern while the Strong briskly turned portside.  The tree was floating directly toward the seismic streamer buoy, Huck.  The Echo could be seen in the near distance flying toward us.  It was a race.  The Strong’s turning was slowly moving Huck toward starboard out of the tree’s path.  The tree and the Echo seemed equidistant from each other.  All scenarios met at once.  It looked as though…all would be well…by 5 feet!  Quick thinking by Tony and steady reaction by the Strong crew swung Huck just out of harm’s way.  The Echo hooked the tree and towed it to the bank.

It was an exciting morning.  The crew whipped up some hamburgers and fries for lunch.  The remainder of the day was less eventful, but that’s just fine.  We would stay in Memphis this evening while the Strong made its big push north to Hickman, KY.  For once, an unrushed rest awaited us.

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Last Updated: 1/23/12