Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Life on the flooded Illinois..., Ottawa, IL

Just a short note to share this experience with you. We've lived on the Tennessee River for years and have never been in a flood situation before. Our hearts go out to these communities who are dealing with the record setting high waters. La Salle County, Ottawa's area, had 33.7 ft. of water on the Illinois River at its crest, according to the National Weather Service, and 20 ft. is flood stage. This county and several others here have been declared disaster areas.

Here are a few pictures of the flooding. Even if you haven't seen the area before you can tell by the scenes that this is a big flood...

The Illinois River (background) as seen from Heritage Harbor Marina's "party boaters' lounge" roof---

Looking from the marina grounds to our boats...and the "taxi" boat up on land---

Ellen from Our Turn looking at the area where the Ottawa town docks and wall were situated (in the middle of the photo, to right of the floating docks you'll see the globes on the street lamps that are positioned on the river walkway). Several of the boats in our group here at Heritage Harbor were originally tied up to the town wall and moved back upstream to the marina when the water started rising on Saturday--

Views of the Fox River in downtown Ottawa near the Illinois junction---

Part of the funds from disaster assistance goes to pay for sand and materials with which to build water barriers. This wall was put up almost overnight to protect the Ottawa High School and the neighborhood nearby---

This is my favorite picture, though, taken by Beth on the sailboat Grace. They were one of the boats that had been tied up to the Ottawa wall before the waters started rising---

As to how we're spending our time...about six of us went to the laundromat on Monday and took care of that chore. We've had a daily get together of some sort...from collaborating to take the dogs in (there are 3 on A Dock) to shuttling people back and forth to town, to drinks or dinner together. The roads are open to town so we're not really cut off from civilization...just inconvenienced by the fact that we can't walk to land from our boats.

Today Ellen, Nat, and I walked the Illinois Michigan Canal Trail into town, had lunch and walked most of the way back. Yesterday we spent about 4 hours down there looking around at the shops, library, visitor's center, etc.

We're thinking it might be the first of next week before we'd be able to leave, and then we need to kind of coordinate the move since those higher up on the Illinois will probably have safe waters before those down on the lower end. Might not be a problem on the Illinois, but could be a problem if we all enter the Mississippi at the same time there's a real shortage of dockage there already.

More to come....

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