Saturday, December 25, 2010

Galveston Trip, Mississippi River to Atchafalaya River

After all the stresses at Natchez, the next day was a welcome reprieve. The last miles on the Mississippi River were beautiful. In the picture below, we're approaching the exit from the Mississippi to the Atchafalaya.

Here's a close-up of the island in the middle of the river, Shreve Bar, and its white sandy beach.
We had to pass a dredge operation to get to the lock (below). This whole transition is actually pretty interesting. Just upstream from here, the natural flow of the river is toward the Atchafalaya rather than the Mississippi. If left alone to nature, the river would eventually divert itself to the Atchafalaya. The problem then would be that New Orleans would have no source of fresh water - the force of the gulf tides would overwhelm the reduced flow of the river with salt water inflow from the gulf. So, years ago the ACOE built 3 diversion canals and dams to direct only 30% of the water to the Atchafalaya and the other 70% down the Mississippi.

The "Old River Lock" below is the connection for boat traffic between the two rivers. It's long and narrow, about 1200 feet rather than the 600 feet we were accustomed to on the Arkansas River. The 2 pics below will give you a sense of how long it is.

That's Clint and Linda below at the other end!

Did I mention yet how nice it was to be off of the "Mighty Mississippi" for the much calmer Atchafalaya? We coordinated with Terrell Services to dock at one of their barges (below).

The barge was a bit dirty so Linda got into her cleaning and sweeping mode so we would not track stuff off of the barge to the boats. It was truly a great day, looking forward to new territories tomorrow.

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