Sunday, July 3, 2022

Mid-river tow work at Big Sandy harbor

I got this one yesterday from inside my truck during a pouring rain. You might know that I had the window down so I could shoot and the rain was coming from that direction, but the guy who really had it bad was on one of the barges out in the river.

Sequence of events:

I go to Kenova WV and get photos of the M/V Tony Lippman up against the bank.

I head over to Catlettsburg KY to shoot the Lippman from the rear over there. By the time I get there, bright morning sunlight had been blocked by some nasty storm clouds. It felt like almost night. After some shots of the Lippman and a couple of other boats, I figure it's time to go home, so I leave for home by way of Kenova.

Crossing the U.S. 60 bridge into Kenova, I see the M/V Bus Brown coming down the Big Sandy River toward the Ohio. It's pushing one barge loaded with rock or sand. Amherst Madison has been dredging the Big Sandy, so this barge probably had sand from that dredging work. They don't call it the Big Sandy for nothing.

I arrive at the boat ramp at Virginia Point park just as the first raindrops fell. I walk to the river bank when I see a lightning flash. I take shelter under a tree and ask God to protect me from my own foolishness. He's done it many times before, but I fear that some day his patience will run out.

Looking up the Big Sandy and waiting for the Bus Brown to pass, I see the leading rake end of an empty barge. It looks like it's barely moving. Then the Bus Brown comes by. It has overtaken the boat that's pushing the other barge. I get a few shots of the Bus Brown, then I see the rake moving. It turns out the M/V Bruce D is pushing four barges down the Big Sandy. It has two empties on the port side and two covered barges loaded with coal to starboard.

I'm back in my truck and headed for a parking area closer to the mouth of the Big Sandy as the downpour comes. The Bruce D goes past the Lippman and out toward the middle of the river. I see another McGinnis boat, probably the M/V Chris Arden, approach and face up to the lead empty barge. The rain keeps falling, and in the background the M/V Mary Arte Brannon crosses the river. It had arrived earlier upbound and dropped 15 empties at South Point OH before heading over to Catlettsburg for supplies (I assume).

After taking maybe two dozen pictures, I check the time and see that I need to be in the West End of Huntington WV (America's Best Community) to drop off something at a ministry for the homeless. So I leave. I assume everyone was able to do their jobs without my camera recording the action.

And that was the tail end of a fun morning on the Ohio River.