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[ Future of the Delta Queen Steamboat Co Boats ]


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Date: July 02, 2002 at 00:10:43
From: Captain Mike, [user-119at1j.biz.mindspring.com]
Subject: The Captains Log


Not all days on the river are full of wonder and enchantment, and here at the "wharf', it is the same. We have been working in the early summer swelter to prepare the Delta Queen to go to the drydock, but it is a difficult task we attempt. At the last writing I reported on how due to the falling river that the boats were getting aground. Boy, was I right! On my first 6:00 am round of the Delta Queen, I found that she had taken on a 2 degree list to starboard in less that 24 hours!. That told me immediately that the river had fallen and that the boat was beginning to hang up on the bottom bad along her dockside, port side. When our director of Marine Operations Ron Adams arrived, I informed him of the situation and requested that he summon the tug boats to get us off before the river fell anymore. He consulted with the port engineer, Scott Fassler, and they immediately agreed to call for tug assist. At 12:45, the 8oo horsepower tug boats "Heide and the Regina " landed alongside the Delta Queen and via marine radio I directed them to make fast with line so that they would be able to pull straight out and to push straight in. When all was ready, I called for both tugs to push straight in to the dock on the Delta Queen, and on a different radio told mate Buford to let all lines go. I had hoped that when the lines were gone and I stopped the tugs, the Delta Queen would float easily away from the dock. No such luck! She was undeniably, certified hard aground! When I saw that she didn't move by stopping the tugs, I called for the little boats to pull her out slow. The lines tighten as the tugs strained back, but the Delta Queen didn't budge. I called to the tugs, "Both tugs straight out on a half astern". The lines squealed as the strain increased, the Old Delta Quen sat steadfast, locked in a love embrace with the bottom of the river. Finally, I called to the tugs, "Ok, both tugs, jerk her out for all your'e worth!I threw the Delta Queens own bow thruster pushing full out to starboard towards the river, the lines on the tugs groaned and complained, and then POW, the brand new 2 1/2 inch nylon lines on the bow tug snapped like a shot gun being fired! A moment later, Boom! There when the stern tugs lines, flung in the air like confetti! The Delta Queen sat stoically, and in the back of my mind I could imagine Captain Mary say, " I told you, you should have moved her yesterday!" After conversing with the tugs about our perdicament, we agreed to retie the tugs and gradually work up and down alongside the old boat to wash the mud away that held her cemented in place. Finally, after an hour of shifting the tugs up and down the side of the Delta Queen, her bow began to slowly drift out, and then suddenly the stern broke her bottom lock and went swinging rapidly out into the river, dragging our shore power cables out at a rapid pace with chief engineer Dennis Shenk running after them on the wharf and cursing that idiot#*#!* Captain! Hey, folks, at least I can report taht Chief Shenk can stiill run pretty damn fast! We stopped her swing out in time, and with a little more wheel washing we were able to nest the Delta Queen back against the dock and resecure her for the evening. One tug has stayed behind and is continuing to wheel wash the mud and sand away from the dock,. Tommorrow we will do the same with the Grand American Queen, to make sure she is freed up, and we hope to move both boats up temporarily to the old "River City" Casino dock, where there is deep water, and then to Dredge and wheel wash out along the entire Robin Street Wharf!. I have my boat handling chores cut out for me! I have no doubt that we will succeed, and I will try to keep you informed, after all, it's just routine river work, here at "The Wharf"!


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