Thursday, September 16, 2010

What IS It?

We've seen hundreds of these on our trip so far.  Gulls like to
perch on them.
Wow, many people knew instantly what those Ziploc bags full o' water  I described back on Sept. 13 were for:  Allegedly, they repel flies.  Do they?  A university scientist has actually done some research.  See what YOU think! Personally I think this work is a contender for the IgNobel awards, coming up September 30th.

As the first person to answer correctly, "Enfanta" claims the prize of a tacky postcard.  Enfanta, just send your snail mail address to slowboat@emailias.com

Take a look at the photo, above right.  That thing looks like a hot tub! (Check out the ladder). Or a really really big tuna can. So why is it full of gravel?  Um, it's NOT a hot tub.  It's not a can of tuna. What IS It?

Back to the Ziploc challenge: The post included a photo, and if you couldn't guess, those were mayflies--hundreds of them--clinging to SlowBoat's solar panels on a cool fall morning.  Now, hmmmpf, I studied mayflies in grad school, and yet I had NO idea that some species hatch out in September rather than May.   (But if you are a fly fisherman, doubtless this is not news.)

And finally:  Let me take this chance to say a big thanks to everyone who comments on the blog. Even when I don't answer each comment personally, I do love hearing from you.  So if you haven't commented yet, shout out!

If you have any questions about SlowBoat, let me know.  Wondering about some aspect of day-to-day boating life?  Want more photos of the handsome captain?  More alt energy stories?  More travelogue about the cool places we visit?   And most importantly, do you have suggestions for places we should visit/sustainable energy projects we should know about?

We'll be on the Mississippi River for about 200 miles, from Alton, Illinois, through Cape Girardeau to Cairo, Kentucky, where Dragonfly will cruise upstream (!) on the Ohio River for a short distance, then take the Cumberland River to the "Land Between the Lakes" and the Tennessee River.

For the next week or so we will be anchoring out, so if blog posts are less frequent, you know we're in an internet-free zone (yes those places DO still exist in America.)


  1. Looks like some sort of caisson or a breakwater type thing.

    Probably completely wrong and it'll turn out to be something boats can tie up on so the inhabitants thereof can climb up and lounge on their beach chairs. Either that or it's a gravel storage container because they've run out of room to store gravel on land... yea, that's probably it... big dump trucks drive out there and dump gravel in it.

  2. How about a biological filter to clean the water?

  3. Wow, you guys are zooming right along. Are you ahead of schedule?

  4. My guess is that those are ice breaks. They cannot serve for docking purposes as there are no visible bits, nor are they navigation aids.

  5. Wow, some good guesses here. I'm going to leave this contest open for one more day--any other creative thoughts?

    To answer Scott Berger's quesiton, we ARE a bit ahead of schedule, mostly because in this particular stretch of the trip, there are not very many "official" safe places to spend the night, so you are kind of forced to go long distances each day.

  6. So they're not big gravel storage containers then? Darn, there goes that vision of a huge dump truck with giant inflatable wheels (picture one of those three wheeled beach bike things) puttering over and dumping it's load in a giant coffee can in the middle of the river...