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Monday, July 23, 2012

Day Two: Rocketts Landing to Hatcher Island

July 22-Day 2

We awoke on our James River Expedition pontoon boat after a wonderful night docked at Rocketts Landing. We had a delayed start due to the triathlon that was taking place outside our boat. It was a nice moment, though, to listen to the Star Spangled Banner in the misty morning light with the Richmond City skyline in the background. We packed the canoes with all our gear and were finally underway by 10 am.

Paddling our canoes was a challenge as we learned to work with our partners to steer and maneuver the canoes, especially since we are still just getting to know each other. Riding the wakes formed by the passing speed boats was fun, but we wished they would slow down more when they passed us! We passed the Port of Richmond and watched a cargo ship unloading sand. This is definitely a commercial section of the river and the litter shows it. We counted 153 tires on the river banks along a 10 mile stretch of river.

That's a big barge!  Watching the action at the Port of Richmond
We ate a wonderful lunch along the way and had a well deserved rest. When we got back on the water-with new paddle partners-we noticed a huge difference in our ability to make progress amongst the incoming tide. We pushed ourselves and arrived at the Chesterfield Power Plant in the late afternoon. This station provides 11% of Virginia's power and is very impressive as seen from the river. We called it a cloud factory when we saw the huge amounts of steam coming out of its stacks.

Chesterfield Power Station, also known by the Expedition as "The Cloud Factory"
It was just a short paddle from there to our campsite, a former mine of sand and gravel. It is an island that formed as the Army Corp of Engineers continually dredge a channel deep enough for huge barges to travel through. We swam in a former sand and gravel mining site and had fun playing on a waterside nearby! Then it was time to work again as we learned to set up the kitchen area and tents for the first time.

Letty and Nik enjoying a moment off the river
Laura checks out our sweet campsite from her perch above Hatcher Island
It was a tiring day, but the rewards at the end of each leg of our journey are amazing, whether it is a fun activity, an educational moment, or just time to relax and nap. We are looking forward to the long day we have ahead tomorrow.
Our reporters hard at work!
-Cathy, Valentina, and Hunter


  1. Anxiously awaiting further updates. :o) . . . . . ~Molly's mom

  2. Thanks for sharing your river adventure with us! I read about you in the News_Patriot and couldn't wait to read your post. Intend to follow it and share it. Sue