Sunday, July 27, 2008
Last year I decided that I would put all my favorite stories into two Children Books for my new grand niece, Georgia Dollarhide. Volume 1 focuses on The Delta and Volume 2 is on the Columbia River. I illustrated them in simple drawings, as I am not an artist. This whole project turned out really wonderful, however Georgia can't read yet, so I'll have to wait a while to get her feedback. This year another Dollarhide baby is in the cooker, so I will have to make him/her? a copy. I am in the process of scanning both volumes into my computer. Please let me know, if anyone desires a copy.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Daisy wasn't much of a crew dog, but she did get excited one day on the Georgiana Slough when we ran across a herd of sheep. Her sheepdog instincts kicked in, but the temperature was 103 and she decided she would rather go back to the motel and sit in the air conditioning.
Georgia(on the right) crewed for me 20+ years ago in Tacoma. We were members of the Tacoma Women's Sailing Association. She and Verna crewed when we moved Sabra to Orcas Island in the San Juans in 1985. I remember leaving about 0500 on a -2.5 ft ebbing tide. We made Orcas in one day. A record time! While I was in the Delta she crewed again and my fondest memory was us bellying up to the bar at Al The Wops in the China Town of Locke to get a lemonade.The bartender was throwing dollars on the ceiling and making them stick. The local TV network news interviewed us. Our famous claim to fame. There is nothing like the Delta.
Conrad and Juanita own the Cheryl Lee, which they built in their backyard. I met them at Oxbow Marina and we became fast friends. They have had a tremendous impact on my life in the Delta. They fiberglassed my cabin top, with my minor assistance, he fabricated a unique folding system for my bench seat, converting it into a
" Murphy type bed" for easy access to my engine and they were the primary reason I am cruising the Columbia River today. They had spent many years cruising it and thought I would Love it. I am forever grateful to them. We shared many striper meals and hung out in the evenings in their flybridge watching all the barn owls go hunting at night. Once they trailered the Cheryl Lee up to Puget Sound and I explored the south sound with them. I really miss them.
Joyce has crewed numerous times on Shatoosh in the Delta and the Columbia River. Her most recent trip with Shatoosh was last year when we put on our fancy Hawaiian shirts, cruised into Kalama to attend Hawaiian Days. The kalbi ribs were great. She is an experienced skipper who can really be stable in the worst of weather and seas. She proved herself one night while sailing from Honolulu to Hanalei Bay on Kauai on Sarah, her Cape Dory Sloop. She, too, is a Reiki Master and travels extensively around the world. I'd go anywhere on a boat with Joyce. I love to have her on board, anytime, anywhere.
Ann was a regular Delta Crew for years and has only been on one long cruise with me on the Columbia River, but what fun we had exploring all the back water sloughs out of Cathlamet, Wa. We narrowly missed going aground at Devil's Elbow, having about 1.5 feet under Shatoosh's belly. We saw lots of eagles in Blind Bay and got to anchor in Knappa Slough. That was when Shatoosh went from Napa to Knappa. Ann helped me take care of Spencer, the baby bird who fell out of a palm tree at Oxbow Marina. Our friendship goes back over 40 years when we were physical therapists in the army stationed in WA and Japan. I love having her on board.
Johanna has crewed several times and then decided she would buy her own Albin. She named her Lit'l Bit, as she took a little bit of water and a little bit of fuel. Even though she lives in Hawaii, Lit'l Bit is moored in Friday Harbor. The day this photo was taken we had just finished putting on this swim platform that we designed and made. She has a wonderful B&B on the Big Island. see web site below: waiaka.com
26 July 2008
Jean is my identical, mirror twin who is 90 seconds older than me. She is a Reiki Master extraordinaire and a prior holder of a 100 ton Captain's License. She lived aboard her Gulf 32 Namaste in Hawaii, and helped me slog north from Hawaii to Tacoma on Sabra in 1982. She came on board to help me with our maiden voyage to the SF Bay and the Columbia River. When she boards Shatoosh, I crew for her.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I have another special french toast and coffee breakfast to celebrate what would be my mother's 95th birthday, had she been alive. I thank her for all that she did for my twin and I growing up in El Paso, Tx. She was quite the providing mother. Her sign is Cancer and care taking was her forte.
I leave after a leisurely morning and the wind high in the cottonwoods tells me that it is blowing like stink and the ride back will be packed waves on my stern all the way with the current and tide against me. "Are you ready to rock and roll", I ask myself. I take some extra time to batten everything down as it will be rough. I put my life jacket on and zip it up as I head out the slough towards the Columbia River. I can see the waves breaking up ahead of me. I brace my feet on the floor and stabilize my knee against the cabin side taking the waves head on. I stay in close to shore as it is over 60 feet deep and go down river a bit to position myself better to make my turn upriver and not get hit too bad with the beam seas, but still have enough room to clear the range markers on my port side. I maneuver, with time, across the river and head up river on the Oregon side. This way, I have learned, I can avoid the major thrust of the current and ebbing tide and pick up a couple of knots. A few sailboats are actually sailing for a change, the wind surfers are going back and forth across the water. St Helens is a busy Sunday waterfront, so I zig and zag through boats and escape to the usually calm Multnomah Channel. I'm tucked between Sauvie Island and the Oregon mainland. There are hundreds of small boats with skiers, tube riders, wake boarders and sun worshippers all going many directions. Now, I remember why I never go out during the weekend. Its too crazy. After 6 miles it starts to quiet down, but then I hear a chopper close overhead. I look out the back window and a small helicopter is bearing down lower and lower on me and then banks off to my starboard side taking pictures of me. Its boatpix.com. They fly up river and banks back towards me again flying so low that I think it could hit me, but then up he flies over me again. He must have been 20 feet off the water. Well, Sha and Pa breathe a sigh of relief and Hira thinks this place is getting as crazy as the delta. I call a friend and have her look up boatpix.com for me. Its a company out of Florida which flies all over taking pictures of boats. For a slight fee they will send a photo 16X20
Just up river is Coon Island, another fav spot of mine. I always like to spend an extra night on Coon and get the boat tidied up, then in the morning it is a short 3nm run to the marina. Coon Isl has 2 docks one on the east side and one on the west side. Today I choose the west side to get more afternoon sun. There is a large trawler tied up, Sea Gypsy, so I pull in along the inside dock. Later they return in their dinghy and we have a wonderful time sharing stories. I have met so many great people on the river. I get a message stating a friend has died after her 8 year cancer ordeal. Jeanene was such a wonderful spirit and will be missed by many.
I always like evenings on Coon as I get to listen to the coyotes on the mainland hunting, but not tonight. All's quiet on the western front. The next morning I head back to Scappoose Moorage and relish my weeklong adventure with my favorite boat buddies, Shatoosh and Pashmina. It has been so much fun. Total nm: 70
Having crew onboard for a change is special so Hira is busy in the galley making coffee and french toast. The first cup seems rather weak to Linda, so Hira beefs up another brew. It seems better but I think Linda is used to a more concentrated blend. My other friend Judi calls it, "Panther Piss". We depart about 1045 hrs and mosey along the back sloughs before heading down river to Kalama again. On the way out Hira spots an immature eagle on the shore with a fresh kill. Yum, yum.
Kalama has an interesting Hawaiian Heritage from the 1800's. Many strong men came from the Sandwich islands to build Ft. Vancouver. Each year of late they have Hawaiian Days in August and there are many Hula Halaus in the area. I cruised in last year and it was quite a festival.
My genealogy investigations took me to Ft. Vancouver several years ago where I learned my ancestors the Gilmours and the Dunsmuirs came from Scotland in 1850 with the Hudsons Bay Company on the ship Pekin to mine coal on Vancouver Island. They ran aground on the Columbia River bar(the graveyard of the pacific) and Mrs Gilmour gave birth to a son, named Allan Columbia Gilmour. On the way up the Columbia to Ft. Vancouver Mrs Dunsmir gave birth to a child as well. Their journey took over 6 months at sea, rounding the Horn and sailing to the Sandwich Islands before coming into the Columbia River. After their contract ended the Gilmours returned to Scotland in 1855 on the Princess Royal (Mrs G. was pregnant again) and the Dunsmuirs find the largest coal mine in BC. They became the richest family in BC and their home attop the highest hill in Victoria is known as the Craigdarroch Castle. It is open to the public for tours. See web site below for information.
Our 5 nmile trip to Kalama pales in comparison. Linda goes back to her home in Tacoma, Wa, where she is a busy newly published author. See her website below(catacumen.com) I get the head pumped out and head back up river slogging against the river's brisk current and ebbing tide. The sun burns off the cloud cover as the wind and waves create quite an upriver slop. I hold in close to shore and there on the beach is a wedding party having pictures taken. Red dresses and roses with the bridesmaides and the bride in white. I toot my horn and everyone waves back to me. It is a strange sight to see them standing in sand next to this year's unsightly harvest of runaway logs from the upriver runoff.
I arrive back in Martin Slough around 1400 hrs and the dock is filled with sailboats from a Portland Yacht Club, so I elect to anchor in the large lagoon. This is the first time I have anchored here. I'm becoming quite proficient at single-handed anchoring on Shatoosh. I select my location and find the lagoon quite deep at 30 feet. I place the gear in neutral and go forward in the cabin and open the hatch. From there I can reach the anchor while standing on the v-berth. I drop the anchor, pay out some line and cleat it off. I return to the helm through the cabin and place the throttle in reverse and set the anchor. I then return to my anchor position and pay out more line. I never have to go forward and stand on the deck to anchor or to get dock lines or fenders. Everything is done from the forecabin or the cockpit. The dock lines are all lead back to the cockpit and the fenders are all tied together and are retrieved and let down by a single line at the cockpit. It is such a safe way to single hand.
I spend the afternoon doing little chores/ maintenance/ reading The Yoga of Emotions, the latest Yoga Journal/and playing Sudoku puzzles on my electronic NY Times version . In between all this I sit and watch many other boats come in to anchor. I spot 2 eagles overhead, one a bald and the other an immature eagle. They are in their spiral, falling mating flights which is so spectacular to see. They return later in the afternoon to show off this dance again for me. I have a very quiet evening and beautiful moonrise. I have lasagna with sauteed yellow squash and onions. yummie, yummie for my tummie.
Its overcast in the morning, but clears by noon. There has been a slight wind since anchoring yesterday. I have been on the cell phone coordinating with Linda who will be joining me for the first time to cruise overnight. I have decided it would be best to take her to Martin Slough for a peaceful night's anchorage, no wind and flat waters in the lagoon. She has gotten a late start but does arrive at the Kalama Marina on the Washington side by 1845hrs. We have a nice run back up river and tie up in Marin Slough. I quickly get the galley open and throw on the salmon Linda has brought. I add corn and asparagus and we have a wonderful meal in nothing flat. The sky is clear so we set our eyes on that glorious moon again. It is a bright orange ball in the night's sky. Breath taking for sure. We top off our evening with hot tea and talk in the warm main cabin below. Linda gets introduced to the aft cabin and its coziness. She sleeps in some the next morning. My squeaky cabin floors makes certain no one sleeps in too long.
Hira works 2 more hours in the early morning to finish the waxing on the starboard side of Shatoosh. Boy, she sure looks nice. They are all off by 1000hrs. heading down river. Hira decides to take the back way behind Sandy Island to get to Goble so she can pick up some ice. We are in luck, the ole man at the RV park has some block ice for a change. I take 2 blocks and 2 gallon jugs of drinking water, drop off the trash, hit the shore side head and in no time flat we are back on the water and headed past the old nuclear imploded tower. They are still bull dozing the site's debris. This place gives me the creeps. We cross over the river and duck behind Cottonwood Island traveling down Carrolls Channel to my favorite anchorage. Carrolls Channel connects the Columbia River and the Cowlitz River as it enters the Columbia. This is a sweet anchorage as no one ventures on the backside and there is a large marsh with lots of wild life. In spite of being close to I-5 and the railroad tracks, it is very peaceful. I see lots of osprey, eagles, merganzers and a few kingfishers.
Today is Gurupurnima, the largest appearing full moon and the day to honor our Guru, Gurumayi. Tonight I stay up chanting the mantra, Om Namah Shivaya and waiting to see that glorious moon. A cloud bank rolls over the bluff and blankets my view, but I am filled with gratitude for having Gurumayi in my life for over 23 years.
Hira takes Pashmina off the cabin top, tops off her tubes with air and washes her off. She gives the cabin top a good cleaning and replaces Pashmina on top. Pashmina really likes it up here as she has the best view on the river and she has the radar to help her see.
Hira finds the old tub of boat wax and starts hand rubbing the cabin tops. Several hours later there is a glimmer of some shine left in the ole girl (Shatoosh) that is. Hira takes a break with some cold lemonade and calls Georgia Ann in San Antonio to thank her for telling her about this quick lemonade.
After lunch more rubbing and more shine appears. The galley gets a good scrubbing and the entire stove comes out for fine detailing to take place. Sparkle Plenty is the name of this galley.The library is reorganized, all the utensils are washed and restowed and my meager clothing items are stowed on the starboard shelf.
Balancing on the dock planks Hira heads for shore to check out the status of the blackberries. Hum, it seems the late summer will produce fall berries. They are worth waiting for, as these are the best blackberries around. I'll make sure I cruise in for a bowl full in September.
We depart about 1500 hrs from Scappoose Moorage. Stores for a week have been stowed, water tanks filled and after stopping at the St Helen's fuel dock to top off the tank for a mere price of $50.00 we head for Martin Slough along the Washington shore. It is about 18 nm away via the Multnomah Channel and the Columbia River.
Times have changed since I bought Shatoosh in 1999. She is now 36 years old and I am 65. I could fill the whole tank for $20. We have cruised 1700 nmiles in the California Delta and 2000 nmiles along the Columbia River System. My tattered boat clothes are worn thinner after another year, my hair has greyed, but my spirit soars when the snow melts and the tide ebbs.
The sun is out and the breeze is cool. I see many osprey parents with their hungry babies all nestled in their fine nests afixed to the log pilings along the shores. I tie up to the Tyee Yacht Club out station dock in Martin Slough Lagoon with one other boat. Several other sailboats are anchored out in the lagoon.This is perhaps my most favorite destination. During the week I am usually the only boat, but this is peek cruising time so I don't mind sharing the space. I dine on steelhead, asparagus and potatoe salad. The waxing moon is golden as it appears over the cottonwood trees. I hang out in the cockpit at the nav station until after dark and head for my warm bunk about 2300 hrs. I keep the hatch open and allow the crisp night air to blow through the cabin. Summer is long overdue this year and I am so happy to be on the river. I love being on the water and close to nature.