Tuesday, September 29, 2009
The morning is chilly, so we start up the heater to warm the cockpit and main cabin. Do some prep chores before we depart. Carol, while stating she does not do mornings, was standing by with her coffee at 0830 when we cast off the lines.
We make one more pump out stop and then back to the marina. We pull the boat together, check the engine, Con takes a shower and then we are off to Portland. We stop and have a very luxurious lunch at Saltys on the Columbia River near the Airport. It was the fitting end to a great cruise. Con is moved to tears when she speaks of what this trip has meant to her and how it has changed her. Carol, also states that with my encouragement she ventured out of her boating box to become a single hander cruiser. So, Shatoosh, Pashmina and Hira have impacted a couple of lives this week. It is so rewarding when I see this happen. Another of Carol's friends has decided to purchase a boat just since my making contact with her. I love seeing women becoming independent owners of boats and cruising the waters. This has been a wonderful cruise of firsts for everyone and it was delightful to have a budding crew member onboard Shatoosh. Con, come again and maybe next time Joyce can make it, as well.
day's run 3.7nm
Sunday: 17 September 2009
This will be the first time that Albineers will rendezvous in Oregon. As I have mentioned before, I belong to the Albineers of BC and also am an Albin yahoo group member. When the 2009 membership came out I noticed that there was a member in Portland. Last week in preparation of this trip I decided to email Carol and Ed. Within minutes she replied, "Yes, they own an Albin 27 sport fisher and they have it up in BC for fishing." These are the American made boats and are not the classic Swedish ones that I love. I personally think they should have their own clubs, as they are entirely different vessels. But at any rate, Carol tells me she has a 20 ft Shamrock docked near her condo in Portland. She been wanting to cruise it, but hasn't been out much in except for day adventures. I say, "well join us on Coon Island on Sunday." We email back and forth and several days later she decides on joining us. Hurray.
We untie the dock lines early 0740 hrs and with an extremely low tide we precede slowly out of the narrow and shallow inlet to the lagoon. There is 5 feet of water. The sun is shinning directly on the water and into our eyes making it difficult to see. I make my turn to port and I hit a deadhead off the lower side of Burke island. This is another first for me in this area. I never saw it and I hit on the starboard side and we glance off of it to port. I do not hit it on the deeper end of the boat. Con's phone is ringing, I see a coyote trotting down the mainland shore towards us. It is a very busy morning and we have just begun our day. Three otters are playing and fishing on the beach of Martin island. Mergansers take off in front of us at the entrance. I see lots of white caps, so tell Con that it is going to be a little rough but the seas will be on our stern.
It is always so good to see the terrain at a very low tide. The entrance sandbar is high and dry.
We enter the river and slowly move the boat across the river to the Oregon side to get out of the wind, current and tide. We begin to see lots of bird activity up ahead and I spot a bald eagle on a channel marker. Con has him in her sights with the binoculars and I steer close to the marker. He takes flight so she gets to see and appreciate the wing span of these magnificent creatures.
A bit farther on a piling is another eagle which doesn't fly off, so we get a very sustained and good look.
At St Helens we stop to fuel up and I am preparing Con that this will be a very rough docking with the wind and waves. She has to be quick and focused, and be safe. We make a successful docking and Tony greets us to help tie up. Tony works for Mayday Marine and is filling in this morning. Steve on Knot Enuf has seen us and motors over in the dink. He is spending the weekend at Sandy Island. His wife is Carol who we stopped by to see in Kalama the other day. We all have a nice chat, we fuel up and get some more coffee and shove off to make our Albineer's rendezvous.
The Multnomah Channel is flat and calm, the sun is coming out and we change out of our morning clothes. As we approach Coon Island I can see the docks look full on the east side. I see a few boats that I recognize. I'm called by Carol on the VHF and discover she is already here and docked on the west side. This is the beginning of our first meeting. Even though Shatoosh is the only Albin, for the first time I'm with another Albineer member. This is Carol's first big outing on her Shamrock, "Fish Dish" and her first overnighter. So we have a great time meeting, talking and getting to know one another. By late afternoon we are alone. We have nice pupus of Carol's smoked BC salmon and a nice meal. At 2030 hrs we get to hear the coyotes on the mainland make their kill. I love to hear that call of the wild.
Speaking of Albin Boat owners: A nice note from the Albin Yahoo Group just came in:
I read some parts of your blog and can't wait until I have a couple hours free to read it all.
PLEASE keep it up. It's all that keeps us working stiffs going through the New England winter as we admire our snow-bound Albins.
John Stewart"Driftless" (A25-737) Dighton, Massachusetts, USA
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Today, is another first. Constance didn't fall in or out or off of the boat. She is making progress with her boating and docking skills. Transforming those hiking legs to sea legs. Way to go girl!
We depart at 0930 hrs and head downriver to show Con the beautiful Chartreuse flora that grows on some of the granite cliffs. The coloring today is beautiful, with the dark green evergreens, the reds and the yellows. There is one particular place I like as it is 40-50 ft of water and is a partially separated piece of cliff with trees growing atop it.
Our next stop is to visit the signage about the Lewis and Clark Expedition on Lord Island. It is a lovely area with grass and deep water to shore. I have often thought about anchoring for lunch here or just to take an afternoon break. The sign states that Lewis and Clarke camped here and it is referred to it as Dibblee Island, but does not state the dates. I finger through several references on board, but can not pin point the date. I turn the helm back to Con and I go online to my blog. Don't you just love it. Thank you Verizon. I click on the Images of the Columbia River and hit Lord Island in the Image Index. Bingo...Lewis and Clark were on the island on their way back home on 26 March 1806.
The US Naval Ship T-AO- 202 Yukon is outbound and cuts a smart bow wake through the Flat Columbia River. She is 677 ft long, 97 ft beam, and 35 ft draft. Wikipedia states she is a fleet replenishment oiler. In early 2000 she had 2 collisions at sea; one of which she incurred severe damage above the waterline and had to make way to Pearl Harbor for repairs. Her crew is mixed civilian and naval personnel. We cross the river after taking her stern and follow upriver taking a look at the empty docks of Longview. Con continues to steer Shatoosh up river and learns to throttle down as we take several outbound tug wakes.
We enter Carroll's channel 1215 hrs and motor back to my old anchorage, but decide to anchor slightly downriver of my usual spot. We anchored today with my lunch anchor from the cockpit. The first time for me to use this small anchor and chain. It was perfect for a short time anchorage. I will certainly use it again in the future. Why I have never used it before is beyond me? I have thought about it often.
We depart our lunch anchorage at 1330 hrs and head upriver toward Martin's Slough where we spend the night again. I tell Con how nice the v-berth is for reading in the afternoon and a nap usually ensues. She awakes about an hour later and the wind has picked up which is usual for this area and the following seas are 4 ft. We are docked again at 1510. This means only one thing left to do to add to Con's first time list, which is now into double digits, and that is to take a solar heated shower on the aft cabin. A perfect shower on the aft cabin this afternoon in Martin Slough without a boat in sight. Saturday and we are alone in this huge anchorage. Amazing.
We have a wonderful evening and a small camper boat comes in to anchor and spends the night.
Today's run: 25.6nm
Total : 69nm
Friday, September 25, 2009
We depart about 0930 hrs and the sun is burning off the hazy sky. The Columbia is windy with 2 foot seas. We are headed for Kalama to pump out and to Goble to get ice and then to Walker island. The tide is ebbing and we make good time down river, slowing to count the 12 vultures on the wing dam upriver of Sandy island. I like to pump out at Kalama. It is easy in and out and there is good maneuvering room at the station. The water is always calm. We dump off 2 bags of trash, visit the port head and then go 2 docks over to visit with Carol on Knot Enuf. She is always a delight to visit with.
We are outbound and dock at Goble to make a short run to get ice. Con is on the bow line and I have the stern line. We are sandwiched between 2 tugs, the tide is ebbing and the wind is on our stern. Con is working her line aft and I give the command to hurray and get on board. She jumps in and in a flash she is falling back out of the boat right in front of me. I grab her and help her get back into the cockpit. The boat is now slipping away from the dock at the bow. I grab the bow line and pull her back into the dock. That was really close. I jump in and off we turn around heading out of Goble. Con states her foot slipped on the cushion. This is another close call. We will have to be very careful when docking in the future.
The Eternal Wind is docked filling her belly with grain and the Catherine Ostendorf is carrying wind turbine towers heading to Portland. She hails from Monrovia. Most all the wind generators are being brought into the docks at Longview and are registered from Bergen, Norway.
Con takes her stint at the helm, while I play around on the charts, and plotting an ETA for Walker Island 1330 hrs. I relieve her from the helm as we approach the Walker island dock. We are tied up at 1335 hrs. A huge boat is tied up also and they return in the dinghy and later the owner and his wife arrive in another dinghy One couple are guests from Seattle and the boat hails from Portland. It is 50 feet plus and a beam of 18 feet. The owner is familiar with Albins so we have to talk Albin story.
We get Pashmina ready and go up to the cove and across river with hopes of hiking some more. The tide is so low that we can't get over to the wing dams between Walker and Lord islands. We go ashore through some terrible mud and decide it is not worth the effort to continue. So back we go and spend considerable time cleaning our feet, Pashmina and our shoes. What a mess. Pashmina is stowed on top again. We have a lovely evening. It is the calmest day I have spent at Walker, but the wind comes up at night and by 0030 hrs we are rocking and rolling. I had set more fenders out at dark and readjusted the lines, so we were well set. Con sleeps through it with her ear bunnies in.
Days run: 19.8nm
Total : 43.4nm
I like exploring between some of the wing dams along the river, behind Martin Slough, Burke Island and various other places. We spend many hours walking in the sun and enjoying the beaches, the glorious plants, seeing many beaver signs and racoons prints. The tide is out which always is so revealing. After trekking for a while Con names me, HIRAWATHA, which seems to fit my basic nature and love of exploring.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
I give Con a orientation tour, as she is new to cruising and to Shatoosh. We are off by noon and head upriver to pump out the head at McCuddys. The skies are free of clouds, the temps in the 80's and there is no wind. We have an ebbing tide to take us downriver. I let Con get a feel of the helm after we pass the Gilbert River. She does well as she drives Shatoosh to the Columbia river. The river is dead calm, no boats to speak of and I turn the helm back over to her to steer a course on a range marker for practice. She does quite well. We see 2 eagles and it is a first for Con to see a bald eagle. I'm certain she will log in many firsts on this trip.
We arrive at Martin Slough and I am delighted to see we are the first to arrive. Later a large Carver comes in to anchor. In the meantime we gather the last of the blackberries and they should be wonderful at breakfast. I show Con around some of the interesting aspects of the lagoon area; beaver chewed logs, where the beaver lives(we did not see him/her this time, but we saw prints), and the famous hugging tree. I've heard of "tree huggers", but this is the ultimate cruising experience: being hugged by a living tree. How cool is this?
Con finds the water really relaxing and asks for an early to bed assignment. I agree and am asleep in seconds.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Met with Dan on Whiskyjack for a while on Sunday to touch base on nav projects. The list is unending. "Oh, yes, there's one more thing," he says. He has given me a female 9 pin to hook up with the male 9 pin that I still haven't bought. Then there is a CD for the USB. "A CD", I ask; knowing I don't have a CD option on the mini. "Not to worry", he says. " You just download it into your big computer and take it off using your thumb drive", as he pulls his out so handily from his pocket."I don't have a thumb drive", I reply, sheepishly, and he looks at me as I was some sort of alien from another planet. "You don't have a thumb drive?", he asks, politely. "OK, OK, I can get one", as I scramble back to my car to get a pad and pen to make a list, as I sense more data is coming forth.
In between projects, I get my tide charts, figure out the days, where we might go and avoid all yacht clubs on the weekend. I write up a menu and shopping list.
I'm back from grocery shopping early today to beat the heat, so have some fun time playing around with making templates for the computer at the nav station. I've got some left over cardboard and some wood that I found in the aft cabin berth lockers. A few cuts with the jig saw, a little super glue and presto, I put it all together believing it will be good for a trial this week. I'm stowing my charts and will run only using the charts in the mini to see if I will like this format.
I gaze at the nav tray and see my cell phone holder and casually slip the mouse under the ends and I'm amazed it holds it perfectly well. I just love double duty things. It is the unexpected, the serendipity of it all that makes me chuckle deep inside. I feel as though I have just discovered a potential event that would warrant the Nobel Peace Prize. I step down into the fore cabin grinning from ear to ear. "Yes, perfect", I call out.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Take a look: http://historicalseaport.blogspot.com/
Friday, September 18, 2009
What a spectacular voyage. Passages are not always easy and there are moments in the trip you wonder how much more you can do, how much more you can tolerate, and then the pause comes and you realize you can do alot more. You could make another voyage, because you have become stronger by looking deep within and tapping that great resourse called resolve. It is always there, waiting to be tapped, waiting for the next voyage. I was not disappointed at all that we did not get to sail. The trip was filled with so many inspiring events, but the best part was being able to see so many young men and women filled with fortitude and ambition to go to sea to learn all about life's precious skills that will support them throughout their lives. What a grand future lies ahead for us all. Thank you Lady Washington for building character in the lives of our youth and for revitiliazing the lives of my slightly older generation.
The chart below shows our general route, but not our exact courses. The mileage is approximate and total miles for the trip is about 220nm, but that number does not reflect the mileage of standing off all night. Roughly we were at sea for 47 hours.
I just looked on Google Earth to follow our voyage. You might find it interesting and there are some nice photos of the Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain in Grays Harbor. Also, please visit the Lady Washington link listed at the botttom of my blog.
Stay tuned, as I am leaving this Saturday to pick up a new crew and Shatoosh will be plying the waters of the Columbia again next week. See what is in store for this next adventure on the low seas.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
"A" watch takes over from "C" watch at oooo hrs. They have been watching the phosphorescent plankton in the water. A cruise ship has passed. It has been an easy watch they report. It is not long after we are on deck that we approach Neah Bay at 0030. I drift back to 1982 when Jean, my twin, Mike and I on board Sabra, my Swan 36 made landfall at Cape Flattery coming from the Hawaiian Islands and entered Neah Bay. Wow; that was 27 years ago and my memory of it, is as fresh today, as it was then. I'm wearing the same survival suit tonight.
At 0130 hrs we pass Cape Flattery. This is the second time in my life to pass this cape and I have never seen it. The first time it was fogged in and now it is shrouded in the dark of night. 10 minutes later Kyle orders us to alter course to steer 265 degrees. We are being under the watchful eye of Tofino traffic control from Vancouver Island. The Canadians seem so polite on the radio,"Good morning, this is Tofino Traffic Control". Their politeness changes, as an inbound ship migrates over into the outbound lanes. "Captain, What is your intention?", he snaps. " When do you plan on returning to the south lanes?" The vessel officer speaking in broken English answers, and whatever he said, seemed to satisfy the traffic controllers. Kyle notifies Tofino at 0230 when we round R 2D buoy at Duntze Rock and we change course to 180 degrees. Tofino takes our position and asks us to report when we have reached 48 degrees. We are currently at 48 degrees and 24.o minutes. Each minute of latitude is 1 nm, therefore, we have 24 nm to get to 48 degrees and our speed is approximately 4 knots. We will be there at about 0830 hrs.
We are in the Pacific Ocean and heading down the coast. This is new territory for me. We have seas on our bow and slight wind. During our watch, we went through several rain squalls and building seas. The action on the tiller became rather intense and at times it took a lot of stamina to hold our course. We talked about, if need be, that 2 people could steer if they felt overpowered. Everyone did amazingly well. Some watch members had never been to sea, never been on the ocean at night and some had never steered a compass course before. Kyle patiently helped each person overcome their obstacles. One person said it was scary. Yes, it is as you are pounding through seas that you can not see into total darkness. You have nothing to orient yourself, no shoreline, nothing but darkness. By the end of the watch, the crew has changed; gaining confidence in their sea faring abilities and getting to know the Lady Washington more intimately.
I have never sailed on a Tall Ship, but plenty of my ancestors have. A large group of my 9th great grandparents sailed from Holland in the mid 1600's to colonize Manhattan and what is now, New York State. 14 different families, hailing from Norway, Germany, Holland, and French Huguenots with names of de Forest, Van Pelt, Van Huyse, de la Montagne, Hendershouts, Andressisen, and Van Schoonhoven to name a few. In 1845 the Reids came from Scotland, up the Hudson/through the Erie Canal /Great Lakes and settled in Wisconsin and in 1850 the Gilmours/Dunsmuirs came from Scotland, around the horn on a 6 month journey via the Sandwich Islands to be the first coal miners on Vancouver Island. Tonight, in the darkness of night, with the rain blowing in my face, I remember them all and honor them with the greatest esteem I can muster from the great cave of my heart. I particularly think of the mothers who who gave birth on board and the mothers who kept many children happy in the dark bellies of these ancient ships. How did they do it? Why, did they do it? It was all for the hope they felt in finding a better life than the ones they had left behind. One crewman said he was unhappy with his job. He wanted to do something that made him happy, to feel alive and he wanted his young daughter to be proud of him.
Going to sea will certainly build self confidence, self esteem, learning that teamwork will get the job done. None of us can single hand this Lady. Each watch, moves the vessel towards its destination, hour by hour, chore by chore, and in doing so, we build a better self, a stronger self, so that later when we meet our life's challenges we can face them with character chiseled out of strength, confidence and perseverance. Already, I have learned this trip is not an easy one, every line is big and heavy, every fender is almost as big as the smallest woman on board, and a simple task of eating your meal is not so simple. Cruising on Shatoosh is simple. Cruising on the Lady Washington makes you dig deep into your soul to find the strength to do what is necessary at the moment. Tonight, I face my dream of sailing on a Tall Ship down the Washington Coast with excitement, joy and gratitude for my ancestors and my present day crew members. Together we will bring this ship to the port of Aberdeen and all of us will be better and stronger people because of it.
0400 hrs. Our watch ends and I ask the "B" watch captain to have me wakened at o600 so that I might get to see the sunrise. Dawn on the ocean is always special. I return to the quarter deck and the watch captain is from Majuro in the Marshall Islands. He is quiet, confident, but very orderly. He has a beautiful smile. From the ocean side of the peninsula one can see the entire Olympic mountain range. Clear as a bell is Mount Olympus with snow still on her. Tofino Traffic calls to see if we are at 48 degrees. Our position is 48 degrees and 8 minutes. They tell us to switch over to Channel 16. They will no longer be tracking us. We are alone now, no one is watching us. I return to my bunk and sleep some before breakfast which is pancakes. My digestive tract is fragile this morning and after hanging upside down to get the toilet pumping water, I am slightly queasy. I have not been sea sick in 30 years. I lay down again and get myself pulled together with electrolytes, vinegar water and Reiki.
Our next watch begins at noon 1200 hrs. We get to eat at 1145, but I pass on another carbo meal and eat some almonds instead. So far we have not had any substantial protein in our menu, which really surprises me. I go up early and it is 1125 hrs and discover we are cruising about 2-3 miles off shore and are nearing La Push. There is a narrow entrance to the harbor and I remember looking at it once thinking I would never want to enter from the sea. The view of the coastline is spectacular and we pass several small islands, Hand Rock, Caroll Island, Sea Lion Rock, Cake Rock( photo)and James Island. We can see RW "Q" Buoy. Someone yells, " whale on port beam" along the area of the buoy. We see the whale blow several times and surface dives for quite a while.
Hira at the helm of the Lady Washington
We monitor a coast guard rescue from the Port Angeles station on the VHF radio. A vessel is taking on water and they abandon ship. The ship sinks, however the USCG helicopter was enroute and rescued the members of the sinking ship. We were not able to get the exact coordinates of the rescue.
Its not long after I get off the helm that I remove my survival suit. The sun is coming out and the temperature increasing and I am getting hot.
Ashleigh is not feeling well, so I give her my survival suit so she can have a pillow for her head.
1430 hrs: We are abeam of Destruction Island and about 5 miles off shore. The afternoon is filled with lots of sun and the waves have been rather rolly all day. Several crew are feeling a little sick. Especially the ones doing chores down below. We continue to have head winds and seas. Ashleigh and JP are asked to wash and scrub the decks.
At 1445 Kyle computes an ETA at Gray's Harbor around 0400 hrs. This will not be feasible, so we will have to stand off shore until dawn to cross the Westport bar and entrance to Gray's Harbor. We set a new course heading out to sea to meet the oncoming southwest waves. We meander around numerous crab pots, spot some porpoises, lots of flocks of pelicans. The off watch crew are hanging out singing sea chanties, lying on deck or reading their favorite books. The RPM's are dropped to reduce speed. It will be a long time to stand off but a safe and prudent decision. We close out our watch at 1600 hrs.
At 1800 hrs, the LW is 20 nm off shore steering a course of 190 degrees. I am hungry as a horse when I enter the galley area. The cook is sadly disappointed, her meal isn't ready, as the wonderful bread loaves did not rise or get done and it seems she did not make enough. Everyone is saying it is ok, there are plenty of things to eat. There is real meat protein in the form of chicken in a thick broth. It is very delicious, but short on supply. No seconds tonight for the big boys. The flavors of the food are very delicious and the cook is always hard at work. How she performs this very difficult job is beyond me?
I think I rested some, as we are back on watch at 2000 hrs until midnight. Kyle is really wanting to get some sailing in, so at 2030 hrs, he calls all hands on deck and sets the fore and main topsails. The cook is ondeck suited up in her rigging and up she goes aloft to help set the fore topsail. Everyone goes into action and all are excited to go aloft. One man is 72 years old, holds a 6 pack Captains license and aloft he goes, keeping right up with all the youngsters. This is great to watch, however it is dark and the mast light is allowing us to see this action. This is a lot of work and in spite of all the effort of the crew, there is not enough wind to fill the sails. I forget the terminology that is used, but instead of having everyone go back up to take them down the sails were somehow reduced in size yet not completely secured with rope tie downs.
This rugged coast is void of light and there are few settlements on it. There are not many places you can go to see the night sky in all her glory, but tonight is the night and the place to see the unending numbers of stars, galaxies and planets. The milky way is mapped like a road across the sky. Billions of stars are crystal clear and "A" watch is watching with total excitement and delight. We are all pinching ourselves and saying, "can you believe this", "isn't this spectacular"?
Later on in the watch my excitement dissovles into sleepiness and I have to sit on the deck as opposed to standing on deck. I drift off meditating and then fall asleep for a while sitting up. The throwing life ring makes for a nice backrest and I am sleepy but comfortable. I struggle to hang in there as I am getting cold and shivering at times. Kyles asks me to take the helm for the last 30 minutes of the watch, which I am most happy to do, as I can focus and do something to get warm. I sigh in relief when the watch ends. I'm in my bunk in a flash and fall asleep in a second. I knew having these 2 shifts would be hard for me, but I stayed the whole time and glad I did.
Total run: approximately 100nm.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
We depart Tacoma around 1000 hrs and we experience misting rain all the way, but we are optimistic about it clearing in the afternoon. As we pull into Port Townsend and I see a Tall Ship in dry dock. We find the Hawaiian Chieftain still being worked on and a propeller missing. I hail over a crewman. He tells me that the rudder hub was cracked and one is being flown over from Denmark.
I explain we are the new passengers, so he calls the Captain of the Lady Washington. Apparently the ship was outside waiting for us to arrive, as there was limited dock space. The Lady Washington arrives in short fashion and ties up long enough for us to climb aboard the rope ladder. The Captain maneuvered the Lady in the tight basin as though her hull was filled with thrusters in every direction. We depart about 1245 hrs. We get a quick orientation by Lisa, an enthusiastic young girl. She shows how to put on our life jackets, where to stow our bags, how to use the head and then takes back on deck as the Lady is motoring out of the marina and her bow is pointed towards Pt. Wilson.
Ann and I begin to get our sea legs.
I take some photos of the different aspects of the boat. All the lines, pulleys and fittings are a sight to behold in their beauty and tidiness. The rudder post( looking down to the water).