Sunday, September 6, 2009

Labor Day Weekend 2009

I depart Puyallup, WA early on the 3rd of September, get to Shatoosh and go through my routine of getting the boat ready. I'm planning on meeting up with Collene from Seattle on the 4th in Kalama, Wa. This will be her first time on Shatoosh and while she has never been crew, she has been on small dinghies and has fished for many a year. I dock in the Martin Slough area so I can have a head start to Kalama. After picking her up we set our course for Martin Slough again. They are having 3 yacht clubs in for the weekend so we anticipate a large crowd. We arrive to find the dock empty and only one boat anchored. We hang out all day and I am delighted to see Bucky Beaver is back and seems to have a small youngster following along. Bucky makes her way out of the water so I am assured that the animal is a beaver. She has dug a den along the opposite shore from the dock and has felled several small trees recently in the meadow area. It is so nice to see a beaver again in the lagoon. About 1700 2 vessels come in and it seems the party is about to begin. Collene and I look at each other and decide to depart and go else where to anchor for the night. We find a nice quiet anchorage in between some wing dams and drop the hook in 12 feet of water.

During the night the rains begin and continue off and on all morning. After lunch, it begins to clear so Pashmina is off loaded and floats happily waiting for us to join her for a little gunkholing.
The afternoon turns out beautifully with lots of sun and fun. We are delighted to find 3 young coyote pups playing on the beach with mother not in attendance. They are having so much fun, running, jumping and stop for a while to watch us as we are watching them. They are very healthy looking.

Several eagles soar overhead, while the Canada Geese are cruising the bank areas and the great blues are making a ruckus as we begin to invade their territory. The cormorants are not interested in our exploring and continue to fish and fly back and forth. Collene and I really are enjoying our little expedition. She gathers a few cherished items from the beach, creates an offering to the Columbia River Beach Gods. As the tide floods, her offering will go out to sea. The weather report states more rain, so we stay put another night.

The moon rise is nice, but it continues to rain throughout the night.

Sunday morning we rise early to start our next leg to Cottonwood island. We stop in Kalama to pump out the head and proceed down the river. At the grain dock a ship is in with a new flag for me. A red and white one and the hailing port is Valetta. Later in the day I look up this Port and discover it is in Malta. Its a long way to get grain! After anchoring on the backside of Cottonwood island, the sun comes out, the salmon are jumping everywhere and many birds are flying up and down Carroll's channel. I make note of several Caspian Terns with their bright red beaks. The ospreys are leaving, and earlier in the trip I spot 5 sandhill cranes arriving to spend the winter on Sauvie island. Collene is busy working on her Sudoku for Dummies book and I arrogantly show her my electronic NY Times version. Once when anchored behind Cottonwood my awareness shifts and I discover a new way of solving the Sudoku puzzles, so I share this with Collene. There is one thing about Collene; she is no dummy and is quick to get my drift and speeds through several puzzles with lightening speed and a smile on her face.

We depart Cottonwood island at 1530 to take Collene back to Kalama. She gets to be the helmsperson all the way back and does a fine job. We had a delightful time, relaxing, rowing and having great meals together. I depart Kalama and have a wonderful flood tide to get me up to the Gilbert River Dock by 1900hrs. I made 7.5 k the whole way upriver. I believe this is my best run up the river. The flooding tide was strong in the tiny Gilbert River and docking a bit tricky with numerous submerged large trees in mid channel. Luckily a man meets me on the dock and grabs my lines for me. It is a very quiet place to spend the night. I decide to continue on back to the marina today and head home to my wonderful condo so that I can get ready for my big sail on the tall ships next week. This has been a rare treat to have Collene onboard for a special little cruise, wet as it was. Maybe she will like to return on some sunny day.

Total nm run: 72.6

Collene's leg: 26.8nm