Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Full Filling One's Dream

In the beginning there wasn't a dream. It has evolved over the years, as a result of meeting influential people, reading books and contemplating my journey. One day driving across California, I find myself on a bridge over a waterway, with lots of large boats docked at big marinas. I say, "what is all this"? A friend replies,"oh, this is the Delta". I had heard of the Sacramento Delta before, but this was my first glimpse.

Before there was Shatoosh and Pashmina, I read, The River Horse, by William Least Heat Moon. His dream was to take a bottle of water from the Atlantic Ocean, cruise across the United States and deposit it in the Pacific Ocean, in one spring run off. His journey captured my attention. I remember standing on a dock in the bay eyeing a C-Dory tied below me. I meandered down and the owner stated the book was in the bookstore upstairs. He escorted me to the display section and I purchased the book. Moon had performed this feat in a C-dory and had always wondered, as a child, where did the water go when it went down a drain. He was champing at the bit to get into the partially frozen Hudson River and Erie Canal. He was driven each day, for fear that on the other end, he might run out of water, if he dallied too long in one place.

Soon after reading the book I bought Shatoosh in December 1999. My initial dream was to get a boat and get back into boating and go discover this famous Delta. My dream begins to take shape, as I cruise one river, after another. I'm taking my time, as I dally through the elaborate network of waterways, sloughs, rivers, and cuts. Maybe I could cruise all the Navigable River Systems on the West Coast? After all, many years earlier, I cruised hundreds of miles along the Intracoastal Waterway, from Mississippi to the east coast of Florida via Lake Okeechobee, and The Chesapeake Bay to Annapolis. I've cruised the Hawaiian Islands, sailed from Hawaii to Washington, cruised the Queen Charlotte Islands, the Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands, some of the Gulf Islands, and the Dry Tortugas. How difficult could it be? I've got a black belt in cruising!

I had the great fortune to meet Conrad and Juanita who influenced and enriched my Delta life immensely. Conrad, is a Triston Jones type of guy. He built his boat, Cheryl Lee, in his Idaho backyard with his wife, Juanita, his first mate and number one supporter. They had cruised the Columbia River numerous times and had made the Snake-Columbia run twice. It is because of them I moved Shatoosh to the Columbia River. My good buddy, Too Tall Tom, owned an Albin 25 and berthed his boat near Shatoosh at Oxbow Marina. Between Conrad, Juanita, and Too Tall, we had a grand time messing with our boats, working on projects and joining together for some delicious striper dinners. One day I asked Too Tall, would he consider hauling Shatoosh to the Columbia River on his trailer? He agreed, and in 2003, we departed Oxbow Marina in the dark of morning, and headed north up I-5. The next afternoon, Shatoosh was floating in her new slip in Oregon.

Someone asked me the other day, how many rivers are navigable on the west coast? I didn't know the number. So, I got all my chart books and started making my list of all of the ones I have cruised, thus far, in Shatoosh.

Navigable Rivers, Sloughs and Channels on the West Coast

San Rafael Creek
Petaluma River
Napa River
Montezuma Slough
Middle River
Whiskey Slough
Turner Cut
Old River
San Joaquin River
Dutch Slough
Taylor Slough
False River
3 Mile Slough
7 Mile Slough
14 Mile Slough
Horseshoe Bend
Mokelumne River
South Fork of the Mokelumne River
North Mokelumne River
Connection Slough
Little Potato Slough
Potato Slough
Columbia Cut
Disappointment Slough
White Slough
Bishop Cut
Cache Slough
Steamboat Slough
Sacramento River to mouth of the American and Feather Rivers
Georgiana Slough
Snodgrass Slough
Beaver Slough
Hog Slough
Sycamore Slough
Lindsay Slough
Shag Slough
Prospect Slough
Miner Slough
Meadow Slough
Lost Slough
Delta Cross Channel
Cosumnes River Frank's Tract
Total: 43

Washington and Oregon
Columbia River To Bonneville Dam
Willamette River to Ash Island
Lake River
Steamboat Slough
Carrol's Channel
Westport Slough
Blind Slough
Echloman Slough
North Channel
Prairie Channel
Warren Slough
Knappa Slough
Martin Slough
Burke Slough
Wallace Slough
Clakskanie River
Beaver Slough
Bradbury Slough
Cathlamet Channel
Clifton Slough
Calender Slough
Skipanon River

Total: 22
Grand Total: 65

As 2009 is winding down, I look optimistically at 2010, in which, I will have Shatoosh trailered/trucked over to Idaho and we will ride down the final leg of my dream: the Snake River and the upper Columbia River back to her home port of Scappoose. At which point the dream will be full filled. What an incredible ride it has been. It is said that there are over a 1,000 miles of waterways in the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta. When I bought Shatoosh, she had 50 hrs on a new engine and now I have 1522 hrs. That's a lot of cruising on lots of rivers. I wonder what the next decade will reveal to me and how the dreams will manifest. But one thing is certain, there are more Adventures of Shatoosh and Pashmina to come.

Thank you, Conrad, Juanita, Too Tall, and Mr. Moon for planting seeds that I have nurtured for a decade. My serenity tank is over flowing.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Albin Genealogy

When I bought Shatoosh, her name was Rayanna, for her owners Ray and Anna, however there was lots of evidence on board that that she had other names, other owners and other places she docked. An old cushion said High Life, a brass plaque saying Stockton Yacht Club Opening Day Regatta and papers with names of haul out yards listing different names.

Years ago a man named Mickey called me. He used to own Albin boats of various vintages and was one of the first buyers of an Albin in the Bay area. He had an old membership list from one of the Albin clubs in the bay area. This is what he shared with me. The Albin25 was being sold by the dealers, Bauman Brothers and Dick Miller of Sausalito.

In Feb, 1975, Hull Number 1124, built in 1972, was owned by Robert Vallerga of Los Gatos, CA and was named Sea Horse. In 1993, her name was High Life and she was owned by a fireman by the name of Hill who lived in Stockton. In 1993, she was bought by Ray Sarlin of Sausalito and he named her Rayanna and in Dec 1999, I bought HN 1124 and changed her name to Shatoosh. I berthed her at the Napa Valley Marina, then, Oxbow Marina on the Georgiana Slough, near Isleton,CA, and after trailering her to Oregon she started at McCuddy's Marina, Scappoose OR and is currently berthed at Scappoose Moorage in Scappoose, OR.

The names of Shatoosh and Pashmina are unusual and I am often asked the meanings of their names. Shatoosh and Pashmina are the finest wools in the world. The wool has been gathered for hundreds, if not thousands of years off the bushes in the Tibetan Highlands. In the late 90's the Chinese started killing all the goats and skinning the animals for their precious wool. The goats became endangered, so I wanted to honor the goats and their beautiful wool. I own many beautiful shawls and scarves made of these wools and they, along with my Albin are very precious to me. I love being wrapped in my Shatoosh shawl, just as I love being rocked by the gentle wave action of an Albin anchored in some protected cove or lagoon, as I lay in the v-berth reading a wonderful nautical novel. Both whisper soothing vibrations to my soul.

Do you know your Albin genealogy?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Anacortes WA and More Albins

I depart Orcas Island, WA before dawn on the first ferry to Anacortes. I took this photo yesterday while my long time friend Carol shows my house guest, Pene and I around the Theosophical Camp, Indralaya. It is situated along East Sound going into the Village of Eastsound. Carol's grandparents were among the first members. It is a magical place and this picture gives you a glimpse into the beauty of the San Juan Islands. If you have never been there, it is worth the while to go.

Upon arriving on the mainland, as it is called. Actually this is a misnomer, as Anacaortes is on Fidalgo Island, but is connected to the mainland via a bridge over a very small river. I head to the marina area to explore. This is something I have never done as I am always making a bee line to catch a ferry or to hurry home. Not today, I am taking my time and I am going to wander around for as long, as my heart desires.

Right off the bat I see another Albin 25. I do have a magnetic attraction to them. This one has no name and is docked in the Port of Anacortes. It is also slightly in disrepair. There is a huge stainless steel boarding ladder in the cockpit, which would be handy to have, but storage would be a problem.

I go to another area and find some covered slips which I did not know existed. I venture into the marina office to check it out. The smallest slips are 32 ft and are, state of the art. The marina is located on the east side of the city and has a substantial breakwater for protection. This could be a very nice possibility for Shatoosh's next home. I'm finding covered slips in Washington are much more expensive than where Shatoosh is berthed. I am finding, also, the range of marina conditions vary considerably, within the same price range. I looked at some real run down places in Tacoma that cost as much as these do and they have fuses with knob and post wiring. Can you believe that?

I am amazed at the number of boats that are for sale in these huge storage areas. I drive around and see many nice vessels. Whoops, another storage area and another Albin. This one is in derelict condition as is the trailer. The tires are flat, and the trailer is rusted. This baby hasn't be in water or on asphalt in probably a decade. The vinyl name is almost gone, but the glue is readable: BOS 2. Such a shame to leave a boat to rot in some overgrown storage yard. It is the only boat there and the only other resident is a derelict RV. They probably wail at night, like the spirits of the lepers on Molokai. Misery loves company, so it is good they are together. I don't even think this one is possible to rehab.
My trip to Orcas has been wonderful. I have had a wonderful time being with old friends, meeting new ones and tracking down all these Albins.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

More on the Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain

I looked at the updated schedules of the Washington Tallships.

The Lady Washington is beginning to work her way up(Pasco) and down the Columbia River. You can join each daily leg, as little as $78.

The Hawaiian Chieftain departs soon heading south to the Bay Area and will return this spring.

If you are interested, check out their website listed below on this blog.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Friday Harbor Another Albin

I catch the small ferry, as a walk-on, at 1045 hrs. The morning is beautiful and blues skies. I can't ask for a better day. My mission today is check my friend's Albin Lit'l Bit. As I am walking down the dock and have her in my sights, my cell phone rings and it is Jo from the Big Island of Hawaii. I give her a quick assessment; it is still floating, not listing, and the dinghy is on the stern and the kayaks on top. It needs a good scrubbing inside and out. The bilge is dry. It turns out Jo is coming later this week to go cruising. She'll have her work cut out for her.

I walk the docks and see several interesting boats:

This is a standard design that I like;
flush deck, tumble home stern, pilot house. Nice and clean lines.

Similar lines. I like this.

From a distance I thought this was Baten, a Jay Benford design, which my friends Andy and Rae had built in the 70's. But it turned out to be a Devilan design which is very similar. Also a flush deck with a pilot house. This is about 18 feet long.

What fun! Just hanging around the docks.

Monday, October 5, 2009

West Sound Marina and Albins

I went back to Harmony and left a note in the cabin for the new owner. Perhaps I will hear from him before I depart the island. Next I go to West Sound Marina as I know of another Albin there. It is Midgard, once owned by Leslie. I made a trip with her to Rolf's Cove on Matia Island, which is north of Orcas, several years ago. It is a basic old design. I know the current owners are members of the Albineers. I'll have to write them when I return. I can't recall their last names.
As I look at all the Albins I can see how good Shatoosh has been maintained. It is also clear how helpful it is to keep your boat in a covered slip or boat house. Shatoosh has been under cover since 2000 and it really pays off. My friend Jo lives in Hawaii but has her Albin over in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Maybe I will go over tomorrow on the ferry and check her out.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Walking The Docks

After filling the bird feeders and watching the raccoon climb the tree and get spread eagle on all the branches so that he can eat one half of the bird feed, I decide its time to get back down to the waters edge. Yesterday Captain Dan tells me there is an Albin at his marina and they also have a new boat, an old Navy launch that they are re-doing.
I head over to Deer Harbor and walk out on the docks at Cayou Quay Marina. The first boat you come to is an Albin named Harmony. I'm surprised to see her in WA, as I know this boat very well from the Sacramento delta. It belonged to John Hughes. He fabricated his hard top and folding bench seat after mine. He had moved to Oregon and had his boat on the market for some time. Walah!! Its here in WA and in Deer Harbor, of all places. Dan, didn't know the owner and I don't recall the boat being in the Albineers with this new owner. I notice that it not registered in WA, as of yet, and it is needing a lot of maintenance.

I see the Orca Express and the new boat on the outer docks, so amble over there, seeing a nice little Flicka 20 and Pacific Seacraft 25 along the way. There is also a Nauticat which would be a great live-aboard vessel. Captain Dan is onboard the new boat the Pelican. Wow, they have done lots of work and she is looking primo with the green hull and tan and black accent colors. I climb up on Orcas Express to get a good shot.
Later I head back to the ferry landing and check in with Denise again to spend some time with her. She updates me on all her work with restoring the Patos Island Lighthouse and that she has just received the new applications for Washington Lighthouses special license plates. The Orca Express also does a Lighthouse Cruise taking you to 4 different lighthouse in San Juan County.
You can read about it on their website.
For information on the Lighthouse Plates go to http://www.lighthouseplate.wsu.edu/

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Orcas Island Eclipse Charters

I decide rather quickly to run back down the mountain and pick up a few items at the Orcas Ferry Landing Store. I see my old friend, the Orca Express ready to take off for a whale watching cruise. Suddenly, Denise, the owner asks if I want to go and I say, yes without one second of hesitation. She tells me to get my car and park in on the docking area and I can pay later. She lets her husband, Captain Dan know and he holds the departure for me.

I have gone on their whale watching boat numerous times, maybe about 8 times now They always remember me and Dan asks, "where have you been"? I was wondering if you were going to show this year. He is an Albin fan, to boot, so that makes him special in my eyes.

This is one very well equipped boat. It doesn't matter that I don't have gloves, hat, coat, or binoculars. They have them for all their guests. I don gloves and hat, while my pullover will be fine. The wind is crisp and the sun is out in all her glory. He heads out east around Shaw Island and then points the bow towards Cattle Point Light House and into the Straits of Juan de Fuca we go. I'm back in the straits again, thinking of the Lady Washington, as it was just 3 weeks ago that we set sail from Port Townsend. This time we are on the north side of the straits heading northwest and hopeful the whales will still be in the area.

It is slow sighting in the beginning, but the show begins to pick up with J-pod, the local pod, displaying they are still around and having fun. Deb is the naturalist on board and can recognize even the littlest--J45 being born this past February. She is with her mother, her 2 brothers and they all descend from Granny who is 98 years old this year.There is tail slapping, spy hopping, breaching and a new sight for me. A young, male surfaces very close swimming on his back revealing his generative organ to us all. A flashing orca whale.The whales swim towards us surfacing numerous times and then swim barely underwater so we can see where they are located and rise to the surface right in front of us. This happens numerous times. What a privilege to get to see these magnificent creatures. After a great afternoon we begin our journey back to Orcas Island.

We stop at Whale Rocks, inside of Cattle Point, to see all the Stellar Sea Lions stacked on top of each other. I make the run home in the pilot house talking with Captain Dan until we arrive back at Orcas at 1600hrs. What a great opportunity, as I thought yesterday they were probably shut down for the season.

If you ever visit Orcas Island you must take a trip on the Orca Express. See link below. http://www.orcasislandwhales.com/

Total run 35nm

Blogging From Mt Woolard, Orcas Island, WA

I'm perched high atop Mt. Woolard over looking the many islands of the San Juans, the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island. A golden eagle flew over the deck and its reflection on the patio sliding doors forced me to bolt from my easy chair to get a glimpse. I'm house sitting for my octogenarian friends who are off traveling. This is a tough job and I'm always up to the challenge.

After my military career, I retired to Orcas Island and have been coming to the islands for over 25 years. I owned Sabra, my wonderful Swan 36 and also bought a cute little 23 foot Vashon Island Pocket Cruiser, named Shakti, so I could go gunkholing. I have many wonderful cruising memories of these islands. I always have such a wonderful time when I am here.

My recent crew, Constance or Con just wrote me a nice email which she has agreed to share with everyone. She states, "many thoughts and memories continue to emerge from my time spent on the river. It helped to be focused and one-pointed as required by the duty\ies and tasks of our boat experience. Each new learning/instruction helped to claim the insight I'd care to share:

As I opened myself to even taking the trip with Hira, I intellectually knew that I'd be leaving the confines of what I find comfortable and secure. Each day brought a continued event involving learning/teaching/expanding into unknown territory. As a result of going with the flow literally and figuratively, I experienced a "crack", an "opening" into the creative process that I had been blanketed by my career activities in the school district. I felt the possibility and yes, the urge, to paint again, to write again. It was at once, a healing of the spiritual and creative within. Thanks to the pull of so much nature's ebb and flow, I became one with our environment, our daily lives and the self within. What a fine-tuning Hira provided with the help of Shatoosh, Pashmina and several elements of nature all at once!!!"

Thanks Con for the sharing and taking the step to move out of your comfort zone. It is always so liberating to be in a new place. Always changing, always expanding, always grateful.