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.