Saturday, February 27, 2010

Back On Board

I return to Shatoosh yesterday, after first stopping at Hayden island(Portland), to pick up some ordered volvo engine parts. It rained the whole way down Interstate-5. My spirits were not dampened with the rain and I preceeded to tackle my "to-do list". On my list is to troubleshoot this intereference with the gps-seaclear program that I was experiencing. Dan, my mentor on this project, has sent me information to help. I re-wire the whole system with connectors this time. Sometime this weekend, when we get a weather break, I will take her out from the covered slip and see how she is working, or see if she is working.

On monday I will cruise over to Hayden island and have my oil changed at Schooner Creek Boatworks. This is a first with me, as my mechanic, Mike just took over as yard manager for this long time boat building company. My journey will be going up the multnomah channel for 9 miles, then head down the Willamette River for about 3 miles, after which, I'll go up the Columbia River for about 3 miles and pull into their docks. Tuesday the work will be done and I'll head back to Scappoose.

Other items:
1.  Put on new Air filter for engine.
2.  Bilge pump float switch project
3.  Clean fresh water tank and partially fill.
4.  Stabilize laptop tray to nav tray.
5.  Ace Hardware mega sale day..I've brought my list from home/boat.
6.  Have fun.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Heading Home

Monday 22 February 2010

I awoke this morning on my own, there were no blasts from the hunter's guns. However, it was still a frost filled morning, clear blue sky and the thermometer in the cockpit read 32, the cabin read 42 and the inside of my down bag read 80. I lingered, bundled up, savoring my hot coffee. Since I don't routinely carry an ice scraper on the boat, I'll have to wait until the sun melts the windows, before I venture away from the dock.

I'm excited to start my trip back using my new system, but as soon as I turn it on the GPS is sending static energy into the program. It is jumping all over the screen and nothing is working, not even the mouse. After several attempts to make something happen, I turn the whole thing off. I'll have to deal with it on another day.

Yesterday at twilight, I noticed 4 ospreys flying up the river. Wow, they are in their returning migaration. I'm told they winter in south america. These birds may be the  front flyers. I looked the river for them this morning on my return home but saw none. I did see 5 eagles, and herons building their nests. The Great Blues start early and cluster their nests in a group of trees, creating Rookeries( nurseries for herons). Having anchored under rookeries,in such places as the Meadows in the delta, I recall the non-stop noise of the youngsters screaming constantly for their supper.
Later, I drove into Portland, on Hayden island to buy some Volvo parts and to set up an appointment with my mechanic, then made my way back home. I'll be back next week for another adventure.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Busy As A Beaver

The sound of hunting guns awake me before 0700. I lie in my warm down bag and wonder why guys like to shoot beautiful canada geese. I get up and see ice on the windows/deck and the cockpit temperature is 34 degrees. After a mug of hot coffee, I decide to walk part of the island; the lower end. Mid way across I see a set of deer tracks going in both directons. The island is devoid of leaves and has been mowed, so visiblity is good. No deer sightings, but I can hear all the geese and sandhill cranes honking and cackling over on Sauvie Island, the wildlife refuge.

There is one large trawler docked on the west side of the island. Many of the large leaning cottonwood trees have been removed, as in past years it has been known for some to fall towards the docks crushing boats.
I head out on the downriver trail and see my first beaver action. A freshly chewed tree beaming with the dawn's sun on it. Isn't nature just magical? Last September we noted many beaver swimming along this shore, so it looks as though they have spent the winter here. And busy they have been from looking at all the downed trees.

The day is beautiful and begins to warm up, gettinng to 70 degrees in the cockpit by late afternoon. I wash Shatoosh off with river water, clean the galley, and decide to tackle that anchor light again. My dock friends on the 33 ft Nauticat have showed me around their beautiful boat and we are talking about LED lights. I tell him my problems about opening it up. So, together we get it open and I discover the bulb is a festoon type which I don't believe can be changed over to a LED, but will find out. I clean the inside of all the spider webs and have a hard time getting it back together. Now, I know about the anchor light and, also know, I am filled with perseverence, patience and fortitude.

Orion, the Nauticat, has a beautiful log book cover made of sapeale wood with a brass plate on it saying Weems and Plath. He got it from West Marine. It is very unique so asked if I could take a picture. Sapeale wood is the wood that is in Shatoosh. It is banded or striated giving it an interesting look. Another noteable items is the laser carved ship inside the paper weight. From every angle you can see the different shape of the ship. My favorite was looking from abaft the beam.

With the sun shinning and no wind, the eagles gave us quite a show with up to 10 flying overhead, as many as 5 in the trees, whistling quite some interesting conversations to each other. Then the flocks of trumpeter swans came flying in along with hundreds of geese. It was quite the show. The sun is setting behind Coon again and I have had a delightful day. There is nothing like being on a boat and doing all the boating things.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Frustrating 2 Days, But Coon Island Revives My Spirits

 I came down to Shatoosh on Thursday afternoon to glorious blue skies with a 4 day window of opportunity.
I can see Mt St Helens, Mt Adams and  Mt Hood clearly. The other day a Mt St Helens climber had reached the summit and taken his pack off and removed a layer of clothing. His climbing partners were going to take his photo and as he was stepping backwards a large snow cornice broke away carrying him over 1700 ft to the inside of the crater floor. They threw him his pack, but with several chopper attempts and night falling, he had to stay on the mountain  until the next day. They recovered his body the next day. He had climbed the mountain over 50 times. I reflected on this event, as I looked at St Helens, and know his family is suffering his tragic loss. I climbed St Helens in 1967, long before its eruption and it was on a sunny day like today.

The workers have been busy replacing the floatation to the old docks. I wonder what they do with all these blocks? Can they be recycled? It would take ions to desinegrate.

After stowing many newly purchases items from an abundant Santa's list. My new LED goose neck 110 light works well and is much better than my old one. My new sun shower needed modifications made, such as a longer shower hose, which I changed last week. My new boat vacum found a nice nesting space in the starboard flooring locker. New books found perfect slots in my library. I even found Ann Gash's book, "A Star To Steer Her By" at Jean's house in El Paso. Remember she is our"sailing granny of australia", who we met in Hawaii. I put her book next to Ben's book, as they had become fast friends, while we were anchored in Hanalei Bay, Kuaui back in the late 70's.

My frustrations started back at my anchor light. I had spoken with a representative, as they never responded to my email, and they stated to open the light encasement just twist the upper section from the base. I put some wd 40 around the edge and twisted with rubber gloves to no avail. I finally gave up on that project and will be content, not having an LED anchor light.

I unclipped my flags for the winter using my favorite little scissors and after I returned to the cockpit I could not find them anywhere. Where had they gone?  After some time I gave up  looking any more. Next, I tried to find my oil filter remover- I have 2-, but after looking for them through 4 lockers I couldn't find them. I do not know where they are. Has someone been on board and started hiding everything or am I becoming forgetful? Gosh, I hope not. I was suscessful at replacing a lost canvas snap. Hurray, things are looking up. I head into Scappoose and have a very late lunch/early dinner at the Mexican Restaurant. I take some inventories of on board supplies/engine parts and pull together all my Snake and Columbia river articles/booklets/maps for the Lewis and Clark expedition.

I'm up early and have breakfast at Ichabods in Scappoose, then stop at the grocery store to buy a few things for this weekend. I decide to go to Coon island, only 4 miles down river, so I can test out my SeaClear Program with my HP mini. I pull out from under the covered slip and I am  not getting a signal from the GPS.
I just let it be and watch 4 eagles fly up and down the river. The Sandhill Cranes and Canada Geese are making quite a bit of ruckus over on Savie Island. The river is loaded with commorants, the Blue Herons are looking like they might be building some nests and the Ospreys have not returned. There are lots of boats at Coon already, so I select a spot next to a beautiful Nauticat 33. I start on my wiring problem, troubleshooting all the wires from the GPS, Radar and computer as they are all connected. I take them all apart and start over. The wires from the computer are very small and delicate. It is a trial of patience and persistence and after 3 hours I have everything working again, with better connections. I really need to solder them, but because the cramped electrical panel and working length of wires I would not be able to do it by myself. so for now, it will have to do. I am happy that I succeeded in something. And by the way, I found my scissors lodged between the cockpit cushion and coaming.

The sun has set behind the west side of Coon Island. I watch the four eagles head back up river. Darkness has set in and my dock mates continue to run their generator for over 3 hours now. I've missed hearing the coyotes with all this noise. My espar has warmed the cockpit and forecabin and I have a light dinner of salami and cheese, washed down with a green drink/electrolytes and followed up with a mug of hot tea. I love being on the water and look forward to another sunny day.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Albins Around the World

I have just heard from Andreas Ghafour who owns DIDO, an albin 25.
He writes,"Hira,I went through major parts of your blog. What a pleasurable experience! Journeys within journeys. I’ve linked your blog to my Albin-website, if you don’t mind.
Regards from Vienna, Austria, where spring is lurking around, waiting for its chance."

A25AK #1178 DIDO

Andreas, while keeping Dido on the Danube, he takes her over to the Adriatic Sea for summer time cruising. How fun would that be...all that beautiful blue water. Take a look at his website, as there are hundreds of photos of Albins in Europe. Enjoy this site, it is great.

More from the snowy North:

Hi Hira
"I am following your blog from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. I have an Albin 25 hull number (can't find it in my log book and the boat is outside on a trailer covered by at least 3 tarps and lashed against the snowy winter weather) and vintage 1975. I cruise the waters within 100 miles of Thunder Bay which includes Isle Royale National Park ( in the State of Michigan and in Lake Superior) and a good part of the north shore of Lake Superior in Canada.
You are a bit more adventuresome than I am so keep up the good work on your blog. I spend my frozen winters following the exploits of other cruisers. I have all the charts on my computer so can easily relate.
Hope you are seeing some of the Olympics in Vancouver. We are glued to it - especially hockey and curling."

Bob L.

Bob emailed me today and noted an error in my previous posting. The corrections have been made. Thanks Bob, I do appreciate the help, whether it be nautical or editorial.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Planning Booklet Is Complete

Snake River
1. Lower Granite Dam Statue mile marker- sm 106
2. Little Goose Dam sm 70
3. Lower Monument Dam sm 42
4. Ice Harbor Dam sm 10

Snake River Marinas
1. Hells Canyon sm 137
2. Boyer marina sm 105
3. Lyon's Ferry sm 60
4. Fishook sm 18
5. Charbonneau sm 11

Columbia River
1. McNary Dam sm 294
2. John Day Dam sm 216
3. The Dalles Dam sm 192
4. Bonneville Dam sm 145

Columbia River Marinas
1. Metz Marina Kinnewick, Wa sm 329
2. Umatilla sm 290
3. Crow Butte 263
4. Arlington sm 245
5. John Day River- Philippi Park sm 220
6. The Dalles sm 190
7. Hood River sm 170
8. Cascade Locks sm 150
9. Beacon Rock sm 141
10. Government Island sm 115
11. Scappoose Moorage on the Multnomah Channel

These 2 drawings give me a big picture over view of the trip. Without flipping through pages of charts, pages of reference books, I can take a quick look and see important things like on the Snake river there is only one marina that sells diesel, 3 marinas with pump-outs for the head(toilet). While, on the Columbia there is a long stretch of over a 120 miles between Umatilla and Hood River fuel stops. Shatoosh has a 200 mile range on her meager fuel tank. These are important things to know when planning and is easily seen in these pictures.

The mileage markers are in statute miles and 0 sm is measured from the mouth of the Columbia as it enters the Pacific ocean. 0 sm is measured at the mouth of the Snake as it enters the Columbia River. The mileage markers are stamped on the nautical charts, but listed, strangely, as statute miles(sm) rather than nautical miles(nm).
Since all navigation is done in nautical miles, it would make navigation easier if the markers were nautical miles. A statute mile is shorter than a nautical mile. We would never put nm on a road map, so why put sm on a nautical chart?

To convert statute miles & nautical miles: "Chapmans Piloting and Small Boat Handling" suggests:

statute miles x .87 = nautical miles

nautical miles x 1.15 = statute miles

In my planning book there are more detailed spreadsheets, showing all aspects of marina facilities, a list of way points and routes for entrance and exit of locks, routes to navigate shallow areas, how to lock through the dams, how to call the lock masters on the VHF radio, how to tie your vessel in the locks, to-do lists for preparing Shatoosh for long distance hauling on a trailer, spare parts list, on board supplies, and menu planning.

The more one prepares, the safer the trip will become. I am feeling well prepared today versus a month ago. I am ready to go, but the weather is still too cold and I forget it is still winter. Patience, my friend, patience I tell myself, but I am so excited.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Surprising Comment Greets Me This Morning

Hells Canyon said...

Good morning, Hira -
This blog is fascinating! You have a beautiful trip planned from Clarkston, WA to Scappoose Bay, OR. The gorge is most definitely a breathtaking piece of living history. You may also want to check out Hells Canyon (the deepest gorge in north America) when you arrive here in Clarkston. We can help you find several ways to see it by air and water.

We would love the opportunity to meet you and your crew when you begin your trip in our area. When are you planning to launch? We have a lot of information about what's happening in the area on our Facebook page (http://www.facebook/HellsCanyonVisitorBureau) and invite you to take a look, maybe even post a few images of your trip through our area so others can become acquainted with your blog - I think it's worth the share.

Please let us know if we can be of any assistance, and be sure to stop in when you arrive.


Boy, was I surprised! I don't know how they found my blog, but kudos to them. They certainly sound like they are on the ball. I had toyed with the thought of renting a jet boat excursion out of Hells Gate Marina while we were in the area and after looking at some of the ads, I feel that it will be a must to do. Several years ago, I rafted the Salmon and came down part of the Snake river, but hauled out above the Hell's Gate area. The whole area is really fascinating to explore. I am getting excited.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dam and Lock Waypoints and Routes

I spent a very busy day teaching myself how to create way points and routes specifically for the purpose of entering and exiting all of the 8 locks. Some are entered in the middle, some either to the right/left sides of the river. I printed up a hard copy of each one to go into my master notebook of information.

This is the Lower Granite Dam and Lock on the Snake River, which will be our first lock on our trip.

Dan, my friend on Whiskyjack, shares this information about websites that explain the cataclysmic activity that formed the gorge millions of years ago. "The Gorge has absolutely stunning beauty. Before you go, I think you should take some time to understand the Missoula Floods if you haven’t already done so because they are what shaped the Gorge. It makes the Wallula Gap an incredible piece of geology to think that all that water that moved through that very narrow opening. If you haven’t looked at these websites, you will find them quite interesting:"

I had been reading about the geology and the historic happenings at Wallula Gap. We will enter this area just after leaving the Snake-Columbia confluence. These websites are fascinating to view and as usual, Dan provides me with timely information to assimilate. Also, remember to go to the link at the bottom page, Columbia River Images and click on index> wallula gap, for instance and take a look at the photos they have and the history of the area. This site is a valuable tool to use to learn more about each area that I cruise.

I also hear from Carol Warren, an Albin 27 cruiser- husband and wife team from Florida, who have a blogsite that is most interesting. She is interested in following
my trip and has downloaded some charts to follow along. Her blog can be clicked on from my blog site area at the bottom of the blog: Always An Adventure in...Slow Motion.

I also hear from another old cruising buddy, Too Tall Tom. After hearing about making contact with Delta friends, Conrad and Juanita, he might just bring his little Arima up north from California and go cruising and has offered to help me on the trip. I can see how many summer cruising plans are being formulated and how the blog excites adventure in all of us.

Thanks again to all my readers, friends and family who support me in the adventures of Shatoosh and Pashmina.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Snake and Upper Columbia Rivers or Bust

Today is Valentine's Day and the loves of my life are Shatoosh and Pashmina. Together we make up a special team and have many adventures. I am making effort everyday to implement planning into my summer cruise. The culmination of a decade of cruising on Shatoosh starting first in the Bay area, the Bay rivers, the Sacramento and San Joaquin Delta, the Lower Columbia, the Willamette and finally the Upper Columbia and Snake Rivers. As I have mentioned before in this blog, by the completion of this trip I will have cruised all the navigable rivers on the West Coast, approximately 70. There may be a few I have missed, but I doubt it.

All the needed charts are installed into my HP mini net book and SEACLEAR II is reading them well and I am becoming more familiar with all the features of this wonderful and free program. I have compiled over 80 charts into 5 groups; 1. is for the Snake and Upper Columbia, 2. is for the Lower Columbia-Bonneville dam to Astoria, 3. is for the Washington Coast, 4. is for the Straits of Juan de Fuca to Olympia and 5. is for the San Juan and the Gulf Islands. Next, I will be creating waypoints that will be saved and used for navigating. Marinas have been selected based on fuel, pump-out,ice and food needs and have been logged in as "positions".

Crew members have been selected: Joyce, my ole sailing buddy from Hawaiian/Delta/Columbia River days and Ann, from many trips on Shatoosh and recently from our trip on the Lady Washington. Linda, is considering following us in her RV Roadtrek and swapping off crew for some river time.

I have decided to have a trucking company(Norgard) haul Shatoosh. While it will be more costly, it will be far simpler. We will haul out in Scappoose Bay, Oregon about 9 nm downriver from the marina where we berth. We will launch on the Snake River at Clarkston,WA/ Lewiston,ID. The Snake being 140 miles to Clarkston-Lewiston. The Columbia from Portland to the Snake is 225 miles for a total of 356 miles.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Persistence Pays Off

11 Feb 2010: Thursday

Yesterday I decided to see what was available for search engines to find my long-lost friends from the Delta, Conrad and Juanita. I have been through this process many times before since 2007, when I lost track of them.

Bonanza, I was able to connect with a family member in California and leave my phone number. It is a miracle to find a relative and not be able to find the individuals I was looking for. This morning they called me and what a joyous reunion we had on the phone. They told me several days ago they felt I must be looking for them as they felt me in their presence. No kidding. Life continues to be full of miracles.

They live up in Snake River Country during the summer months. How convenient is this? We will definitely have to rendezvous sometime this summer. What wonderful timing and I am glad that I continued searching.

Go to Archive section dated 26 July 2008 to read about my Fabulous Crew Conrad and Juanita.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Planning Continues

10 Feb 2010

I have been very busy with planning for my summer adventure of running down the Snake and upper Columbia rivers. I spoke with my nautical guru, Captain Dan on the Whiskyjack, about adding new charts to my SeaClear program. I was having problems remembering how to get them auto calibrated. True to form he came through, again, with valuable information that I have written down and am keeping it in a safe place for future use.

There is nothing like having usable information. Armed with fresh knowledge I set forth collecting all the NOAA charts from the Snake river down to the Bonneville Dam and calibrating them. Now my HP mini is loaded and the charts are viewable. This is just the greatest success.

In addition to those charts, I added all the puget sound/san juan island and gulf island charts.I have also narrowed my choices of marinas in the Puget Sound area for when I bring Shatoosh "up north", as they say.