Saturday, May 29, 2010

More Blog Admirers & Blessings for Our Trip

Andreas, an Albin  owner in Vienna, Austria writes on his albin website: (

"Should you be interested in the stories of one who practically lives on an Albin 25 cruising across the US then have a look onto Hira's blog. Fantastically written, completed by picturesque photos, Hira shares her adventures with Shatoosh and Pashmina, her Albin 25 and her dinghy. I am sure you will get not only great insights in US inland waterways but also the people and the nature passing on the river banks. Her blog is both entertaining and documentary, I like it!
Hira, may you have a palm of water underneath your keel always, as we use to say here!"


Jill Koch from Beamers Jet Boat Tours in Clarkston, WA comments:
"Fair winds and following sea's to you and your crew, Hira!"

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A New Albin Owner in Sweden

Hi Hira.

My wife and I began dreaming about buying a motorboat less than a month ago and this past weekend we bought an Albin 25 - just like that! And when browsing the Internet for more info on the old classic Swedish boat I came across your wonderful blog and have spent quite some time reading about your adventures on Shatoosh.
We are planning for our first weekend trip as we speak and hope that our 1975-model will behave well. We have been paddling sea kayaks for many years so this is our first motor boat. And since we are used to paddling speeds like 1 knot we are very happy with the 7-8 knots that our Albin is doing.

Med vänlig hälsning
Bjørn Aadnøy
Gråkullevägen 75, 444 47 STENUNGSUND, Sweden

Isn't this wonderful? Our little Albins certainly impact our lives and give us such great adventures. Good cruising to you Bjorn and it is always nice to know the blog is creating its magic worldwide. Thank you everyone who reads and enjoys it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Good News

18 days til haul-out:

Too Tall Tom called from California and he has decided to join us on the Snake River Trip. This will be fun for all of us. As he said, "Girls Just Like To Have Fun".  Reminds me of Cindy Lauper's famous song. I sent him a copy of my planner booklet. He is in full ahead gear now. I bought all my non-perishables today.

Too Tall in his Albin 25, Skol on the Sacramento River.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Stores Inventory

I'm home again and spend some time this morning updating my stores inventory of Shatoosh. A list I made many years ago with alphabetical listing of food items/ current level/ and need level. The final list is what I take to the grocery store with me.

This list I have color coded the items I will get ahead of time, leaving the rest of the list to shop prior to departure.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pashmina Goes Beddy-Bye

After last night with the Sea Lion looking for salmon, my dock neighbors were bright eyed and bushy tailed awakening me at 0530 hrs. They were weigh-laid a bit as they had to pull large pieces of wood from their jet pump drive. I had noticed it last week after they were out and thought it funny they didn't tend to it. Then a few minutes after they had arrived and gotten things stowed I heard, " Holy S..t". I sat up in bed and saw them turning the boat around in the slip where for 30 minutes they extricated the wood pieces. Off they went in search of the salmon.

Pashmina gets stowed on the cabin trunk for a while, as we will put her in the cockpit when traveling up to Clarkston, Wa. I didn't take the floor slats out, so it is rather bulky.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Double Digit Count Down

My countdown to the Snake is in double digits: 22 days until haulout. The rain squalls continue throughout the day and night, but this doesn't deter me from moving through my To-Do List.
I go through my engine very carefully checking everything from hose clamps, fluids, belts, looking for leaks, wear, etc. My Volvo MD 2030 B is looking good and now has over 1500 hrs. When I bought Shatoosh the new engine had 50 hrs on her. She is as clean as the day I got her.

My new house batteries are working well. I checked the charge on my emergency starting battery and it is up to par.

I have 3 different sizes of anchors and rode on board, so decide to take the lunch hook and rode as a back up system and will also take the 3rd rode, just in case. You can always use an extra line. I vacuumed all the dirt out of the carpets, nooks and crannies. Cleaned the icebox and frig. Removed the stove and cleaned it.
Prepared the aft cabin for Ann, my Snake River Crew, caulked the leaky windows,

I've been in contact with my old buddy, Too Tall Tom, and he is almost convinced to trailer his little Arima 16 footer up from California and follow along with us. It would be delightful to have him and he is so funny that it would take all the seriousness out of me. Hope he comes. Too Tall trailered Shatoosh up to the Columbia for me when he had an Albin 25 and trailer. I'll keep my fingers crossed. Oh, by the way, everyone calls him Too Tall, as he is 6 ft. 5 in. I laugh to myself when I think of him sleeping in a 16 foot boat. If he comes I'll be sure to take a picture of this.

Long after I have secured the boat for the evening, my heater is on and the v berths nice and cozy, I hear a loud barking coming close to the boat, then moving away. This has gone on for several hours, so as the sound returns to the stern, I throw some clothes on, get my light and jump onto the dock. Sure enough it is a huge sea lion, swimming back and forth, snorting for a new breath and barking his head off. This is the first time I have even seen them in the marina. Don't you just love all this wildlife?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sauvie Island Exploration

21 May 2010 Friday
Another rainy day, so without hesitation, I drive into Portland to West Marine and turn in my old batteries and then head to the Marine Exchange to see if there is anything I might need. On the way back to the marina in Scappoose I take a little side trip to visit the interior parts of Sauvie Island which I haven't seen.

The natives here refer to Sauvie Island as the largest island in fresh water in the USA. I often repeat that statement, but have never challenged it, for its truth. Last night I went online and the largest fresh water island is Isle Royal, MI in Lake Superior. Other large islands in the USA mentioned are, of course, in salt water; Kodiak Island in Alaska, Padre Island in Texas, Long Island in New York, and our beautiful Whidbey Island in Washington state. It is certainly safe to say that Sauvie Island is the largest island on the Columbia River, the largest on the west coast and probably the largest west of the Mississippi River.

Lewis and Clarke called it Wapato Island for its wapato roots that sustained the native Indian population and fed them as well. Check out the history of this island on the Columbia River Images Link below. The island lies on a north and south axis with the Columbia River on the east side, the Willlamette River on the south end and the Multnomah Channel on the west side. The downriver or north end of the island is a huge wildlife refuge with many lakes, marches, ponds and ditches. While the South end is comprised of many beautiful farms, ranches and nurseries. The island is flat and you share the roads with many bikers in the summer, but today I was all alone. There are 2 rv parks, numerous beach areas(some clothing free) and many hiking trails and plenty of porta potties.
Several osprey nesting poles have been put up and all had mothers sitting on eggs.

The Portland Yacht Club has its out station Willow Bar, but they don't honor reciprocal privileges. This is located on the Columbia River side of the island and is on a small slough with a tricky entrance. I have cruised past this entrance numerous times, but this is a first to see it from land. there is a small rv park, coffee shop/grocery store located on the other side of the road.

My side excursion today was fun and I got to see many birds; flickers, gold finches, tohees, Great Blues, Ospreys, Eagles, and Canada Geese. The farms are beautiful and the island is well managed. Sauvie Island is a very special island and while not the largest, it certainly ranks as very special to the local islanders I spoke with in the Reeder Rv Park and Grocery store.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Half Circumnaviagtion of Sauvie Island--A First For Carol

Wednesday 19 May 2010

We awake to beautiful blue skies. The morning weather report: Clearing in the AM with afternoon rain squalls and 25-30 k winds from the SE, gusting to 45-50k. By 0930 we are out of the slip, heading up the Multnomah Channel( slough) slowly meandering past all the floating homes and marinas. We leave all that to our stern and enter the quiet countryside and point Shatoosh's bow the next bend in the river where there is a wonderful eagle's nest. We see papa eagle high in the sky and slow down so we can see the nest which is densely camouflaged by the cottonwood branches and leaves. But there it is and mama eagle is tending to her egg. I enjoy this scene over and over each year, as I make my pass. I can never tire of it. We try to see the Great Blue Heron rookeries, but the foliage is too dense. In February there were about 30 nests being constructed by the birds.

We bypass Hadley's Landing, and continue up river seeing  more floating homes, haul out marinas and
old boats until we reach the Willamette River. Carol gets to see how the Willamette River flows into the Columbia  as it passes the upper end of Sauvie Island. She gets an interesting photo of Mt Hood with cloud covering, as though it was a Shatoosh or Pashmina Shawl, wrapped around her shoulders.We have now cruised the length of Sauvie Island or half of a circumnavigation of the island. Another first for my crew.
The doors close on our lovely weather break, as a rain storm begins to dump its water on us. The wind is picking up, so we high tail it back to Hadleys landing and tie up to weather the storm. We have high hopes that another break will take place. It is noon and we are just in time for lunch. Carol takes a little snooze, I read some trip literature and when there is a minor break I readjust the dock lines, as we haven't been hit with the big winds yet. It was a good move on my part ,as a short time later, we are knocked with the biggest winds I have experienced on this part of the river. The spew is being blown off the waves as torrents of rain descend from the black clouds. This storm moves through fast and Carol is up ready for a walk. I wash my hair and finish studying my Sea Clear program manual.
A must: clean your muddy shoes before returning to cockpit!
We depart Hadleys at 1600hrs and slow down at my eagles point. Mama is still nesting and the cottonwoods are blowing in the wind.  We make several circles to view and stay clear of the gravel barge coming up river. The tug is the Nancy Lee and, interestingly, she carries on her stern a small camper trailer, perhaps where the captain or crew sleeps? I always put my crew in the stern aft cabin.

As we make our last stretch of the river the winds begin to build again, while the seas are gentle, but by the time we get to the marina we have big wind and seas.

Carol, now a well seasoned crew, secures the curtain flap open, the fenders down and I steer Shatoosh between the splashing waves on the docks to rest peacefully in her protected berth. The wind is howling, the tin roof is scraping and flapping on the edges. The universe has provided us with many windows of opportunity today and we have taken advantage of them all and even weathered the stormy sides, as well.

Carol runs into town to get a few more veggies which forces me to have another first of my own. I'm having to cook on 3 burners, 2 alcohol and one electric.

We have dinner in the cockpit, tea and ginger snaps in the v-berth before heading to bed.

Another Shatoosh Adventure is under our belt, a new crew member, who is always welcome to join us, anytime she can find time, is added to my favorite's list. Thanks Carol, for joining us for a sampler cruise.
She looks like she had a good time.

see Columbia River Images for history of Sauvie Island.
Today's run: 17.9 nm
Total run: 58.6 nm

Numerous Line Squalls Bring Change to Our Schedule

Tuesday 18 May 2010
2 Bulls On Shore--2 Taurus' On Shatoosh

We have a leisurely morning with numerous rain showers. We watch the Great Blue Heron as he ambles down the dock towards us and the 2 bulls show up in the meadow, spending quite some time head butting each other. Noaa states  scattered showers throughout the day, but clearing some in the afternoon. We depart at 1230 hrs, but by the time we are on the Columbia there is a downpour; the tide is ebbing, the wind and the current are on our bow. Despite all this the river is pretty flat. We make our way over to pass Goat Island on our starboard side, but with the blinding rain we can hardly see anything. We are barely making 5 knots. By the time we clear Goat Island on our stern the weather clears and we see many Ospreys, a few Canada Geese. All the ospreys are making nests and mothers are sitting on her egg/eggs. We make Saint Helens at 1400 hrs, and have clear skies again. Carol is quite the hiker/walker so she heads up the road to get a few supplies at the local grocery store, after we visit a few of the remaining shops in town. I get a latte at the art gallery and return to Shatoosh to do a few chores. The new tarp covering Pashmina is full of water, so I dump that, retie the ropes, and carry all the trash in the dumpster on shore. I play with the sea clear program until Carol returns. It is looking like another squall is coming through, so we untie the dock lines and head towards our next destination of Coon Island. We take delight in seeing the kingfishers along the slough, the water Irsis' in bloom next to logs, pink rose vines in the trees and of course, the osprey and eagles flying overhead. At 1715, we arrive at Coon Island with another rain break. We hike the island and I share with Carol all the beaver activity and their felled trees. We even find a trail along the steep west side that they have been using to gain access to the island. The pink roses are on the island and we enjoy the sweet, gentle fragrance. We have decided to spend the night at the marina, under cover and out of the rain for tonight. We are secure in my covered slip at 1900 hrs, have a wonderful dinner with after dinner conversations and head to our bunks earlier than usual. I give Carol the down bag as she was cold the previous night. What a wonderful day in spite of all the squalls. We were able to forage out some sun breaks to see some unique back river habitat/communities and Carol got some walking in, which she loves.
Days run: 19.8 nm
Total Run: 40.7 nm

A Short Cruise With Carol Bee--An Old Friend

17 May 2010 Monday:
I met Carol years ago on Orcas Island after I had retired. We shared a deep spiritual connection. Both of us had lived in Ashrams and been on spiritual journeys for years. She had never been on Shatoosh, so we decided to incorporate a few days together as she traveled south to California. Carol was crew on my maiden voyage of Shakti, my Vashon Tug 23 ft, from Antacortes, WA to Orcas Island in the 80's.

We are off with the ebbing tide by noon. We take a short cruise up the slough to show off all the lovely floating homes and then turn down river. The forecast for the next fews days has lots of rain predicted, however the skies are clear today. How long it will last, we don't know, but we are going for it, anyway. I'm pleased to see the old partially sinking boat garage near Scappoose Bay is gone. Wonder where it went, but glad the eye sore is gone, as it has been tied to log boom dolphins for years.At 1350 hrs we are on the Columbia and slipping along at over 8 k. The river is flatter than I have ever seen it. I turn the helm over to Carol and we hug the Washington shoreline in 35 feet of water.

Its not long a tanker approaches coming up river and, as she passes us, we see she is the Overseas Los Angeles, from Willimgton, Delaware. It is rare to see an American ship in this area. I keep a list of all the ships and their home ports that I see. I tell Carol that I always try to identify the hailing port with their flag before I see the port name on the stern. This way I have learned many foreign flags.  Carol navigates the bow and stern wakes very well by slowing down and heading up into the waves. Then Carol tries her turn at lining up Shatoosh on the next range marker, as we head down river to the entrance of Martin Island/ Slough, our destination. I see just downriver of Martin Bluff that ole boat garage beached. Guess it broke away in a storm in the last several weeks. Now, it will be an eye sore, over on the Oregon shore, probably for several more years.

After docking at 1500 hrs, we explore going ashore, making certain we take advantage of the sunny weather. The meadow is beautiful, with new grass and we explore all the wonderful shapes of logs, the size of some of the cottonwood trees and note several have their inner cores eroded. There is still evidence of the old log boom cables to the trees.

Its as though this cable has gotten so tight around the belly of the tree, that a hole
developed so it could breath. This makes me sad to see, as on the other side
of the tree it is eroded. Cables choking the vital life force out of the tree.

Here is a spooky ole man with a knarled hand covering his jagged mouth. I wonder what stories he has to tell?

How about this alligator? Carol Warren is down in Florida cruising with all the real alligators. She and Jim, her husband, own an Albin 27 and have a wonderful blog. See listed at bottom of blog.

All make for wonderful photos and we ponder about the history.
Check out the link to Columbia River Images below to see what Captain Vancouver/ Lewis and Clarke  said about Martin and Burke Island and their original names. This island's lagoon was first created as they dug it out to get the gravel for the I-5 interstate, then later used it for log boom storage. It is really one of the few safe anchorages on the Washington/Columbia Rriver shoreline. I never tire of this beautiful island and lagoon. Its not long when we hear thunder with ominous black skies, so I head back and batten down the hatches. Carol continues her walk and gets on board just in time for the first of many rain squalls that we will endure.

After a delicious dinner, tea and ginger cookies, Carol checks in on her email. She is making her list of firsts, and doing her email out in a lagoon is probably top on her list. I remember noting it when I bought this computer and used it here in the lagoon. I love the advantages of techology, primarily my netbook and my cell phone. I don't think I could live without them.Thank you Verizon, you are the best. Night falls and it pours all night. We both have leaks in our cabins on 2 windows. I add them to my list of things to do. It is wonderful having my amiga on board.

Days run: 20.8 nm

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Coon Island Cruise-In Ends

Sunday 16 May 2010:

Boots and Patti depart early and in all the casting off I failed to tell Boots how much I enjoyed our visit. It was wonderful getting to have this chance to talk and be with you both. I'll be watching for you on the river. Let me know if when you are going to sell that little outboard.

A magnificent potluck brunch
This looks like an interesting boat. Right up my alley.
It turns out the acting captain is Ellen,(middle) the lady, who took some lessons last week in order for her to bring their boat down to the cruise-in. Crew members are Teresa(on the left) and Leslie(on the right). I really enjoyed them and spent quite a bit of time with them. Just delightful.Thank you for taking me in.I certainy hope to get to see them again. Teresa crewed on a catamaran from the Canary islands to St. Lucia. See her interesting blog: Leslie and her husband own a Bayliner 38 in Washington and is the same boat that Ellen and her husband own.

I'm back in my slip with my cruise-in lei and pirate's booty beads draped over my Hawaiian photos. This was when my family/friends were racing from Molokaii to Honolulu on the Duke Kahanamoku, a downeast 42. The photo was taken by Phil Uhl and graced the cover of Cruising World Magazine in 1979. The bottom photo was of Sabra, my Swan 36 anchored in Hanalei Bay, Kauai.
This has turned out to be an amazing weekend and totally unexpected. What a wonderful group of ladies.
I was asked by a member of the Oregon Women's Sailing Association to give a talk to their group. They have over 200 members. This is something to consider....

Saturday, May 15, 2010

24th Women's Cruise-In:A Spectacular Event

The welcome mat is laid out on the dock at Coon Island. I put on my Albineers nametag and join in on the fun.
Anyone for cruising to Hawaii?

How 'bout high tea in Victoria?

Let's Go to the San Juan Islands

Pirates in the Caribbean

Big Booty On Board

Pacific Northwest Totems

Over to the Orient

Bahama Mamas
Palapala(Barbara): Heads up the committee boat in her elegant Hula oufit once used in the Merry Monarch Hula Festival in Hilo, Hawaii.
Her crew look like they are having fun.
Watch Out:
Captain Bev, a seasoned Columbia and Snake River cruiser goes over locking proceedures and favorite destinations with Hira. Bev's mother listens in while she knits away.

The Talent Show: Captain Bev and her crew perform Singing In the Rain and that is Bev's mother taking the lead dancer position. Wow.

Barbara and her crew Perfom: Can you imagine getting so dressed up for a dock party? I don't even have land clothes that look like this.

Octogenerian Dot and her crew from Warrenton sailed 90 miles in her Catalina 36 to get here for the party. In 24 years she has only missed 3 cruise-ins. The crew all learned to play the ukelele for this trip and Dot played her electric mini-violin and sang/telling stories of cruises in the past. She reminded me of Marjorie Maine of Tug Boat Annie Days. So Cute and loved by many. You go, girl.

Even the dogs loved it.

Aloha O'i  from Coon Island

Friday, May 14, 2010

Coon Island Bonanza

14 May 2010 Friday

With my bulging biceps I pull myself up on the bunk. Glorious blue sky welcomes me, as I swing open the cabin door. With the coffee water on, I check the weather for the weekend and it looks like today will be the best day. Rather than heading for Portland and dropping off batteries, I change gears, go to the grocery and pick up a few items and cast off the dock lines.

The Ladies Cruise-In will be at Coon Island, so might as well head down river and see what is happening. They are expecting several boats from all over the region; sail and power boats with a theme of Your Favorite Destination. They have a big weekend planned with all kinds of activities. All the women have to skipper their boats and no husbands are allowed. All the women handled their boats well even with the swift currents and ebbing tide.

I spotted another boat with old friends on board. Boots and Patti on their Tolleycraft, the Patti Sue. I have passed them often over the years but haven't been close enough to carry on a conversation. This is a real treat for me to get to chat with them.

The day went fast with lots of boat traffic, lots of visiting and it was a pleasure to see so many women at the helm. I hope they get to do it more than one day a year. There is something special about owning your own boat and I certainly hope that all women who boat with their husbands learn to handle their boats by themselves. As one lady said today, as she docked her boat for the first time, that she felt really empowered. Good for her.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Back In the Saddle Again

Thursday 13 May 10:
After a very quick turn around at my casa, I'm back on board with 2 new auxillary batteries installed. Mind you this job is not for the feeble boater.The multnomah channel is a slough which is diked on both sides at the height of about 30 feet and at any given moment the ramp coming down to the dock is a drop of 20 feet at the minimum. I made 2 trips down with the new batteries and 2 trips up with the old batteries, plus all the lugging in and out of the battery compartment and on and off the boat, up and down the docks, in and out of the car....are you getting the picture? Did I mention each battery weighs 50 pounds? In the morning, if my biceps aren't screaming in spasm, I'll get to drive back into Portland, haul the old batteries into the store for a $ 20.00 refund. Boating is such fun.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


This new addition to Shatoosh's library is a fantastic read. Betty Lowman rowed her indian canoe from Guemes Island, Washington to Ketchikan, Alaska in 1937.  While published in 2004, it is difficult to find and has to be a special order. Her story is beautifully written and her journey very exciting. I couldn't put it down once I started reading it yesterday. This has got to be a classic Pacific Northwest read and should be in every boat library.

After graduating from University of Washington she rows her boat to Alaska where her father is fishing. The journey takes over 60 days and she endures all kinds of weather, seas and meets fascinating people who help her complete the journey. It ranks up on the list with the classic, A Curve in Time.

ISBN 1-55017-392-8 Harbour Publishing