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