Friday, June 18, 2010

Hells Canyon Marina to Boyer Park Marina

16 June 2010 Wednesday:

Since the last 2 days presented with afternoon winds, we elected to depart at 0600 hrs and try to make the 1230 locking at Lower Granite Dam. Our estimated speed would be higher than we had thought due to the releasing of water over the spillways of all the dams. The forecast predicted evening winds with rain on the 15th and rain and 5-10 mph winds today. The winds picked up last night and the marina was rocky at 0130 hrs. At 0200 it rained for a short while and it sounded as though it might be big drops or even sleet on the cabin top. We got up about 0430, as Too Tall had to drive his truck and trailer over to Beamers and walk back to the marina. It was blowing, but the river seemed flat. I determined that we should go for it and if the winds were too bad and the waves too high then we had several options to duck into small boat ramps areas. I took a quick moment to bless the boats with holy water from several sacred sites in my other travels. We didn’t have time to read the blessing, which I did later in the morning.

We were under way at 0615 with dark skies, bumpy seas and our speed 8+ knots with 2300rpm. Normally I cruise at 2700 rpm. After Jean, my twin called about 0700 hrs and I hung up, I noticed I was in 4ft of water, so quickly turned to port and got in deeper water. Shortly after that we noticed a large Great Blue Heron Rookery in several large dead trees. I had never seen them nest in dead trees.

At 0830 we take a little break and reassess our position/speed…wow, we will be at the dam in 2.5 hours. Hurray up and wait, but where? I had made notes on numerous hole in the walls that we could duck into, so at 0915 we pulled into WaWaWai landing, first letting Skol scout the depths and we followed into the launching ramp and tied up with 4 ft of wa-wa under Shatooosh. Ann made coffee for all of us, while I was figuring out why my sea clear program wasn’t getting info from the gps. I don’t know how I fixed it, but it all came on true to course. It was at this time I read my blessing for the trip.*

We were going over the locking procedures and plans when a tug and barge full of logs came going by. I said, lets go and maybe we can get in the lock early.

The commercial traffic have priority. We followed them down and I called 2 times to the lock master, but no answer. As we approach the lock I called again and asked if we could lock up now. He said to stand by and then called the tug and they agreed. He said to enter the locks And tie up at 1 and 2 bollards. The captain said the locks had a lot of debris in them. Shatoosh was astern of the tug and across the lock, while Skol was directly behind the tug. With all secured we were quickly sliding down the wall of the lock; all very smooth. My lines and fenders were perfect. Within 20minutes we were told via the vhf radio, that we would depart the lock before the barge and tug. Off in the distance, I could see the raging white caps and tumultuous waves. I told Ann to hold on and the waves hit us on our port quarter, knocking us around a bit and our speed escalated to 10.7k. Overhead were numerous white pelicans soaring. What a sight. White water and white pelicans. Skol was behind us. We had made it. Ann and Too Tall’s first lock ever. Only 7 more to go.

Ann fends off from the bow end.

The gates open and we are cleared to exit.

Boyer Marina is just down river from the dam, and Skol enters first. We tie up but then discover the gates are locked, so all of us pile into Skol and go to the open ramps and get a slip from the marina office. We return, but our keys don’t work. After 3 tries, we get working keys to the gate locks. I said that I’d rather have trouble with locks in the marina as opposed to having trouble with locks at the dam.

We have some lunch and all take a well deserved nap. We have had some partial sun breaks, but it is cloudy and no rain. My decision to jump at an early departure and an early locking opportunity paid off. All my prior planning was quite an investment, as we can now reap the benefits from it.

Ann and Too Tall toast to their successful first lockage.

The scenery is spectacular and each side of the river is different. With each bend in the river your breathe is taken away. We passed a beautiful canyon coming down to a beach area And I could see several deer drinking at the water’s edge, then climbing high up into the trees. The vistas with all the varying sizes of gaps unfold before you, begging you to enter just one more for another new view to behold.

We lost cell coverage soon after I was talking to Jean this morning, so reception may not be good on the Snake. I am pre writing this on word and will cut and paste it later. What a great day…it was more than I could have asked for. We had a glorious hot shower after dinner and headed to bed. I stopped by Skol to see how Too Tall was fitting in his bunk or I should say, in his boat. There he was lying stem to stern with a reading light on his head, writing in his notepad about his day. I didn’t have my camera, but will be sure to take his photo the next chance I get.

Days run: 27nm
Total run: 42nm
* Blessing for the trip.

"Bless these boats, Shatoosh, Pashmina and Skol and their Captains and crew; Hira, Too Tall and Ann. Please watch over us And guide us, as we travel these ancient rivers and canyons in the wake of Lewis and Clarke’s Corps of Discovery and all the ancestral native nations who carved out lives over 10,000 years ago. We give thanks to our sturdy vessels, their designers and builders and to all the previous owners who lovingly cared for them, so that we may make this glorious trip in June 2010. May our days be filled with laughter, fun, clear, sunny skies and flat seas." Hira Reid