Monday, June 28, 2010

Hood River to Rooster Rock via the 8th and Final Dam-The Bonneville

24 June 2010: Thursday Happy Birthday Gurumayi
0730 hrs I move the boat over to the fuel dock and Ann goes to the Chevron Station and gets ice. She notifies them that we need fuel as soon as possible. A young man comes running over and I take on 12 gallons at a whopping price of $4.99/gal. I have never seen a price like that.

We have put on our commemorative T shirts I had made

We get a good view of Mt Hood

There are no wind surfers out this morning and the wind is out of the NW again so I hug the Wa shoreline. It is not long before the wind is blowing hard and the waves cause the bell to ring, and ring. I short  tack Shatoosh down river and stay as close to shore as I can but there are numerous Indian fishing nets laid out and buoys.

0925 hrs we approach Drano Lake which I want to explore.Little White Salmon River flows into this lake. the name of Drano is from a previous owner in the area.

The chart plotter puts us inside the lake just behind the small point.

Hira changes into cooler clothes and marks chart with notes.

Looking up Drano Lake

We exit Drano Lake at 0950 hrs and go under the train trestle just as a train zooms over us.

The winds continues to pick up and the waves build. Our ship's bell is ringing constantly and I loose track of the consecutive numbers; 4 for certain and maybe 6. I'm standing at the helm, right hand on the throttle and left on the helm. My body is wedged on the starboard side and I'm leaning forward a much as I can to see through the spray and wiper areas. These fishing nets appear out of the blue, so being vigilant is necessary.

At 1130 hrs we are at Cascade locks. These locks originally helped people go over the cascade falls, which gave Lewis and Clark a hard time. When Bonneville was built Cascade locks were covered with water, along with the falls.Today there is a marina and an old Stern wheeler which takes tourists out.
The water is flattening out but our speed is now up to 10.9k We pass under the Bridge of the Gods which spans 555 feet across the narrow gorge. The Portland Jet boat Outrageous passes us going up to Cascade and respectfully slows down not to create a big wake for us. I wave to him and his boat has several tourists on board.

I call the Bonneville Lock Master and alert him for a 1230 lockage.He suggests we tie up and wait at Cascade, but I'm downriver of that and not interested tying up with this current, so head down into a well protected area that a small island blocks the wind. Hwy 84 is to port. The Bonneville Dam and lock is unique in that there are several sections and the spillway is between Bradford island and Cascade island and the lock is between the Oregon shore and Robins island. We are holding steady behind Bradford island and where Eagle creek enters.

The lock master sees me through his binoculars and calls me up. He says that he will lower the back gates and let me in early so that I can tie up on bollard number 8(which is on the port side) and the last bollard in the lock. This way he says I can get out of the wind. He sounds like an older grandfather type and is really easy going. Another boon. How fortunate we are.

I have been coaching and re coaching Ann at each lock and dam on how to tie the lines up. This is the last lock and she has been hoping, as well as I, that she can get it right on the first go-round. This morning upon waking she peers out of the aft cabin with a sheepish grin on her face, telling me she has gotten the line sequence correct. I ask how she has figured out her method and she goes into a very complicated, for me, method to remember. What ever works....We are about to see.. When we get deep into the locks I always lose the gps signal and it continues to beep until we exit. Well, after all these locks, I figure Ann loses her signal as well, and can't remember what to do. At 1200 the back gates go down and we are cleared to enter. Slowly I proceed to number 8 bollard and slow down putting Ann directly next to the bollard. She slips the white mid-ship line over the bollard(which is a different configuration than all the other lock bollards) and cleats it to the boat. Then she takes the forward blue line attaching it to the bollard and then places the aft blue line to the bollard. Hurray, hurray she has gotten it right!!!! I'm ecstatic, when I call the lockmaster that we are SECURE. I give Ann the high sign and she is grinning and laughing. I pass her half of an apple and a granola bar for an award( lunch) while we are waiting. Some tourists look over the edge and peer down on us and ask Ann what we are doing. She says we are waiting to lock down and they, of course, are clueless as to what that means. She explains like a seasoned lock veteran!

The chart plotter has us positioned right in front of the gate. 

We are in the lock for an hour total time with a 30 minute very slow ride down, stopping at various levels. Shatoosh, Pashmina and Hira are champing at the bit as this will be a wild, fast ride out of the gates. I feel like a jockey about to win the Triple Crown. The gate opens at 1300 hrs and Beacon Rock in directly ahead. When we pass Beacon Rock I will close my cruising loop. Lewis and Clark called it Beaten Rock. There are head winds ahead and minutes after we hit the spillway water our speed escalates to 14.3 k
This is my all time fastest speed in a slow boat.
As we turn to port and follow the Columbia gorge down a Rainbow appears.
It is upside down like a smiley face. How auspicious, is that?
My inner smile is matching my outer smile.

SPACEWEATHER.COM has a beautiful picture of an upside-down rainbow. To quote: “The technical name for this phenomenon is circumzenithal arc or "CZA" for short--and it's no rainbow. CZAs are formed by sunlight shining through plate-shaped ice crystals in high clouds.”

Beacon Rock is off to starboard.
It is 1330 hrs and we are zipping down river, there is a slight upriver breeze and it is a little bumpy, but nothing to complain about. We have just finished running the Snake River and are on the downhill run to the beginning of the Gorge at Cape Horn. Funny, this can be a bad weather point, but today it will be sunny and I feel it is the best portion of the Columbia river for beauty. The large Multnomah Falls are to port, but we are bypassing it, heading straight for Cape Horn.

A closer look

Looking at the end of Cape Horn from the stern.

We turn our bow towards Rooster Rock State Park and Crown Point.

Hira is a happy skipper tied up in Rooster Rock and Ann is a happy crew.

After docking 1505 hrs we begin to remove locking lines and fenders, take the extra tie-downs off Pashmina, clean up the carpets with a whisk broom, and replace all the old bandaids on the boat bites(Ann has 4).

I check the wind site for what the winds did today at Hood River and Bonneville:
You can see that at Hood River from 8-10 am the winds were between 9 and 5 mph with gusts from 21 to13mph.

While at the Bonneville dam from 12-2pm the wind speeds were 8-12mph with gusts from 18-22mph.

We have a nice dinner and a wonderful sunset to view.
Days run 38 nm
Total 333nm