Sunday, June 27, 2010

Umatilla to Crow Butte

21 June 2010 Monday
I attach my running list each morning to the radar which holds all the nooks and crannies that are duckable in Shatoosh to get out of the wind.

We finally meet up with the harbor master, Bob, a retired Coast Guard, who used to be on the Coast Guard Cutter The Glass out of Gig Harbor Wa. We had nice discussions about our military heritage, as both Ann and Too Tall served. Ann is retired. As we leave the harbor we pick up the current and are moving nicely 8-9 k down river. An hour later we pass Irrigon going 8.4 k.
At 1141 we see dead ahead what we believe to be Mt Adams in the 269.5
The wind and seas are bad again and we are being tossed around from confused seas in all directions. The bell is clanging 4 times and it is like being in a washing machine.
At noon we pull into Boardman marina which is lovely and tie up to the long dock with a pump out on it. There is a large swimming area, several docks for boats and again it is filled with sailboats. We have our usual turkey sandwich and take a nap. I hate to leave this place as it is really nice.

At 1345 we depart Boardman and are making 7.6k against one foot waves and minimal wind. This looks great. Too Tall and Skol look nice off to my starboard side.

The wind picks up again and the seas get real choppy and sloppy. I had hopes of getting further down river with this nice sunny day as the next areas of Arlingtron and Roosevelt have had terrible winds last few days with 30-40 mph gusts. As we approach Crow Butte State Park and Island at 1440, Skol calls on the radio and he has met his limit for the day. We pull into a very nice harbor and dock area. After tying up, Too Tall
heads up the hill giving his legs a well deserved stretch. He returns with the news there are many small rattle snakes in the grass areas.

There is a dead fish floating near us and an interested white pelican flies in and lands and paddles over to check things out. He gets it in his pouch and swallows it whole.

We pass over Too Tall's Sleeping fouton to him and he is getting sheets out to block the sun on his port side.
Ann shucks the corn and we cook up some pork chops and fix a salad. Then have more watermelon for dessert.

After dinner Too Tall states he has reached his limit. With the river getting to a narrower gorge level he does not like the prospect of steering in more and more winds and waves. I thought he was joking, but soon realized he was serious. This was an emotional time for all of us. My heart just sank for a moment, as I did not want him to leave, as he is so much fun to have around. I knew that this little boat was very uncomfortable for him and it was difficult steering for so many hours. It has been demanding and rough, no doubt about it. I offered the option of all of us going back to Umatilla; him leaving Skol and continuing on with us, but he preferred to head back up river in the morning and call it all quits. I have to commend him on coming this far with us and he is probably the first 6 ft 5 inch  guy who has run the Snake River in a 16 ft Arima. That is a major accomplishment in itself. This was a turning point, as Ann was having some challenges of her own. I offered to her, that if it was too hard on her that she could jump ship, as well. I thought of a way that I could re-rig the boat and lock alone from the cockpit. Ann said she was in it for the whole trip. She is a real trooper in her own right. She and a friend, upon graduating from college, spent the entire summer bicycling across the USA, going from New Jersey to Portland, Oregon. This is back in the 1950's and on 3 speed Schwinns.We will continue on in the morning with a revised plan to cover the docks and locks as safe as we can.

Days run 27nm
Total 202nm