Monday, August 30, 2010

The Adventures of Shatoosh and Pashmina Vol 3

30 August 2010 Monday

I finished writing and illustrating my children's book for my great nieces on my Snake and Middle Columbia River trip. I always enjoy doing this. While I am not an artist and neither are they art critics, at ages 3 and 2, it is all done in fun with lots of love.
Here are a sampling of pages:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Albin 25 For Sale--Lit'l Bit-- Friday Harbor, Wa

This from my friend Johanna Tilbury:
ALBIN 25 de Luxe
Hull Number 2797 and she was built in 1978.

Lit’l Bit has been a joy to cruise the Puget Sound. One can easily single hand her. She takes on any weather or wave conditions. She is the perfect boat to explore the Gulf Islands or the inside passage. The engine is a Volvo MD 17C diesel and has a 34 hp capacity. In the 8 years I have owned her I put on 384 hours. The engine is very clean. She is great on fuel and has all the creature comforts, especially with the ice cooler that is self draining and folds out of the way. The hard top with the canvas is amazing... makes for
a whole other room, plus storage on top for the kayaks. The aft cabin is great for all your friends that want to cruise with you. There is a new swim platform for easy on and off. And there is a heat exchanger right at the helm.

I am on board for 2 more weeks..until Sept 12th,  come and check her out. Call first.. we might be out cruising! Johanna Tilbury 808 - 960 - 4027 or
I am asking $19,500. Lit’l Bit is excited to meet her new owner.
Moored at W-16 at Friday Harbor... best kept secret in the marina.

Boat equipment
• Navico Power helm autopilot
• Garmin GPS
• Uniden Radio
• Morrow depth sounder
• Engine keel cooler
• Force 10 kerosene heater
• Guest Charge Pro Float and Charger
• House batteries - 2 years old
• Magma BBQ
• Achilles inflatable dinghy
• 2 burner stove... original
• Engine hours 1141
• External oil and fuel filters
• 2 Mustang and 2 Stearns PFD
• Necky Kayaks sold separately

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Long Beach Pennisula Annual Kite Festival

21 August 2010 Saturday

A few miles up the road from Ilwaco, Long Beach hosts the annual Kite Festival. Jean and I decide to drive over and check it out. It was so much fun, seeing all the kites, people and animals. The beach is so beautifully long and flat, reminding me so much of Galveston, Texas beaches which we would frequent as a kid.

WOW: Don't You Just Love It?

Columbia River Bar Crossing & Salmon Fishing Adventure

22 August 2010 Sunday
Jean, my twin, has arrived for a short stopover, so we head for the Washington coast for a little salmon fishing and bar crossing. The north jetty tides for the day are:
low- 0609
high- 1340
low- 1801

We depart the Ilwaco harbor in the vessel Sarah Kay out of  Pacific Salmon Charters at 0545 with a long line of fishing boats in front, along side and behind us. At 0600, the gentlemen have started their engines at full bore as we enter the channel and make the Columbia river in a swift 15 minutes. At 0615 we approach Buoy 6 and proceed diagonally across the bar to the south and west. Our fishing grounds will be about 8-10 nm off shore from Seaside, where the vessel landed limits yesterday.

Jean Prepares For a Rain Squall

The Fish Locker Fills Up

Buoy"South Jetty 2" is Occupied

Buoy 10 A Calm Bar at 1435 hrs

Jean Gets the Bigger Salmon
While Hira Gets One and
Looses 3

A Happy Captain

Filleted, Vacum-Bagged, and Frozen

This was a first for us to cross the infamous bar and had an easy crossing both ways.
This Bar is the 2nd most dangerous bar in the world and 
 is known as the "Graveyard of the Pacific".
The projected courses are just estimates on my part and do not reflect our
exact course.
Goggle Earth photo of  Bar

To Learn More about the Bar see:

More From Too Tall Tom and His Crew

Last week, it seems, my crew had a reunion in a bar in Macao. A filthy place, but it matched their more base senses. How they got there from Umatilla I'll never know. As the evening progressed they swapped lies and discussed their past boating experiences and got around to things that are useful and needed on a boat. They agreed on: substantial cleats, braided line, clean diesel fuel, decks that don't leak, snug harbors, boat hooks, sun glasses, binoculars that have seen some use, a quality knife with a keen blade, stainless steel tools, a comfortable helm seat and easy to access batteries. Things were getting tense as they moved into a new area of discussion: new technology. They did not agree on chart plotters, cell phones, VHF, radar, and holding tanks. They are a retarded lot. I don't know why I even listen to them.

Then, in a rare moment of jocularity and inspiration, they tossed some items from their pockets on the bar and searched through the jetsam. They finally picked the best item to send to you, and your crew, as a token of their appreciation of your long time interest in all things boating. They agreed that the item they finally selected needed a good permanent berth, one where it can be used and gazed at for years to come. Its no big deal, they said, just a little something for you and your crew. It should be arriving in the mail any day now....The mail service out of Macao is a little weak. If you don't like it, don't blame me. It was their idea. And, if it does not mesh with your crew's sense of what belongs on Shatoosh, just toss it in the water like Davis did with his old stove in the beginning of "The Riddle of the Sands."
John, aka, Too Tall Tom

Wow, how could I not like this...A personalized knife and scabbard. What a great gift. You have just upped the ante for crew gifts to their favorite Captain/Skipper.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Too Tall Reports

Now that Too Tall has been back in his home port of Cailfornia, he reports that all is well and he wants to insert some of his thoughts regarding the Snake and Columbia River trip. With his humor sharpened he writes about having a crew on board with him. In actuality, his crew is made up from all his bodies; the physical, mental,emotional and spiritual. As it is with all humans, we have different voices speaking to us and they of course have different agendas, ideas and perspectives. Read on and enjoy...

"So, Hira wrote to me, “What are your summer cruising plans?”
Well, I had been thinking of the Greek Islands, the Galapagos Islands, or some such....

Instead, I left the Bay Area towing my 16 ft. boat and stayed in southern Oregon my first night. That made the next day a short one of driving to Scapoose, Oregon just off the main channel of the Columbia River. I was on the dock watching Shatoosh thread her way through the large amount of floating debris as she came in to dock. After our greetings, Hira and Ann and I walked around the marina and soon the tractor-trailer arrived on schedule and without any lost time loaded the Albin 25 on the trailer and without further adieu the driver left for Clarkston, Idaho.

The driver made excellent time and when Shatoosh was in the water he immediately left for the return trip home. It is refreshing to see an expert trucker maneuver his rig around some tight areas and back down the ramp. The trailer did not have fenders and Shatoosh had a fair amount of road crud on the hull upon arrival in Clarkston. Hira likes a clean machine and with brush and cleaner the hull was soon almost spotless.

After putting my boat in the water, my first pressing issue was determining how I, at 6’ 6”, could sleep comfortably in a 16 foot boat. I removed the two seats and unfolded my custom made, 4 inch thick, dense foam mattress and had room to spare at the foot of the bed. This set-up caused no end of laughs from the crew of Shatoosh who took a few photos. They do show, in retrospect, that the sleeping quarters are a little tight. Cozy, but adequate. During the day the folded mattress, inside its covering envelope, lived in the forward part of Shatoosh‘s cabin.

I took a bunch of MREs with me. These are military Meals Ready to Eat. The Shatoosh crew had more laughs at my fine dining intentions. Actually, I never intended to eat the MREs. They were just a ploy to make the other crew, all retired U. S. Army, feel sorry for the crew of Skol and invite them to home cooked, fresh, tasty meals. It worked as intended and my crew was very happy and until this moment did not let on. That may have been the first time in recorded history that an ex Sergeant had two retired high ranking officers cook for him. My crew did eat a couple of MREs later on and had no issues with the taste ….considering the alternative of starvation. By the way, my crew got along very well among themselves and also enjoyed the company of Shatoosh‘s crew.

It was an absolute pleasure to drive my Arima 16 Sea Chaser down the Snake River. I throttled down, tucked in behind Shatoosh, opened up my windshield, stood up and enjoyed the view. I did not have to think about depth or channel or direction. One finger on the wheel and basking in the sun. I just tagged along like a little brother behind his big sister.

My Arima, which I named Skol, in honor of my previous boat, also an Albin 25, has a Honda 50 hp engine and a Honda 8 hp kicker. Mr. Arima designed this particular boat with a 50 hp motor in mind. It has plenty of power, but others would bump it up to its maximum design rating of 100 hp. That much power would be lost on me and I don’t like that much weight on the transom. At no time on the trip did I feel the need for more power…more boat maybe, (like the Captain in JAWS says, “I think we’re gonna need a bigger boat”) but the power was OK. Going that slow was not too bad on mileage. Shatoosh travels about 6 to 8 mph, unless she is exiting from a lock into fast water. I got roughly about 5 miles to the gallon. The gas tank holds 27 gallons and there were plenty of places to obtain gas.

The Arima is designed for the Puget Sound area and is as seaworthy a boat, for its size, as you’ll find. It is made for nasty weather and water. After we got on the Columbia and faced the wind and waves, Skol got a sound workout. My crew had no relief and after three hours of constant hard steering and solid water over the deck and occasionally over the windshield they were ready for relief. We were able to tuck into some quiet pools for an hours rest and minor repairs. Then back to the River. This repeated itself over the days to come. How Lewis and Clark did it when the River was wild is beyond belief. At night our two crews would get together on Shatoosh and read aloud their Journals from that spot on the River.

My crew, after long hushed discussions among themselves after dark, decided they had experienced enough terror and told the Captain they would jump ship if he did not turn around and return to Umatilla, Oregon. The Captain, after much consideration, including possibly confining them to the brig in irons, agreed with them. Skol was fine, the crew, however, was beat. It was with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes, that I told Hira. She understood and, as high ranking officers sometimes do among themselves, consoled me,but did not berate my spineless crew. I made no excuses for them. Later, as they left Skol at the Umatilla Marina I over heard one quietly say to his buddy “So what are your summer cruising plans?”

Thanks Too Tall for your comments. Join me next summer for another exciting cruise.



Swinging On The Hook

During this past week I have been happy to say the engine is running fine, the sun has been out in full everyday and heating up this side of the planet. The last 2 days have been in the 90's, so I have been anchoring in shady spots with breezes blowing, if I can find them. The wind shifted to south east which gave me some new opportunities to anchor on the Columbia side of Martin island that I have always wanted to investigate. The seas were flat and anchoring was nice and easy in 25 feet of water. I watched as 2 osprey ate a fish on the sandy shoreline. Even the wake of an inbound freighter hailing from Monrovia didn't bother me. The night skies have been crystal clear and spectacular to view from my bunk looking up through the forward hatch. Life can be so full, if you just slow down and appreciate every little wisp of cool air, every little chirp and whistle of a bird, and every little smile or phone call from a life-long friend.

Today, I spent some time creating a new children's book for my grand nieces, Georgia and Flora. It will document some meaningful events on my recent Snake and Columbia River trip. I got the ideas down in writing, so will begin the drawings and the story board when I return. This will be their Christmas present.
All my other books to them have been designed when at anchor. It must be the nurturing effects of floating that causes one to be in a still place to be creative.

Here are a couple of other items I wrote this week.
Hidden Lagoons

I seek solitude along the shores of a sweet cove.
The wind whistles through the cottonwood trees creating the sound of a
rushing river over a cobblestone bed of rocks.
The osprey and terns fly on the wake of Pashmina searching and diving for their next meal.
The eagles soar and tree hop escorting me deeper into their hidden lagoon.
It is all so sacred, I ask permission to enter.

Awakened by Stillness

The stillness awakens me in the middle of the night.
I lie in my bunk, anchored in a slough, there is no wind blowing, a weakened current,
and slack tide.
That moment between the tides is much likened to the space between the breaths,
where one experiences the totality of stillness.
The space where there is perfect balance.
The fulcrum of the universe smiles and slaps it's knee in total delight.

It is Saturday evening 14 August 2010. I tie up in my cool slip shortly past sunset, plug into the 110v and turn on both fans, drink 3 bottles of water that have been kept cold in the refrigerator. Within minutes I am invigorated and revitalized again.
Total run 56 nm

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Delayed Departure

I arrived onboard Shatoosh yesterday late and was excited to get going this morning. The boat was ready to go and all I had to do was start the engine and check it out. As soon as the green beast fired up it was clear something was not right. She sounded frail, as though she was not firing all three cylinders. As I throttled her back to neutral she started to die, so I reaved her back up, so she could catch her breath. I gave her time to settle in and then got her in gear, but there was not much life. After several calls to different experts and waiting for their return calls, I start checking everything in the trouble shooting manual. Finally got through to Mike, my old mechanic and he says it is bad fuel and to change the fuel filters. This is my Hood River fuel and I recall the boy saying," we haven't hardly sold any diesel this summer". I replied," please don't tell me that", as the tank is about full. An omen, perhaps. Now with about 7 gallons left and having 3 weeks to sit, this might be omen's moment. I call Toni, Mike's old employee and in a flash she is at the marina, changing the filters for me. Not wanting to be without any spares, I head to Portland, in my blue zeus, to pick up some at West Marine.

I finally depart at 1700 hrs and have the end of the flooding tide to contend with. The engine is purring along and we pick up speed as we head down river and I hit  7 k at the tide change and let it carry me to the Columbia River. Toni lives aboard her sailboat in St. Helens and her mother is visiting from England. They were spending the night across the river at Sand Island. That darn ole wind picked up at the Columbia River and after checking out the waves at the Sand Island Dock I decide to hunker in at the City docks where I can get out of the wind and waves a bit. I give Toni an update on the engine and will wait til morning to depart after filling up. If there is any problem in the morning my mechanic is just across the river.

I'm always fortunate to have things go wrong while tied to a dock. I have only had to be towed once. Whew, I'm counting my blessings.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Looking For Interesting Places to Stay

My friends Johanna and Berry have several properties to rent on the Big Island. See web sites at end of blog: She is also creating very interesting small sustainable habitats: Habitats Hawaii.

Other friends Katheleen and Peter have volcano B-B's as well as a retreat site. see below for link
Both offer beautiful places to stay for small or large groups.

Back From The Big Island

Hawaii and all that volcanic activity was amazing.
This is Halemaumau crater on Kilueau volcano.

This is an old eruprtion site: Kilaueaiki

New vents open as we walk along the old Kalapana road. While we were there 2 houses burned.
These houses have been built on the lava flows from 20 years ago.

Interested in cheap property?