Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Blucky On The Bar

14 September 2010: Tuesday

The morning is overcast, but supposed to clear in the PM, so I think I'll stay another day. I really enjoyed meeting Scott and Barbara yesterday. Some people you just click within minutes. Long lost friends from some other lifetime. I was reading a boating article the other day and do not have the name of the author to quote, but she used the term, "blucky". I'm adopting it, as it means blessed and lucky at the same time. That is the story of my life, so I'm Blucky and happy to be so.

I dress for the cool weather, and head out down the dock, and see I am ahead of the Trolley schedule. It doesn't depart until noon, so I decide to walk to the Columbia River Museum, which is so wonderful and beautifully done. About half way there I stop and have brunch at 1030 hrs of a half order of Eggs Benedict. It hit the spot in my belly. I watched the movie of the the Columbia River Bar Pilots and my hands got sweaty looking at the winter conditions of the bar. They have a full sized mock up of a Coast Guard Rescue Boat and recording of a rescue. It looks like the real thing.

My schedule is totally out of sync with the trolley, so I decide that I will endure the walk back at another 45 minutes. I look at a lovely memorial to those locals who have worked hard and died here on the river. A couple of the women seems rather poignant, a young woman and an old one.

In the late 1800's and early 1900's when salmon was king, Astoria was filled with canneries. but not today.

Their skeletal remains are still around.

But where there is a will to survive, life takes on a new form.

I finally see the trolley coming down the tracks, but not in the direction I am traveling. Perhaps another time.

I return to the marina and the sun is beginning to make its debut. I am sweating, hot from my extra long walks, so change quickly, hydrate myself, unplug the electrical cord and make a decision to depart and take advantage of the sun. The tide is still ebbing here but has turned at the north jetty. It is just after 1300 hrs when I slip back onto the Columbia River. Since there is minimal wind, flat seas, I will see how far down I can get. Perhaps, I can make my trial run across the bar. I'm just easily cruising at about 6.5k and decide when I get to Hammond marina that I will bypass it. There is a large fishing vessel ahead who is going slow out the channel, so I tuck in behind him. Off my stern by a quarter of a mile is a large tug cruising slow, as well. At 1340 hrs I begin to feel the flood tide and my speed drops to 5.6 k as I approach Buoy "14".
Buoy "10" is considered a marking point for the bar and Buoy "8" is the 0 mile marker for the Columbia River mileage system. At buoy "8" you are in the pacific ocean and at the end of the north and south jetty.

I am preceding outward as the seas are flat and the wind is very light. At buoy "12", a couple of small porpoises dive at my bow. My speed changes from 5k to 6.1k and then back to 5.7k. At 1450 hrs I am at Buoy "8" and in the Pacific Ocean.
 Wow, I have guided Shatoosh across the bar for the first time. What a day!

I make a turn around and my speed jumps to 7.7k  and the Washington coastline and Cape Disappointment are shrouded in fog. I have about a .5 nm visibility, but place my course line out to buoy "11" and pretty soon, I have visible contact with it.
2 Fishing boats precede me to the entrance of the channel to Ilwaco, so I follow them in.

They are dredging the channel at the entrance, so we give them a wide berth. On each side of the channel is about 2 feet of water, so focus, focus, focus. The cold, foggy wind is biting my legs and arms. What happened to the sun? Where are my fleece warmies? Why am I in shorts and a T-shirt? Wait 5 minutes and the weather will change. I'm already on my third outfit.

I find a temporary slip, hook up the power and take some time to put on warm clothes prior to looking at some of the fishing machines. The charter boats are all tied up, not much happening here with the season ended. So, will try to leave tomorrow and beat the next front that is suppose to move in.

This has been my most bluckiest day ever.

Day's run: 16.2nm
Total: 106nm