Saturday, October 30, 2010

More on the Death of Columbia River Sailor

Reading more of the facts online, I discover the "BAD DOG" Sloop was skippered by a 46 year old father and crewed by his 3 teenage children. All 3 children were wearing their life jackets and the father was not wearing his. They had left their berth at Kerry West Marina on Westport Slough heading for the port of Astoria. Apparently, they encountered a gust of wind, causing the boat to heel over and the helmsman chair to rip from the deck mounting. As a result the skipper was thrown overboard and disappeared within minutes. The children, lowered the sails and radioed for help. His body was found washed up on the shoreline near Cathlamet about 10 days later. Such a tragic accident for this family.

Again, an unworn life jacket will not save your life.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Columbia River Death

I returned home to see the news about a man's body had been discovered near Cathlamet, on the Columbia River. Apparently the skipper had fallen overboard when his seat had broken loose from the cockpit. His body was found several days later. The news clip showed his helms seat  and I recognized the vessel. I had seen the vessel recently on some of my trips. It was a very large (60 ft) racing sloop, which had a jet ski on the reverse transom. You can see the large helm chair, sitting high above the stanchions, which when broke, literally threw the skipper overboard.

The last time I saw it was at its berth in Westport Slough, Oregon. It can become disastrous when the skipper goes overboard. This is why I continue to talk to wives on my journeys, as the majority of them do not know how to handle the boat and would be incapable of retrieving their husbands/partners in such a situation. And most men do not wear life jackets. Always news of this sort is a reminder that safety is paramount and crew need to know how to retrieve a man overboard.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Another Snake River Road Trip

14 October 2010
I've been on a road trip to Denver, so followed Hwy 84 again along the Columbia River and crossed the Snake River into Idaho. I am visiting my old Delta friends, Conrad and Juanita, who inspired me to bring Shatoosh to the Columbia River back in 2003. I had lost track of them, but finally reconnected a few months back.

My friends built their custom 30 footer in their back yard many years ago and have cruised many a mile on her. (The Cheryl Lee). Often they tie the bow to the bridge on one of the islands in the 1000 Springs area.

We drove along the Snake in the 1000 Springs Area near Hageman, Idaho.  It is amazing to see so many springs rushing out of the basalt and lava hills. The water is the purest and clearest that I have seen in decades. The fall colors and the blue skies were perfect for an outing.

We see a couple of snakes along the Snake river, but was surprised to see alligators at a farm which is
fed with geo-thermal water. I never thought I'd be putting alligator pictures on my blog. Carol Warren, is the alligator queen with her Albin 27 blog in Florida. Then we visit a rainbow trout hatchery which keeps some old ones around for viewing. Also, in the pond were 2, 6-9 ft sturgeons.

It was delightful to visit another part of the Snake River, that I had never seen, and the icing on the cake was touring this special part with my old friends.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Blog Stats Get My Attention

9 October 2010 Saturday
Well, I'm overnighting on Shatoosh tonight, as I depart for my road trip early in the morning for Denver, CO to visit my niece and great nieces. We have had quite a storm come in to the NW this weekend with lots of rain and wind along the coast. With the bilge dry, I will depart at dawn and rest comfortably knowing that Shatoosh and Pashmina  are safe under the roof of a covered slip.

Back in September, I added a blog counter and began to notice a "Stats" section on the blog dashboard. Curious, I opened it to find lots of information. At first, I thought there was more data than I wanted to know, but as I cruise through and revisit the sections, I am finding the info more interesting.

There is a map of the world and as people read the blog the country is highlighted in green. You can see what is happening on this day, week, month or 6 month period. You can also see which devices people are using to access the blog; mac users, pc users, ipods, ipads, iphones, and the list goes on. Also, you can see which search engines are being used, and which servers are being used. Also, which postings  have the most readings.

My blog counter logged over 1200 hits in Sept.That averages out to almost 450,000 since I starting blogging 3 years ago. The stat section reports The US and Canada have the most readers, but Europe is busy reading about the Adventures of Shatoosh and Pashmina. France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland,The Netherlands, Spain, Great Britian, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Austria, India, Sri Lanka, Russia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Bermuda, Italy, Australia, and Brazil. After writing this post and posting it, I check to see who is reading it; 3 people in the US, 2 people in Canada, 2 people in India and 1 in Sri Lanka. How amazing is this?

The 2 most read postings in the last 6 months have been Johanna's Albin that was for sale and has since sold. Thanks to the blog and the Yahoo Albin Group. The most read posting is the one I wrote in Nov 2009, on Shakti, my Vashon Tug, which I owned back in the mid 1980's. I had to laugh. All the time and effort I spend writing about the Adventures of an Albin 25, it is trumped by a non Albin vessel, a 23 ft Vashon Tug. This stat really surprised me. I would have thought, coming out of the Bonneville Dam and Lock at over 14 knots would have peaked someone's attention, or crossing the Columbia River Bar would have captured the imagination of some old arm chair boater. I might have to go back and re-read that posting to see what is so intriguing about it, that everyone in the world is looking at it, week after week, month after month and year after year.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Planning Summer Passage 2011

Yesterday, 1 October 2010, I drove over to visit some harbors for next summer's journey up the Washington Coast. My first stop was La Push, Wa, which has a small harbor, numerous small islands which are near the entrance and a bar at the mouth of the Quileute River. There were bar restriction with the southery wind and breaking waves at the mouth. Getting to see it under restricted conditions is sobering, to say the least, but places the importance of timing and waiting out the weather, paramount.

I was able to speak with the Coast Guard at their La Push Station and also with the harbor master. All information was helpful and I am deciding on their information and the tide tables, that June would be a good month.,

I then drove over to Neah Bay, which is "around the NW corner of the state". The weather calm, seas flat and conditions that I love. The other time I sailed into here was in 1982 after Sabra, Jean, Mike and I had crossed from Hawaii. There is a large marina here now with several protecting jetties for breakwaters.

I logged over 400 miles and averaged 58 mpg on my car and it was a long day, but well worth the trip. I am gathering enough information to make sound, safe decisions about making this trip.  Yes, I know, I could put Shatoosh on a truck,again, and make the 80 mile trip up I-5 and have her in the South Sound in a couple of hours. But, the spirit of adventure looms large in my life...and the sea is calling.