Saturday, May 21, 2011

Giving Thanks for My Journey

Shatoosh, Hira and Pashmina have been exploring the Columbia, Willamette and Snake River Systems since 2003. They have met many wonderful cruisers and service providers. At this time I would like to thank them all for making my journey a memorable one. A journey filled with wonderful stories, sights and sounds.Thanks to all and there are many whom I have not written about, but all of you are in my memories and in my heart. Blessings to each of you who have crossed my path.

You may type in any of these names and search the blog for previous stories: use search top left hand corner.

I met Larry and the Starship in Martin Slough, WA: We share our love for Hawaii and he berths in Kalama,WA which has Hawaiian Days in celebration of the Kalama Hawaiian History.He motivated me to get LED lights, he sent me many pages of emails sharing his experiences of crossing the Columbia River Bar. He took the fear and mystery out of crossing the bar for me, so much so, I crossed it last year, single-handed. He even got me to go to a real bar late one night in Cathlamet,WA to hear he and his group of friends sing Karaoke. He is a professional singer so, it was well worth the trip into town. Oh yes, his wife, Susan, was there, as well. Larry is the one who slipped and got caught inside his new fold a boat. See early blog entries for a very funny story.

Zach and the Viola Helen: I met him one rainy fall morning in Martin Slough. It was my first big single handed downriver adventure and he kindly marked all my charts for future trips. He cleverly designed and built his own Aluminum boat, which is a must to see.

Dan and the Pilothouse sloop, Whiskyjack: He impacted me by getting me to convert my netbook into a chartplotter by installing the Sea Clear navigation program plus NOAA Raster charts and integrating my gps/radar into the whole mess. Boy, am I happy with it, even though I was slow to catch on, but, as with most things, once I get it, I get it. Another thing he taught me, which has made the blog interesting for people to read, is how to use the "print screen key" from my chart and then transfer it to "paint" and then add text/color,etc. Thank you Dan, for your patience and your attention to detail. Looking forward to you and Karen trucking Whiskyjack to the south sound, so we can go cruising together.

Russ and Marsha Matta of "too many boats to name". Russ took my favorite photos of Shatoosh underway and Marsha is a graphic artist who has just completed a beautiful illustration of Shatoosh, Hira and Pashmina departing the Columbia River. It will soon be posted on the blog for the world to see. It is an amazing piece of work. I want them to buy an Albin 25 and go cruising with me. Maybe one day it will happen, but right now Russ is building a dinghy, for his Compac 17 sloop.

Steve and Carol of Knotenuf: I met them in Martin Slough, as well. Steve got to work immediately marking my charts for the Snake River trip which was just a dream, at the time. Meanwhile, Carol with her sewing machine began to sew a hem in my forward window curtains for me. I always try to find them on the river, as one evening you might just find yourself eating fresh, warm blackberry cobbler topped with ice cream. You'll laugh yourself silly with these 2. So many funny stories. It has been great. From time to time, I cross paths, literally, with Steve as he races across the Columbia River, in his dink, to go to Sandy Island, which is just across from Kalama WA.

Too Tall Tom, aka, Back Up Billy, and now has crossed the threshold to sainthood by becoming St. John, the Boat-Giver: I met him in the California Delta and at the time he owned Skol, an Albin 25. He trailered Shatoosh to Oregon for me and helped cruise the Snake and Columbia in his 16 ft Arima. He has been a laugh a minute and keeps me from being too serious. If he weren't moving to Texas, he'd be riding back- up on the asphalt highway to support my Pacific Coastal Cruise into the Salish Sea. Too Bad.

Patti and Boots of the Patti Sue: They own a Tolleycraft and I first met them on Coon Island years ago. The NW Tolleycraft Club was having a get together and they accepted Shatoosh and I as their Mascot. Being from Texas, ya gotta luv a guy named, "Boots". While I don't see them often, I always enjoy docking in with them.

My crew: Jean, my twin; Joyce, Johanna, Ann, Linda, Glenda, Collene, Constance, Care and Carol. Thanks for all the help, support and adventures. It has been really amazing.

Service Providers:
Mike Pittman of Mayday Marine and now is yard manager of Schooner Creek Boatworks: Mike kept my volvo running in good shape and gave me good advise making the run up the coast. Toni, a British lass, took over managing the Volvo. She recently fell and broke both feet and has been unable to work. Toni, I hope you are healing and will soon be back working on boats. She has been a familiar face at St Helens Fuel dock and Marina and has a beautiful maroon sloop.

Warrenton Boat Yard: The Salmi Brothers have Finnish ancestry and run a very professional boat yard. I always feel very secure to be hauled out there and under their loving care.

Scappoose Moorage: Frankie and Jim provided me with a covered slip since 2003. It has been a great place to berth.

Norgard-Kirkpatrick Boat Hauling and Dike Marine: Tim did a wonderful job in hauling Shatoosh to the Snake River.

To All the Columbia and Snake River Lock Masters: You were so kind, patient and helpful when we were locking through the 8 locks and dams. You do a wonderful job for commercial and pleasure craft traffic.

To the Oregon State Marine Division: It is truly amazing, in this money crunch time, the state of Oregon provides so many FREE places for boaters to tie up. While the state of Washington always charges a fee.

The Columbia River Yachting Association: For managing all the Yacht Clubs use of the Docks throughout the year. Their schedule allows for non yacht club boaters to plan their trip, as well. Everyone wins. Your annual booklet has been a big help to me in making my plans.

Rocky Point, Kalama and St Helen's Fuel Docks: Thanks for the fuel and the free pumpouts.

Kerry West Marina, Westport OR: Keith, the owner gives me a small end tie, even when the marina is full. He has the best spring water on the river.

Cathlamet, WA- Elochoman Marina: This is the nicest hide-away, a favorite of all.

Astoria Maritime Museum: A beautiful, maritime museum that is a must to visit.

Astoria, OR- West Mooring Basin: A safe haven if the river and the ocean are colliding. A great place to look at boats. You see so many different vessels there.

Ft Clatsop, OR: This is where Lewis and Clark and The Corps of Discovery, spent the winter of 1805-6, before returning on their route back to the Mississippi River. One of the reasons I ventured up to the Columbia River was to have the experience of retracing many of the Corps' sites during the times of celebration of the Bicentennial of this extraordinary event in the formation of the United States. Over the years, I have driven in my van following the route from the Mississippi/Missouri rivers, over the Bitteroot Mtns and down the Snake and Columbia rivers. I rode the Lewis and Clark Train from Lindon Or to Astoria, Or and of course, I cruised Shatoosh down the Snake and Columbia Rivers. Each night, I would read about their incredible journey and hardships that they had to endure. Ft Clatsop, was the hardest winter they endured and one week before the final bicentennial celebration took place at the fort, it burnt down. I happened to revisit the Fort about 2 weeks before its demise. It is an amazing place to visit and I have been there often. The best book to read about this unbelievable triumph is, Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose.

As I depart the Columbia, Willamette and Snake River System, I cannot give thanks, without thinking of, or honoring the Corps' mission and accomplishments. Lewis, Clark, Sacagawea and the other members of the Corps live in my heart which is filled with gratitude for their incredible efforts and perseverance to finish the job that was given to them by President Jefferson.

In my gratitude for these very powerful River Systems, I have blessed each river, tributary and slough that I have cruised, with sacred water and played sacred mantras which vibrated through Shatoosh's hull. In the history of these waters, neither of these things have ever been done. I have done this, in the way of my Master's teachings, to honor all that has come before me and all that will come after I leave the mouth of the great river. It has been an incredible voyage for me.

Finally I want to thank all my friends who I have met in nature:
The wonderful Canada Geese, Eagle, Great Blue Heron and Osprey parents who do such a fantastic job of taking care of their young. I particularily like the osprey mother who births 3 chicks near Martin Slough, and the one who is next to the Walker Island dock, whose chicks keep you awake all day long screaming for food. There is no afternoon nap at this dock. I watched an eagle swim and take a bath behind Cottonwood Island, and love the howling cries of the coyotes as they search for their next meal. The beavers, otters and muskrats have kept me entertained for hours. The deer and their fawns look so serene coming to the water's edge in the evening for a drink of water. The young opposum huddled under the dock ramp on Coon Island, allowed me to sit with him and have a conversation. The migrating sandhill cranes on Sauvie Island cackled every fall to spring and always evoked the call of the wild in me. The bird list goes on forever, but some favorites are the ocean pelicans and the white pelicans on the Snake River which really stole my heart. The sea lions in Astoria can really keep you awake; day or night. Thank you for letting me peek into your worlds and see how delicate your environment is and how we need to take better care of it for your future generations and my human ones.