Saturday, May 28, 2011

Underway At Last

Dawn came with torrents of rain, but then started to settle down.
At 1045, Paul, the end dock mate, assists my departure and I am out on the fast running Multnomah Channel. I take a few minutes to get the chartplotter up and running and then turn down river at 8.6 knots against the tide.

I stop in St Helens, on the Columbia River and top off my fuel tank and fill my extra jugs. I have 3.5 more gallons which will give me an extra 35 miles just in case of an emergency. My fuel range will be 235 miles.

I depart and and my speed picks up to 9.5k. The river is so full of water, there is one red marker  that is at water level and others are close to water level, some are about 4 feet above. I am eye level to many of the osprey nests which sit atop the markers..

At 1307hrs, I make my turn at Martin bluff and can see that all the normal landmarks for entering the narrow gap between the rocky port shore and the starboard sand spit are both under water. I switch over my gps page to trackback and settle in on my past paths of entry. After all these years of entering the slough using these specific landmarks, I find myself lost for a moment on my last visit to Martin Slough. It becomes all new for me and I begin anew, seeing with new eyes. There is lots of debris in the water and I take a few bumps with submerged pieces of wood.

This is normally a big weekend for Martin Slough, so I am coming to see how crowded the place might be. The cut into the lagoon is 20 feet deep, compared to its usual 7 ft. There is only about 25 boats here so I pick a quiet corner near the south end. The anchor sets nicely, so I am set for the rest of the day. People dinghy by or sail by in their small craft.

 Bucky the beaver swam by to see me. Its been a while, so nice to see he is still in the area. The skies are full of eagles, ospreys, great blues and even an old sea lion lifted his head and snorted me earlier in the day. All day I have been buoyed with a buffer of sun and on the outer rim are large cumulus storm clouds.

My Scottish flag blowing in the wind.
Beautiful blue sky.

My radar shows the land in black, my anchored position is at the end of the fine vertical line in the center of the inner ring. The 2 large round dots are boats anchored near by. At the bottom of the screen the cut into the lagoon shows.

About 7pm a rain squall came through from the north, but blew over in minutes and now at 8:47 pm the sun is setting and a lovely sky of golden pink is off my bow. This is a nice end to a long rainy stretch and it is nice to begin my voyage. After so many months of planning, it is wonderful to have a sunny window of opportunity to knock on my deck. I end my day, filled with gratitude for my wonderful 8 years on this majestic river. She has taught me plenty, treated me kindly and given Shatoosh, Pashmina and myself so many amazing adventures. My heart is full tonight.
Day's Run: 17.9 nm.