Friday, June 3, 2011

Westport Slough to Elochoman Slough(Cathlamet, Wa)

Lewis and Clark stayed here Nov 1805 and had great help from the Waikiakum Indians. They were fogged in and the indians showed them a back way through Elochoman Slough to the river. In 2006, Pashmina and I journeyed this route, as it is a wonderful ecosystem to visit. This is really river rat country. You can find  many a man who hangs out here and makes a living by fishing for Squaw fish. These are a type of pike that has over taken the waters of many of the natural fish. In washington state there is a bounty on them, so these ole river rats, catch craw fish up in the slough, then use them for bait to catch the squaw fish.

I found in my logbook a few of my writings from several years ago about my trips with Pashmina and hanging out in the back waters.
Hidden Back Waters

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


The stillness awakens me in the middle of the night.
I lie in my warm bunk, anchored in a back water slough.
There is no wind blowing, a weakened Fall current and slack tide.
That special moment between tides, much likened to the space between the breaths, where one experiences the totality of stillness and oneness with the Divine..
The fulcrum of the universe smiles and suddenly slaps his leg in total delight.

There is an early morning minus foot tide, which will affect the mouth of the slough at the river's edge. I will wait until mid day to depart. The sky is blue, blue, blue and the marina is full of busy people. I talk with John off and on who I met the other day. He lives aboard a Westerly 40 ft center cockpit ketch. He takes me aboard and shows off his large ketch. He has a huge aft cabin stateroom. Another man  shows me his Chris Craft that he is restoring in a floating garage. So much work to bring back these vessels that have been left to the rot.

The NOAA research boats return about noon. I go over and talk about the water levels at the mouth, which they had no problem returning to their home port. So I proceed to depart, and John stands by to see me off. I beep my horn to the Champagne Lady and her owners and I am off at 1220. I have plenty of water at the mouth and make my turn down river at the red nun "56". Within minutes and against the flood tide my speed is 10 k. The sun feels and looks good to this white skinned north westerner. I hear the Bar report on the VHF. This is the first one to receive, so now I am in Astoria Coast Guard District. The report states 1-3 foot waves.  This is what I want to hear next week. the 10 day forecast calls for 30 % chance of rain on the 11th June--our departure day. We are getting closer to the pacific.

At 1320 hrs, I turn up the channel to the village of Cathlamet and the Elochoman Slough and my speed drops to 5.1 k and later to 4.8k. Mind you, now I have the flood on my stern and my bow to the current. I pull in and there are several big( 50 ft) boats on E dock. I dock at the pump-out station and empty my holding tank. Then pull in front of the second boat tied up. It is 1400hrs. I check in at the office, get some ice, take a wondrous shower and in no time my friend Linda shows up in her RV. She and another friend of hers will boondock out on the peninsula for the weekend. Her friend has a new RV and will join us tomorrow.

Linda and I drive her rig into town for dinner, pick up some things from the market and head back to the marina. Linda has a beautiful view of the slough and since she has been feeling a little sickly, she retires early to bed. The sun is dropping, the breeze cool and this has been my best day in months. I'm wearing a Tshirt, shorts and barefoot. The temps are to be in the 70's this weekend. Oh, do I love this weather.This is what I want for the coastal trip.

Today's run 9.3nm
Total: 68.7nm