Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Hira seems to have abandoned her favorite boats for the cozy fireplace, friends, family and snow storms. The storms didn't curtail my Christmas activities. My twin Jean came and between the 2 of us we went everywhere, zipping here and there for events. We even made a Port Townsend concert and since we were the only ones who showed up we got a private 2 hr concert. How great is that? I had stated at the start of our trip, "for those who make a supreme effort always get rewarded with the biggest boon." From the words of babes come .....Gwen Moore of Turtle Bluff put on a magical, private concert of Shubert and Chopin for us. If you are ever interested she plays Coffee Concerts Mondays and Tuesdays 1000-1200 starting in the Spring. Each concert if a bargain at $8.00 which goes to musical scholarships to students on the Olympic peninsula. Seeing her new home is also a very special treat.

After lunch we checked out boats, of course and saw this cute one in dry dock. It was almost a caricature of a fishing boat with its exaggerated lines and twin bildge keels.
After the first of the year Hira will visit Shatoosh and Pashmina. I always rest in comfort knowing they are under cover of a shed. However, I do know that some marina sheds have collapsed under the weight of heavy snow in the past .
I'm looking forward to some winter cruising, any takers? Have a wonderful New Year.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fall Comes to Scappoose

10 November 2008
I made a quick trip to Shatoosh today to take care of some pre winter care; pumping out the fresh water tank, hooking up the cockpit dehumidifier, closing seacocks, and stowing items and organizing books.

The drive down was spectacular, breath taking vistas of the fall colors coming to a close, lots of migratory birds, Canada Geese and Sandhill Cranes filling the skies as they descend on Sauvie Island. It literally stops one in their tracks, as the skies are filled with hundreds of v-shaped flocks criss crossing overhead. The noise of their calls, deafening, as I meandered over to have brunch at Marks on the River which is a floating restaurant at my old marina, McCuddys on the Multnomah Channel.

I took some shots on my cell phone of some interesting boats along the way. Thought you might like to see some cutey pies.

This is called (.calm) and is a new vessel in Scappoose Moorage. It is about 25 ft. I love the name and the dot is painted in bright blue. Get it?

A really nice Fisher 25. Fisher is made in England and if I were ever to get back into sailboats I would get a Fisher 30.

This is Mis-Adventures a very nicely refurbished Tolley Craft.

A nice looking Arima 21 ft.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Care Joins Me For Beacon Rock Cruise 2004

Beacon Rock Cruise16-21 June 2004

16 June 2004 Wed: We depart Scappoose moorage at 1200hrs, after a nice morning drive down and preparing the boat for travel. The skies are blue and no clouds in sight. Soon after heading upriver on the Multnomah channel Care spots an eagle landing in a tree and soon discovers a huge nest in a large cottonwood tree. Its a pretty spectacular sight. This trip will be fun with Care’s exceptional knowledge of birds. We cruise by all the floating homes and turn down the Willamette River at 1345. By 1410 we are on the Columbia heading east with lots of current coming down river. We pass numerous ships through Portland’s harbor all from various foreign ports and all anchored waiting for loading. Several tug and barge combinations pass up and down river.

We slug our way up river with the swift spring run-off slowing down to under 5 knots and finally reach the new docks at Barlett’s Landing on Government Island at 1700 hrs. Lewis and Clark named this island Diamond island because of its shape. While we can go ashore to the toilets and camping areas we cannot venture onto the island. History tells us the island is now named for the government growing hay for the horses housed at Ft Vancouver. The new docks are really nice and the current flows pretty fast through the whole place. We meet some other boaters and find out more local knowledge of the areas we plan to explore. One boat is a unique Californian 30 with a 6 cyl Cat Diesel owned by a lady with her husband. She is the Captain. He tells stories of the glacier history of the Columbia.
Day’s run 24 nm

Bartlett's Landing to Beacon Rock

17 June Thur: Dawn is coming quite early, but we meander through coffee and breakfast leaving Barlett’s at 0830. This next phase is picking up the numerous range markers for the barge channel. There are numerous islands and shoals through this area so a close navigational eye is in need. We are now getting accustomed to the numerous osprey nests on all the channel markers. All the mothers are sitting patiently awaiting their broods to arrive. About 0930 we pull into Washougal WA. to get fuel at the local marina. Departing at 1000 we fall in behind a tug and barge and pick up the channel again. Soon the tug is long out of sight and the wind begins to pick up on our nose. Now this is not what the books say; “In the summer months beware of strong upriver winds building late in the afternoon.”

Our next area to explore is the Rooster Rock State Park. This area has a huge conical peak, once known as Cock Rock, but later changed to its present name. The entrance is a narrow slough and the chart doesn’t even show there is evidence of a marina. Folks back at Bartlett confirm it has adequate depths this time of the year. But later in the summer it shallows to about 4 feet, preventing many boats from entering. Care thinks it might be good to stop and have lunch, so we look and look for its narrow entrance and slowly enter the small slough. It winds around the shore line and Rooster Rock. We come upon several short docks and a large long one which is not attached to shore. We choose the first one and the wind and current are tricky so I end up being blown away from the dock and on the second try I succeed with the agility of Care handling the dock lines. We venture ashore, checking out toilets, trash cans and showers. Only one bathroom is open and without shower. We fix a nice lunch and are on our way by 1240 after arriving at 1130. The depths turn out to be 5 ½ to 8 ¾ feet. We have gone a total of 35.3NM so far.

This is the beginning of the famous Columbia Gorge and the views upcoming are rather spectacular. High canyon walls filled with water falls, evergreens and the silhouettes of many canyons fill our visions. The headwinds are picking up and ahead are a variety of kite surfers criss-crossing the gorge and some coming quite close to the boat. We are approaching the WA Side of Cape Horn and a down river barge is also converging on us. So now we have the winds, surfers and barges and us, all going in different directions. Cape Horn, was named by Lewis And Clark, as they descended the Columbia in Oct 1805 were met with head winds coming upriver. Just like the book describes. We are re-reading and referring to Steven Ambrose’s Book, The Ultimate Courage, about the Corps of Discovery and its journey across America, departing St. Louis in May 1804 and returning 1806. I have several brochures which ear mark the camps with their dates. I share with Care what it must have been like to be the first white men/negro man to have journeyed this particular strip of landscape. Cape Horn is a spectacular cliff with waterfalls, pinnacle and columnar granite at the base. They plummet to the water’s edge. I recall those incredible columnar granite stacks on the Salmon River Raft trip that Care invited me to go on a few years ago.

Off in the distance the towering Beacon /Rock looms with a height of 848 feet, our destination for the day. The winds are quite blustery and the waves force us to turn on the wiper. We criss cross numerous fishing boats anchored for some late salmon and the prehistoric sturgeon. The currents are picking up by the mile as we get close to Bonneville dam. I’m told that they can get up to 8 knots. Our speed is down to low 4’s and occasional high 3’s. We have an upcoming barge on our stern as we find the entrance to the Beacon Rock State park and marina. There is another boat docked on the outside with the current pinning him to the dock, so I choose to go inside and try to dock on the port side which is a mistake and I can’t even get near the dock so with the wind, current and a quick decision we spin around trying hard to keep from blowing onto the shore and tie up on starboard. The current is fierce in here and Care and I struggle to pull the boat next to the dock. It is 1530 hrs and we have traveled a total of 47.6NM. We begin to settle in and enjoy the view of Beacon Rock. I say to Care, “do you see what I see”. I am looking at the intricate switch backs staircase snaking its way up the rock. I wonder if I am up to climbing it. We hike up the road quite a ways and someone tells us we have to go onto the main highway and walk half again as far to get to the trailhead. We decide that we will try in the morning when it is cool. We notice a sign for ice, which we will get tomorrow. Later in the evening, it cools off and the wind stops blowing and we enjoy a still night. Care sees a mother Merganser swimming with her babies on her back. She has heard of this happening and a first for her to see this. There are 4 babies. What a sight. My first to see merganser babies.

Climbing Beacon Rock

18 June Fri: We depart via foot 0850, the winds have returned early in the morning again from the north west and by the time we get to the ranger station for directions and it is blowing so hard we can hardly stand upright. Our caps go into our packs. It must be gusting 30 knots. We see a sign on the base of the mountain about a man who purchased the Rock in the early 1900’s and around 1917 he and friends built the staircase in 3 years. It is almost a mile in length, and has a railing and different flooring, some rock, some cement/rock and some wooden planks. There are numerous switch backs and the views are circumferential up and down the gorge. Shatoosh looks like an ant from the top. A coast guard chopper zooms the top headed up river and a sea plane heads down river. A train on the Washington side winds its way below and we loose sight of it in the forest. We see 2 leaves blowing upwards in the up currents, and the ospreys, vultures soar in the updrafts, while the chickadees chirp their hearts out in the lower portions of the forest. The falls across on the Or. side can be seen through binocs. We have hiked slowly and savored each switchback. Who knows if we will ever be back to hike this peak again.

I can’t help thinking of Lewis and Clark. The day as they entered this gorge after leaving the high desert areas of the Snake, they thought this was a sight to behold. Thousands of geese, deer and elk roamed the hills. If it weren’t for the food in the frig I don’t think Care and I would have eaten much if we had to rely on hunting today. We head back and try to find the ice lady who states, they are almost out, so we take 2-10 lb bags of chipped ice and continue hiking back to the boat It is hot and the ice is heavy but we arrive at 1230 and a total trip of about 5 miles.

We shower and have lunch and laze around reading, watching all the little boat fisherman with a few catches of salmon and sturgeon. Evening Care spots another Merganser family with 8 older babies. They nestle down for the night on a log boom at the entrance to the dock area. Several dock fisherman appear, one is from Russia and catches 2 small sturgeon. Someone said they had caught an 8 footer off the dock recently. Well, that would be something to see. Another spends the afternoon and night fishing for squaw fish as they have a bounty on them at $6.00/fish. They destroy the natural habitat of fish and many people make their livings by fishing for squaw fish.

Beacon Rock to Rooster Rock

19 June Sat: I decided with the arrival of early morning wind, we should depart early and try to see if we can get up to the dam, check it out and then return for breakfast. So we depart at 0630 heading out of the cove and into a windless wall of current. We start out at 4 knots then gradually dwindle to 1.3 knots and not making any headway. I abort the plan and upon turning around we are clicking along at 12 knots. We return to the dock and I fix breakfast. At 0925 we depart Beacon Rock again and head east to Rooster Rock with an ETA 1110. We pull in and get our spot, there are no boats. Later as the day passed many people came to the park to fish, canoe, swim, water ski and Care and I took another day of reading, napping and putting my Oregon stickers on the boat. Now I am legal on both sides of the boat. We had put the starboard numbers on while docked at Bartlett landing. The wind never came up that day. Everyone left and we had the cove to ourselves with one other boat on the floating pier.
Total miles: 61.7NM.

Rooster Rock to Coon Island Via the Gilbert River

20 June Sun: Father’s Day. I think of my father, Bob and talk often to Care about all the boating and fishing we did as kids and am grateful to have had parents who taught us about fishing and boats. We shoved off from Rooster Rock on a windless morning at 0845 going 9 knots down river zipping past all those places we had been, no headwinds, just engine and current. It is effortless. We had lunch onboard, continue down the Columbia River all the way to St. Helens, arriving at 1315 with a marina full of boats. We jockey for pump-out positions and soon we are pee free and on our way up the Multnomah Channel headed for Gilbert River. I had heard from a local that it is possible to take my boat all the way up to the mouth of Sturgeon Lake which is on Sauvie island. In the winter this is a refuge area to thousands of Canada Geese and my favorite, Sandhill Cranes, and is off limits to boating. I decide to go for it and we are surprised to find the river widening as we go up it. I was told that it gets very narrow, but the erosion of many wakes over the years has cut away the bank increasing its width. The depth ranged from 9 to 32 feet at the 90 bend by the fishing dock. We kept a close look out for dead heads and jet boats. It looked like the Georgiana Slough. We saw the lake and turned around at 6 knots and got back to the Gilbert river dock at 1615 and were docked in the shade of the east side of Coon island at 1640. After dinner and near sunset Care and I went for a loop trail on the south side and in the darkened canopy of cottonwoods we ran into an Owl sitting on a limb. Care stopped as it was about 10 feet away. Out of the corner of my eye only feet away was another staring at us with its yellow eyes. Then a third one fluttered above us. We figured one was baby and the others were its parents. We got to watch them for some time and then we scurried back to the boat to get the bird books and discovered we had found Screech owls. What a find. This was all new for me. We had time to examine them as they never flew away. What a picture I will carry in my mind’s eye.

Total 113nm

Coon Island to Scappoose Moorage

21 June Mon: We depart Coon Island at 0905 and arrive at Scappoose Moorage 0945. We finish cleaning up the boat and head for home in Tacoma. We pass a woman and child on Hwy 30 near Deer Island and later see her car with hazard lights on. Because of the extreme heat and seeing this little girl walking on the highway is flimsy flip-flops, Care and I are concerned about their safety. We turn around and see if we can help. We take her to a filling station and by the time we get back to her car the battery is dead. We jump start her car and we are off again. She was unemployed and had coupons for gas. Her grand daughter had the most striking blue eyes I have ever seen. We hope they do well and she is able to find a job. She is from Rainer and there are no jobs in the community, so she has to go to other local towns to seek work.

Overall we saw over 40 different bird species; green herons, northern yellow throat, towhees, about 50 osprey nests and cruised 116NM and hiked 5 miles. It was a very wonderful cruise and Care adds so much with her bird knowledge and cribbage teaching in the evening hours. The meals were planned very well, the ice lasted and a great time was had by all. Climbing Beacon Rock, cruising the Gorge, seeing an eagle nest, merganser babies swimming on the mother’s back, and the owls were our favorite highlights. Also, a treat for me was going up the Gilbert River. I love exploring and having new adventures. That is what this blog is all about. Shatoosh and Pashmina smile, wiggling their bows in total agreement.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Cruising the Upper Willamette River 2006- Above the Locks

9 September 2006- Saturday

Care joins me for this trip. We have planned far ahead to coordinate our schedules and the schedules of the Willamette River Locks. Since the locks are only open on certain days, one has to compute all this into locking up and down. I hate to boat on the weekends as the traffic is always hectic, but have to surrender to the Lock Schedules.

We depart Scappoose Moorage at 1400 hrs and spend the night at Hadleys landing, a state marine dock on the upper Multnomah Channel. There are no longer Porta Potties at the dock, so we hike into the nearest ones and pick blackberries along the way. Its a quite day and evening as only one other boat is here with us.
Days Run 5.2 nm

The Willamette River Hadleys Landing to Oregon City

10 September 2006- Sunday
We get an early start 0845 and at 0925 we are on the Willamette River. We pass many ships tied to docks for loading and unloading cargo and pass under about 11 bridges, all of which we pass under without difficulty. That’s what I like about Shatoosh; shoal draft and 9 ft. height. We cruise past River Place Marina in downtown Portland at 1045 and head upriver to Staff Jennings and take on 7 gallons of fuel. They are having Dragon Boat races across the river. Our timing here is perfect as they will be closing for the winter season. We have a lovely cruise upriver checking out all the expensive homes as they cascade down the steep granite walls of the Willamette River. Many homes have float planes in addition to boats tied up to their private docks. As the river winds around numerous rocky outcroppings and islands we pay close attention to the water depths and follow the designated channel. At times you might be in 10 feet and minutes later you are in over 100 feet of water. You begin to get a clearer perspective of how deep this gorge really is. The Willamette River is interesting as it runs from south to north from its origin in southern origin near Springfield. We run into lots of salmon fisherman upriver and the Clackamas River is full of jumping salmon as we arrive at the beautiful new Oregon City docks at 1255 and take an inside tie-up, as the wakes from all the boats make it pretty sloppy. We use our afternoon by pumping up our fenders and adding several new ones port and starboard. I call and leave a message for the lockmaster and apprise him of our intent to lock up in the morning. In the evening Care and I walk a few blocks over to a wonderful restaurant and have a lovely dinner.
Days run 22.6 nm
Total 27.8

The Willamette River Cruise Locking Up River to Champoeg State Park

11 September 2006- Monday
Having previously surveyed many boaters along the waves, not many have cruised above the falls. Somehow people are intimidated by locks. I do have lock experience from cruising with Pat on her Danish sailboat, Skua II. We cruised across Florida using the lock system around Lake Okeechobee and I have been through the Ballard Locks in Seattle to get into Lake Union, so I do feel confident about this adventure. I did find one large cruiser who had made the upper Willamette River cruise the year before and had taken notes from his story. These are the oldest working locks in the USA and can be a little leaky, I’m told. We have to go through 4 locks to gain the 50 feet in river height. I also have preprinted locking instructions from the internet. Care and I review them and have our strategy coordinated.

We arrive at the locks at 0845 and I am unable to raise the lockmaster on my VHF, but get him on my cell phone. We wait a while and listen to the bag pipes playing to honor the 5th anniversary of 911 on the overhead bridge going into Oregon City. Finally he opens the gates and flashes the green light for us to enter the lock. The locks are situated between a paper producing company on the port side and the mainland. The locks are carved out of solid granite walls with ancient timber sidings. The lock master throws down 2 lines and in this case, you do not tie them to your boat. Someone on the bow holds a line and someone on the stern takes the stern line. Care is the bow person with a boat hook and I remain in the cockpit with the stern line and a boat hook. As the locks fill, water is swirling everywhere and it is a bit tricky to keep the boat off the walls and keep the excess line from swirling in the water catching on a prop. The locking takes about 45 minutes. I look up to see a low lying road in front of me as I am about to exit the last lock. I yell to Care to put the VHF antenna down thinking we have to travel under this road. Then it is pulled back from the paper factory to the mainland so that we can exit. My heart beat slows knowing we have made it through the locks and the sun is shining on our faces. A pay close attention as we leave noticing markers, what the entryway looks like so when we return in a few days I can find the entry to the locks and not head over the falls.

Just above the locks we notice a lovely State park with a dock named Bernert Landing
And I tell Care this would be a great place to overnight on the way down river so we could be in the locks at morning time. We agree that we will stay here. The Upper Willamette River is a combination of rural areas with rocky outcroppings and islands and there are lots of very expensive homes. The docks have huge pilings on them which indicates that this river can reach enormous heights during their rainy and runoff seasons. It reminded me of the Sacramento River docks. We arrive at another state park and dock at 1140.It is named Hebb State Park. We tie up and fix lunch and walk around afterwards. We give way to a cable ferry along the way. At 1330 we arrive at Boone Ferry Marina and meet BJ who owns the store. We take on ice, there is a pump out and enjoy an ice cream cone. We watch all the trout feeding on fish food BJ throws in. It looks like paranas in the amazon river. Just about every boat in the marina is a wake boarder, which means during the summer this would be one crazy place. Glad we are here after Labor Day. They do have gas here but no diesel. Up river we see gravel barges being filled. At 1500 we dock Shatoosh at Champoeg State Park. It is just downriver from Newburgh, Oregon.
Days run 19.4 nm
Total run47.2 nm

The Willamette River Cruise Champoeg To Ash Island and Back

12 September 2006 Tuesday

Champoeg State Park is a gold mine of a find. What a wonderful site, over 100 acres, RV Park, bike and hiking trails, old oak trees, lots of birds, a wonderful interpretive center, an old barn with a living garden that you can pick your own vegetables which we did.
There were lots of blackberries to pick and eat and we stored on a supply of them. After a long morning of exploring we return to Shatoosh and meet a couple in a canoe with a yellow lab. They are paddling from Springfield to Rainier, OR on the Columbia River. They will be camping along the way. He has previously paddled the entire Columbia River which originates in BC and is over 300 miles long.

Care takes a picture of me pointing to a high water mark on the pilings. Whoa Nellie, this was quite the flood.

At 1300 hrs we depart and head up river to the Newburg dock. We don’t stop as I’m told it is a long walk into town and then there is not much to see. We proceed past Ash Island for a little bit. This is the end of our chart and we have deep water, but without charts I’m turning around. I ask Care if she wants me to unload Pashmina so she can row on the backside of Ash Island and bird watch. She declines my offer so we head back to Champoeg and tie up at 1505 hr.

Days run 12.6 nm
Total run 59.8 nm

The Willamette River Cruise The Wish Full Filling Dock

13 September 2006 Wednesday

We have a leisurely morning on board and reluctantly depart this wonderful park and dock at noon. Retracing our route we pass through an area of rocky outcroppings and islands and see our canoe friends settled in for the afternoon and evening. We toot our horn and wave to them. At 1420 we tie up at Bernert State Park. I call this the Wish Full Filling Dock in my Children’s Version of the Adventures of Shatoosh and Pashmina. We need ice and I tell Care that maybe a store is nearby and we can pick some up, if the walk is not too far. Not long after we tie up 2 men come walking down the dock to check out Shatoosh. We strike up a conversation and they have Masonic emblems on their rings or belts. I said my maternal line were Masons and even had Mason for their name. I asked them where the nearest store for ice was and they said it wasn’t within walking distance, but they would make a run for us. It wasn’t long before they were back with ice in hand. I asked how much I owed them and they replied it was on them. They were happy to have helped us. A good deed done by these Masons. Care and I hike over the way to the Tualitin River as it empties into the Willamette River. There were lots of Canada Geese and Merganzers. We had an enjoyable hike and walk through the park.

Days run 14.7 nm
Total Run 74.5 nm

Locking Down to Coon Island

14 September 2008

Morning brings a light misting rain and the temperature has dropped. There is a cold wind blowing. After an early breakfast I start a hike up to the land toilets before we pull out. I look up and see our canoe friends paddling towards the dock. They have their slickers on and do not look like they are having fun. “Have you had coffee this morning”, I ask? The lady says, “no, and I have been wishing for a cup for the last hour.” They are going to lock down this morning, so I tell them to go to Shatoosh and we will fix them some hot drinks. I return to tell Care to put on the kettle on the stove, as we have
company coming. After my pit stop I return to Shatoosh and fix up some hot coffee. They are most grateful for our kind deed. Remember this is the Wish Full Filling Dock. We got ice and she got her coffee.

At 0845 we depart and meet our canoe friends at the lock waiting area on the starboard side of the locks. We pull the cord to notify the lockmaster and soon the gates open and we get our green light to enter. We follow the canoe in and tie up on the port side of the lock. Locking down is a much smoother ride and we can see the gates leaking. It looks like a waterfall inside the lock. At 0940 we are out of the locks and circle around our canoeists to take their pictures. I fix Care and I some hot chocolate to celebrate. We proceed down river and have lunch underway just prior to entering the Multnomah channel. We decide to bypass Scappoose Moorage and go to Coon Island for another night on the water. Lots of Sandhill cranes are landing at Sauvie Island for their wintering at the refuge. We tie up at Coon Island and late afternoon brings some powerful lightning and thunder storms with some torrential rains which move through very fast. We spend some time cleaning up the boat and Care gets to clean the stove and I get the ice chest and refrigerator. My friend Pat on the Skua II always said,
"a busy crew is a happy crew."
Days run 33.5 nm
Total run 108 nm

Willamette River Cruise Coon Island to Scappose Moorage

15 September 2008 Friday

We depart Coon Island at 0830 and arrive at Scappoose Moorage at 0915 with a
days run of 4 nm
Total trip 112 nm
What a wonderful trip and it is such a delight to have Care onboard. We spent many evenings playing some of her favorite card and dice games. I must have lost every round of cribbage. Aside from locking through, the highlight of the trip was experiencing Champoeg State Park. It is really a must place to visit and are both very happy that we explored the Upper Willamette River.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dirtiest Boats-Dock Losers

"Can't you just hear the conversation? "Honey, I just bought a boat, it needs some work, I got a great deal on it, we can sell our house, move aboard and fix it, as we cruise to Mexico this winter."
"Honey, did you hear what I just said?"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dirtiest Boats-Dock Losers

I've heard of nurse logs in the forest, but never a nurse bottom in a slough. Survival of the fittest. These plants have a healthy zest for life, growing on the slimy bottom of a boat.

Dirtiest Boats-Dock Losers

The dirtiest Cal 20 in the world. Ugh, ugh, how could this ever happen?

Dirtest Boats-Dock Losers

A Westport loser: one has to wonder at times is this boat being rehabed and on its way up or has someone abandoned it and it is on its way downhill? My optimistic nature says,
"I'm hoping someone has bought this boat and is beginning to take care of it". However, my realistic nature says,
"It's a shame no one is taking care of this sweet boat".

Intersting Boats Along the Waves

A junk rigged schooner being constructed in Westport Slough, now up for sale. I have watched this boat over the years, so was surprised to see it for sale. Looks like a good boat to go cruising in; steel hull.

Intersting Boats Along the Waves

The Klick Tat anchored off of Cathlamet Sept 2008
This is the nice cruiser that I saw twice on the Sept 2008 cruise, spotting her anchored off of Walker Island and Cathlamet. A single handed man was onboard. I never met him but tooted our horns and waved to each other.

Intersting Boats Along the Waves

The vessel Viola Helen
I ran into this fellow in Sept 2003 on my first trip to Martin Slough. I don't remember his name, but he designed and built his 26 ft aluminum cruiser. He has some of the most interesting fabrications of metal designs I had ever seen. The hinges and hatch and doorlocks were really works of art.I am grateful to him as he spent lots of time going over my charts and marking anchorages, places to go and directions how to approach certain sloughs. I have passed him only once on the river and he was off in the distance. We both recognized each other and waved. He kept his boat downriver near Astoria.

Intersting Boats Along the Waves

I have often seen this sweet little boat on the multnomah channel heading upriver carrying a stack of freshly cut wood in its bow deck area. Today she has large logs stacked in every nook and cranny.

Intersting Boats Along the Waves

A beautiful wood boat cruising past Coon Island late one afternoon. There are many beautiful and well maintained vessels on the River. Always nice to see.

Intersting Boats Along the Waves

Motor sailing up the river. There are lots of sailboats on the river but few actually sail.

Intersting Boats Along the Waves

A cute tug-like dinghy hanging off a large sailboat in Westport Slough.
Look closely to see the energy swirls and orb activity that afternoon.

Intersting Boats Along the Waves

Oh, this is my favorite!
The Florence A nestled in Westport Slough at Kerry West Marina. A beautiful built and maintained steel vessel circa 1940's.
Once a pilot boat in Alaska and now a home for her owner. I'd love to go to sea on this one.

Intersting Boats Along the Waves

I took this for Jean, as it is a Gulf 32, a design like her Namaste 32 which she used to own. Hers was tan and brown.
Always a great northwest boat and fantasticc live-aboard boat.

Intersting Boats Along the Waves

The latest upgrade on the Walker Bay dinghy; inflatable fenders.
Sometimes things don't make sense to me.

Intersting Boats Along the Waves

This little fishing boat caught my eye at St. Helens City Dock.

2 recliners crammed into the cockpit facing aft. Don't believe I have ever seen the like.This is something that definitely would show up in the Delta.

Intersting Boats Along the Waves

A steel hulled Dutch built trawler. Jean and I saw this on our first outing to Coon Island in 2003 and got to go aboard. She is a beautiful vessel and I have since seen it for sale.
Ann and I watch as 2 fellows perform an emergency haulout at the Cathlamet Dock to repair his fouled prop and slipped shaft. They had her tied to the dock, cushioned with fenders and let the tide go out.

Interesting Cargo

The ships seem to get larger and no longer fit in a single frame, so I have to take 2 pictures and join them together..
These are car vessel ships; drive on and drive off.

The Star Gran from Bergen, Norway carrying wind generator propellors.
Often, while at anchor or driving I-5
I see more and more propellors being transported. There is hope for alternative energy sources.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Meet Udo and Bev Aboard Its Mee

I met Its Mee back in 2004 at Martin Slough when they pulled in next to me at the dock. We had a sunny, nice afternoon of story telling and getting to know each other. Udo, the captain escaped East Germany as a teenager and came to America. He often takes Its Mee north to the San Juan Islands and BC and does a lot of fishing. He is a fascinating guy with lots of boating skills. Bev, I found to be really a fun loving person who understands many spiritual avenues and does Reiki. Need I say anything more? But I will.
Later that summer I am returning from Cathlamet and make an overnight stopover at Walker Island Dock. During late afternoon I look up to see Its Mee pulling in. Gosh, I am excited to see them. Bev tells me about this wonderful new product she has been using on the windows to take off the water spots, it is called Spot X. The next morning after breakfast she is bounding across the dock with her yellow gloves on to start on my windows. Another generous boater who can't wait to help me out. I love it. She does the front windows and then hands over her gloves for me to finish the job. Boy the windows look like new. I clean things up and walk over to return everything. Bev slides open the galley window and is sitting on the sink soaking her feet for her early morning pedicure, I suspect. This is one gal I like. Footloose and Fancy Free.
I continue to see them on the river, but somehow it is never often enough. My windows are dirty again. Bev, where are you?

Meet Carol and Steve onboard Knot Enuf

I met Steve and Carol in Martin Slough in 2006 and hit it right off with them. What a delightful couple; it was my lucky day!

They live aboard their beautiful cruiser Knot Enuf in Kalama, Wa. I run into them on the river, as well as in Kalama, when I stop to pump out, pick up crew or have to make a run to the grocery store. They are always so upbeat, helpful and full of river knowledge.

As you can see from the photo Carol even has a sewing machine onboard, as she is an ardent quilter. This really impressed me and I made the comment that I had never sewn my curtains on Shatoosh. They still have pins in them and I am always nicking my fingers as I slide open the curtains. In a flash she was over on Shatoosh dismantling my curtains and sewing up a storm. What a generous person I thought. I always seem to have the great fortune of meeting such wonderful, generous people.

One evening I was docking on Coon Island during blackberry season. Knot Enuf was tied up on opposite side of the island. Steve is circumnavigating the island in his dinghy and sees me. I'm just in time for blackberry cobbler, he yells at me. I undock and tie up behind them for a delicious dessert and company for the evening. How great is this?

I always look forward to seeing them on the river.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Meet Larry and His Funny Tale

Since this is a funny tale I have asked Larry to submit this to the blog. I could listen to this tale over and over. I first met Larry in Martin Slough several years ago and we talked several hours one afternoon about our Hawaii connection, sailing and our love of boats and especially dinghys. I have since run into him along the river several times and always enjoy his stories, music and expertise on many subjects. I hope you enjoy his dinghy tale. Also, see his website link for his country western music cd's.

First, let me say that I have made it a life’s journey to find the perfect dinghy.
I have owned every kind of dinghy known to West Marine, Costco, and those shown at Portland and Seattle boat shows. Still haven’t found my “perfect” tender, but have settled on something I believe to be very close to that goal.

Being a musician by genetic make-up and a mechanic at heart, one would think I’d be searching for that perfect guitar or articulating wrench set. To me, those are tools…and a tool is a tool. A dinghy, on the other hand, is more than a tool. It is something that I bet the lives and general safety of my crew and myself on, every time it is used. A Dinghy takes people places, the “big boat” cannot go. A dinghy must perform well in all kinds of weather and sea conditions, get you there before you forget why you set out, be stable, ride dry, easily handled and/or stowed by one person, take kindly to oars and sail, and most important, not fail in the event of a hard landing, a cut from a cleaving crustacean, or nasty dock nail.

The “PortA-Bote” (Bote: Portuguese for Boat) does all this. The only thing it doesn’t like is being towed over ten knots, because it is light. Therefore, we carry our PortA-Bote on a cradle, aboard our “StarShip”. Because it is collapsible and folds to four inches thick by whatever length the boat is, some people will take P-Bs apart and stow them on the side of their boat, or motor home. I have found that in an emergency, as in an “on-the-water” emergency, Porta-Botes are not something one wants to be messing with as the mother ship is sinking. Porta-Botes are made of Polypropylene and are quite stiff, especially if it is chilly. This brings me (almost) to my tale.

This is a true story. Nobody could make up something like this. Anyway, I was at the Seattle Boat Show in 1995 or 6 and passed by the Porta-Bote (AKA “fold-a-boat”) booth. The salesman was showing a demo DVD about Porta-Botes. I’ve always been told that Porta-Botes were unstable and slow…everything I didn’t want in a dinghy. Now, with a wider transom, the boat could plane, was stable (even with two adults walking around in it) and took huge water. A testimony to P-B’s ruggedness: The Japanese Coast Guard had devised some evil plot to try to protect unsuspecting Japanese from owning flimsy American products. The test was to put over 600 pounds of concrete in a Porta-Bote and drop it off a dock, at a height of over 21’, on to the water. The test didn’t even faze the Porta-Bote. Well, thinking it was a fluke, they tried it again…and again…Nada. When the DVD had finished, the Porta-Bote salesman turned to the crowd, who by now had swollen to five or six, and asked; “Who wants to be the first in their marina to own one of these fine Porta-Botes?” I raised my hand and yelled…”I do…I do!!!!!” Besides, there was a 1/3 off discount which included all the options for free (except sailing gear), free shipping, and the lowest price on a Nissan outboard motor w/free shipping on that too. I just knew my wife, Susan, was going to be so proud of me after hearing about all the money I saved.

Fast Forward: (The Story)
It was the middle of a cold February. Dad (85 years young and victim of several strokes that has slowed him down some) and I were sitting gazing out the front windows of our house in Port Angeles, WA. We had a lovely view of Vancouver and San Juan Islands and were having a nice chat about some of the trips we had taken over the years. Suddenly, the doorbell rings.

I went to the door and it was a truck driver with several boxes. The driver asked if I wanted the boxes in the garage, but I asked if he could bring them into the living room. He smiled and said he would get his hand truck and bring them inside. Once the boxes had been positioned so as to make them entirely the center of attention, I started walking around them like a dog circling a rib eye steak it had just pulled off the table on to the floor.

Dad kept telling me that I should wait for Susan, my wife, to get home so she could help me, if needed, but I assured him that I could handle this assemblage all by myself…I’d seen one guy do it on the DVD - at the boat show. Dad said, again, “You know I can’t help you if there is a problem, so please wait for Susan.” I said, “Dad…get a grip, the guy on the DVD assembled the boat in a couple minutes, I can handle this.” By now all the pieces; the boat shell, transom, seats, and all the hardware were out of their respective boxes and neatly lined up…just like the DVD guy did it. Now it was time to put this boat together.

I put the folded boat shell up on edge (the center keel) and started to pry the boat apart. Wow!!!! It didn’t look this difficult on the DVD. Maybe, I thought, the guy had put together an older boat and this new one was just a little stiff. Also, the boat had been sitting in the cold winter air for the last week, while being transported to Port Angeles. Regardless, I was going to have this thing together by the time Susan got home from work…I had three hours. After some great but failing effort to unfold the boat, so I could put the seats in (the seats and transom are what give the boat its shape), I was about to give up and do what Dad had suggested…wait for Susan. Then the thought crossed my mind, maybe I could use my leg strength to hold the boat apart. You see, when looking at a Porta-Bote that is completely folded up, one is really looking only at the bottom of the boat. A Porta-Bote actually folds in on itself - twice. Unfolding once gives one a look at the gunnels (sides) that are laying flat. Lifting the gunnels up and spreading them apart makes it possible to slide the seats and transom into place, thus giving what is otherwise a polypropylene bag, the shape of the boat.

With shoes off, so as not to scratch my new toy, and much huffing and puffing, I finally got the gunnels separated. I had my back against one side and feet against the other side. Wow, this was like wrestling a Siamese cat…nothing but spring steel. Now is the time to remember that the properties of polypropylene that make the boat slippery in the water, are the same properties that could easily make me lose my footing with sweaty cotton socks on.

As I reached outside the boat for the middle seat….OMG….suddenly, I felt like Jonah, being swallowed by the whale. Dad got more animated than I had seen him in years. My feet had slipped and the boat had resumed its original folded shipping shape of four inches wide, plus me. It was dark and quite cold inside and there was absolutely nothing I could do to get out of my situation.

When Dad got control of himself, his first words were…”Would you like me to call 911?” then another fit of laughter. “NO!!!!” said I. “I know all those people and don’t want them to see me like this. I will wait here for Susan to get home.” I spent the next three hours inside the Porta-Bote wondering how I was going to explain this to Susan. I did ask Dad to turn the heat up in the house as high as he could stand it, so by the time Susan got home the boat would have warmed up and might be more pliable. Dad served me snacks and water through a gap in the folds and eventually Susan came home. More Laughter!!!!!!! Susan turned the heat down and then changed out of her work clothes into her “work” clothes. Together, we were able to open the boat up and insert the three seats and transom. Dad thanked me for the best laugh he had ever had and ordered Chinese food from our favorite restaurant to celebrate the occasion of my release from captivity. THE END.

Our boat “StarShip”, a 30’ ClipperCraft, is made of fiberglass. The mold was formed from an older wood 28’ CC gillnetter. As the bow of a gillnetter is flat across the front, a pointy bow was added, and that made it 30’. The first “new generation” ClipperCraft’s interior was all fiberglass. I thought it was sterile looking and had little accessible storage, so asked the builders to make the interior out of wood, to my specs, and they obliged. ClipperCrafts were originally built by Jim Staley, for over 40 years, and were made out of marine plywood and mahogany. The hull is a clinker or lapstrake design which is very strong. Overlapping side boards make the rising bow wake fold over and lift the boat up on top of the water. The bottom is very flat except for a short keel. In wood form, ClipperCrafts were designed to be launched and retrieved off the beach, most commonly at Cape Kiwanda, in Oregon. In 1999, the motto for the “new” ClipperCrafts was “120’ of Yacht, in 30’”. I have skippered all of the three ClipperCrafts built by Premier Motor Yachts. At this time, the first two are in Canada. Mine, the last to be built is in Washington State, moored on the Columbia River. I love the hull design. When few other boats are out on the river, because of the tall/close chop, it’s just another day in paradise for my ClipperCraft…StarShip. These boats were made to go many miles out into the open ocean, especially for tuna. You can see photos of StarShip and other dories by visiting The Dory Page at: http://home.comcast.net/~dorypage/doryphotos9.htm

Some of my favorite spots to visit on the river are: Martin’s Slough, Sand Island/St. Helens city docks, Coon Island, Gilbert River, behind Sandy Island (across from Kalama) Walker Island, Cathlamet, WA., behind Tongue Point (Astoria, Or.), and West Basin-Astoria. Don’t get above Portland very often. Kalama, WA, is also a good place to visit. The marina has a transient moorage dock and is a short walk to town for supplies. Kalama, a Hawaiian heritage town, has numerous antique shops to explore. The last time I was at Government Island, some loon put dozens of Starling bird houses on the pilings. The resulting poop on StarShip and incessant noise drove me away. What a waste of Oregon boat tax money, especially when there is so much natural habitat on the island for the birds. We hope that someone has since removed the bird houses.

If you like Classic Country Music, check out my Web Site at:

See you on the river.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

2-20 September 2008 Cruising Down The Columbia River

Join Me As I Make the Transition From Log to Blog

I have just returned from a marvelous cruise down river, revisiting some favorite hangouts and finding some new little niches that I love. The first section of my journey was spent alone, which I dearly love. Linda joins me for a couple of days and then my long time friend Ann joins me for 4 days and then I'm alone again to savour all the moments and have time to reflect upon them. My log shows I traveled 225 nm and used 22 gallons of diesel. Shatoosh, Hira and Pashmina have had and enjoyed some very interesting experiences. Please join us in our down river discoveries and adventures. Read on, Mates.....

Remember, you can double click any photo and it will be enlarged so you can see the fine detail (I do see that some photos don't enlarge). Also, once you come to the end of a section of postings, click on older postings and continue reading. In the archive section on the sidebar(right side) you can immediately re-visit a favorite site. Please remember to view the link: Columbia River Images for the historic sites we are traveling. Lots of beautiful photos, history and Lewis and Clark entries from their journals. Also, I have added a new link: Global Shipping Registry. You can look up any ship we see along the way, find out what type of ship it is, their tonnage and there is even a port to port distance calculator. Lot of information.(see links below in link section)

I arrive at Scappoose Moorage(# 41 on the map above.) 2 September 2008 late in the afternoon and am busy with the usual tasks: washing Shatoosh, buying groceries, drinking water and filling the inboard water tank. Finding block ice lately is a problem and delays my departure until the 3rd. After about 5 stores and 2 towns I finally find block ice. Hurray, the hauling, hauling part is over and the fun begins.

I proceed with my engine checklist and find a surprise: my air filter which is foam has disintegrateded and is lying in the engine compartment. This foam element just keeps the dirt from being taken into the engine, but the air needs to flow. How important is this filter? Could I put a sock over the end? I call the Volvo parts store in Portland and they would have to order one and it would take another day and the cost is $ 43.00. I put a call in to my diesel mechanic and will wait until I can speak with him.

In the meantime I visit with Paul at the end of the dock as he is very knowledgeable about many boating problems. He builds his own boats out of steel and has begun a 30ft. design off Shatoosh's lines for a future boat for he and his wife. Currently they own a 60ft steel cutter that he built and cruised in Alaska, British Columbia. Paul tells me that I could go ahead and run the engine without the foam filter as my engine compartment is clean. His mind is calculating and later he returns telling me to go to Fred Myers and look over the vacuum cleaner filters and I might find something I could use. He says a sock would inhibit the air flow, so I ask what about a nylon stocking? Yes, that would work. So, off I go back into Scappoose and find a cylinder shaped filter that is just the right size. I spend more time in the stocking section deciding on shear, thin, or support hose...knee length or anklets.. which color black or tan. I buy Hanes for my Volvo and put my project together. The cost is $10( that includes 2 pair of stockings). Paul is happy I found a workable and inexpensive solution and I am pleased that I just might get "Out of Dodge" today.

I untie my docks lines at 1510. I might make Saint Helens in time for me to fuel up before they close for the day. My mechanic returns my call when I am 6 miles down river. He thinks I could go with the nylon hose over the spring, to make certain I have adequate air flow. I tell him I'll check it out tonight and see how it seems to be working. I arrive at St. Helens at 1640 and take on 6 gal of fuel and then proceed down river with an ebbing tide and head winds to my favorite Martin Slough, arriving at 1810hrs. On the way I pass 2 ships from Hong Kong coming up river to Portland.

Days run: 18.2 nm

I lay over another day in Martin Slough, the 4th of September, to work on simple maintenance. I go ahead and remove the foam cylinder and just leave the nylon stocking over the spring and have it hose clamped. Now, there will not be any question about it getting enough air flow and the stocking will keep debris out of the engine.
Other items done :
Caulking the leak on my cabin grab bar, cleaning the windows, oiling the teak, cleaning the carpets, bildges, scrubbing the waterlines and planning my trip.The tides look cooperative; I have most of the day with ebbing tides going down and flood tides returning. How convenient is that?

Coordinating plans with my crew people, Linda and Ann, who will join me separately in Cathlamet. Linda will come in her RV and bring her new cat Tux and Ann will come for 4 days of cruising. This will be Linda's second trip with me and I have lost count with Ann. It is about 10 times, mostly while I was in the Delta.

I spend lots of fun time learning about my new cell phone. Just for fun I start the navigator program and ask it to locate me. In seconds they say I am in Martin Slough. I'm surprised and then punch the map button and even to my greater surprise is a map of the Columbia River , Martin Slough, Martin Lagoon and a blinking circle in a location of where I am at the dock. What a Surprise. Amazing, I am going to like this. I call Jean in Hawaii and let her know as she has also bought this phone. I take a picture with my cell phone and send it to Jean and show her my repair on the air filter. Instant communication. How great is this?

I go ashore and have been waiting since June for the blackberries to ripen and the crop looks good. I gather me a good supply to take down river. With the water levels down this time of year getting back to the dock is a meandering process. First there are the cows, then the upper level of docks, the lower level of docks, then the gang plank and finally the main dock. Oh, yes, I forgot there are a lot of cow pies everywhere.

The rule is make sure you check your shoes before climbing in the boat. Thank you very much.

I haven't seen Bucky Beaver, my charming friend for several years. He used to hang out on the east side of the lagoon in the afternoon sunning himself on shore. Although he is no longer around I still scan the shore with my binoculars, hoping I'll see him again. There is remaining evidence that he once lived here with all the young cottonwood saplings chewed down.

My neighbor Kitty has sent me off on this cruise with home-made brownies. No one has ever done that for me. What a delightful treat. I splurge on brownies and blackberries for days. Thanks Kitty for the goodies and for tending to my condo while I am gone.