Friday, July 31, 2009

Anchoring in Martin Slough

31 July 2009: Friday

Ralph and I chat before I leave. I pick his brain about cruising in and around Astoria as he does it often. He shared that the rough waters around the entrance to the west basin are more common than not and you just have to drive through the opening to get into west mooring basin. I continue up the river and a ship is outbound. After he passes, a sailboat and I are headed into the channel and the dredging boats with a series of piping begin to close off that section of the channel. The sailboat skipper and I are looking which way we should go so with binoculars in hands we decide to change course to port and hope for the best. It is the correct decision. This brings us to Longview and the bridge. All the ships that have passed me in the last several days are tied up or anchored. Most are from Panama, but one from Bergen, Norway. these are the ones that bring in the large wind propellers for the wind generators, but today they are off loading some scoopable material.

I dock at Rainier to pump out my head and after tying up I see there isn't a nozzle. I have an adaptor so turn the machine on and its pumping ability is rather poor, but I am able to get it pumped out. I move the boat down and retie her. I meet a couple from California who is rving and visiting family. They wanted to know if the Mexican restaurant was any good and I said yes.
I was going there myself and would they join me? We had a wonderful meal and conversation. I went up to get ice and stopped at the RV place to get chemicals for the head and bought blueberries from the street vendor. That was about all I could carry. I leave just in time as the afternoon winds begin to pick up steadily and by the time I get to Kalama, I am surfing those waves again, but this time they are 2 footers. A piece of cake.

Just as I am about to anchor in Martin Slough, Jean calls me from Hawaii. So I drift and talk to her before I anchor. It never fails just when I am about to drop the hook Jean calls me. With the 3 hour time change I best talk to her when she calls or I'll never get her. The Cathlamet group is pulling in to the dock. I'm glad I decided to anchor so I can have some peace and quiet and another wonderful shower.

As the sun drops behind the cottonwoods, the air cools off and I bring out my last bit of smoked salmon and top it off with blueberries. How good is that? There is only one other boat anchored for the night. It is very peaceful and quiet. Another beautiful day and wonderful evening. My cruise is coming to a close, but I will squeeze one more day in at Coon Island.

The Salmi Bros. responded to my endorsement. They liked it and soon we will be seeing it in their advertisement in the Freshwater News. Boy, Oh, Boy! Or, as Jean would say,"bonanza".
It is 2130 hrs the sunset is beautiful, the moon has risen and it is about time to close the hatches and window flaps and say, goodnite to all of you faithful readers. My life is so blessed. Thank you all for making my life a blessed event.

Cape Horn Lives Up To Its Name

30 July 2009:Thursday
Yesterday, a dock mate from Scappoose pulled in in his cute mini cruiser called, Dot Calm. It is good to see him out as he has been working alot on his boat. She looks primo. Early in the morning about 0630 I noticed that he was diving off his stern. Later he recalls when he was entering the channel he slowed down quite a bit. He put his underwater cam corder on and saw that his prop was fouled with lots of seaweed. I've never known anyone that had such a device, but most practical. I'm certainly going to tell my friend, Too Tall about this. I'm certain he will love getting one. Many times, I call him, " Back Up Billy", as he wants to have back up plans for everything. Dot Calm leaves for Astoria. About 6 sailboats leave and one small sailing catamaran.

The coast guard boat comes in and cruises out again. Kapeku's parents came over to see Shatoosh and we noted some other cruising spots they might be interested in. It is cloudy, but there is breaking skies to the south.

I depart for Walker Island and repeat my course of ducking behind Puget Island. The winds are increasing, so I close the back window but leave the sides open, which later I regret. As I proceed through the channel, the stern waves and winds are building to a considerable height and by the time I reach the Columbia river it is horrible. The large granite point is called CapeHorn and is noted for heavy winds. I have never experienced anything like today there and often wondered if this was a misnomer. Not today! This is terrible. The seas are breaking on my stern and now I wish I had closed my side flaps. The noise of them breaking is scary and I absolutely do not want to look back. I'm steering with intense focus, sitting on the end of the bench seat with both feet pressed hard against the bulkhead. My general speed is 5 knots against the current and ebbing tide. Shatoosh is being thrust down the fronts of the waves surfing up to over 8 knots. As I slow the speed of the engine on these surfs I am down to 3.9 knots when I plow into the ebbing tide and current, then back up to 8 on the next surf. Over and over this takes place. My quadriceps are quivering with fatigue, but Shatoosh is really riding all of this out very well. I meet a big trawler and sailboat coming down river and they are taking a beating going against all of this. As I approach the sandy islands of Eureka Channel all the winds stop and the seas are flat. Wow, I breathe a big sigh of relief. I open the back window, as the sun is out and its getting hot. As they say in Washington wait 5 minutes and the weather will change. It has been more than 5 minutes, but more like one and a half hours. I drink some water with electrolytes and I am restored.

I am over coming a sailboat which is drifting under sail in the light winds. I had previously seen a skipper on board, but now no one is at the helm and the boat is moving into shallow water near the shoreline. I wait and watch for several minutes and decide to make a turn back and investigate the situation. I scan the waters behind, thinking he could have gone overboard, but no one was in the water. I also think that he has pulled out of the channel to go below to relieve himself or to get food. As I come up along side he appears from the cabin munching on a bag of chips. I yell, that I was just checking the situation. He waves and yells thanks. You just never know and it is always best to check out the unusual.

I round the buoy at Gull island and see several boats anchored up in the sliver of a waterway between Gull and Crim islands. It is the catamaran I saw in Cathlatmet. I would love to go up there in Shatoosh but after seeing all the snags I decided it was not for me. This is my last leg to Walker island dock and guess what? The winds begin to scream again all the way to my destination. There are 2 boats already tied up and I see 4 boats anchored in my favorite little cove.(the photo taken the next morning as 2 boats had already departed) I have heard people doing a stern and bow anchor but this is the first time I have seen it. They are a group of Portland sailors who were in Cathlamet yesterday.

The 2 men from their boats come out to grab my lines as I pull in. I'm always happy to receive help on a windy day. I get the best spot on the dock; up river and on the inside. Ralph the singlehander on a big trawler is rocking and rolling on the outside, but he sticks it out. The winds die off after dark. He was one of the boats anchored in Mott island basin the other night. He had a rough time steering at Cape Horn also. He was going to try to get in behind Wallace island which I had thought of doing that but that would have been too rough to cross at that angle to the waves. We both aborted that idea. It was a good experience to see how Shatoosh handles in all of those big following seas. I get more and more impressed by this little ship.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pupus on a Hawaiian Boat From Haleiwa

29 July 2009: Wednesday

The morning is beautiful and I had planned to wait for the flooding tide later in the day, however it seems the wind comes up, so again, as much as I like this anchorage, I best be on my way. It is imperative that I get to the fuel dock before it closes. I weigh anchor and am on my way at 1030. I am no more out in the Columbia River channel a minute and a ship is bearing down on me. It is the Leo Forest from Panama. I see his bow wake coming so I turn to port and face it head on and then comes a series of stern wakes. Shatoosh takes them all easily. There is a slight wind and 1-2 feet seas from the NW. It is just beautiful and I am making 6 knots against the current.
By 1130 the seas and winds are increasing and my speed drops to 5.1 k. Jean calls from Hawaii and we chat a while. I hang up and coming up on my port quarter is another ship. I do not get the name as it is a triple name not easily written. I do my best to take its wakes and again turn on its stern following its lead to the next range markers. It is not long that it is out of sight.

I'm having to focus now on steering in these building waves and wind. Pillar Rock where Lewis and Clarke camped across from, comes up at 1230. A large 40+ cruiser passes me on my port side going slow, which is unusual. I appreciate not getting hit by a huge wake. At marker "28" the seas decrease and by 1345 when I pass marker "36" I pull off out of the channel and take a potty break, grab a piece of cheese and some almonds and head back on course. My speed is
5.3 k and the tide is still ebbing. I establish an ETA to Cathlamet of 1425 hrs. Another ship is coming up river, as I am planning to cross the river, so I hold back and let him pass in front of me. The big boys have the right of way. I enter the area between Puget Island and Cathlamet and round the entrance can "1" at exactly 1425. How good is that for an accurate ETA? As I pull into the harbor, the big boat that passed me is at the fuel dock, so I circle around and pull in after him getting my meager 14 gallons of fuel. After tying up to the guest dock I pay my $ 9.00 for the night. The price has gone up 1 dollar since last year. The wind blowing is cool and feels good.

After tidying up, walking around the docks I meander down to my dock where there is a very cute little boat. I just have to see it and meet the man and woman on board. Loyd and Kathy used to live on the north shore of Oahu and kept their boat in Haleiwa. They would fish every morning and bring home something delicious to eat. They moved to this area and shipped the little Skipjack named Kapeku. They seem to be enjoying cruising her now as opposed to just fishing on her. She is really a beauty of a boat and I like the cream and turquoise color combination.They installed her with a new (Volvo) no less. While we exchange favorites cruising spots, Kathy is busy in the small galley and comes up with some yummy pupus. Where else, would you run into fellow Hawaiians, but in Cathlamet. We had the best time talking story, as the locals would say. What a wonderful, delightful time with this special couple and their cute, Kapeku.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Waiting For the Tide: Launch Day

28 July 2009: Tuesday
It is a hot day today, but I am in the shade and have my 110v fan on. The guys are working and sweating in their white coveralls. I am waiting for the tide to turn to flood and it is slowly coming in. When there is enough water we will launch Shatoosh and then I can use the flood tide to get upriver some. I'll re-anchor at Mott Basin again. Tomorrow morning I could clean the topsides while I catch the later flood tide.

I had lunch and then walked over to the fish market next door. Got 2 nice pieces of sole and petral to try on the way home. They packed them in ice for me and I have smoked salmon that I bought yesterday which is delicious. I got block ice at the Shell station so I am set for the trip back up river. The Salmi brothers ask me to write something up for their monthly ad in the Freshwater News. I agree to do so.
At 1630 we launch Shatoosh in minutes. She slides off the ways, I jump on board and start the engine and we are off heading down the Skipanon River. We pass numerous sea lions and meet several incoming fishing vessels. I can see lots of whitecaps on the horizon, but the seas are small. I get out past the markers and the waves are on my port quarter and beam. Oh, Shatoosh is rolling, big time. A freighter is coming outbound and I turn back up to take her big wake. I switch my GPS screen to track back mode. I 'd like to get some fuel but the seas are so confused at West basin that I opt not to try to get in. It is so rough, that I am holding on with my left hand, steering with my right, my legs are stabilizing me and spread to 3 feet wide. The waves coming off the breakwaters are hitting me on the starboard side as well. It knocks my navigation tray into the air. Everything else hold its place, including my tea kettle on the galley area. Once under the Astoria bridge it is flat and we are riding very smoothly.
At 1530 I round Tongue Point and head towards my anchorage in the Mott-Lois Island area.
I anchor easily as there is no wind. It is hot and I'm sweaty. I tie up the solar shower and give me a nice scrubbing. I fix me a nice fish dinner and asparagus. At dark, I write up a rough draft of my ad for the boat yard. It will be fun to see Shatoosh in the ad and many people will read it.
It is a privilege to do this for them and I am honored that they asked me.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Fog Horns Awake Me For Haul Out Day

27 July 2009: Monday

During the night I hear fog horns and my alarm awakes me at 0430 hrs. I rise and see the big flood lights lighting up the haul out areas. The engine on the fishing boat is running, but I don't see a soul. It is foggy for sure. I make me a mug of coffee and around 0530 the skeleton of the big rail car is quietly slipping into the dark water adjacent to me. Atop are 2 men each very tall, well over 6 feet, dressed in white coveralls.. I open the cabin flap and he tells me that they will haul me after the big boat. The guys on the rail car are very professional and use hand signals with a man in the lift room, who I cannot see. In a matter of minutes the ship is out of the water. They come over to me and I meet Charles with whom I have talked to on the phone. He is older than his brothers, Dave and Steve and they all look alike. I show them another photo I have of Shatoosh on the rails in Napa. They are all set. I get off Shatoosh and they hand line her around the dock after the cradle comes down the ways. They slowly bring her up and make numerous adjustments; bow is 6 inches to starboard, listing slightly to starboard. With all corrections made she is up and out. My zincs are still looking really good. The guys think Shatoosh is really something. They have never seen an old Albin before. She's a first for these Salmi brothers. They put up a ladder for me, I climb aboard and don't think it will be a problem to sleep aboard. The angle is not bad at all. I fix breakfast of a green drink and almonds. It is 0600 hrs.

The bottom is pressure washed, the new zincs go on and a new one is added to the rudder strut. The cutlass bearing is good and does not need to be replaced. After lunch the hull line is taped, and the bottom painted with Pettit Unepoxy 1224 blue. Charles and I discuss painting the hull at some point in time, along with other needed projects and some nice to have projects. These brothers really do an outstanding job and are meticulous. I will recommend them, highly, as everyone is delaying haul outs due to poor workmanship. It has been hard to find competent workers, so it is nice to find professionals. Now, I have a good diesel mechanic and haul out yard. What more could an aging skipper want? The weight of hauling out has been lifted from my shoulders. We will wait until tomorrow's afternoon high tide to launch.

I tell the guys when the bottom was being pressure washed that the forced water came up the sink through hull fitting. I went back aboard at some point to make me some iced tea and I discovered the galley a mess. "What is going on," I say to myself? Then it dawns on me what has happened. I get the stove top, sink, cabinets cleaned. Then I look up at the ceiling. The boring grey, speckled cabin top now has many other strange colored spots on it. Easy off it comes. I tell them this has never happened before and I would never think to put the stopper in the sink drain. They are so apologetic, stating they have never had this happen, as well.
I'm celebrating this evening by eating Mexican food at the local restaurant tonight. I notice that my shoulders are pulled back straighter as I walk the 2 blocks to eat dinner. Boy, was it good and they have the cutest painted and carved furniture in all of Mexico. Ole', I say to myself. My days keep getting better and better.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Warrenton Boat Yard On The Skipanon River

26 July 2009: Sunday

There is no rush to depart, as I will have an ebbing tide until about noon. However, with winds increasing throughout the day, it may be prudent to get there earlier than later. I get up at 0700 after a good night's sleep. The wind and waves stopped about 2130. I awoke at 0400 and checked my position so went back to bed. The large ketch behind me left about 0730 and later I see him anchored again at Young's Bay. I weigh anchor and we are off and running towards the ocean at 0845. I round Tongue Point at 0915 and the depths are over 100 ft. My speed is 8.8 knots and I am only running at 2000 rpm as opposed to my usual 2500 rpm.
I cruise inside of the marked channel as there is plenty of deep water. There are 4 ships lined up in the designated anchorage. I adjust my radar scale to get them all in the screen. The weather this morning is cloudy and grey. The seas are flat and there is very little wind. I'm at the Astoria bridge at 0940 and my speed is now 9.6 knots and the seas are like a washing machine all of a sudden, but soon after passing the bridge they flatten back out.

I cross Young's Bay and pick out my channel markers for Skipanon River. Its 0950 and I am at the entrance. I turn to port and my speed slows dramatically to 5.7 knots and I am slide slipping fast. I make my steering adjustments and stay up river of marker #4. As I enter the river the depth reads 7 feet. Today is another minus tide. Lots of Great Blues and Canada Geese are feeding along the shore. On the port side there is a large fishing fleet all tied up; even a vessel from Honolulu. The Warrenton Boat Harbor is up at the left. On the starboard side there is a seafood processing company, townhomes with a marina, and Skipanon marina. then in the back near the highway bridge is Warrenton Boat Yard. The tide is way out and as I pull into the specified slip there is only 3 feet of water. I tie up on the very end of the dock and hope the tide has finished its run. I have heard this is a very professional yard. They do many large, expensive boats and many fishing vessels. This is a third generation business and from the looks of the docks they must be the originals. I'll be hauled out on a railcar, so I go over and inspect it. I have had many boats hauled on a railway and I like it better. Shatoosh was hauled on a railway in Napa.

At noon Pashmina goes into the water and we turn up river to start exploring on a flooding tide. There is an abundance of birds; GBH, Mallards, Canada geese, Eagles, and Kingfishers. My oars are working excellently, and I do not need to tweak any more. I see some older homes along the tiny river as it winds back into the wooded areas. There is a busy boat launch that I check out. Crossing the Columbia River bar information is readily available via signage and VHF radio. The fish and wildlife lady is in attendance with her computerized tabulator logging in numbers and types of fish being brought in. So far I haven't seen much action. I see another culvert passing under a roadway. This has 3 culverts and has drop down doors to cover the culverts turning it into a dam. Do I go through or do I stay? The temptation is too great, so in I go. The ceiling is too high to reach but it has the same brick masonry as the other one at Rooster Rock. With the tide flooding I pass through easily. On the other side is a log jam across the river, so now I have to turn back. I row back up to the culvert and the speed of the current surprises me. I can't row and I can't reach the ceiling, so I am flushed out of the culvert. I am thinking this could be a problem. I row back to the culvert entrance and while holding on to a metal grab bar I take one of my oars out of the oarlock and push it up to the ceiling and give me a good shove. It works, I advance a foot. So I repeat this over and over until I get through to the other side. I have worked up a good sweat and take off my fleece pullover. The sun is coming out and things are looking up for me. I return at 1330 hrs and check my depth sounder. It reads 7 ft.

I have some lunch, and do some chores. Last night when I was checking my anchor/navigational lights, my running white light was off. I opened it up and cleaned the ends and presto it is working. I clean the cabin top again. At 1530 Pashmina and I take off this time down river to see all those marinas and boats. A man is on this interesting old ferro cement schooner rigged out as a commercial fishing vessel. He keeps her here in the summer then moves her up to the Willamette River for the winter where he lives. I do see an newer Albin, however they do not appeal to me. Upon my return I load Pashmina back topside and wash her off and cover her so she won't get dirty in the yard. Actually they pull the boats up into a 3 story shed to work on them. I guess with the ocean weather they have to be able to work under many conditions.I check the depth sounder and it reads 12 ft. I fix me a light dinner and begin writing the blog.
Today really brings to light the power of the ocean and the moon creating such powerful tides. It is awesome to be amongst the pull of the pacific. Another wonderful day with my friends, Shatoosh and Pashmina.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I See Pelicans: Oh, Pacifica is Near

25 July 2009: Saturday

This is a big day for me, as I will be anchoring in a new spot. I will be getting closer to the ocean. This could mean big waves, big winds. The weather says increasing afternoon winds at Astoria, cloudy and light fog burning off later in the day. The tide is ebbing early, so I get up at 0600 and slide quietly from the dock at 0700hrs. It is cloudy and cool, so today is long pants and shirt again. There is fog along the tops of all the mountain peaks. I decide early on that I will go ahead and pull into Cathlamet and pump out the head and buy some ice. I elect to go the short cut behind Puget Island. There is always a very shallow spot near the number 5 can. Today there was only 4 feet of water. Periodically the sun tries to burn through, but can't seem to hold.

The bridge to Puget island appears with a cloudy background and tells me I am almost there.
I turn on "1" can and enter the slough. Many rv's are camped along the shore and they have 2 new yurts set up with nice decking. They must rent them, as they do their cabins on the hillside.
I get ice and pump out and am back on the river in 30 minutes. My speed continues to pick up and I work my way up to 9 knots at 1030. It is about this time that I see my 3 pelicans floating but later take to flight. I immediately recall my childhood memories of when our grandmother would take Jean and I to Galveston, Texas for vacation. We would fish for days on the piers and watch all the pelicans. What wonderful memories we created. I'm glad that I can still remember them.

The sun is beginning to come through and Miller Sands looks really inviting with its long sandy beaches and deep water. I pull off and fix me a bit to eat and coast down river in neutral . I am not that far away from Tongue Point but will be busy finding my anchorage, so its best to eat while the waters and winds are calm. In hindsight, this was a really important decision. I'm glad I did it.

The river bears to port at buoy "2". Not long after I pass it I meet 2 different ships coming up river going pretty fast with big bow wakes. The wind and seas have increased once I round Miller Sands, so my intuition bears fruit. The waves from these ships really put me up in a standing position to steer. Shatoosh does well with them, but it is enough to get my attention. The winds increase and so do the seas. We are 20 statute miles from the ocean and we start to feel the flooding tide begin. I look carefully in the binocs to pick up the next buoys but the seas are so bad, I can't make them out. Off to port there are a zillion little fishing boats. I hold my course and can begin to see the buoy and channel marker near Tongue Point. Making this turn puts Shatoosh with the waves on the beam which I don't want, so I watch for a break in the wave set and make my turn which now makes me headed for all those fishing boats. I zig and zag through many and then have to make another turn back down river. Finally I am in the channel going towards Mott Basin, Mott Island and Lois Island anchorage. I could tell this anchorage was large but it is huge. It is 1 mile long and .5 mile wide. I was told that this was dredged at 20 feet and the anchorage housed the fleet of Naval Ships. The docks at the basin held the ammo for all the ships. They would come in and load up with ammunition. I make my way in and motor around looking for a good site. There are only 3 other boats anchored in here. The wind is calm and the water flat. I'm anchored and holding firm at 1315 hrs.

By 1400 the winds pick up and holds steady all afternoon. It is lumpy with the waves and I'm guessing the wind is about 15 knots with gusts to 20. It is 2030 hrs now as I write this and the wind is still blowing. At 1800 hrs the clouds filled back in. I decided I had better take my shower as quickly as I could. I sat on the stern, the water hot, the breeze chilly. I was back in the cockpit in 5 minutes. My, oh my, what a great day.
Day's run:38.9nm

Friday, July 24, 2009

Its A 5 Eagle Morning

24 July 2009: Friday
The ebbing tide is early, so I depart at 0725 with coffee mug in hand and some almonds. 2 eagles catch my eye on my out of the slough, one is perched on a small tree trunk at the entrance to the slough near the ground. Very majestic looking. There is about 10 knots of wind and 2 foot seas, but very easy riding. A tug is coming up river full boar without any barges and the breaking waves leave a visible wake for a mile. By the time they hit me they pack a 1-2-3 punch but I am ready for them and Shatoosh goes bow high up and over. The poor men in their little fishing boat did not so as well.
Anchored off Goble is the largest tanker I have seen on the Columbia. It must have been 600 ft in length. Just past Kalama River bar I cut across the river to the Oregon side and stay in close to shore. I spend some talking to my dear friend Glenn in Az. He is such a delight to talk with and he said he loved the posting I put up on his sailing trip. Work is being done on the Lewis and Clark Bridge. One of the pilings has an unusual peach colored full length skirt around the pilings. Wonder what this is all about?

Down river of the bridge several ships lie at anchor waiting to get a berth. One is from Panama, one from Singapore, and one from Hong Kong. The wind drops to nothing and the seas are flat yet it is still cloudy and cool, however I beginning to see the skies lighten up toward Astoria.
There is alot of dredging going on at the beginning of Lord Island on both sides of the river.
My speed is increasing now. I'm cruising at 8.9 knots which pleases me to no end. A few sailboats power up river and at 0945 hrs I reach buoy "10", my turning buoy and the sun greets me with open arms. "Ah", I say to myself, "this is wonderful. Just as I had hoped." It will be a Pashmina kind of day. I leave the river and head up the channel around Walker island. A sailboat is leaving the dock as I approach and I tie up at 1015. I cook up a piece of sausage, and have a green drink with another cup of coffee. Mother osprey on the piling has twins this year and my favorite osprey at Martin Slough had 3 young ones. Usually you only see one, on occasion 2, but I have never seen 3 before. I see across the channel eagle # 3 and 4 in a bare tree and later in the morning I see #5 flying overhead.

Off comes Pashmina from the cabin top and on the dock she goes. I still have to do some tweaking on the oars. Since the new oars have a slightly smaller diameter it impacts the function of other things. My slide on oars stops(which I lost one the other day) do not stop the oars from sliding out and without them the oars don't align themselves on the boat. So I used some rubber, bungee cord to make a stop and put little bungee cords to hold the oars in place. Pashmina goes into the water and off we go up river to my favorite cove. With the oars extended I am making good headway. The tide has receded quite a bit and I am surprised at the high water mark on the beach. There are Canada Geese tracks, many opened clam shells and it looks like river otter scat. My niece begins a series of text messaging, so I'm focusing on all that. I find Flora, my great niece is sick, so I send her Reiki treatment. Georgia is in Montana with her grandpa and she is on a saddle but no horse. I head over across the channel and want to go between Walker and Lord Islands, but when I get there all the water is gone. Then I remember today and tomorrow are minus tides. I circle back across the channel and visit another cove that I have seen but never visited. Wow, the beach drops off immediately as there is a sheer granite cliff adjacent to it.

By the time I return a large boat is docked right next to me and later their friends pulled in with a cute 24 Skagit Orca, but again Shatoosh beats it all out with the available living space. It is 2200 hrs as I type this and the wind is really blowing and waves hitting all of us on the stern. Fortunately for me the Skagit Orca is blocking some of the waves. I never got to read the new book, but got lots of tweaking done to the oars and boy, do those babies make Pashmina glide through the water. I have a wonderful day.
Days run: 20nm
Total: 37nm

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Heading Down River for Haulout

23 July 2009 Thursday:
After not getting any response from my fellow cruisers, I decide to go and not deal with the car.
I spend some time doing all the routine chores, and finally get off at 1550 hrs. I have a nice smooth cruise to Martin Slough and dock at 1850 hrs. I make 6 knots against the mild wind and flooding tide. I'm starving and open my oven baked chicken and have blueberries. NO cooking, just eating. There is another boat at the dock with lots of kids and they take a long dinghy ride. It is just enough time for me to have a quick shower. I had planned to take a shower at the marina and somehow time got away from me and it slipped my mind. It is cool tonight so I have my long pants and shirt on. Last night it cooled off so much I got up in the night and pulled out my down bag that I had so carefully packed several days ago. I plan on using it again tonight. It is so great. I purchased it in 1970 in Denver. It is older than Shatoosh.

While in Martin Slough I get 2 responses from my cruising group. With my decision made not to mess with the car, it will free me up to perhaps stay at the Shilo Inn near the boatyard, where I can relax in comfort, swim in their indoor pool, take a sauna, workout at the gym. Its beginning to sound good. I'll check it out.

Tomorrow I will depart early and catch the morning ebbing tide. My destination is Walker Island Dock which is about 16 nm. I like hanging out there. It is rural, has a resident osprey and is always a good meeting place for fellow cruisers. If the weather is good I might put Pashmina in and row some with the new oars and hang out in my favorite cove. I bought some new boating novels, so might pack a lunch and read some.
See ya tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

LED Cabin Lights WOW

22 July 2009:Wednesday

I drive into the Marine Exchange again and pick up my new LED lights. Each tiny white square is a light. These are cabin conversion lights meaning you take out your old bulb and insert the plug into the socket. There is tape on the backside which adheres to the fixture. In daylight my cabin is so bright. Again, I can't wait until dark for the new light show.
It is dark and this photo was taken with the available light in my cabin.
There is more light than with my 110v florescent bulb.

I turn back in the new little electric motor and get credit towards the lights. She will keep a lookout for a 2 hp gas engine. I also found a smaller set of speakers, so I removed my old bulky speakers and will install them later on. I found some more of my koa wood in the aft cabin and just enough to make little boxes to hold the speakers. I'll do that at home where I have better wood working equipment.

I replaced all my old dock lines with new blue line this evening after I went for a dinghy ride. I was testing out my new expanding oars. I love how they work, telescoping them to about 6 feet gave me a really smooth ride against the afternoon wind. All was not smooth however. As I was letting the boat slide off the aft cabin I noticed I had put the locks on backwards, so one of the oars slide right out of the oarlock and into the water. I lost the locking bracket into the river. I got Pashmina in the water and while lying on my stomach on the dock I was able to get the oar. The newer handles are smaller than my old ones. So there is still some tweaking to do on them. I rowed up river to take a look at a boat garage that is for sale in the next section of our marina system. It is mostly floating homes. I had never been back there and some interesting places exist on the backside. Despite losing a piece of plastic, I was really pleased with my invention of converting my oars using those old telescoping boat hooks. I love doing things like this. I'm told it is a classic Taurus characteristic. Makes sense, since Jean and I are both double Taurus'.

I have never spent so much time here at the dock, but finding how much I enjoy being here and working on the boat in the shade of the roof. I'm also learning how to find my way around Portland marine centers, thanks again to my Verizon GPS in my cell phone.

Warrenton Boat Yard, which is about 85 nm down river from here, called this morning. So I am set for haul out to have the bottom painted, new zincs and probably a new cutlass bearing on Monday at high tide which is about 0500 hrs. I will travel down and arrive on Sunday and they will provide me a slip for the night. I asked if I could sleep onboard and now days there is always an insurance problem, but if I will sign a waiver I can do that. The railway that they haul you out on is a 15 DEGREE angle. I have done this before in other boat yards. I'll probably wake up with swollen ankles, knees and hips or if I sleep the other way I'll get a big head. Hum, No comment. They wanted a photo of the hull, so they could set the blocks up. I had one onboard so took a photo of it with my phone and emailed it to them. I'm beginning to think I will never be able to live without that huge gang of Verizon staff who follow me everywhere and make all kinds of wondrous things happen. The promised land is here and I'm living it.

I will have to kill a couple of days in the area which is west of Astoria, so now I am trying to solve the problem of getting my car there so I can have it. I have sent out an email to several of my boating friends on the river for their assistance. I learned a long time ago when I first bought Shatoosh and took my car to San Rafael. The voice said, " just go and the doors will open for you." I got the boat to Vallejo and within minutes I had a ride back to San Rafael. The next day I arrived in Napa, my new home port and my car in Vallejo. A fellow across from my slip drove me back to Vallejo and I returned with my car. So I am certain that a repeat performance will be delivered. I'm putting it out to the universe.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New Oars for Pashmina

21 June 2009 Tuesday:

I find a pair of telescoping broken boat hooks at the marine exchange in Portland. I cut them off, indicated by the photo and then reattach the paddle section. I have yet to try them, but with the telescoping section I will be able to find the exact length. Pashmina and I are going to love this. I had lots of fun problem solving this one.

I also find a very inexpensive electric motor, however after I returned to the dock I discovered a missing bracket. I have to return tomorrow anyway. The UPS delivery truck came 15 minutes after I left delivering my LED lights.

My bulkhead is looking pretty sharp. One more coat of glossy will do it just fine.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Back To Brightwork In The Cockpit

20 July 2009 Monday:

Linda joined me last evening and we had a nice visit. She spent the night in her rv out in the marina parking lot. This morning she joined me for coffee and again we had a nice long visit.

Afterwards I removed all the items that were on the cockpit bulkhead and sanded down all the old stained wood. One coat of cetol on everything, including Jean's magazine rack off of Namaste, her Gulf 32 pilothouse sloop. Then back to the cabin doors adding the final coat of glossy. I do not think that anything has been done to any cockpit wood for the life of the boat. It looked very tired and old. Now, Shatoosh will have a snap in her appearance.
While waiting for cetol to dry, I start up on my next plan of action: extend the length of my oars. While this seems like a simple idea, it may not be as easy as I thought. The aluminum tubing is an odd diameter, making it difficult to find. Perhaps a trip into Portland marine stores tomorrow might shed some light on a solution.
Today would be my Mother's 96th birthday if she were still living. My grandmother came to me in a dream last night and she was being taken to visit a holy site of Bhagavan Nityananda. An enlightened being who is part of my Siddha lineage of Meditation Masters. I have enormous repect for my maternal lineage, as it is over 40,000 years old. Jean and I descend from the Clan Mother Ursula, who lived in the caves near Parnasus in what is now Greece. It is the oldest clan in Europe. I have spent time today thanking my maternal ancestors for paving the way so that I could evolve into the great being that I am today. Thank you Marjorie, Gilmour, Georga, Ann and Mrs. Robbins( my deepest known mitochondrial link). I do not know her first name but her essence is critical in my creation.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Preparation For Another Trip 18 July 2009

My little luggage carrier has served me well over all these hauling years, but there is one troubling characteristic that is disconcerting to me. As I amble up and down the ramp and docks the ice chest tends to slide off the metal frame, especially when I am going over grating or gaps in the docking. This morning I built a platform for the ice chest and screwed it into the frame. Tomorrow I will head south to Shatoosh and see how my new carrier works.

Linda, my newest crew will join me in the evening as she is returning from a Cat Show on the Oregon Coast. She is promoting her new book about her late cat, Regal.(see her website listed She travels in her RV so we can have some time to visit Sunday evening and Monday morning. She just returned from a camping trip where she got a taste of the Snake River below Little Monument Dam. Now, she is really eager to devise a plan where several of us can camp and cruise together as we explore the upper Columbia and Snake River systems. I've been up for it for years so maybe next summer we can pull it off. All I need is one more person to commit.
Any Takers?

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Lady Washington and The Hawaiian Chieftain

13 July 2009: Monday
My friend and crew member Ann and I have booked passage on the the tall ships in September. The cruise will go from Port Townsend WA to Aberdeen WA(the ship's home port) from 15-17 September 2009 and be about 55 hours long. We will proceed out the Straits of Juan de Fuca and down the Washington coast to Gray's Harbor and dock at the home port of the ships. We will not know which ship we will be traveling on until we are assigned by the crew. I do not care which one I board as it will be a wonderful opportunity. Everyone will be sleeping in a large cabin in an assigned bunk. Snoring, I'm told, is tolerated by all due to the fatigue of our hard working efforts on board. We can do as much or as little as we wish. I, of course will go for it.
Today, I was looking at their blog and they are using the same template as I do on my blog. You can visit the blog by going to their website and click on the blog on the home page. The website is listed in the links at the bottom of this page. Daily blogs are written, which means you will be able to follow our cruise as well, and hopefully I will be able to blog along with the boat as long as I have a verizon signal.
Both ships are over 100 ft in length. The Lady Washington is a 20 year old replica of the original ship who plied the waters off the east coast in 1750's and was the first American ship to come to the western waters and also to the Hawaiian Islands. She was built in Gray's Harbor, WA. The Hawaiian Chieftain was built in modern times out of steel in Lahina, Maui, Hawaii.
Anyone who is interested in joining us, please do. The more the merrier. You can book passage online or by telephone. 800-200-5239

Friday, July 3, 2009

Shatoosh Meets WhiskyJack

3 July 2009: Friday

A calm, windless, clear morning greets me. "Oh my", I say to myself when I step out into the cockpit and see my aft cabin doors. They are beginning to look really nice. One more coat will do it.

After breakfast I go ashore and look around and see this cow I have watched all week. She looks very pregnant and milk is accumulating in her utter. I say good morning to her and she walks towards me, sniffs my hand and I scratch her face. She continues to eat the small blades of new grass. Under the tree is a small hand made bird feeder that has partially fallen apart. I fix it and prop it on the fallen log. Carved on the top reads, "For The Birds"

On my downriver leg I noticed some quiet places that might be worth anchoring. I waited until 1130 hrs for the tide to turn and headed up river which was putting the slight wind and flooding tide on my stern and hopefully a boost up river. I checked out 3 areas near Goat Island and decided on this calm stretch of beach near channel marker 72. I anchored between 2 wing dams in 15 feet of water. In my call with Jean this morning she said I should explain what wing dams are as many readers of the blog are not familiar with this term. A wing dam is a series of short pilings placed between shore and a channel marker or other navigational aid. It forces the water out to the channel which helps in clearing it. Often these are submerged with high water or flooding tides. One should never attempt to go between a navigational aid and the shore otherwise you might find yourself on top of a wing dam. I stayed an hour to eat lunch and watched numerous fish jump. They were mostly large carp and one sturgeon. All about 2 feet in length.

I weighed anchor and headed out of the cove and looked up to see Whiskyjack coming down river and directly across the river. Dan had told me that we might pass at some point. I hailed him on channel 16 and then switched over to 68. I said,"slow down, I'm across the river from you." He replied and I could see him slowing and turning back up river. Whiskyjack is such a great boat. I pull along side and we talk for a few minutes and I meet his wife, Karen. She took the helm and Dan hoisted sail. Wow, I get to see her sail. The winds were light, but off she took and looks really sweet under sail. I stayed with them and took about 15 photos which I will share with them. Karen really was great at the helm, while Dan stayed in the cockpit trimming the sheets.

I stopped at the St Helens fuel dock to get some water and was off in minutes. All the docks were filled with boats, canoes, tents and people. Glad I am heading up river. It is after 1500 and the heat is coming on. All my favorite spots at Coon island are taken, so I continue on to the end and see Mel and Carol on Viajero from my marina. I pull in behind them and have a wonderful chat. I haven't seen them in 2 years and now I see them twice in a week. Lots of big, fancy boats pull in and we help them dock. Now all the big boat people have headsets on so the captain can speak with his crew members below. No one is yelling at each other anymore. Isn't technology wonderful?

This has been a wonderful day, a new anchorage under my belt, meeting new boaters and seeing old friends and a special treat was seeing Whiskyjack under sail. Wow, it doesn't get any better.

Oh yes, we watched a deer bring her young twin fawns down to shore for an evening drink of water and watched the otters play on shore across the way.

Everyone have a happy 4th of July.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Rowing On the Stroke of Om

On the2 July 2009: Thursday
After breakfast I started on my wood with the first glossy coat. It is looking really nice. Sapele, according to Wikipedia is a wood from Africa and often used in the making of guitars and Hawaiian ukuleles.

Later in the morning a single handed sailor-lady entered the lagoon. She anchored and then climbed in her dinghy and started to row out a stern anchor. She had misjudged her anchor drop and she was blown down on a piling. She pulled up both anchors and reset the bow one and decided she didn't need the stern line. I rowed over in Pashmina to see if she needed any help. She stated this boat was new to her and she is practicing alot. I invited her to visit when she got settled.

Mid-day we had a nice chat and she has her 27 ft Erickson in Scapposse. She is in her 60's, retired on a meager income, doesn't own a car, but is sailing everywhere on the river. She pointed out some places to anchor that I have missed. She said she has been aground several times already and is gutsy in her endeavors, while I tend to be more cautious. However, it is great she out on the water, owning her own sailboat and living a simple life. She bought the boat for $4000 and has put alot of work into her already. Hauling her out, doing her own yard work, rewiring it and has been up the mast 3 times. Good on you girl.

While waiting for the wood to dry, I took Pashmina for a good row up Martin Slough to the wing dam and the Columbia. When the tide is out there is a beautiful beach to explore and gather pumice stones from the Mt St Helen's explosion. It is about 3 miles total run. As I got to the wing dam I flushed 2 eagles from the shore line, 4 killdeer birds and numerous ospreys were flying overhead.

These bird prints in the sand were interesting. I believe they are eagle because of the size. They were made in a reciprocal gait pattern which I'm not certain how eagles ambulate, but I don't think they are hoppers. I have seen them hop to take off from standing stationary, but I have never seen them walk. Someone suggested they could be Great Blue Heron. Actually this makes sense as they are slow, methodical walkers who come down and enter the water to fish. The tracks represented this behavior quite well. While it was fun thinking about the eagles, this is more a probability. The size of the print made me not think of the GBH, but I forget how large they are.

Upon my return to the lagoon inlet the wind was blowing quite a bit and there were small waves to face. A vessel was about to enter with me, so I held back knowing I was in the slow boat. I was pulling on the oars with all my might and gaining inches on the shoreline. I decided that I would empower my strokes with saying Om with each stroke. It was as though Pashmina leaped forward and we began to make impressive headway. I "omed" all the back to Shatoosh and it became an effortless undertaking.

I had a curious encounter with another dragonfly. This one was a brilliant blue, smaller than the other one and had landed on my arm. I watched closely and discovered he had brought his meal with him. He was chewing on a small insect. I watched in total fascination as he slowly chewed and gobbled down this insect. My last vision was the disappearing 2 flapping antenna of the insect, as they went down the dragonfly's gullet. Then just as quick as he came, dinner finished, he flew off.

The late afternoon heat coupled with the severe cottonwood blowing created a tough few hours. I was very happy to see the sun go down, wash my hair and soak my feet in a bucket of water to get the dug in river mud from my toenails. The solar shower made the water too hot so I added some cold out of the tank. All in all it was another delightful day.