Thursday, December 3, 2009

Chart Plotter Up And Running

3 December 2009: Thursday

I awoke this morning to a cold cabin. The temperature was 40, but outside it was 30. The docks were icy, but there was no rain, the skies clear, and the sun shinning. I've been waiting for this weather break for weeks. As I walked along the dock, I noticed a familiar friend, one that I thought lost, but my shadow was there, weaving in between those horrid remains of Fred, the resident Great Blue Heron. I always have to hopscotch down the docks.

Up on the top of the Dike, you could see clearly Mt. Hood to the east and north to St Helens and Mt. Adams. The skies were filled with migrating Sandhill Cranes and Canada Geese.
Sauvie Island is a wildlife refuge which lies to the east of my moorage. I love hearing the cackling cranes and the honking geese. The trees are barren, and last years nests are beginning to fall by the wayside. The cormorants are busy fishing up and down the Multnomah Channel. I take my time with morning chores, drive into Scappoose for breakfast, read a few boating magazines and finally get off at noon. I have no food on board, except for some box soups, I have no plan except to run the boat and see how my newly configured chart plotter works.

This chart plotter thing has been months in the making, thanks to the prodding of Whiskyjack's owner, Dan. From the moment he met me he informed me that if I wasn't using SeaClear and NOAA charts for free that I would be really missing out on the latest free bees. At first, I didn't think I would like navigating with a computer, but then he told me about small computers or netbooks. I had seen Verizon's Netbooks and liked the idea of having broadband at your finger tips cruising the backwaters of the Columbia. So, why not take advantage of it all? I jumped in and as I cruised down river today, I watched with great anticipation of the red curser showing up on the chart noting my position. Hurray, it is working. I email Dan and let him know of my progress. He returns a note, sounding happy as a clam, that I'm out on the water and the chart plotter is working.

The day was so beautiful, that I made a quick decision to head all the way down the Multnomah Channel to the small town of St Helens about 9nm. It is on the Columbia river. They have a large free City Dock and then across the river is a small island with 2 large docks that are also free. I have to hand it to the Oregon Marine Board, as they have abundant numbers of free docks all over the state. It is so wonderful to pull in for free all the time. I've become quite spoiled.

The sun went down over the City Courthouse early and the chill started infiltrating the cockpit, so I turned on the diesel heater and got things warmed up. After looking through the barren pantry, I decided to walk up into town to see if any eating places were open. Lately, it has been slim pickings as the economy isn' t ithat great in these neck of the woods. The newly established Hawaiian Island Cafe was open and the food was onolicious. The owners are from the north shore of Oahu. They are open for breakfast. What a lucky break for me! I'll be first in line when the doors open.

What a joyful, spontaneous day. I just finished a wonderful guided meditation by Sally Kempton from my recent teleconference class with her. Time to wrap myself up in my down bedroll, so good night from St Helens, OR onboard Shatoosh.