Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Schooner Creek/ GPS Troubleshooting

Yesterday, Sunday, I took a short ride down river to Coon Island to spend the day near the eagles and to troubleshoot this GPS/SeaClear connection. The day was wonderful and met 2 Grand Banks couples, who stated that neither would be taking the up river cruise to the Snake with their yacht club GBYC Portland. Heck, I was going to pick their minds. By the end of the day, as I was motoring back, I could not figure out why nothing was working. My GPS was sending data to my radar, but not my computer. Frustrated, I emailed Dan to update him. I decided that I must have rewired the connections wrong and I would surrender to the Schooner Creek Gods and let them fix it.

I left this morning, Monday, 1 March about 1005 hrs, and slowly begin my journey up river to Schooner Creek Boat Works(15nm). I soon leave civilization above Rocky Pointe and am excited to find my eagles present with their big nest high in the cottonwoods on Sauvie Island. Just upriver is a large great blue heron rookery on both sides of the river. I counted 20 on the starboard side and about 10 on the port side. Many blues are nesting already. Jean, my twin calls me, as she is baby sitting her grand daughters in Denver. I describe the scene with them and tell them I can't wait to bring them on Shatoosh for a boat ride.

I'm in no hurry, so I stop at Hadley's Landing to make me a fresh mug of coffee. The docks are always filled with  Russian fisherman. I don't know what it is about this dock that attracts all these Russians but they come from Portland, hike in from Sauvie island road and fish til dark. Usually they catch carp AND actually take them home to eat them. But, today they are catching and keeping squawfish. In Washington, there is a bounty on them and people actually make a living by turning them in. The coffee is ready, so I take off again and am soon cruising by a nice little floating home community and marina on the Sauvie island side. It is nice and quiet, out in the countryside. I'm told that Sauvie Island is the largest US island in fresh water. It is about 50 nm to circumnavigate it and quite a lovely journey, of part Columbia river, part Willamette river, and part Multnomah channel. It is best to go up the multnomah, then down the willamette and columbia rivers. I have done it several times and always enjoy it.

The rivers are filled with floating wood debris and coho fisherman. I feel like an Olympic Nautical Slalom driver, as I bob and weave between the floatsum and fishing boats. The short run on the Willamette river makes Shatoosh weave between 3 tugs and ride their wakes. My new locking mechanism I put on the laptop tray to secure it on the nav tray holds everything in place. At least something is working.

Once on the Columbia River, I pass an anchored and very tired ship with a bad case of the rust-out. As I get closer, I see it it from Majuro Island, of the Federated States of Micronesia. Majuro is a small atoll, in the mid pacific. I always joke, when I see one of their ships in port; they must be here to pick up Spam, the Hormel kind. Hawaii and Micronesia are big Spam eaters.

I pass under the railroad bridge, but it is too early to go to Schooner Creek, so I continue up river and find the resturant I wanted to go to, closed. I  run into depths of less than 5 feet. Whow, I reverse and I am out of there, returning to the protected cove of Schooner Creek. The marina is full of boats and I don't see an empty space. A dock worker directs me to an old wooden dock and tie up. I go into the yard office and the guys in there, tell me that they will find me a space in few minutes. I'm directed to circle back around to the inside dock and find just enough room to tie up and hook up my electric. I'm all set for the night and Mike, my mechanic, will return in the morning. He has been on a trip to celebrate his wedding anniversary.
I, humbly, inform them that I might need some troubleshooting on my gps/usb connection.

My buddy, Dan, emails some valuable info and I discover my usb driver is now missing, thus causing the problem of my gps not communicating with my computer and Sea Clear. I look to see if the driver is on my thumb drive but it is not. I'll just have to wait and get it off my other computer. I think from now on, I will carry it on the thumb drive, so if this ever happens again, I can reinstall it. This whole project has been quite the saga, but I am in it for the long haul.

I've closed up the boat, and have my feet on the dehumidifier which makes for a toasty foot warmer, as the night settles in. I'm ready to eat some coho salmon and will celebrate in knowing, I did not wire the system wrong. Tomorrow, is a new day and tonight, I am snug as a bug, on board Shatoosh in this beautiful little cove with a sandy beach.