Log - 6/21/2001 to 6/22/2001
Portland to Astoria, OR
Comments by Katherine
Cruising down the river was fun (after the butterflies &
the sadness of leaving my friends subsided).
Comments by Squiz (the Feline)
I hate the noise of the engine, but even worse is the unpredictable
movement. I refuse to even purr in my cubbyhole during these times.
I much prefer supervising the residents on "G" row back
at Tomahawk Bay Marina.
Comments by Wally (Faithful Crew)
We set sail about 7:40am which meant preparation began around 6.
It didn't seem early -- the sun had been up more than an hour, the
sendoff by Amy & Michael S. was warm and intimate. It was the
most technically perfect departure from the marina I'd seen, in
despite the presence of a camera.
We hailed the I-5 bridge to inquire about safe passage due to bridge
reconstruction. There are scaffolds hanging down below the bridge
underdeck, and a support barge with huge pipes going up from it
intersecting with the huge temporary pipes in the construction house
on the bridge. The barge sported cables crossing the channel. The
bridge "troll" radioed back that the passage was closed.
Presumably he was operating under legal advice. Right after that,
the Multnomah County Sheriff river patrol boat came racing out.
This wasn't surprising, or even threatening, as Katherine's dad
works there. They helped sight us under the bridge. It didn't look
like we had more than a few feet to spare between the 56 foot high
masthead and the bottom of the bridgeworks, but it's hard to judge
from the deck of our boat.
A few minutes later we neared the Burlington Northern railway bridge.
This is a much lower bridge, but much less used too. After a disconcertingly
long delay, it did open at a stately pace. At least half a dozen
greasy, grimy denizens of the railroad bridge gave friendly waves.
Afterwards, the Sheriff's boat came along side us for an "inspection."
Without either boat stopping, Katherine's dad boarded, made a cursory
glance around, and hugged her good bye. Too bad all law enforcement
inspections aren't as desirable.
Either that, or they wanted to make sure we made it out of town
We stopped just after noon for fuel at Kalama. They are closed
for lunch from noon to 1, so there was time for relaxing on shore.
A few fisherman launched or de-launched their skiffs. Not much excitement--just
like summer as a kid. As we began preparations to leave, Katherine
brought a sheet out to air. It promptly landed in the river. After
fishing it back out, we hung it up Italian-style over the furled
sail cover. It was mostly dry in a few minutes thanks to the warm
air, sunshine and forceful wind.
The sun shone brightly, the wind blew briskly--always exactly from
straight ahead. Outside of Portland/Vancouver, the river banks are
largely wild, usually sandy beaches, sometimes heavily wooded. Plenty
of beautiful greenery, hills and blue skies. Only a few big ships
passed us. One near St. Helens and a tug boat like thing near Longview.
We passed the tug closely going the other direction. This was the
only real incident: I was video taping the jet skis leaping into
the air using the tug's considerable wake, admiring their grace
and skill. As I pulled the camcorder away from my eye, I noticed
that very wake coming right at us: about 5 feet high it wouldn't
normally be of concern, but it had a short wavelength -- about the
length of our boat. Even if I had yelled "wake" sooner,
it wouldn't have helped. A port hole in the V-berth was open. Naturally
the water which came over the bow found its way through the port
hole, and onto the freshly dried sheet.
After that, it was downright boring. The most excitement was turning
onto a new course as the river bends or the channel moves from one
side of the river to the other. There were a few jet skis out and
a couple of tents along the river bank here and there. Maybe a fisherman
Katherine addressed her mild anxiety about the permanency of lifestyle
change by baking: first some huckleberry torte, then some calzones.
I saw some yams be prepared too. The scents of cooking onion, baking
bread, pesto, garlic, huckleberry juice had Alan and I salivating
like dogs. With that, by 5pm we collectively decided we'd anchor
for the night in some quiet out of the way place soon. I wonder
how far we'd have gone if the smells weren't so delicious.
We anchored for the night behind a small island about 50 miles from
Astoria. It was a good exercise in anchor operations. The "good"
anchor wasn't able to bite into the bottom the first couple of tries:
the bottom was probably soft goo. The boat's windlass is arm powered,
and the particular arrangement of the stored staysail in a bag on
the foredeck hampers the movement of the handle which drives the
We arrived Astoria mid day. It was a chance to stop by a smoked
fish shop Katherine discovered in April and load up on smoked salmon
and smoked scallops. Yummy. We also bought several bags of groceries
at Safeway. The marina and Safeway are a good 30 minute walk apart.