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 for good.

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 or two.

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.

Fri. 2001-6-22
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 windlass.

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.