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Full travel log
Tonight we leave on our trip to the Columbia River. As a going-away present, our neighbours Alex and Christina Marie Kimball from Gypsy Wind gave us one of the beautiful hand-painted pennants that Alex creates from re-purposed sails.
04/19/12, 9:00pm: Foulweather Bluff
With 20-knots of wind and a 1-knot current with us, we're smoking along at 10.6 knots. Our top speed is 9.5 knots, and we'd should be doing around 8 at this RPM. We've been adjusting the autopilot, as the boat is wandering a bit in the following sea. Conditions feel quite calm though. We're expecting bigger seas on the nose in the Strait of Juan de Fuca--seems like the weather always nails us there.
04/20/12, 12:00am: Dungeness Spit
The wind has dropped to near zero and conditions are amazingly calm--among the best we've seen in the strait. We're now down to a more expected 7.5-8 knots, but still making good time. We just passed the 279m freighter Hanjin Washington doing 21 knots for Seattle. We're skimming just south of the traffic lanes and, with the spit to our south, had to pass about a half-mile away. That ship sure looks huge at night.
04/20/12, 12:40am: NW Dungeness Spit
Vessel Traffic Service can see us on AIS, and just radiod to let us know a ship leaving the Port Angeles area was heading east in the lanes. They also wanted to know our destination. On reporting "Columbia River", they asked if we'd be stopping in Astoria or Portland, or heading farther up. They paused after I said "all the way to Idaho if we can," presumably to look that up on the chart.
04/20/12, 1:30am: Port Angeles
The calm conditions didn't last long. We've now got 25-30 knots on the nose. Seas are 6-8' and within a second apart. The pilothouse windows are taking frequent spray, and we had to throttle back to avoid pounding into the waves. Not a big deal, but we were enjoying the smoother ride earlier.
04/20/12, 5:45am Crescent Bay
The wind has dropped to west 15-20 knots now. Conditions have improved quite a bit and we're picking up speed. Lots of vessel traffic is in the area. We've passed a half-dozen freighters already and have four in sight now: Nassau Spirit, Maersk Bering, Overseas Boston, and Forte, with several more visible on AIS.
04/20/12, 12:58pm South of Cape Flattery
Our first time boating south of Cape Flattery. Conditions have improved consdiderably--winds are below 10 knots and the sky is clear blue. This sailboat running south with us seems to be having a nice downwind run. We've not seen much other traffic since leaving the strait. To avoid crab pots, we'll be running 12-15 miles offshore.
04/20/12, 6:08pm: South of La Push
Winds are calm, a moderate swell remains: 10-11' with a 13-second period. Suprisingly, the Coast Guard has closed the Grays Harbor Bar to pleasure craft shorter than 40'. Weather permitting, we expect to cross the Columbia River bar tomorrow morning.
04/20/12, 8:14pm: Sunset
The sun set tonight in fiery orange ball.
04/21/12, 9:46am: 1 mile off channel entrance
Coast Guard Cape Disappointment reports 4-8' seas on the main channel, and 12' seas and breaking at Peackock and Clatsop spits. The spits are closed to all traffic, and the main channel also is closed to vessels less than 45'. Low water slack was at 9:23 and the Columbia River Bar Pilots recommend going through an hour after.
04/21/12, 10:26am: Cape Disappointment Light
The Cape Disappointment light beyond breakers on Peacock Spit.
04/21/12, 10:46am: Buoy 11
And we're through. Conditions were moderate the whole way--we would have been comfortable taking the previous boat through. In fact we would have been comfortable crossig the bar in our current dinghy.
04/21/12: Astoria-Megler Bridge
Heading towards the Astoria-Megler Bridge, that carries highway 101 over the Columbia. This is the first of many bridges that we'll pass under on this trip. With the offshore run and the bar crossing behind us, the working part of the trip is over. We're now back to normal cruising mode, under a clear blue sky and a temperature nearing 60F.
04/21/12: Miller Sands
As we head upriver, many of the surrounding islands are thick with sand dunes
4/21/12, Abandoned Cannery at Pillar Rock
The cannery, closed in 1947, looks in remarkably good conditions compared to ones of a similar age we've seen up the coast. The freshwater environment probably helps.
4/21/12: Fitzpatrick Island
We were planning to have lunch underway, but the waters off Fitzpatrick Island were too inviting. With the temperature nearing 70F, we had lunch in T-shirts on the boat deck. The setting was so nice we almost stayed for the night, but we want to make a little more progress before stopping for the day.
4/21/12: Tensillahe Island
At least 50 boats were fishing off Tensillahe Island.
04/21/12: River Rat Trap
The River Rat Trap tavern in the town of Cathlamet.
One of several waterfalls on the north shore of Cathlamet Channel.
04/21/12: Mount St. Helens
Mount St. Helens seen from the main channel near Cape Horn. The volcano erupted in 1980, killing 57. The volcanic mudflow destroyed bridges and lumber camps on the Toutle and Cowlitz Rivers, and carried 3,900,000 cubic yards of debris into the Columbia River. That would not have been a good day to be out on the water.
04/21/12: Fir Island
We're anchored in a lovely basin off the northeast side of locally-named Fir Island. We have a view to the main channel on either end of Fir, and south towards Wallace Slough. The river current is running about 2.3 knots, and is pushing us back at anchor. Perhaps a dozen small fishboats are about a half-mile away, and we we expect they'll all leave by nightfall.
04/21/12: Hanjin Washington
The Hanjin Washington emerges from behind Fir Island, running eastbound in the channel. Several large freighters passed the anchorage, but the pile dike at the north end of the island deflected most of the wake. We felt only a gentle undulation when the ships passed.
Fishboats heading out for the early morning catch.
Sunrise with Longview in the distance.
04/22/12: Approaching Longview
Steam rising from the plants alongshore at Longview.
04/22/12: Lewis and Clark Bridge
Passing under the Lewis and Clark Bridge. Looks like another warm and sunny day ahead.
04/22/12: Loading dock
Bulk cargo ship loading dock. This complex loading infrastucture can fill several all cargo compartments at the same time on some ships.
04/22/12: Washing off the salt
Washing off the salt that built up from our offshore run. One of the nice things about river cruising is we have an unlimited supply of fresh water for the job.
04/22/12: Willamette River Junction
Stopping for lunch.
04/22/12: Swing bridge
Approaching the BNR RR swing bridge as it opens.
04/22/12: Bridge gears
The bridge gears, with the bridge operator alongside.
04/22/12: I-5 Bridge
Passing under the I-5 bridge. We've passed under I-5 at several places in the Puget Sound by dinghy, but never in the main boat.
04/22/12: Mt. Hood
Mount Hood rises in the distance. The waterways around Vancouver were packed with boats on this warm, sunny Sunday.
04/22/12: Government Island
Government Island State Park has two large concrete public docks, with numerous boats on each. We're tied off for the night on an older wooden dock between them, where nobody else is stopped.
Debris trapped by current at the north end the dock.
Sunset viewed from the dock.
Underway at dawn with Mt Hood in the distance.
The sun rising through a light fog.
Power transmission line towers "floating" in the fog.
The current is quite strong here, and buffeted the boat where the Sandy River joined the Columbia.
04/23/12: Tug in the fog
This tugboat looked almost like a submarine in the fog.
04/23/12: Vista House
The Vista House observatory at Crown Point is built on a 766' cliff overlooking the river.
04/23/12: Wide load
Foss tug bringing four barges downriver.
04/23/12: Cape Horn
Waterfalls have worn deep channels into the basalt cliffs at Cape Horn.
One of the waterfalls at Cape Horn.
04/23/12: Approaching Beacon Rock
Approaching Beacon Rock. This part of the trip reminded us of the karst formations along China's Li River.
04/23/12: Beacon Rock State Park
The view from the top of 800' Beacon Rock, if we can reach it, will be amazing on such a clear day. A heavy current was setting us onto the dock, so we were more cautious than usual on our approach.
04/23/12: Docks from Beacon Rock
Looking down to the park dock from harlfwy up Beacon Rock. You can see how strong the current is in the channel around the dock and in the Columbia beyond.
One of the series of switchbacks on the way up. The trail is incredibly well-engineered, allowing a reasonably easy climb given we're gaining 800' in about a mile.
04/23/12: View from the peak
Looking east from the peak. Bonneville Dam is visible in the distance.
04/23/12: Bonneville Dam
Close-up of the dam. We'll be heading through this afternoon.
04/23/12: Switchbacks from the dock
Looking up to the switchbacks shown earlier, this time from the park dock.
04/23/12: Approaching Bonneville Dam
Approaching Bonneville Dam. The current below the dam was intense. Running at maximum RPM, at what should have been 9.5 knots, we were alternating between 1.6 and 3 knots.
04/23/12: Bonneville lock
View of the navigation lock as we near Bonneville dam.
04/23/12: Waiting to lock through
We had radioed the lockmaster when we were a couple of hours out, and he said he'd lock us through in three hours. We arrived about an hour early and are tied off to a small dock just outside the lock doors (on the left in the previous picture).
04/23/12: Entering the locks
Swing bridge opening as we enter the locks. The lockmaster said we'd probably just clear, but that he was going to play it safe and open the bridge for us.
04/23/12: Inside the locks
The lockmaster assigned us a mooring bit at the west end of the lock. Dirona doesn't take up much space.
04/23/12: Mooring bit
The mooring bit is a beautiful stainless steel fabrication. Unlike at the Ballard locks in Seattle, where a bow and stern line are tied to separate bollards, here a single bit is used. We used a single line amidships, but you also can run lines from bow and stern.
04/23/12: Checking the fenders
Checking the fenders as we start to lift.
04/23/12: Heading up
Enjoying the 70' ride up.
04/23/12: Almost there
Getting close now.
04/23/12: Exiting the locks
We're now 72' above sea level.
04/23/12: Power transmission
A view into the complexity of the power transmission towers above the dam.
04/23/12: Fishing platform
Fishing platform such as these were strung along the river. Native Americans fish from them for steelhead and salmon.
04/23/12: Bridge of the Gods
Approaching the Bridge of the Gods. According to Native legend, a land-bridge across the Columbia once existed here. Geologists have confirmed that a landslide did occur here some thousand years ago.
04/23/12: Port of Cascade Marina
We stopped at the Port of Cascade pocket marina to visit the Cascade Locks and Marine Park. The marina has solid cement floats and is very clean. Moorage is free for 72 hours, but the space for transient vessels is limited to the dock we're tied off to. We weren't planning to spend the night, but the marina was so private and quiet that we decided to stay.
04/23/12: Cascade Locks
Looking east down the old Cascade Locks, with the Bridge of the Gods in the distance. The locks were used to bypass the Cascade Rapids before the Bonneville Dam flooded the area and covered the rapids. The Columbia Gorge (see above) apparently moors here for summer tours. The current then must be a lot less strong than it is now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOdo3fPTkDM.
04/23/12: Rest stop
Enjoying the view from the park on the north side of the locks.
04/23/12: Beer time
Having a beer on a restaurant patio with an awesome view of the river and the Bridge of the Gods.
04/23/12: Tug under the bridge
Tug pushing a barge upstream under the bridge. The current upstream of the dam was still fairly strong, about 2/3rds of that below the dam.
Sunset from the boat deck, looking over the sternwheeler Columbia Gorge.
04/24/12: Columbia Gorge
View of the Columbia Gorge as we leave the marina the next morning. Maneuvering room was limited, so we just backed the whole way out.
Above the Bonneville dam, the Columbia Gorge narrows and steepens. Landslides are common along these shores.
Road and train tunnel cut through the rock.
04/24/12: View home
Some pretty specatcular houses have been built on the hills above Hood River.
We saw only one windsurfer on the way up, and he was really sailing. Here's a video we shot.
04/24/12: Dalles Dam power transmission
A huge number of power transmission line towers lead from the Dalles Dam.
04/24/12: Hurricane leaving the locks
The tug Hurricane was locking downstream through the Dalles when we radioed an hour or so in advance. But once the locks were clear, we were able to enter without delay.
No water shortage today.
04/24/12: Entering the Dalles lock
The Dalles locks lift 90 feet, another 20 feet over the Bonneville locks.
04/24/12: Doors closing
04/24/12: Checking the fenders
We mainly relied on two large ball fenders on either side of our mid-line to the bit, but used a few others for backup.
04/24/12: Gate actuating arm
The massive actuating arm that swings the lower gate. Nothing here looks under-engineered.
04/24/12: Heading out
We're now 160' above sea level.
The lockmaster thanked us for radioing so far in advance. That way he could keep the gate open after Hurricane had exited.
04/24/12: Power transmission line towers
Big towers carrying power away from the dam.
04/24/12: Loading logs
This grappler was loading logs at 2-3 transfers a minute.
The scenery is decidedly more desert-like now.
04/24/12: Celilo Bridge
The Celilo Bridge has a 20' vertical clearance down, too low for our 31' air draft, so we radioed the bridgetender for an opening. She lifted it as soon as we were near.
04/24/12: Hells Gate, west entrance
Bluffs above a train tunnel as we transit Hells Gate on the north side of Miller Island. Depsite the name, the passage is easy, and the scenery is impressive.
04/24/12: Landslide detectors
We believe these are landslide detectors, strung between posts, along the north shore of Hells Gate. A rock breaking through the wire alert the train controllers.
04/24/12: Hells Gate, east entrance
Nearing the east entrance to Hells Gate. The scenery has been amazing the whole way.
04/24/12: Miller Island
Anchored for the night. Douglas and Gerry Cochrane, who are writing a Columbia and Snake River cruising guide, highly recommended this anchorage. We agree. The US Army Corps of Engineers owns the island, and we went ashore to climb a high bluff west of the cove. To the north, windmills filled the hills.
04/24/12: Which way to go?
Trying to determine the route up to the bluff. The wild lavender covering the island smelled and looked wonderful.
04/24/12: View from the top
The bluff was about 500' high and has sweeping views. The white bar in the distance is the John Day Lock and Dam. We'll pass through there tomorrow morning.
Birds packed the small islets east of the anchorage.
Gusty winds blew through the anchorage, but the cockpit has good shelter.
The evening sun lit up the bluff east of the anchorage.
Dawn looking east from the anchorage
04/25/12: Miller Island bluff
As we leave the anchorage, looking back on the bluff we climbed yesterday.
Sunrise at the I-97 bridge.
Replica of Stonehenge, built as a monument to Klickitat County World War I casualties.
04/25/12: Tug Cascades
Tug Cascades heading downstream after exiting the lock.
04/25/12: John Day lock
Approaching the navigation lock. It sure looks dark in there.
04/25/12: Tug Lori D
Tug Lori D moored to the seawall west of the locks.
04/25/12: Entering the locks
With a maximum lift of 113 feet, John Day is one of the largest single-lift locks in the world.
04/25/12: Dropping the gate
This video, sped up 8 times, shows the guillotene gate dropping behind us once we're secure.
These geese and goslings rode up with us.
04/25/12: Going up
The water level rose much faster than in the Bonneville Dam. Here's a real-time video of us going up.
A view to the spillway from inside the locks near the top.
04/25/12: Gate going down
The gate dropping down at the top.
You can't see it, but a small marina is tucked in behind the grain elevators.
Grain elevators at Roosevelt, just upriver from Arlington. The current is slower here--we're able to make over 7 knots now.
Cowboys herding cattle way up in the hills above us. The new camera, although inexpensive, has a surprisingly good image-stabilized 840mm long lens.
Pickers with transportation high on the Washington side.
04/25/12: Crow Butte State Park
A bit of a tight squeeze with 10' at the entrance, but we have 13' feet at the dock.
... and a beautiful spot for lunch.
Striking plumage of an American Avocet working the shore near our picnic table.
4/25/12: Blalock Islands
Dinner in the pilot house. This is a wild anchorage--we're in the middle of the Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge, and bird calls fill the air. In the distance, the synchronous red flashes of windmill lights look like faraway Christmas trees. Although the islands surrounding the anchorage are low, and don't provide much wind protection, they do break the waves.
4/26/12, 7:45am: Nearing McNary Dam
We'll be locking through in about 45 minutes. This is our last lock heading upriver on the Columbia.
Strong current 1.5 miles from the dam.
4/26/12: Entering locks
We've lost our nice weather--rain is pouring today.
4/26/12: Going up
Spitfire watches us lock through. He seems to find the noise a little disconcerting.
View to the spillway from near the top.
4/26/12: Nearing exit
The bridge is up and the gate almost is open.
The lockmaster appologized for the rain. :)
Lots of debris around the gate.
4/26/12: Car on slope
That white speck halfway down the slope is a car. It must have slid down from the road high above.
4/26/12: 11:15am Twin sisters
According to Native American legend, a spirit-bird turned twin sisters to stone as a punishment.
4/26/12: Kennewick Bridge
The bridge normally us up, but lowered when we were about three miles away, and then went back up again as we neared.
4/26/12: The Chief
The tug The Chief coming hard off the docks behind us. He would quickly pass us before the next bridge.
4/26/12, 12:55pm: Snake River Mile Zero
We saw this freqently--a barge looking nearly sunk with one end loaded first.
4/26/12: Strong current
4.5 miles from the Ice Harbor Dam, the current is roaring.
4/26/12: Buoy 10
The closer we got to the dam in distance, the later our ETA, because the current kept increasing. At one point we were down to 2.5 knots at 100% power. Moving over a bit out of the main stream helped, but the dredged channel is quite narrow, with little space on either side.
4/26/12: Buoy 20
Buoy 18 must have been right under--we didn't even see it.
4/26/12: White Pelican
White Pelicans frequented the waters downstream of the dam. The fishing probably is good there.
4/26/12: Current near locks
Strong current flowing out just before the protection of the seawall at the locks.
4/26/12, 3:10pm: Ice Harbor lock
About to enter.
In addition to strong current, we had big winds--32 knots as we entered the locks. James hair is all blown back in it. The mooring bits bounced and clattered in the wind waves--the lock was much louder than normal. You can hear them if you turn up the volume in this 360-degree view of the lock.
In the locks waiting for the tug Hurricane to enter behind us. This is the first time we've been inside with another boat on this trip.
4/26/12: Hurricane securing
4/26/12: Going up
There was plenty of room with Hurricane's single barge. But we probably both couldn't fit if it was pushing four barges. We're lucky, as commercial boats get priority and we might have had to wait.
4/26/12: At the front
We're right up near the front this time to make room.
The lockmaster making a visual inspection.
4/26/12, 4:45pm: Fish Hook Recreation Area
We typically prefer the seclusion of an anchorage to a dock, but more privacy than this would be difficult to find.
Perhaps a hundred geese and goslings roamed the grassy slopes, but we didn't see another person the entire time there.
Sunset viewed from the cockpit.
4/27/12, 5:28am: Snake River Mile 20
4/27/12, 5:28am: Bluff
Probably the remains of a long-past railway stop
4/27/12, 7:53am: Farrington
Tug Clearwater on the dock at Farrington.
4/27/12: Lower Monumental Dam
They're spilling a lot of water today.
4/27/12: Fish ladders
Fish ladder between the Lower Monumental dam and lock
Tug Deschutes working against the eddies coming out of Lower Monumental lock.
4/27/12: Approaching locks
The current is strong even alongside the seawall.
4/27/12: Bit track
Looking up to the top of the lock along the bit track.
4/27/12: Gate almost down
4/27/12, 10:00am: Snake River Mile 46
Just passed through the Lower Monumental lock. We're now at 540' above sea level.
4/27/12: Fender wash
Power-washing the fenders in the boat wake. The fenders get covered in dirt and debris from the lock walls.
4/27/12: Wall debris
A fender tore a two-square-foot slab off the wall as we ascended, leaving chunks of debris on the rubrail.
The Snake River is narrow and more intimate-feeling than the Columbia. And the scenery is spectacular.
4/27/12: Survey vessel
Survey vessel working the river. It's a lot smaller than the NOAA or CHS survey ships we see in saltwater.
4/27/12: Union Pacific Railroad Bridge
Built in 1914, this bridge reportedly is the highest working trestle bridge in the country.
4/27/12, 1:00pm: Approaching Little Goose dam
Fish ladder in front of Little Goose dam. We'll be locking through in about 20 minutes.
4/27/12: Gate arm
Massive hydraulic arm to move the gates.
Spitfire looking concerned. He wasn't scared in the locks, but he wasn't entirely comfortable either.
High-voltate power transformers above the dam.
4/27/12, 2:43pm: Little Goose Bay
Anchored for the night in a cozy cove, with steep slopes, and cows, on both sides.
We've heard a lot of different noises in an anchorage, but never cows mooing. Spitfire is not quite sure what to make of it.
4/28/12: Morning sun
4/28/12, 7:25am: Snake River Mile 90
Our Pacific Northwest bird book says that American White Pelicans are rare. But not along the Snake River. We've seen more White Pelicans than seagulls.
4/28/12: Boyer Marina
Strong current outside Boyer Marina, a mile and a half downstream of Lower Granite Lock and Dam.
4/28/12: Buoy 48
Buoy 48, right below the dam, was almost completely submerged.
4/28/12: Lower Granite Lock and Dam
This is where all that current is coming from: major discharge here too.
4/28/12: Gates closing
A final view to the hills west of the locks before the gates close. The nice weather has returned and stuck with us.
The upwelling from the water entering the locks was more obvious here than at other locks.
4/28/12, 10:20am: 738' above sea level
The gate is back up behind us. We're through the last of the 8 locks and now are at 738' above sea level.
4/28/12: Go Cougs!
Washington State University Cougars rowing meet.
4/28/12, 2:15pm: Clearwater River, Idaho
Port of Lewiston, Idaho crane along the Clearwater River. We made it!
4/28/12, 2:40pm: Clarkston Public Dock
Moored at a city of Clarkston public dock for the night.
4/28/12: Roosters Restaurant
A celebratory meal on the deck at Roosters Restaurant above the public dock. The food was excellent, with a sweeping view up and downriver.
4/29/12: Castle Rock
Aptly-named Castle Rock--it does look like a castle.
4/29/12: Green light
Green light to enter Lower Granite lock.
Debris clogged the lock entrance--we had to just push through it. A tugboat captain that had just locked through warned us of the debris and hoped we had a spare wheel.
4/29/12: Bow imprint
A pile of the debris bound up and we bulldozed it halfway through the locks. This is the imprint our bow left when we backed away.
The lockmaster said we could take the debris with us if we wanted.
4/29/12: Close to the gates
We were going to take the second bitt from the west end, but it was out for service. The front bit felt pretty close to the gate as it opened.
Nice to have that current with us for a change.
We ran wide open to see how fast we could go. We briefly hit 14.6 knots, but only captured 14.3 on the screenshot.
4/29/12, 9:19am: Snake River Mile 107
Just returned through the Lower Granite locks.
4/29/12, 11:40: Port of Garfield
Anchored for the night--we're taking it a little easier on the return run. Port Garfield was an excellent stop. A highway runs along the north shore, but we didn't find the traffic noise bothersome. The Port of Garfield grain elevators are at the head, with a small boat launch adjacent. We enjoyed watching the boats traffic to and from the ramp. The lands on the south shore are public (Army Corps of Engineers)--we landed at the boat launch and walked up to the hills for lunch.
4/29/12: SR 127 bridge
Looking north across the Snake River to the SR 127 bridge, with the Port of Central Ferry in the background.
4/29/12: Meadow Creek
Family out for a Sunday afternoon on the estuary at Meadow Creek.
4/29/12: Port of Central Ferry
Pipes and pumps at a chemical-loading facility in the Port of Central Ferry.
4/29/12: Central Ferry State Park
Landing in the east basin of the now-closed Central Ferry State Park. We sounded about 3' through the entrance here, and about 1.5' through the west basin.
View to the SR 127 bridge from the park beach. The park had good facilities in a beautiful setting--too bad it's closed.
4/29/12: Dinner in the cockpit
Moroccan-Spiced Brochettes with Rosemary Oil for dinner in the cockpit.
4/30/12, 8:20am: Little Goose dam
Gate coming up at Little Goose dam.
The rear ball fender getting a workout as the water level falls.
4/30/12: Gate opening
4/30/12: Fender scrub
Giving the fenders a quick scrub after the locking. They come pretty clean dragging in the water, but some dirt remains that might mark the gelcoat the next time we use them.
4/30/12, 10:15am: Palouse River
Anchoring for the night to bike to Pelouse Falls. This is the view to the north from the anchorage, up the Palouse River.
4/30/12: Bike transport
We keep our bikes on the flybridge, and normally would hand them down to the cockpit over the boat deck rail. But the eyebrow bimini blocks that, so we needed a different system. Loading them into the dingy and bringing them down together solved the problem.
4/30/12: Lowering dinghy/bikes
4/30/12: Ready to go
We tied the dinghy off on the boat launch at the Lyons Ferry park. Depths were in the low single-digits on the way into the basin, but not a problem for the dinghy.
4/30/12: Palouse Falls
We're a lot more tired than Jennifer looks. In 50 minutes, we climbed 760' along 5.1 miles of highway 261, from 540' above sea level to 1,300'. The falls are another 2.2 miles down a dirt road, at an elevation of 900'. Although the downhill ride to the falls was a nice break from the uphill slog, we weren't happy to give up all that elevation we'd have to gain back when we returned.
4/30/12: The falls
The falls plunge 200' over a cliff and were most impressive. The view was well-worth the effort of getting there.
4/30/12: James at the falls
4/30/12: Palouse River
Quite a nice view down the Palouse River
4/30/12: Jennifer at the falls
... but hard to compete with the falls.
Marmots sleeping on the cliffs above the falls.
This little guy was eating lunch while we had ours.
4/30/12: Lyons Ferry State Park
A well-deserved break after returning from the falls. Our total climb was 1,160': 760 to reach the park road from the anchorage and another 400 from the falls back up to the highway. And we had to fight a 20-30-knot headwind coming back up from the falls. Lyons Ferry State Park is closed, but Park Rangers were there maintaining the buildings and running sprinklers, and the lawns had been mowed. Perhaps it will re-open this season.
4/30/12: Lyons Ferry
The old Lyons Ferry, Washington's last operating cable ferry. The river's current propelled the ferry across the river, attached to the overhead pulley in the foreground.
Train crossing the Union Pacific Railroad Bridge. That's the trestle we photographed on the trip upriver--reportedly the highest working trestle in the US.
5/1/12: Monumental Rock
Monumental Rock is the namesake for Lower Monumental Dam, 3.5 miles to the west.
5/1/12, 8:20am: Lower Monumental Dam
Lockmaster watching us enter.
5/1/12: Working day
Several people were working atop this crane as we neared. The last of them is climbing down now.
5/1/12: Fish ladder
The incredibly complex-looking fish ladder structure.
5/1/12: At the top
Just before the water starts to drop. The west gate is actually below the water--if a boat were to hit the end of the lock, they'd just hit the wood barriers.
5/1/12: At the bottom
You can see the wood barriers, that we recently were even with, way above us.
5/1/12, 9:40am: Windust Park
On the dock at Windust Park for a late breakfast after locking through. With a combination of strong river current flowing westward and 20-30-knot winds blowing eastward docking was a bit challenging.
We were hoping to also bike to the visitors center at Lower Monumental Dam, but we called and found out it's closed. So we settled for just breakfast on the back deck.
5/1/12: 1pm: Orchard Cove
Anchored for the night. We called this unnamed cove Orchard Cove after the surrounding orchards.
5/1/12: Utility pole
We took the dinghy ashore to hike up the bluffs. This old utility pole was ashore partway up.
5/1/12: View from bluffs
View into the anchorage from bluffs above.
From the top of the bluff, orchards were visible far into the distance in every direction.
5/1/12: Orchard tailings
Big pile of pruning debris.
Train passing along the south shore.
Deer halfway down the slope below us.
This Ford truck looks like went of the bluff and flipped many times on the way down.
5/1/12: Fast way down
We took an easy trail up around the northern end of the bluffs, but took the steeper slope back down.
Frying tortillas for a taco dinner.
5/2/12, 7:30am: Charbonneau Rec. Area
A short run today to anchor off Charbonneau Recreation Area. The park is a couple of miles off Ice Harbor Dam, visible in the distance. We plan to bike in to get a close-up view of the dam and to tour the visitor's center. We quite enjoyed this anchorage, particularly the view to the lock and dam all lit up at night.
5/2/12: Park dock
Ready to set off.
View across the dam from a lookout point above.
Tug Lassen locking upstream.
Whimsical mailbox for the facility.
5/2/12: Visitor center
The Ice Harbor Dam visitor center is unfriendly to those arriving on bicycle or foot. No cameras or bags, even purses, can be brought inside. They had no place to lock our valuables and would not allow us to even put them inside the gate. We could only bring in what would fit in our pockets--fortunately my wallet did. So we locked our bags to our bikes, with our camera and cell phones inside, and hoped for the best. This time of year, only the visitor center is open. When more visitors are about, tours of the powerhouse are available. We did enjoy our visit and view of the fish ladders outside and a glimpse through the windows to the first of the spawning salmon heading upstream. The center also had some good displays of how the dam worked and pictures of its construction.
View to the spillway from outside the visitor center.
5/2/12: Working upriver
Recreational vessel working against the curent into the locks. This was the third of three entering together.
5/2/12: Fish ladders
View into the fish ladders from a road above the dam.
We zipped over to a small park just upriver of the dam for a picnic lunch while watching the boats leaving the locks.
5/2/12: Lost fender
One of the boats, not shown, dropped a fender while leaving the lock. The other two are trying to retrieve it.
5/2/12: Locks by dinghy
Touring the lock area by dinghy after we'd biked back to the park.
5/2/12: Requesting lockage
Boats with no radio request lockage by pulling this cord just outside the locks and waiting for a green light to enter. The instructions are on the sign above Jennifer's head.
5/2/12: Locks from shore
We landed at a boat ramp and walked up to check out the locks from shore. We couldn't get close enough to see inside, but did get a nice view across the locks and downriver.
5/2/12: Goathead sticker
James' bicycle tire had gone flat on our last landing at the launch ramp next to the locks. After replacing the tube, we found a goathead sticker in the tire. We'd heard these mentioned before, but didn't know what they were. At the visitor center, someone even asked if the stickers didn't get into our tires. Now we know what they were talking about. :) Fortunately our tires are Kevlar-reinforced, otherwise we'd probably have gotten more flats over the course of the trip.
5/3/12, 6:00am: Ice Harbor lock
Early morning locking.
5/3/12: Support cables
The heavy cables that support and lift the lock door.
5/3/12: Door lifting
We got up to 15.1 knots this time.
Heading under the Columbia River railroad bridge, with the Ed Hendler Bridge in the background.
Navigation buoys at the US Coast Guard Aides to Navigation Team Kennewick on Clover Island.
5/3/12: N F Lampson Pits
Pit area for the annual Columbia Cup unlimited hydroplane races. This year will be the 47th running.
Tri-Cities Regional Veterans Memorial at Columbia Park. The centerpiece is a 44-ton granite column standing 40 feet tall.
5/3/12: Time to go
Geese and goslings pour into the river at Columbia Park Marina.
05/03/12, 11:00am: Columbia Point Marina
Moored for the night on the public docks in Richland. These docks apparently get quite busy in the summer, but we're the only ones there now. The Richland Yacht Club has an impressive facility in the same basin just to the north. They are a friendly group--one of their members stopped by to say hello and to offer us moorage or any other assistance if we needed it.
Unusual geese-like birds in the basin. They're very distinctive-looking, but we couldn't identify them in our bird books.
05/03/12: Hanford Reach
We set off in the dinghy for a run up Hanford Reach, but turned back after about 45 minutes because we were getting too cold. We'd brought extra layers and gloves but, running at speed with rain and strong winds, they weren't enough.
05/03/12: Queen of the West
We landed at the public dock at Howard Amon Park to walk into town. Shortly after we'd arrived, this American Cruise Lines sternwheeler Queen of the West arrived. It does seven-day runs between Portland and Clarkston.
The captain docking from a bridge wing. The current was running several knots next to the dock--he did a good job of bringing it in.
05/03/12: No room
The dock has no signs indicating any moorage restrictions, and we thought it might be a good place to dock Dirona. But we're not sure what would have happened if we had and that sternwheeler arrived--it requires the whole dock.
05/03/12: Howard Amon Park
The park has at least two intricately carves trees like this one.
05/03/12: Atomic Ale brewpub
We had an excellent lunch and pints at the Atomic Ale brewpub a short distance from the park.
Richland was one of three towns that the US Government took over for the Hanford nuclear energy project in WW II. After lunch, we visitied the Columbia River Exhibition of History, Science and Technology Museum to see their excellent Hanford exhibit. The exhibit details the history and technology of the Hanford nuclear reservation in photographs and detailed displays. Here, Jennifer is standing beside a lifesize reproduction of the original reinforced-concrete waste containment vessels at the site.
05/03/12: Manipulator arm
James tries his hand at the manipulator arm. It was suprisingly easy to operate.
05/03/12: Reactor core
Cutaway display showing a reactor core.
05/03/12: Fuel rod
Photograph of a fuel rod under construction.
05/03/12: High uranium levels
One display had a geigercounter with various items to test it with. This glaze in this Fiesta Ware actually had higher uranium levels than uranium ore. The company stopped using that glaze.
05/03/12: Bob Meichle
We generally prefer to go through a museum at our own pace without a guide, but when one of the museum hosts offered to take us through, we accepted. We soon became somewhat 'suspicious' of our guide. We like to know how things work, and quickly reach the limit of most guide's knowledge. But Bob Meichle could answer any of our questions in tremendous detail. It turns out he is a nuclear physicist, who worked on the site for years starting in the 1950s. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit, and Bob was a major part of that.
Refueling the dinghy from our bulk storage tanks. We've found that hanging the tank from the crane and gravity feeding is very efficient.
We finished the day with an excellent dinner at the Anthony's restaurant overlooking the marina.
05/04/12: Hanford Reach Take 2
At the Hanford exhibit yesterday, we learned that the plutonium reactor buildings of the Hanford site still stand and can be seen from the water. We really wanted to see them, so we prepared better for the temperature and set off this morning on a second attempt to tour Hanford Reach. We had on our Mustang 2175s over a fleece jacket and windbreaker, with ear warmer and gloves. That did the trick. We weren't cold, but we weren't hot either.
The Hanford Reach is the last free-flowing, non-tidal section of the Columbia. Free-flowing is right-- way past where the navigation charts end, this and another buoy were well under water.
05/04/12: Heading upriver
The weather started out well. Even with sun shining and the temperature in the high 60's, it is quite cold when running at 30mph. But we're warm and comfortable in the suits.
05/04/12: Richland High School
Old Richland High School building from before the government took over the site.
It's a bit of a paradox, but because of the nuclear project, the Hanford Reach has been undredged and undeveloped. Wildlife has thrived.
05/04/12: White bluffs
These dramatic white bluffs stretch for five miles along the river near the reactors.
05/04/12: F Reactor
F Reactor, decomissioned in 1965. The structure looks quite different from what it would have when it was in operation. In a process called cocooning or entombment, the building is demolished to the 4-foot-thick reactor core concrete shield, any holes are patched, and a new roof is added.
05/04/12: H Reactor
H Reactor also has been entombed.
05/04/12: D and DR Reactors
When a problem was found with the D reactor, the DR (D replacement) reactor was built beside it and became the fifth operating plutonium reactor on the site. The issue with D eventually was resolved, and both reactors were run until the mid 1960s.
05/04/12: N Reactor
Grappler picking up scrap material around N Reactor.
05/04/12: Watering down
Watering down the soil to limit dust in the air.
05/04/12: HazMat suit
When we saw this, we figured it probably wasn't a good area to be around for too long.
05/04/12: Pump house
Big pump house. A similar, slightly smaller one, is downriver.
Owl at the pump house.
05/04/12: B Reactor
B Reactor is a National Historic Landmark. Now a museum, it was the first plutonium reactor ever built and is notable for being a source, along with F and D, of the plutonium for the Fat Man atomic bomb dropped on Nakasaki, Japan in 1945.
05/04/12: Refueling ... again
We'd left this morning with a full ten-gallon tank in the dinghy, and brought an extra five just in case. We ended up using all the dinghy fuel and a good portion of the extra on the eighty-mile (return) run.
We had no power or water at our dock, so we stopped at the end of another to fill our water tanks before leaving the area.
5/4/12: Ed Hendler Bridge
The Ed Hendler Bridge was thought to be the first cable-stay bridge in the country when completed in 1978. But the little-known Captain William Moore Bridge had been built near Skagway Alaska three years earlier.
5/4/12: Bridge down
The Columbia River railroad bridge was down when we approached. When we radioed for an opening, the bridge operator told us they were working on a problem with the bridge and it might be 30-45 minutes before they could open it. But they were able to open it intermittently and did so when we arrived.
5/4/12: Hay bales
Bales and bales of hay stored along the south shore.
05/04/12, 5:20pm: Sacajawea State Park
We spent the day touring Hanford Reach, and now are moored for the night on the park's Snake River South dock.
05/04/12: A walk in the park
The park was established in the 1920s and had extensive, well-maintained grounds and several historic buildings. People were arriving to camp for the weekend as we walked about.
Underway for a couple of longer runs to meet friends and family in Hood River on Monday.
We're starting to see a lot more tug traffic now that we're back on the Columbia. Here The Chief is heading downstream and the Wallace E. is working up.
05/05/12, 5:45am: Port of Wallula
05/05/12, Wallula Gap
Train passing as we enter Wallula Gap.
05/05/12: Car on slope
That car we saw on the slope on the way up now has two large X's on it.
05/05/12, 8:45am: Approaching McNary Dam
The tug Chief just entered the locks with three barges headed downstream. Then they'll turn the locks around for us to enter. And the tug Lassen, that we watched leave Ice Harbor the other day, is coming upstream.
05/05/12: Bridge up ... sort of
The lockmaster didn't open the bridge all the way. And it looked a little tight for us to fit.
05/05/12: Bridge clearance
They opened it a little more. As long as we stay centered up, we'll be fine.
View to the spillway from inside the locks.
05/05/12: Gate opening
Lassen working upstream towards the locks.
05/05/12: Research vessel
Research vessel just downstream of the dam.
05/05/12: Navy jet
This navy jet screamed past low overhead, then climbed into the sky, flipping and looping, before heading north along Alder Creek Canyon. Apparently this is a fairly common path for Whidbey Island Naval Air Station jets to take en route to the Boardman bombing range.
05/05/12, 2:35pm: Windsurfer
05/05/12, 4:30pm: Mile 328
Anchored for the night behind a small point that provides reasonable wave shelter and a suprisingly decent wind break. We really liked this spot--the scenery was dramatic; we could watch trains going by on both sides, and cars on the far shore; and several tugs passed while we were there. We were considering going on through John Day tonight and were glad we didn't. In the hour after we anchored, three tugs were backed up waiting to lock through with others coming upstream.
Windmills in the hills above us at dusk.
05/06/12, 6:45am: John Day Lock and Dam
Early morning sun lighting the gate support towers as we enter the locks. The lockmaster said it was good we came early as the winds can be very strong in the locks and he hates to see recreational boats bouncing about.
05/06/12: Sun disappearing
Losing the sun as we descend.
05/06/12: Bolt secure
Forget about a telltale line, this bolt isn't going anywhere with that strip of metal attached.
05/06/12: Partial gate lift
As soon as we got through, the lockmaster was going to turn the lock around for the tug Clearwater to lock downstream, then the tug Invader would be coming upstream. To save time, he didn't raise the gate all the way and figured we'd have about 40' clearance.
05/06/12: Maryhill Museum of Art
Entrepreneur Sam Hill built this as his home in 1914. The structure was never completed and eventually he converted it to the Maryhill Museum of Art. now
05/06/12: More seagulls the pelicans
Until recently, pelicans have outnumbered seagulls. The islets off Miller Island tip the balance far the other way.
05/06/12: Celilo Bridge
Passing back under the Celilo Bridge.
05/06/12: Mount Hood
Mt. Hood dominates the skyline as we approach The Dalles locks.
We landed the dinghy below the railroad tracks at the east end of the bight we'd anchored in. The going was relatively easy to get up to and over the tracks and into a meadow near the center.
05/06/12: View to anchorage
Looking back to the anchorage from the meadow.
05/06/12: The Dalles
View south to the city of The Dalles.
05/06/12: The Columbia Gorge Discovery Center
Outside the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, the Official Interpretive Center of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The facility was most impressive, both inside and out.
A bicycle path, probably from The Dalles, leads up to and around the property's beautiful pond and gardens.
05/06/12: Dramatic entryway
Entry to the center is through a glass and cedar hall with the Columbia River depicted on the floor. Jennifer is standing where we are anchored.
05/06/12: Red-tailed hawk
We'd arrived just in time to watch the live raptor education program. The birds in the program have been injured and are being rehabilitated. Some will be re-introduced back to the wild if they can heal. This red-tailed hawk had a broken wing.
05/06/12: Great-horned owl
The owl was blind in one eye.
05/06/12: Native history
The displays included geological develoment, and native and European history. All were very high quality.
05/06/12: Mountain lion
05/06/12: Vintage car
Several movies were playing in the center. One that we particlarly enjoyed included footage and interviews with tugboat operators who ran barges on through the rapids on the Columbia before the dams were built. They looked absolutely nuts. In one shot, the tug was skidding sideways like a sprint car. For some of the rapids, the captains said you either got through or blew up an engnine trying--you just went flat out trying to get through.
We were expecting to get hit with a substantional wake with this tug went by working hard upstream. But the wake was barely noticable--perhaps the current moderates it somewhat.
The anchorage was a little unusual, but we loved it--the scenery was amazing. And at night, the trains and cars lit up the shore on both sides.
05/07/12: Morning sun
The rock wall and lookout at the top of the picture likely is part of the Historic Columbia River Highway.
05/07/12: The Chief
The Chief working upstream. We've seen that boat a lot on this trip.
05/07/12: Victor Trevett grave
Marble spire on Memaloose Island marking the 1883 grave of The Dalles state senator Victor Trevett.
05/07/12: Approaching Hood River
05/07/12: Calm weather
Sailboat anchored in ultra-calm conditions off the marina.
Tied off and having breakfast on deck.
05/07/12: Toll bridge
The bridge over the Columbia at Hood River is toll.
Huge sternwheel at the Hood River County Museum. The facility was closed for renovations.
05/07/12: Pedestrian bridge
Pedestrian bridge over the Hood River.
05/07/12: Big Horse Brew Pub
We'll be meeting folks for lunch here later today. James' parents, Rob and Andrea, have driven down from Victoria, BC and longtime family friend Mike Dilly is driving up from Eugene, Oregen. Hood River has something like eight or nine brewpubs--our kind of town.
The wind stayed down and we had a great meal and evening in the cockpit.
Broughton Lumber Company flume just east of Drano Lake. Between 1922 and 1986 logs were transported along the flume from a sawmill to a finishing plant nine miles away.
05/08/12: Mitchell Pt
The scenery has been pretty impressive most of the trip.
05/08/12: Queen of the West
The sternwheeler we saw earlier in Richland, Queen of the West, moored at Stevenson. We didn't know it, but we'd be getting a lot closer view of that boat tomorrow.
05/08/12: Entering Port of Cascade Marina
We're back at Cascade Locks to bike along the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail to the Bonneville Dam. The marina entrance is narrow, with opposing wind and currents. And once past the narrow entrance, you have to make an immediate right turn onto the transient dock. That's when you find out if the docks have space or if you have to back out.
05/08/12: Tight squeeze
We had a bit of a tight squeeze getting in this time--sailboats were docked on both sides of the fairway. It made getting through the entry look easy.
Breakfast at the trailhead beside the Bridge of the Gods.
05/08/12: On the trail
The Historic Columbia River Highway was built as a scenic route in the 1920s, but quickly fell into disuse when vehicle traffic increased and was closed when I-84 opened. Starting in the 1980s, large portions have been restored for car traffic. The section we're on, from Cascade Locks to Moffett Creek, is open to cyclists and pedestrians only. The trail is wonderful, and its nice not to worry about vehicle traffic.
05/08/12: Sheridan State Park
Interpretive signs are all along the trail, detailing the highway's history.
05/08/12: Ruckel Creek Falls
Old bridge over the falls at Ruckel Creek.
05/08/12: Eagle Creek Hatchery
A major hatchery is at Eagle Creek. When we were there, the tanks held 4.5 million Chinook smolt.
Just beyond the hatchery, an old flight of stairs was the only real obstacle on the path. Our bikes are light, so carrying them up wasn't difficult.
Enjoying the view from one of the old highway lookouts. The old road really was beautifully done.
View to the lock and dam from the lookout.
05/08/12: Old lock
The original navigation lock, no longer in use.
05/08/12: New lock
The new navigation lock that we passed through earlier on the trip and will pass through tomorrow.
05/08/12: Bonneville Lock and Dam
We were quite excited to have arrived and were really looking forward to touring the visitor center. It is supposed to be the best of them all. But Bonneville is even more pedestrian and cyclist unfriendly than Ice Harbor was. If you arrive in a gas-guzzler, you're good to go. But you are not allowed to walk or pedal to the visitor center.
05/08/12: Lock gates
We could visit parts of the site, including Robins Island, but some ares were closed to cyclists and pedestrians. This is the view to the lock gate from the bridge to Robins Island over the lock entrance channel.
We stopped for lunch on the Bonneville fish hatchery grounds. Despite the visitor center restriction, we were still having great day. The bike ride along the old highway was really fun.
05/08/12: Wahclella Falls
Opposite the Bonnevile facility was the entry to Wahclella Falls on Tanner Creek. The falls were about mile or so away from the trailhead, so we set off. The trail was quite good, and easy to follow. And the falls were spectacular.
05/08/12: Crossing Tanner Creek
After the falls, we crossed Tanner Creek on the old highway and continued to the end of the trail, not much father along at Moffett Creek.
05/09/12: Backing out
We slid out backwards between the two sailboats, and then around the corner and out the entrance. The aft helm is handy for maneuvers like this.
05/09/12: Backed up
Once we'd cleared the marina about 5:50am, we radiod the Bonneville lock for an opening. We were going to have to wait a bit. The tug Cascade was already in the locks going down, but couldn't exit until after 6:30 because the bridge we were on yesterday to Robins Island is closed from 6:00am to 6:30am for employees to cross. The sternwheeler Queen of the West was also enroute downstream, and the plan was we'd lock through with them, behind them on the starboard wall.
05/09/12: This will be fun
Olaf J also was wanting to lock through and radioed Queen of the West to discuss the possibility. They agreed and suggested this to the lockmaster, who replied "I look forward to it. This will be fun." That's another difference between this and the Ballard locks in Seattle: here the boats tend to discuss shared locking options and then radio the lockmaster for approval. In the Ballard locks, the boats don't communicate like that and the lockmaster just directs everything.
05/09/12: Old highway
The old highway we biked on yesterday, above I-84.
05/09/12: Entering the locks
Olaf J needed to tie on the port side, putting Queen of the West on the starboard aft side to make room for the cruise ship's bow ramp. We could go port side on the lock, but opted to tie off the Queen of the West. To tie off on the port side, we'd need to move the kayaks from their racks that extend over that side. Plus we're assymetrical and don't have a walkway there, so managing the lines and fenders is more of a hassle.
05/09/12: Coming alongside
Not as tight as this morning's marina exit, but not a lot of extra space either.
05/09/12: Tied off
That's a big boat.
Spitfire, always a little concernd about close quarters, was the star of the locking. A few passengers were interested in our boat and came by to chat. But soon after Spitfire appeared on deck, a crowd formed on the Queen of the West's bow to take his picture.
05/09/12: Hard on it
Olaf J working hard to exit the locks against the eddies.
05/09/12: Our turn
05/09/12: Olaf J
The captain stopped the Olaf J just outside the locks to let the Queen of the West pass.
05/09/12: Queen of the West
Queen of the West exiting the locks.
Queen of the West's stern lit up in the morning sun as they pass.
05/09/12: Benson Park
We anchored off Benson State Park to see if we can reach Multnomah Falls, pictured here. The anchorage actually is suprisingly sheltered--we're enough out of the wind and current that conditions are much calmer than in the main channel.
We had a pretty easy time landing the dinghy--the shoreline is steep-to and the brush was fairly light. The challenging part is that the park entry is between the I-84 lanes, so we had to cross the two westbound lanes. Fortunately we could see the oncoming traffic a long way off and could wait for a good clear gap in traffic.
05/09/12: Multnomah Falls
The falls, with Benson Bridge in front, are spectucular. The bridge apparently is one of the most photographed architectural features in Oregan. Simon Benson, one of Historic Columbia highway builders, constructed it in 1914.
05/09/12: Falling rock
We were wondering if we could reach Benson Bridge, and it turned out a path did lead there. Some serious falling-rock barriers were along the way. Judging by the shape, they've caught a few big ones.
05/09/12: Trail to the top
Then we saw a sign indiciting the top of the falls was about a mile's walk. We had to do that. This is the view looking back to Dirona from partway up.
05/09/12: Top of the falls
We're really up there--542'. At the top right is the viewing area and the bridge across the front of the falls.
05/09/12: View from the top
Looking across the Columbia from the viewpoint. Dirona is visible at the mid-left of the picture.
05/09/12: Second Bridge
Beyond the viewpoint spur, the trail continued farther along Multnomah creek and crossed on a stone-fronted culvert.
05/09/12: Dutchman Falls
The sun-dappled woods were wondefully serene, and the trail was easy to follow. So we continued along the creek and soon came to another set of falls.
05/09/12: Dutchman Tunnel
A stone wall carries the trail through a crescent-shaped cave. The trail we're on was built in 1915 by founding members of the Trails Club of Oregon--it starts at the base of the falls and continues to Larch Mountain.
05/09/12: Ecola Falls
Then we came to the 55' Ecola Falls. Wow, what a trail. At this point, we'd gained just over 1,000 feet of altitude in the 2-mile walk from the base of Multnomah Falls. Just beyond the falls, the trail forked. A trail map on a nearby tree indicated that the Larch Mountain trail continued to the left and the Wahkeena Trail to the right. And off the Wahkeena Trail was a spur to a viewpoint, Devil's Rest, and a loop back down to Multnomah Falls. We're suckers for a view, and the day was young, so we decided to continue on to Devil's Rest.
05/09/12: Trail to Devil's Rest
1.6 miles to Devil's Rest. We'd already hiked way farther than we'd expected to when we left Dirona. But we'd come this far, so might as well get that view.
05/09/12: Devil's Rest viewpoint
And wow, what a view.
05/09/12: Looking north
That white speck way in the distance close to shore is Dirona. We were now at 2,500 feet and had sweeping views up and down the river. (For a more interesting visualization of the hike, select terrain view under street map at the top right of the large map).
05/09/12: Beacon Rock
800' Beacon Rock seemed so big when we'd climbed on our way upriver, but looked pretty puny in comparison.
05/09/12: Fairy Falls
From the Devil's Rest trail, we returned down along Wahkeena Trail towards Wahkeena Falls. Along the way are the 20-foot Fairy Falls.
05/09/12: Wakheena Falls
Stone bridge at the base of Wakheena Falls
05/09/12: Government Island
Making chicken wings for dinner on the dock at Government Island. We'd had a lot of excitement for one day: at 5:30am we backed out between the sailboats at Port of Cascades Marina, then went through Bonneville Lock tied off to the Queen of the West, and finally we did a a 2,500 foot, 8-mile hike. We slept well that night.
05/10/12: Portland International Airport
View to the airport at dawn.
05/10/12: Swing bridge
Back under the BNR railroad swing bridge. Both times we passed, the bridge operator said we could have fit under without an opening. We'd actually tried on the way up, and didn't feel we had enough room. Bridge clearances along the Columbia River system are given in mean lowest low water during lowest river stages. According to the Hawthorne lift bridge, the river height was 5' and the tide height was 7'. Subtracting that from the charted 39' for that bridge yields 27'--not enough for our 30' air draft. The one thing that's gospel is the guage on the side of the bridge that indicates the current clearance from the waterline. The guage was reading 28'--we would not have fit.
05/10/12: Big ships
Back to big ship country.
05/10/12: St. Johns Bridge
Looking back on the St. Johns suspension bridge, the first of fourteen bridges that span the Willamette at Portland.
05/10/12: Portland Shipyard
Ship in drydock at the Portland Shipyard on Swan Island. Several large ships were at the yard, including the USS Paul F. Foster to the right of the cranes.
05/10/12: Fremont Bridge
Passing under I-405. The Fremont Bridge is the second longest tied arch bridge in the world.
05/10/12: Broadway Bascule Bridge
Looking under the Broadway Bascule Bridge to the double-lift Steel Bridge. The Broadway Bascule Bridge was the longest bascule bridge, or drawbridge, in the world when it was built in 1913. And the Steel Bridge is unusual in having two lifting levels, the top for for traffic and the bottom for rail.
05/10/12: Downtown Portland
Portland is a city not know for its sunny days. We've been very lucky with the weather.
05/10/12: Elk Rock Island
Approaching Elk Rock Island. The Willamette River was tranquil and cozy feeling compared to the larger Columbia and Snake rivers. We quite enjoyed our cruise there.
05/10/12: Out for a row
A couple out for a row in a beautiful wooden rowboat.
As we neared the river head, the fish boats became thicker and thicker. They anchor side-by-side and deploy a bucket underwater off the stern to keep them in place. We've been told they sometimes can block the entire channel, but that the sheriff monitors VHF channel 16 and will quickly come to clear them out if called.
05/10/12: Willamette Falls
The end of the navigable channel--the US Army Corps of Engineers closed the Willamette Falls Locks in December 2011. We considered anchoring to take the dinghy in for a closer look to the falls, but the small fish boats were arriving and anchoring en masse with those buckets to hold them in place. None of our buckets were big enough :), so unless we deployed a stern anchor we'd clear out thirty of them in a single wind change.
05/10/12: Through the mass
The boats had really filled in since we'd arrived, and working back downstream was tricky. About half were anchored, and the rest were underway randomly upstream with their attention on the fish lines behind them rather than the direction they were moving. The ones that did see us didn't seem concerned that they were blocking our path. We occasionally sounded the horn when they got too close, and they grudgingly moved out of the way.
05/10/12: Cedar Island
We stopped of at the cove inside Cedar Island for lunch. The river adjacent was packed with fishing boats, but the anchorage was calm, secluded, and empty. It was a beautiful spot, and we would have stayed the night if it were later in the day.
05/10/12: Stephen Cridland
Our friend Stephen Cridlan, who did the photography for our Circumnavigator shoot, saw us on the way upriver while he was out fishing and flagged us down when we returned. He'd called us on the cell phone after we passed before and recommended some stops, including the Cedar Island anchorage.
05/10/12: View home
A large and beautiful view home along the river.
05/10/12: Another view home
And this one even larger.
05/10/12: Tom McCall Public Dock
Moored for the night at the public docks off downtown Portland. We collected a lot of wood in a short time.
05/10/12: Portland Streetcar
Portland has free rail and bus service throughout downtown. We picked up a tourist map from the hotel by the dock and found a streetcar stop just south of the public dock.
Downtown Portland is full of parks and fountains.
And interesting architecture too.
05/10/12: Steel Bridge
Crossing over the top level of the Steel Bridge we'd passed under earlier. The Burnside Bascule Bridge is in the distance.
05/10/12: Bridgeport Pub
We did a mini-pub crawl, stopping off first at Henry's Tavern to sample from their selection of over 100 beers on tap. We finished the evening farther north with an excellent meal and pints at the Bridgeport Pub.
05/11/12: Hawthorne Bridge
Passing under the Hawthorne Lift Bridge at dawn.
05/11/12: Samuel Island Bridge
We took Multnomah Channel back downriver. Houseboats, most very nice, and farmland line the majority of the shores, making for a tranquil run. Several parks with docks, and small marinas, also were enroute. Were it later in the day, we'd likely have stopped somewhere along the channel.
05/11/12: Old farm building
Old farm building near Coon Island.
05/11/12: Hanjin Madrid
Passing the Hanjin Madrid at a tight spot in the channel.
05/11/12: 1,800 hours
Just crossed 1,800 hours on the main engine. We've used the boat a lot in the past 2.5 years.
05/11/12: R/V Quinnat
One of two NOAA research vessels working near Puget Island.
05/11/12: Miller Sands
Anchored for the night off sandy dunes in the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge. The many sandy islands in the area are a nice bonus of river dredging. We quite enjoyed this anchorage. Although we were close to the traffic lanes, the wakes from passing container ships wasn't a problem. We suspect this was due to the ships slowing slightly for the corner, and the wakes at different angles cancelling each other out, similar to Rich Passage.
05/12/12: Port of Astoria, West Basin
Going to spend a night or two in Astoria.
05/12/12: Cape Disappointment
The Coast Guard motor lifeboat Cape Disappointment entering the marina.
05/12/12: Flat Earth
We were one of three Nordhavns in the harbor. This is Nordhavn 50 Flat Earth.
05/12/12: Susan J
The last Nordhavn 62 ever built, Susan J, was the third Nordhavn at the marina. Steve (shown) and Beverly Creagan previously owned a Nordhavn 40 and a 47 and are one of only two Nordhavn owners to have had boats built in all three PAE boatyards.
Columbia Bar pilot boat Columbia. This is one of two two state-of-the-art, 30-knot pilot boats that work the bar. A third pilot boat carries river pilots to and from ships that are across the bar. The Columbia fuels every day, and were normally would fuel at the commercial dock, but it's closed Sunday so they were fueling at the mooring basin instead.
05/12/12: Another Columbia
This looks like a pilot boat, and certainly has the right name. Possibly it's out of service and has been restored.
Christine Guo and Mark Mohler, of Nordhavn 62 Gray Matter, flew up from San Francisco to visit us in Astoria.
05/13/12: Astoria Column
In the morning before Mark and Christine flew back home, we all went up to take in the view from the Astoria Column. The 125-foot column stands on a hill above the city with sweeping views.
05/13/12: View from the top
Today was an excellent day to be up the tower. We've realy had amazingly good weather.
05/13/12: Enjoying the view
05/13/12: Hanjin Madrid
The Hanjin Madrid heading out to the bar, with another ship visible in the distance. This is the same ship that passed us inbound a couple of days ago--that was a fast turnaround.
05/13/12: Queen of the West
The last day we would see the Queen of the West. A number of its passengers had taken a bus up to the tower from the waterfront.
05/13/12: Heading back down
A tight spiral 166-step staircase leads to the top.
05/13/12: Sunday Market
Astoria has an healthy streetfront Sunday market covering several blocks. Wares ranged from fresh produce and flowers, to prepared foods, to arts and crafts.
05/13/12: In remembrance
Plaque honoring bar pilots lost on the bar--its a dangerous job.
05/13/12: Marking the entrance
The original Columbia River lightship that marked the Columbia River entrance, and the 60-foot navigational buoy that replaced it in 1979. Both are displays at the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Tours of the lightship are included with museum admission.
05/13/12: USCG cutters
Two 210-foot Coast Guard Cutters, Steadfast and Alert, also were moored off the museum. And much to our delight, they were open for tours.
05/13/12: USCGC Steadfast
Crewmember Latham took us on an excellent tour of the Steadfast. This is the very large gun on the ship's bow.
05/13/12: The bridge
We were able to see most of the ship, except the engine room.
05/13/12: The Wet Dog
Time for lunch. We had a good meal on the deck of the Astoria Brewing Company's Wet Dog Cafe, a short distance from the museum.
05/13/12: Astoria Trolley
While we were having lunch, we heard the distinctive sound of a trolley car. And sure enough, along came the Astoria Riverfront Trolley. The restored 1913 trolley runs back and forth for 2.6 miles along the Astoria waterfront, pushing or pulling its generator power source. Several regular stops are along the way, or you can flag it down anywhere. The trolley has no set schedule, but you can track it via GPS.
05/13/12: River Pilot
The river pilot boat, still running and just pushed into the pier.
05/13/12: Columbia River Maritime Museum
We spent the rest of the afternoon at the impressive Columbia River Maritime Museum. This is a detailed model of the Tidewater tug The Chief, a boat we frequently encountered on our trip up and down river.
This display shows known shipwrecks at the Columbia River bar. Details of each indicident are on the board below--you can push a a button next to a ship's name to light up the location where it wrecked.
05/13/12: Motor lifeboat 44300
One of the most dramatic displays is the original motor lifeboat prototype, 44300, mounted on a sharp angle to depict a rescue at sea. It's part of a larger exhibit on the USCG lifesaving at the bar.
05/13/12: Riverfront walk
Astoria has a wonderful riverfront promenade that runs from the marina about a mile into and through downtown. This also is where the trolley runs. The walk was most enjoyable and only marginally slower than the trolley, which averages about five miles an hour.
We had an excellent meal that evening at the acclaimed Bridgwater Bistro next to the marina.
Sunset viewed from the flybridge.
Sunrise behind the Astoria-Megler Bridge as we leave the boat basin.
The second bar pilot boat, Chinook, returning from the bar.
Moored at Illwaco to bike into Cape Disappointment State Park. Before looking at the charts in detail, we were thinking of anchoring off the park in Baker Bay and running the dinghy ashore. But depths in the bay are mostly less than a fathom, except for a dredged channel into the port. We could still have run the dinghy from the dock, but the bikes give us more flexibility.
Jessie's Illwaco Fish Company has been shipping seafood worldwide for over forty years. They apparently are the largest buyer of albacore tuna in the world, with fisherman delivering catch from as far away as Midway Island in the central Pacific.
05/14/12: Cape Disappointment State Park
At the trailhead to the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, roughly a two-mile pedal by road from Illwaco.
05/14/12: Old building
Old building along the trail to the lighthouse. We couldn't guess its purpose--perhaps it was use as a workshop or for storage.
05/14/12: Cape Disappointment Lighthouse
At the lighthouse we first saw a few weeks back on our entry to the Columbia River.
Four Coast Guardsmen were in this observation hut below the lighthouse. This likely is where the Coast Guard determines bar conditions.
05/14/12: Motor lifeboats
Far below, four motor lifeboats appeared to be doing training exercises.
The men in the observation room were studing the scene with a massive set of binoculars. We've been told you can see craters on the moon with them.
Having a snack at the lighthouse with a view east to Jetty A.
05/14/12: At the interpetive center
After the lighthouse, we biked a short distance to the interpretive center.
05/14/12: View to lighthouse
View to the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse from the interpretive center.
05/14/12: Fort Canby
The interpretive center is built into the ruins of Fort Canby. Battery Allen, shown, is of similar construction to the Puget Sound forts we've visited closer to home.
05/14/12: Munitions room
Underground munitions room.
05/14/12: Lewis and Clark's journey
The interpretive center had an excellent display of Lewis and Clark's journey from the east coast through to the Pacific Ocean. We both were quite impressed. Part of what made the display so good was personal anecdotes and journal entries from the various members of the expedition.
05/14/12: Waikiki Beach
From the interpretive center, we biked out to North Jetty. This is Waikiki Beach--yes, that's really the name--en route. The south-facing cove must take a pounding during winter storms, judging by all that driftwood.
05/14/12: Benson Beach
Soft-sand Benson Beach at the foot of North Jetty.
Enjoying the waves over lunch along North Jetty.
05/14/12: Discovery Trail
The 8.2-mile Discovery Trail leads between Ilwaco and Long Beach. We picked up the trail just inside the park at Beards Hollow. The trail is wide, well-paved and immaculate, as if someone trimmed and swept it every day. Much of the trail runs along the ocean with sweeping views--it felt like highway 101 for bikes.
05/14/12: Gray whale skeleton
Skeleton of a 38-foot juvenile gray whale that washed ashore at Long Beach in 2000.
A wonderful boardwalk runs along the beach at Long View.
05/14/12: Condor scuplture
Condor scuplture at the trailhead in Ilwaco.
05/15/12, 5:50am: Sand Island
Susan Rae following us out of Illwaco. We'll be crossing the bar soon--it's open to all traffic with seas 2-4 feet everywhere.
05/15/12, 6:41am: Columbia River Buoy 1
Just passed the first buoy at the bar entrance--we're through. Conditions were pretty good the whole way.
05/15/12, 5:46pm: Pt. Grenville, 20 miles west of
Conditions have been good most of the way. But a small craft advisory has been issued for NW winds 15-25, and the waves are starting to pick up.
05/16/12, 8:48am: Traffic
We saw little to no traffic between the Columbia River and Cape Flattery, but lots in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
05/16/12, 12:05pm: Approaching Race Rocks
The wind settled down around 2am, and we turned into the strait, so now we've been in much calmer conditions with a nice wind and current push behind us. We'll be in the San Juans in a few hours.
05/16/12, 3:22pm: Mackaye Harbor
Going to spend a couple of nights in the San Juans before heading over to Anacortes to present at Trawlerfest on Saturday.
05/17/12: Echo Bay, Sucia Island
Sucia Island is one of our long-time favorite anchorages in the San Juan Islands. A few early-season boats are here, and the beautiful tractor tug Lindsay Foss preceded us in. We suspect it is waiting for a ship to escort into Anacortes.
05/18/12: Cap Sante Boat Haven, Anacortes
At Anacortes for Trawler Fest. We'll be presenting Saturday morning.
05/19/12: Padilla Bay
Maersk Cameron at the Anacortes refinery near our anchorage in Padilla Bay