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Old 07-06-2020, 03:26 PM   #1
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Want to go for a boat ride?

I rounded up a crew to help get the boat around to Seattle. Itís going to be about 650 miles and we expect it to take 7 days unless we run into weather issues. There will be 3 of us on the boat from here to Longview, WA where one of the crew (Jim) has to leave to take his daughter to college. Heís had some cruising experience on Beachcomber, having helped me take her to Portland and back.

Jim will be replaced in Longview by Doug who will be on the boat as we finish the trip to Seattle. Doug and I met in 2014 when he and I helped a new friend (Stuart) take his boat from Seattle to Stockton, CA. So Doug has some very welcome open ocean experience in addition to being an accomplished skipper in his own right.

The third part of the crew is Tom. Tom and I met when Doug and I took the boat to CA. Tom is also an experienced skipper, having taken his boat from Longview, WA where he lives and docks it, to Alaska every year. So lots of open water experience plus experience going back and forth over the infamous Columbia River bar.

Me? Iím just along to do the cooking and cleanup. Now you may chuckle at that, but Iím party serious. Iíve just finished a round of chemo treatments to fight off stage IV cancer. One of the lingering side effects is an unsteadiness on my feet. Iíve promised my wife I would NOT go out on deck unless someoneís life was in jeopardy. I also made that unsteadiness clear to the other crew and made sure they knew about it ahead and were OK with taking on my share of the deck duties. All readily agreed to take on any additional load.

So, with this kind of a setup and crew, what could go wrong? Well, my biggest concern is the weather, and not the weather on the ocean. My concern is the winds on the Columbia. We have to pass through the infamous Columbia River Gorge area thatís widely known for being the wind surfing capital of the world. We also have to pass through 4 locks on the Columbia and 1 in Seattle.

The Columbia River locks can be tricky on a calm day. In one of the locks on the Snake River, I had the wind spin my 330 Sundancer (33í express cruiser) in a full circle when they opened the downstream (upwind) gate to let me exit. It acted like a venturi with the wind. To say that I was experiencing a major pucker would be a gross understatement.

Iím going to do all the boat driving when weíre going through a lock or in any docking/undocking maneuvers. Other than that weíre going to do 2-hour shifts with each of us getting a turn at the helm, as a spotter for debris/crab pots etc. The third person will have his turn to rest before coming back on the helm. We did that on the way to California and it worked well.

Weíve also decided that ANY of us has the right to say ďNope, weíre not going out today.Ē That takes the burden off anyone and relieves them from feeling bad about making the call.

Weíre leaving Tuesday, July 7th around 0845 or a little earlier. The first lock we encounter is McNary. Itís about 36 miles downriver and has an average lift of 183í though that may be a bit higher now because the river is high. All the locks on the river have lock times for downstream travel of 9:30, 12:30, 3:30 and 6:30. We intend to make the 12:30 lock. That letís us out of the lock around 1:00p and itís another 47 miles to our first stop of Arlington, OR. We should be in there around 5:00, just in time for dinner.

So, come on along with us. Weíve all decided this is going to be a FUN trip and the only schedules weíre setting will be to make the lock times at the dams. Please put your tray tables in the upright and locked positions and get ready to go for a lengthy boat ride.
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Old 07-06-2020, 03:44 PM   #2
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Old 07-06-2020, 03:44 PM   #3
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So glad you are bringing us along! I've been itching for a boat trip.

I have not boated on the Columbia, but I have camped along the banks and watched the crowds of colorful kite boarders. That wind is not to be trifled with! Anything set down outside (when on land) will quickly be well east of you

I've boated that stretch of the coast one time (in the opposite direction, twenty years ago, in September). An enclosed steering station would have been well appreciated.

This voyage sounds like it will make some great memories. There's nothing like a long trip with good friends. I'm tuned in for the duration
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Old 07-06-2020, 03:45 PM   #4
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Wifey B: Sounds like it will be a great trip. Another great case of making the best of a bad situation. I will be following along. And your rule on going or not is the same as ours. No one can say "yes, we will go" and anyone can say "no." It's not a vote, one "no" wins. Hope it's a fun time all the way with friends enjoying themselves.
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Old 07-06-2020, 03:46 PM   #5
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Old 07-06-2020, 04:41 PM   #6
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Wish I was going, guess Ill just follow along like everyone else here, Cheers and have fun!
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Old 07-06-2020, 04:49 PM   #7
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Old 07-06-2020, 05:03 PM   #8
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Looking forward to following along...
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Old 07-06-2020, 05:06 PM   #9
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Do you have AIS ? can we follow you on one of the AIS tracking sites ?
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Old 07-06-2020, 05:11 PM   #10
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Hey!
I'll be crossing the I-5 bridge about noon on Wednesday, enroute Tacoma. I'll be sure to wave.
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Old 07-06-2020, 05:14 PM   #11
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Old 07-06-2020, 06:17 PM   #12
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Would love to go but Iím a fairly high risk for Covid.
Weíve stayed quite well isolated and a week on a boat w others seems like stepping off the high dive.
I did that in the Navy in 1961. We all stepped off the 50í platform at the big indoor pool. Was really scared but like many others didnít want to show it so off I went. I followed directions (unusual for me) .. pinched my nose shut w my elbows tight on against my chest and put my head well back. And lastly crossed my legs together tightly.
It was a rush to be sure but the fear disappeared quickly as I went for another jump later.
But against the covid Iíve been taking few chances. We havenít had a single person in the house since it started.
But Iíll watch here on the pad.
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Old 07-06-2020, 08:04 PM   #13
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Good Luck, I'll be following along. Very Exciting
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Old 07-07-2020, 12:32 PM   #14
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Well they say that hindsight is 20/20 and I’d have to agree with that. We were planning on leaving this morning but after checking on the winds all day, and watching them build throughout the day, I decided last night to canx todays’ start. It was the right decision and, after looking at the winds this morning it was the right decision. Winds at our first destination this morning were in the mid 30’s with gusts to 41. Ain’t no way I’d want to be going through the lock or docking the boat in that kind of wind. Tomorrow’s winds are showing steady at 14 with gusts to 20. That’s OK so we’re just shifting our schedule back one day.
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Old 07-07-2020, 12:59 PM   #15
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Safe travels GFC! Good luck on weather northbound.

We turned the corner on the 4th and stumbled into a great fireworks show at Neah Bay. Drizzle in Port Townsend today.
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Old 07-07-2020, 01:07 PM   #16
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No unfortunatly no AIS. Who need AIS this far up river. Looks like the bar crossing will happen on the 13th. Out the bar at 6 am, high tide is 0830. Heading north predicted winds are from the north at 17 mph. Seas NW at 4 feet, 7 seconds. Captain hard at work.Click image for larger version

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Old 07-07-2020, 01:07 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad Willy View Post
Would love to go but Iím a fairly high risk for Covid.
Weíve stayed quite well isolated and a week on a boat w others seems like stepping off the high dive.
I am too, but one thing my wife insisted on was that everyone get tested right before the trip. We all did and we're all negative. That doesn't mean that one of us might have picked up the bug after the tests but the chances of that are slim. We're starting with a clean slate and will be careful as we venture out.
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Old 07-07-2020, 01:23 PM   #18
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What's prompting the boat move to Seattle? Upcoming travel plans or something?
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Old 07-07-2020, 01:38 PM   #19
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Good to hear that Mike.
We haf’ta do certain things like taxes and the grocery store. We get over a weeks food. And our two acres helps. However my friend wanted to go into a Starbucks but I said no. We broke out our camp chairs that we both had in the car and put on masks. Seemed like overkill at first but as I drove away it didn’t seem overkill at all.

Weather is usually unstable in the spring. For me it was the hardest time of the year to fly ultralights. But it was the time of year when we wanted to fly most having just finished winter and seeing much sun. Hope you don’t get stuck in Ilwaco too many days. Cheers and arm waving.
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Old 07-07-2020, 02:19 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Nomad Willy View Post
Good to hear that Mike.
We hafíta do certain things like taxes and the grocery store. We get over a weeks food. And our two acres helps. However my friend wanted to go into a Starbucks but I said no. We broke out our camp chairs that we both had in the car and put on masks. Seemed like overkill at first but as I drove away it didnít seem overkill at all.

Weather is usually unstable in the spring. For me it was the hardest time of the year to fly ultralights. But it was the time of year when we wanted to fly most having just finished winter and seeing much sun. Hope you donít get stuck in Ilwaco too many days. Cheers and arm waving.
Wifey B: And kudos to you for being prudent and minimizing your own risk. There are no guarantees but we all must do what we can.
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