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Thread: An Odd Opening Day In Portland OR

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
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    Portland, Oregon
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    Default An Odd Opening Day In Portland OR

    When I showed up at the boat ramp at 9am, I expected to be the only one there.

    It turns out I was the only one there without a Ford F150, a huge trailer, and an aluminum fishing boat. Oh, and there was not a single parking place left. I realized a guy in a little wooden boat wasn't going to be going sailing on the Willamette River today.

    I headed ten miles north to the Columbia River where the parking lot was almost deserted. The wind was freshing up and the current was moving at about two knots. All the snowmelt from the mountains has raised the river levels about eight or ten feet above summer levels. I stood on the dock for a while waiting to see if there was enough wind to propel me upstream. I decided there was, so I crept along the shore, trying to avoid the brunt of the flow.


    A barge horn reminded me that the river wasn't totally deserted. Although barges are common out here, I can't ever remember seeing a double before.


    I was making pretty good progress upstream, when I noticed a lot of swirling, upwelling water. And realized that I was passing over a pile dike. I felt lucky, the piles hadn't been right at the surface. That could have been ugly. Here's what it would look like in low water:


    More later...
    Tales from the land and sea: http://terrapintales.wordpress.com/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
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    40

    Default Re: An Odd Opening Day In Portland OR

    And what it looked like astern...


    My goals was to make it to a set of islands about two miles upstream, but I was laboring against the current. I remembered just in time to avoid a second pile dike to the right of the marker. I don't usually carry charts in my home waters, but this is a good reason to do so.


    The sole indicator was the big branch, with an osprey, that danger lurked beneath
    Tales from the land and sea: http://terrapintales.wordpress.com/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    41,349

    Default Re: An Odd Opening Day In Portland OR

    Ahhhh, yes... the annual 'Aluminum Bloom'

    Which ramp did you end up at? 42nd Street?
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
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    Default Re: An Odd Opening Day In Portland OR

    Then the wind started to die. The only other sailboat around started motor sailing and I drifted with current back toward the dock. I'd noticed some fire boats squirting in the air and a few big motor cruisers at anchor earlier, but didn't think much of it. Then a squadron of big fiberglass boats, seemingly oblivious to me, headed right my way, creating an impressive imitation of a storm at sea. I bobbed around, survived, and remained dry, but nicely tipsy.


    When I saw more squadrons of boats moving upstream, covered in flags, then Neptune himself, I realized I had interfered with Portland's opening day parade.


    For the record, the boat in the lead here represents the river town of Scappoose and their giant peace candle.


    I sat around in an eddy watching standing waves and masses of boats, waiting for a pretty wooden one to sail by. It took a while...


    Then a guy in a huge yacht sailed past me yelling that I was in the wrong place, which I wasn't. I was a craft under oars and I had the right of way.


    But after he passed, I decided that we're all boaters, it's a big river. I'd had my fun, so I left the space for him to have his fun.

    When I headed to the river that morning, I didn't realize it was opening day for aluminum fishermen, nor for the yacht set, but it was interesting to see how other people enjoy the water.

    -Bruce
    Tales from the land and sea: http://terrapintales.wordpress.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    St. Augustine, FL
    Posts
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    Default Re: An Odd Opening Day In Portland OR

    Great story. Love the pictures. I love Portland too...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Sammamish, WA
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    957

    Default Re: An Odd Opening Day In Portland OR

    Sounds like a wonderful day Bruce, thanks for sharing.
    Chuck Hancock

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
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    Default Re: An Odd Opening Day In Portland OR

    It was interesting. What's more interesting is the rising river levels from the snow melting in the mountains. When I drove over the Columbia River I-5 bridge yesterday, the channel markers had a big wake that made them look like they were doing five or six knots.

    -Bruce
    Tales from the land and sea: http://terrapintales.wordpress.com/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
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    Default Re: An Odd Opening Day In Portland OR

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Bateau View Post
    It was interesting. What's more interesting is the rising river levels from the snow melting in the mountains. When I drove over the Columbia River I-5 bridge yesterday, the channel markers had a big wake that made them look like they were doing five or six knots.

    -Bruce
    I've been to two marinas in the last few days where the ramp was approaching level.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Newport, OR
    Posts
    376

    Default Re: An Odd Opening Day In Portland OR

    We have the same problem on the coast today, it's a halibut weekend. The full-throttle aluminum armada have arrived...

    I remember on big snow years we used to have to add an hour to the max ebb and low tide tables on the Columbia, she would ship so much water that the tide tables would be off by an hour or more.
    M/V Carlyle III
    50' 1930 Menchions Shipyard

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