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2013 Columbia 150 - Tuesday

Monday had been a 40 mile loop: Exit Cathlamet, run across the river between Puget and Tenas Illahee islands, up the Prairie Channel to Tongue Point, then back along the Washington side to Cathlamet. Today was a shorter, 20 mile run upriver to the city dock at Rainier.

Bob had a way of checking what the tides were doing and said the most advantageous time for us to leave Cathlamet was at 10am. I'm not one for waiting around, but I held myself in check until then. Mike was sailing with Bob today, getting the unique experience of sailing on a Birdwatcher 2. The day was dead calm as we made our way out of the harbor, everyone had their sails down (except me - I like to have my sails up, even when motoring.)

We'd picked up another boater, Mike from Corvallis. He has a self-designed boat powered by sail, gas motor, and electric.

As we passed down the Washington side of Puget Island, everyone started upping sail. Chuck and Shaline were in a boat with a very low bow and they had a 170% Genoa for the foresail - they were finding it sometimes overpowered the bow when running downwind in chop.

Here's a nice shot of Bob and Mike standing in the cabin of Wave Watcher.

Tom had dropped his crew and was running solo from here on out.

Fleet shot

The Columbia is an interesting place - as a real, working man's river, it has its share of derelicts and shipwrecks. I'd like to know the story of what happened to this fishing boat that has washed up at Puget Island.

Just a hundred yards or so upriver from the he shipwreck is this log, fixed to the river bottom and festooned with metal spikes, like it might have been a dock at one time. I wonder if that is what got the fishing boat, some dark and stormy night.

As we neared Cape Horn, I spied Mike having difficulties. He didn't signal for help, so I assumed he had the situation in hand. I later learned he had engine trouble and had to turn back - worried he would not have enough juice for his electric if he tried to forge on.

There is the dreaded Cape Horn of the Columbia. It has a well deserved reputation and has earned the right to carry the name of its bigger and scarier brother who serves as the gateway from the Atlantic to the Pacific in the southern seas. Cape Horn is across the river from Jones Beach, home of some of the finest wind surfing in the world. We had a good, upriver breeze blowing as we made our passage.

One of several rampaging death barges we saw on the river.

Chuck and Shaline, blowing along just fine with just their Genoa flying.

Mike and Bob running wing and wing.

It always does my heart good to see people out on the river. These paddlers were making full use of this fine day.

There's a fleet shot - Chuck and Shaline had run up their main again.

Off Port Westward, we saw this ethanol plant that hadn't been there the last time we did the Columbia.

This fish packing plant had seen better days - it does have a spiffy satellite dish, though. Good news: It is an investment opportunity - a real fixer-upper.

I split off from the rest of the group to check on the passage behind Lord and walker islands. We'll be staying out there on a floating dock for Thursday night. There is a series of paired pilings along this channel, and I thought the sproutings were picture worthy.

At the upriver end of Walker Island is a derelict Tank Landing Craft, the Washtenaw County. The original plan had been to restore it and open it as a museum. Sadly, she has fallen victim to metal thieves and will probably never move again.

Down near Longview and Rainier, the shipping really picks up. There seems to be a speed limit of 6mph in this area. I must tell you, the Glorious Ace is not my idea of a pretty vessel. You can see where she is by checking her name on marinetraffic.com - ain't technology wonderful?

More shipping. Lots of shipping.

Run for the day. Not bad - not bad at all. Remember, this was upriver.

At the dock at Rainier, we began to learn the wonders that Tom's Potter 19 holds. Within minutes of tying up, he produced ice, an ice shaver, and flavored syrup, making us all slushies. Just like Captain Cook used to do.

Everybody was having a great time.

Even Bob got into the act, putting on a demonstration of his Heat Pal, an alcohol fueled stove/heater he swears is one of his best purchases.

The fleet at rest as the sun went down. We'd walked a couple blocks into town and had dinner at the El Tapito, remarkable in the fact that it will be the last El Tapito I ever enter, even if threatened with death (how do you eff up Mexican food? I don't know, but they did.) That evening, we watched the International Space Station pass overhead - a single, bright, shining spot of light as daylight turned to dusk.

As amazing as the International Space Station is, I was more amazed by this, right here on the docks: Tom has a projector he slides his iPhone into and he was able to show us movies right there on his sail. Will wonders never cease?

As cool as Tuesday was, Wednesday had her own delights.

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