At Anchor

At Anchor
Whiskyjack at anchor in Garrison Bay, San Juan Island

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Labor Day Up-River Cruise

The Labor Day weekend was a great time to poke our nose into the opening of the Columbia River Gorge .  We boarded WhiskyJack on Friday night stowing our supplies and preparing for an early morning departure on Saturday.  I left the dock at 0600 hrs with little light, and no wind, heading up the Multnomah Channel at 5.0 knots toward the Willamette River.  I hadn't gone 1/4 mile before I was in heavy fog which obscured both banks of the channel and, more importantly, all the floating "No Wake" buoys in front of the many houseboat communities.  I dropped the speed to 3.0 knots (about 2 kts SOG), and kept a close eye on the GPS.  In less than 30 minutes the sun had risen, the fog was gone, and we were chugging along at 5.0 kts.
Mt. Hood on the bow from the pilot house
We enter the Willamette River, go down stream for 3 miles, then head up the Columbia River for points unknown.  At about 1000 hrs, we anchor above the I-5 bridge on the Washington side of the river for a bite to eat.  We're underway in an hour, headed upstream at 5.0 kts (3.5 kts SOG) in clear sunny weather, but no wind.  We continue for another 4 hours and find anchorage on the south side of Lady Island.

Sunset from our anchorage at Lady Island

The "hog line" off the mouth of the Sandy River
 We're underway again at 0630 Sunday morning.  There is a lot of river traffic from small boats heading to their favorite fishing spot.  Our anchorage was near the mouth of the Sandy River and the fall run of Chinook Salmon is in full swing.  The fish congregate at the mouths of the rivers they will enter to spawn, thus these spots are favorites for fisherman.  A "hog line" is a line of boats anchored side by side, usually extending from a spot near the shore and extending toward the center of the river.

The paper mill at Camas, Washington

We pass the paper mill at the upper end of Lady Island heading up river at 5.0 kts (3.5 SOG), continuing past Reed Island and enter the Columbia River Gorge.  The Columbia River Gorge is the passage way of the river through the Cascade Mountain Range which rise steeply on each side of the river.

We have wind!  There is a light breeze starting to blow up river.  It's time for the A-sail (asymmetrical spinnaker).  By the time we get the sail rigged we have enough wind to move at hull speed with just the spinnaker.  It is peaceful and quiet moving along under this brightly colored sail.  We sail past Tunnel Point, Rooster Rock, Cape Horn, and Sand Island.  It's a glorious day!

Multnomah Falls
The wind is picking up and we drop the A-sail and hoist the jib and run under it alone.  We now pass Multnomah Falls Oregon's tallest waterfall.    Multnomah Falls has two steps, but only the first one is visible from the river.  It's a 542 foot drop into a small bowl, a gradual 9 foot drop between, then another 69 foot drop at the lower falls.

We continue upriver for another hour and decide to turn around and seek anchorage downriver as there is no protection from the wind, now blowing up stream at15 to 20 kts, or from the 1.5 to 2.0 current.  Anchoring in an exposed area like this is foolish, as the wind blows you one way and the current tugs you the other.

We anchor in the protection of Cape Horn on the Washington side of the river, tucked between two wing dams.  There was no wind and no current.  Karen was able to leisurely swim to shore for relief from the afternoon heat.

The "mouth" of the Columbia River Gorge at dawn

Monday morning we start for home.  We're underway at 0630 headed down stream at 5.0 kts (6.0 kts SOG) under cloudy sky and no wind.

The sun rises as we're passing Crown Point.  The recently renovated Vista House sits atop Crown Point.  It was built in 1916 at the same time as Highway 30, the Columbia River Highway, was built.  Highway 30 was replaced by I-84.

The Portland Fire Boat "David Campbell" sprays water on the Jantzen Beach Thunderbird Hotel

While we were away the unoccupied Jantzen Beach Thunderbird Hotel caught fire and burned.  While we were waiting for the opening of the Interstate Railroad Bridge we were fortunate to be able to watch the crews of the Portland Fire Department still at work mopping up the still smoldering fire.

Ships at anchor in the Columbia River
  As we head for the mouth of the Willamette River, and our slip on the Multnomah Channel, we thread our way through the maze of ships anchored in the Columbia River near Vancouver, Washington.  It was a fun and relaxing holiday weekend.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Proud Beginning

From a 1978 Pacific Yachting:

Many things on WhiskyJack are the same, but not the upholstery:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

An Update on the Propeller Issue

Update:  Norm at West x North was on vacation but has returned and contacted me.  He has offered to swap the CS 14x8 prop for a CS 13x7.  I don't think that I could have asked for more.  Initially, I had some reservations about reducing the diameter of the prop, but research confirms that for a vessel my size, displacement, speed, horsepower, and gear reduction, a 13" diameter prop is acceptable and alone, the reduction in diameter might be expected to increase engine wide open throttle (WOT) RPM by about 450.  The reduction in pitch from 9" to 7" should increase the WOT RPM another 200 for an expected increase of 650 RPM.  If that is so, WOT RPM should be within acceptable limits with the 13x7 prop.  A possible benefit of the smaller diameter prop would be decreased drag under sail.  I can't wait to try it out.
 06-28-12 Update:  The new propeller is on its way back to me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A PROPosition

WhiskyJack on the Travel-Lift
Yesterday I hauled the boat at Rocky Point Marina to swap props.

The background:  The 14x8 (14" diameter by 8" pitch) Campbell Sailor that Norm at West by North recommended would not let the engine reach maximum engine RPM, meaning that I could not harness all the horsepower from my little Yanmar.  It also caused the engine to produce copius amounts of black, sooty, smoke at WOT (wide open throttle); definitely not good for the engine or the environment.  As I have previously described in an earlier blog (see here) , I chased a number of leads (exhaust restriction, injectors, injector pump) to this problem (see here) before coming to suspect that the propeller had too much pitch, despite Norm's insistence that it was correct.

The test:  I had Sheffield Marine Propeller here in Portland, build a "Michigan Wheel" (MW) type 14x9 three bladed wheel.   This, was Yanmar's propeller recommendation for the 2QM15 engine that I have.  The boat, when new, had a 14x10 prop, but the 1978 test sail article in Pacific Yachting leads one to believe that the engine would only reach 2600 RPM with that prop.  I swapped the new MW 14x9 with the 14x8 Campbell Sailor.  It took all of 30 minutes and I was ready to be go back in the water.

The results:  The new MW 14x9 prop lets the engine rev to 2700 RPM which is a vast improvement over what I had.  Speed looks to be just over 6 knots via GPS (average up-river/down-river).  If the engine, when new, could only rev to 2600 RPM with a 14x10, then getting 2700 RPM with a 14x9 is great.  The rule-of-thumb here is 200 RPM change for each 1" change in pitch.  So the "new" engine should have been able to rev to 2800 RPM with a 14x9 and, if so, the 100 RPM difference I'm seeing now is acceptable with a dirty hull and over 2000 hours on the engine.  Now we know for sure that the 14x8 Campbell Sailor is over-pitched for my engine/hull combination.

Next:  What will West by North do to make this right?  I'll be sure to keep you posted.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Summer rain and Burgoyne Bay

Today it rained with the sun shinning through and it made me think of the first time we anchored in Burgoyne Bay, Saltspring Island, BC.  At the time, our boat, WhiskyJack, was moored at Westport Marina, within walking distance of the Swartz Bay BC Ferry Terminal.  The drive from Portland was as boring as it ever was and we just couldn't wait to be on board.  We left our car at the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal and paid walk-on fare for the ride to Swartz Bay.  A ten minute walk after the ferry arrived on Vancouver Island and we were on the boat.  Peace at last! 
Well, almost.  The overcast sky was really getting dark and it seemed that it was about to rain.  We made ourselves busy getting underway and within a half hour we were moving out of the marina with the sky getting darker.  In a few short minutes we were winding our way north through the narrow channel to the west of Coal Island,  past the BC Ferry landing and west through Satellite Channel and it began to rain.  Not just a little rain, but a downpour.

Mt Maxwell and rainbow from inside the pilot house.
Mt. Maxwell in the clouds from the cockpit

Visibility was reduced considerably as we entered Sansum Narrows.  The only good news here was the flood tide.  Just as we were at the north end of the narrows, out of the clouds appears Mt. Maxwell.

The rain stopped just as abruptly as it had begun.  I stepped out of the pilot house and into the cockpit to look around.  It was warm and smelled fresh, it had been a summer rain. 

The entrance to Burgoyne Bay

The entrance to Burgoyne Bay beckoned with a Siren's Song.  We had no intention of staying there but could not resist the urge to enter the bay and check it out.

Burgoyne Bay is the northwestern terminus of the low laying land that nearly splits Saltspring Island in two.  On the other end of the valley, the south east end, is Fulford Harbour.

Looking northwest toward Maple Bay
We entered Burgoyne Bay and found a small dock on the northern shore, almost at the head of the bay.  We tied up here temporarily and went for a short walk.  We walked in an easterly direction for aabout 1/4 mile, the took a road south toward the Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park.  Twilight was just beginning as we walked along the tree-lined road.  We stopped to converse for a minute when my wife said, "Don't make any sudden moves, but a deer is looking at you through the tall grass about ten feet behind you."  I very slowly turned my body until I could just see the deer in my peripheral vision, and sure enough, a doe was giving me the once over.

Sunset in Burgoyne Bay
We returned to the boat via the shoreline and moved off the dock, anchoring at the head of the bay.  There was one other boat at anchor.  We prepared our evening meal and retired to the cockpit where we were treated to a most beautiful sunset.

This is my memory of Burgoyne Bay

Electical System Upgrade

The way it was.

The recent work on WhiskyJack's engine and the engine monitoring system brought me to add an oil pressure gauge and to replace the old temperature gauge with a new one.  There was a backing plate under the old temperature gauge that need refurbishing or replacement and a voltmeter in the dash that did not work.  I also had a burning desire to install a Link 10 battery monitor that I had purchase several years ago.  It was time to play musical gauges.

New backing plate

I removed all of the gauges, replacing the old temperature gauge with a new one and adding a new oil pressure gauge.  When I removed the old temperature gauge I found that a previous install had required a larger cut-out and that was the reason for the backing plate under the gauge.  It was my intention to put the Link 10 in this place, so I decided to construct a new backing plate.  I also wanted to be able to measure the voltage of the starting battery and therefore, I added a single pole, double throw, momentary push button switch in the backing plate to accomplish this.  I machined the backing plate from black plastic engravers stock.  The voltage sense wire from each battery is led to the push button switch and then to the Link 10.  While the Link 10 is displaying voltage, if I want to know the starting battery voltage, I simply push and hold the black button to the left of the gauge and the voltage is displayed.  Releasing the button and the Link 10 to displays the voltage of the house battery.

The shunt for the Link 10
The Link 10 uses a shunt to calculate the amount of current (amps) that the system is using.  The shunt was placed on the engine room bulkhead in close proximity to the house batteries.  A wiring harness of wires is led to the gauge.  A simple explanation of the Link 10 is that it displays voltage, amps being used, amp hours remaining, along with a LED bar graph showing the amount of energy left in the battery bank.  The complete description can be found here.  The beauty of it all is that there is no more guessing about how much current is going into our out of the battery bank or what the state of charge is.

Balmar 70 amp alternator and ARS-5 regulator

The "guts" of the electrical system is the 70 amp Balmar alternator and it's companion, the ARS-5 alternator regulator.  The alternator is designed for continuous output in the marine environment.  The ARS-5 controls the alternator and provides a multi-step charging regimen.  This allows the batteries to be charged at the fastest rate possible for the battery type without damaging the batteries.  More on multi-step charging here.
Small Engine Mode switch

The ARS-5 regulator has a "Small Engine Mode"  that reduces alternator output to 50% so that more engine horsepower is available for propulsion.  I added a switch on the dash to control this function.  (The location is not one I would pick, but fills an existing hole that was no longer need.)  Now, when I'm underway I will can reduce alternator output, but when anchored I can use the the alternators capacity to more rapidly charge the battery bank.

Flow-Rite Qwik-Fill

Last fall I added a Flow-Rite Qwik-Fill battery watering system that allows me to keep the battery fluid at the proper level without opening each cell or trying to get my head (or a mirror) over the top of each battery.  The system works by drawing water from a container with a small hand operated pump and delivering it to each cell.  This is the easy way to keep your batteries topped off.

 And last, this winter I added a BatteryMINDer onboard desulfinator which uses high frequency pulse desulfination.  It is powered by the 12 volt system but is only active when the system is charging.  The jury is still out on this item.  It will take a year or two before I know whether it is keeping the batteries desulfinated or not.  My hope it that it will extend the battery life.

Monday, April 30, 2012

An Alarming Discovery

New temperature switch.
Sometime after I purchased WhiskyJack I discovered that some one had made a change to the engine monitoring system.  They had replaced the engine temperature switch with a temperature sender and hooked that sender to a temperature gauge.  While it is all well and good to know the temperature of the engine, making this modification disabled the over temperature alarm.  What this means in a practical way, is that you must be looking at the temperature gauge to know that the engine is overheating.  Even with the most diligence, the chance of this happening is slim to none.  While I had the top end of the engine apart, I rectified this.

Temperature sender for gauge.
I removed the temperature sender and replaced it with the proper switch.  Since this engine was designed as a raw water cooled engine, the switch is designed to close when the engine temperature exceeds 140F.  Because I wanted a temperature gauge on the dash, I installed a temperature sender at the other end of the head.  This required drilling and tapping an unused plug where the cooling water exits the head, on its way to the exhaust manifold, with 1/4" NPT threads.  It is in a location that is difficult to access when the engine is assembled, but very well protected.  Now, I have the best of both worlds:  I can observe the temperature of the cooling water as it exits the head, AND, I have an active alarm system that will alert me to an engine over-temperature situation.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Engine Assembly and a Poor Man's SpeedSeal

The engine starting to be assembled.
  A couple of weeks ago, I began the work on the engine.  I removed the alternator  and exhaust manifold along with a plethora of smaller items from the engine and then removed the head (with injectors) and fuel injector pump.  The  head, injectors, and injector pump were taken to Cook Engine, the local Yanmar dealer.  I had them grind the valves, replace the valve stem seals, replace the pre-combustion chamber, rebuild the injectors and injector pump.  This work took some time, as some of the parts had to be brought in from  from Japan.  A note here:  It is absolutely outstanding that Yanmar, would still stock all of the parts of an engine that is over 35 years old and was only made for 2 years.

Almost done!

 The assembly work went off without many problems.  It just took time.  The head gasket was installed and the head torqued down.  The rocker arm assemblies were installed, the valve tappets adjusted, the fuel injector pump was installed and re-connected to the governor, and the cooling lines were hooked up.  One of the most difficult parts of the assembly process is getting the small ball on the fuel pump metering rack into the slot in the control arm from the governor.  This happens inside the governor housing, open to the front, but not visible.  You need to stick your hands inside the governor housing, which has very little room, and try to line up the ball with the slot as you lower the injector pump.  It took me several tries.  Then, after successfully completing the task, I realized  that the pump had to come back out because I had not placed a pencil line on the rack to make a future adjustment.

M4 SHCS and Knob
 This engine was designed as a raw water cooled engine and therefore has an external circulating pump to pump sea water through the engine.  The pump is hidden under the governor housing and is nearly inaccessible.  Changing an impeller with pump installed is a real pain in the keester and pulling the pump is even worse.  To help with this and while the pump was out, I replaced the screws that hold the Rear Cover the with stainless steel M4 socket head cap screws (SHCS) fitted with an Acetal resin knurled socket knob.  The "socket knobs" are available by the "each" at Fastenal for $0.22.  They press onto the SHCS and the two parts are assembled, make it a knurled knob (use the jaws of a vise to assemble).

Pump with Knobs
With these knobs, I can install and remove the fasteners with my fingers, without the use of a wrench or screwdriver.  Now, when I need to inspect or change the impeller, I can do it in a jiffy.  I also use a gasket sealant to hold the gasket onto the the Rear Cover and a thin film of grease on the pump body.  That way, when the Rear Cover comes off there is a good chance that the gasket will stay with the Cover and will not be damaged.  This is a poor man's SpeedSeal without the O-ring.  (SpeedSeal does not make a Cover for my pump.)

After the water pump was installed, I bled the fuel system and fired it up.  This old Yanmar hummed like a Swiss sewing machine!  Well,  not really, but it ran well.  There were a few adjustments to be made, but overall, the engine runs great.  Note:  I did not install the alternator and charging system components, nor did I hook up all the engine monitoring.  The charging system is getting an overhaul and will be completed next weekend along with the engine monitoring and alarm system.

So, if you, dear reader, have been following along, I'll bet that you are curious about whether the rebuild accomplished the goal of increasing the engine RPM at wide open throttle (WOT).  I know I was curious and couldn't wait to engage the prop.  Well, it did not!  All of this for a negligible performance increase?  You've got to be kidding!  .....more to come......

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I'm pickin' up (good) vibrations? Enough for all winter!

"I'm pickin' up good vibrations, she's giving me excitations'" so go the lyrics of the 1960's Beach Boys song.  It all began with a little vibration!  Last year I notice that I was getting a vibration when I advanced the throttle over about 2500 RPM.  Nothing to worry about, I thought, because I cruise around 2000 RPM.  But once I feel something like that my mind begins to wander and I start thinking about fixing it.  I knew from the purchase survey that I would need a new prop sooner, rather than later.  So, in the fall of 2011 we hauled the boat at Rocky Point Marina and I installed a new Campbell Sailor prop.

And what a beauty that prop was!  I couldn't wait  to get WhiskyJack back in the water and try it out.  And what a surprise that was.  I left the Rocky Point Marina and headed back toward my my slip a mile or two away.  I throttled up and was surprised that I couldn't get over 1900 RPM without black smoke from the exhaust the boat was flat out at 2200 RPM and blowing black smoke like a steam locomotive.  What's wrong here?  Too much pitch?  Bad prop?

I called West by North to discuss the issue with them.  I was assured that the prop was what it supposed to be and that my engine should turn that screw (I already knew that).  WxN was very helpful and pointed me in the direction of a common problem with the small Yanmar engines.  "Have you checked your exhaust elbow?" they asked.  "They have a tendency to plug up with a sooty deposit and inhibit the exhaust from being discharged.  Have you checked it lately?"  Right, that's certainly something that I check regularly---NOT!  But what a great suggestion.  I thanked them and immediately knew what II was going to be doing the following Saturday.  They ran through some other possibilities but I was not listening.

The following Saturday, I began the task of swapping out the exhaust elbow.  A couple of years earlier I had noticed an exhaust elbow on eBay and bought it for a very reasonable price, thinking that I would need it someday.  That day was today.  The exhaust hose was cut off and the elbow came off with a large pipe wrench with very little trouble.  When I looked into the discharge side of the elbow I saw a large deposit of soot, nearly blocking the passage.  Eureka!  That's it.  What an easy fix.  A trip to West Marine and I had some new exhaust hose.  The new elbow went on without a hitch and I was back in business.  I could wait to finally test the new prop.

Boy, was I surprised when there was little change in the max RPM or the amount of black smoke being produced.  What were those other possibilities for low engine power?  Oh, yes, the injectors!  The Yanmar 2QM15 in WhiskyJack has 2200 hrs and does not appear to have had any major overhauls.  I received a thorough briefing from her previous owner at the time of purchase and no mention was made to anything being done to the engines.  The maintenance manual suggests inspection at 500 hours and that has surely come and gone.  Any what about the small amount of oil coming out of the air intake.  Could that be a sign of a leaking valve stem seal?  My fate was sealed:  The head was coming off.

The winter's project was before me:  While the engine was apart a change in the engine instrumentation and alarm system seemed to make sense.  What about a new alternator (I never liked nor trusted the one I installed 5 years ago), and with the new alternator shouldn't I install the Xantrex Link 10 I bought on sale a last year?  And what about changing from raw water cooling to fresh water cooling?  I already have the heat exchanger.  Let's do that too.  Boy, I hope it's a long winter.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Trip Down the River, Part II (aka: the Beauty & the Beast)

A dingy on a boat at the Westport Marina
We left Anunde Island via Wallace Slough and found anchorage for the evening in Westport Slough above the power lines.  The following morning, after a leisurely breakfast, we again head down river, taking Cliffton Channel between the Oregon Shore and Tenasillahe Island, past the relics of the abandoned communities of Bradwood and Cliffton.  We are bound for, what for me, is one of the most peaceful, serine, and beautiful places in this world.  Is is the Lewis & Clarke National Wildlife Refuge which encompasses 35,000 acres of tideland, marshes, and sandbars in the Columbia River estuary about 25 miles upstream from the sea.

Looking west toward Tongue Point
We pass through the Devil's Elbow into Prairie Channel, following it between Karlson and Marsh Islands and anchor in a spot about 1 mile west of Blind Slough.  (See NOAA Chart 18523.)

Here, we are surrounded by water and low lying islands for a radius of over a mile with the western foothills of the Coast Range lying beyond that.  For 360 degrees a vista of nothing but water, trees, hills, and islands.  And no sound of man.  Nothing but the sound of the water lapping at the hull and a symphony from some of thousands of birds that occupy this place.  

Looking east.

While the sound of an individual bird may not be so very loud, when hundreds all sing together, it can be deafening.  I lay in the warm sun on my back on the trunk cabin, my eyes are closed, the warm breeze is blowing over my body and I am listening for the solo runs from the individual members of this avian choir.  What are they singing about?

Marsh Island
 This peace and beauty calms my soul.  This is my special place to unwind; to rejuvenate myself.  We spend the afternoon here but time has a different meaning in this place.  It doesn't pass fast, or slow.  There is so much to drink in, so many acts that pass over Nature's stage, that it seems surreal.  The setting and a breeze that has been picking up over the hours remind us that we need to seek a more sheltered anchorage and prepare our evening meal.  Reluctantly we leave, retiring to protected anchorage in Knappa Slough.  Tomorrow is going to be Karen's big day.  A day to poke around the shops in Astoria.

I awake early, it is just beginning to get light.  I go over the chart and plot a course through this maze of islands to Astoria.  For some still unknown reason, I think it is good to catch a ride on the ebb tide.  When you ride along in a vessel that makes only 5 knots, catching an additional 2 to 3 knots of current makes the trip to Astoria a 2 hour event, while have a 2 knot current "on you nose" makes the trip a 5 hour one.  Wouldn't it be nice to get Karen to Astoria in the early morning rather than in the afternoon?  Well, yes!

With Karen comfortably sleeping in the V-berth, I start the engine, weigh anchor, and head west in Prairie Channel, following the course that I have drawn on the chart and entered into the GPS.  I pass the place where we spent the previous afternoon and all of the memories of the day come flooding back.  I'm drunk with the serenity of it all.  I make the turn south, slowing because it has been years since I have been through here.  The water begins to shallow and I slow even more.  The channel is not where it is supposed to be.  (It might be well to mention here that these small channels are not sounded often meanin the data on the charts is often 20, 30, or 40 years old.)  The water continues to shallow and I am getting nervous.  Reluctantly, I turn around and follow my reciprocal course, deciding that another route to Astoria will need to be found.  I throttle up a bit to 3 knots, the all of a sudden it happened.

Not a happy camper!

I feel the boat rise slightly as it slows to a stop.  From the fore-cabin:  "What's wrong?  What just happened?" OMG!  We're aground!  Whose idea was it to explore on a falling tide?  I know that time is of the essence and I quickly put the anchor into the dingy and paddle astern hoping I can kedge off.  No luck!  In just the few minutes that it takes to row the anchor astern, the boat as already starting to list to starboard.  This is not good.  Thoughts are running through my mind.  I can let the boat go onto it's beam.  I quickly form a plan.  Again I get into the dingy, but this time I row the anchor out as far as I can toward the deepest water which is off the port beam.  I drop the anchor, row back to WhiskyJack, and get a purchase as high on the mast as I can reach from the deck.  I haul against the anchor and begin to pull the boat back upright, stopping when I get it to about 5 degrees heel to starboard.
Birds sitting on the anchor rode

Then we wait.  Any movement of us on the boat from one side to the other causes the boat to heel more or less.  We cannot let the vessel go to port, she must stay with a slight starboard heel because there is no line on the starboard side to prevent a roll to port.  For about 30 minutes it's a balancing act.  Stand slightly to starboard, if the boat starts to move to port, I move to starboard, and visa-versa.  I do not know just how much force it will take for the anchor to drag, and it if does we're done.  Finally, the boat settles slightly into the muddy bottom and becomes stable.

The tide fell, making bare some of the land around the boat.  When it does, the channel becomes apparent.  It is 50 yards to the west of where is was charted.  And, what about the First Mate.  To say she was not happy might be understating the emotions.  And I can understand her point of view.  How is it to be awakened from peaceful sleep into the chaos of a grounding.  How helpless we feel at the mercy of the tide.

Sunset, just east of Astoria near Tongue Point

  "And, what about my day in Astoria?", she asks.  Needless to say when I explain that high tide isn't until 1500 hrs, that we won't float until about 1300 hours, that the trip to Astoria against the flood tide is now estimated to about 5 hours, my mate's response was less than  joyful.  The best that I could offer as a "light at the end of the tunnel" was that we would be arriving about dinner time and that I would be happy to buy her dinner with wine and dessert (and anything else she wanted).  And it didn't hurt that I explained that we had an extra day in our itinerary and that it would be spend in Astoria.

So ends this story of the Beauty of the Estuary and the Beast of Grounding.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A trip down the river like no other

Having WhiskyJack at our doorstep (almost) was wonderful.  After a winter of the northwest's dreary and rainy weather, we were ready for an extended trip down river.  So in the summer of 2005 we headed down river for a week.  With an outgoing tide we ran from Scappoose to Beaver Slough in just over 8 hours.

WhiskyJack at the Point Adams Receiving Station

We had scheduled to meet up with Bill and Darlene, a couple that we met a few months earlier in St. Helens, Oregon, to look at the restoration they had done on on of the old fish Receiving Stations.  In this area, it is (or at least was) illegal for a fisherman to off-load fish from his boat at a place other than a cannery.  In other words, he could not throw the fish into his truck and drive them to the cannery he had to take them there in his boat.  Many of the fisherman fished areas that were many miles from a cannery, and thus a good part of the time that they had to spend on the water was the time necessary to run from the fishing grounds to the cannery and back.  The canneries were sympathetic to this and would have "receiving stations" strategically placed up and down the river.  The cannery company then trucked the fish to Astoria (in this case) for processing.

The boat repair shed

Bill and Darlene had purchased an old Point Adams Receiving Station on Anunde Island in the Beaver Slough region where the Clatskanie River enters the Columbia River.  Most of this receiving station had been built by a co-op of Finnish fisherman.  They had a large barn-like shed with hoist where they could repair their boats.  They had a net drying shed at the water's edge where they could bring up the nets out of their boats for drying and repair.  Remember that the nets were not made of synthetic material at that time and drying was essential to keep them from rotting.

The "Longhouse" on the left and net drying shed on the right

But most impressive (to me) was a building the fisherman built to house themselves while they were fishing.  The fisherman in the co-op did not all fish at the same time.  The co-op had a portion of the river that they exclusively maintained and fished.  Not all of the fisherman could fish this area at once, so they had a method of allotting times for each of the members.  So while one member was fishing another would be sleeping, eating, repairing nets, etc.  The co-op build a long building divided into identical rooms.  Each room had a bed, a wood stove, and a table.  There were 9 or 10 of these rooms in this "long house."  In front of this building was the net drying shed with the area in front of each room being the drying space for the member that occupied that room.  Bill and Darlene used this building as their house with one room for a kitchen, one for a living room, one for the bedroom, one for a guest bedroom, one for storage, etc.  And they used the net drying shed as their " front porch."

The "front porch" with net drying racks in the background

From their "front porch", Bill and Darlene had a commanding view of Beaver Slough, Wallace Island, and the Eagle Cliff area on the Washington side of the river.  Bill would sit here and watch the river traffic and the wild life.  If you were a friend, he could see you coming while you were miles away and would come out and greet you in his skiff.  "Follow me in," he would say.

The view (north) from the "porch" with another net shed in the background

We spent a wonderful afternoon with Bill and Darlene.  The buildings had been left without maintenance for some time and were in a state of disrepair.  And according to Bill, the co-op members only did the repairs necessary to get by another season with no attention to long range planning.  Some of the structures were beyond saving and had to be demolished, but what remained had the look and feel of something out of another century.

A great book that provides a glimpse of the life on the river in the early 1900's is "Reach of Tide, Ring of History" by the late Sam McKinney.  McKinney spent time in his youth in one of the now abandoned villages--Chinookville, Frankfort, Knappton, and Cliffton.  He built a small, wooden boat and beginning at the mouth of the Columbia, travels up river as far as the tidal influence (Bonneville) telling the story of his youth and his memories of the past.

This was just the first part of a week's vacation filled with surprises.  Next:  The "Beauty and the Beast."  (One of the most beautiful places on earth and a dastardly error.)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Welcome! Newbie blogger here.

Welcome all. I purchased WhiskyJack in the spring of 2004, and was moored in Sydney, BC.  That summer was spent cruising the Gulf Islands and getting acquainted with the vessel.  In the fall of 2004 we trucked WJ to our home waters, the Columbia River, and took moorage a few miles from our house on Multnomah Channel.  

We made very few changes to WJ in the first years.  One of the first changes that was made was converting the galley stove from kerosene to alcohol.  The the use of my trusty computer, I searched the world over looking for alcohol burners.  I knew that a burner was made that used alcohol that was the same form-factor to the kerosene burner that was in the stove.  I was unable to find a pair anywhere, even though I found a company in England that specialized in these burners.  I then went on a search of used alcohol stoves via eBay until I found an old used stove that had the burners I wanted.  By switching to alcohol fuel, I was able to use the Force 10 stove but get rid of the awful smell and sooty residue from the old burners.  We are still using this set-up but I am considering moving from a pressurized alcohol stove to a non-pressurized like an Origo 3000.

I'm going to sign-off for now, but I encourage readers to comment and/or offer suggestions.