Posts Tagged ‘kayaking’

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Allan Paddles the Bone River

James Swan, the author of the book, ‘The Northwest Coast’, built his residence at the mouth of this river in the mid 1850’s. In his time it was called the Mouse River or the name it had always been before: The Querquelin.  The Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum is currently running a photo exhibit of ‘Swan’s Land‘ which I plan to see soon.


Mr. Swan’s sketch of his residence with Toke’s lodge on the right

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The Bone River is just below Bruceport

Today’s plan was to use the northwest wind to carry me to and from the river’s mouth and also to use a rising tide to go up the river, a falling tide to return.

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Starting at Bay Center and going for a  gold star


1 pm to 6 pm will be clear of the vast mudflats.


Passing Baby Island at 11:20 with a rising 2.4′ tide and mudflats.

There is a short road upstream just north of the bridge that would make an easy starting point if you’re comfortable leaving your car there.


Looking downstream from the turn off.


A peaceful highway view that soon will have a red boat distraction coming upstream.


The town cafe and biker bar. I will return.


Oyster farmers unloading.


A large parking lot at the launch with an oyster white sheen


Another working boat coming in just before I leave.


Between those two points lies the Bone River


I found a skinny cup for the small cup holder in the little yacht. I can now sip drinks enhanced with salt spray.


Off for more oysters.




First view of the river’s entrance


I tried for a better photo, twice, before pulling down the mast. The bridge is really too low .


This works.


The swallows swooped in and out faster than I could snap the shutter.


A calm river with very little current. In four miles there will be hazards only a more nimble little boat can ascend.


A hot day today. The birds and animals seemed to be snoozing. Here is a stray fishing float we will follow up later. Note its location.


Convenient for logging, the trees were all pretty young.


This line of pilings to tie up log rafts were the only human relics I saw past the bridge.


A mild wind was blowing upstream.


Not enough wind to bother with the sail.


A head scratcher.


This was the end for me today. The water was five feet deep but this hazard is is best conquered with light little boats like Mary Beth’s 39 pounder she sold me.



One outrigger pulled in but it’s still like turning around a motorhome.


Quiet trees on a warm day

Now it’s time to get back to the launch. The day is still, quiet, and the wildlife seems to be snoozing until the evening. I speed up to 4 mph and head back to the bay. A 33 sec. YouTube video putting you there is here.


Potential sea beans for Skyler on the right side but they’re muddy and it would kill the plant.


Same float, different place. Now it’s in our yard.


A survey post where I wanted to land to see where the old village/homesite might have been.

I walked out to what I thought might be a marker for this historical site.


It was a marker for a recent survey and a ‘witness post.’


When I got home I reread the book’s passage and decided the more likely village site was upstream of the bridge.


“The river wound round this point in the form of a horse-shoe…”

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The circle indicates a field that may contain the site of the old illustration.


Possibly a historic field next to the highway

In the 1966 book: ‘Coast Country’ by Lucile McDonald, she describes the recent finding of James Swan’s old fireplace. The site has also changed due to building a highway through it and flooding.

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Sea beans for Skyler by the survey site. Plump, thick patches of sea beans everywhere. I took a few and we had them for dinner the next night.


No salt required on these little green delicacies.


I sailed back to Bay Center.


Closely spaced floats in rows marking oysters


Six o’clock Sunday evening and the port is quiet


A view of the 101 bridge just south of the Goose Point Oyster plant from Bay Center.


A rough oyster shell beach.


Lots of ‘stopped’ time today, like a staycation tourist.


Using this and google maps you can see how far upstream it is navigatable.


Outside of the Dock of the Bay eatery


Some of the interesting art inside. I couldn’t see an artist’s name on these prints but very interesting in a ‘how things work’ way.



Reasonably priced hamburger steak dinner including the option of ‘oyster dressing topped with hollandaise sauce and melted cheese.’


Baby Island on the way home at 8:20 pm with a falling +2.1′ tide. It’s back to being mudflats again.

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Monday, 30 May 2016

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Memorial Weekend Monday was a busy day at Broadway Park. It’s east of the stoplight and a noisy happy place with lots of playground equipment, tables, big restroom and the Neawanna River. That’s the river you’ll see under the Highway 101 bridge at the north end of Seaside, Oregon.


The fancy dock is just above the picnic trailer.


This is Seaside’s wheelchair compatible, easy for everybody, kayak dock.


A two and a half minute video on how this works can be seen here.


Grab the rails, roll on the rollers and easy-peasy, you’re in, right side up.


Today, I’m going upstream as far as possible. There is plus 1.6 foot rising tide so it’s pretty low and shallow.


A Memorial Day wreath had washed up  on shore


A set of rapids that might have sent the faint hearted downstream to easier waters.


The creek looked like it had a long way to go so I dragged the boat further.


Looks like an old bridge but the bank was too high and muddy to see if the any tracks remained


Paddling partners going upstream, just a little more quickly due to their shyness.


Silverleaf sending out tendrils to get established on the banks


A second portage. A good reason to have a little boat that’s easy to carry.


It’s still lower than my boot tops.


Just south of the 12th St bridge was the last bit of floatable creek.  There were four groups of goslings swimming about so it was the end of the line for me.


As close as a 5x zoom lens can get while I stayed well back.


Goose school in session.


The South Sundquist Road bridge before heading back downstream


A muddy salvage trip but I got it. It was unlabeled. We can always use another cone.


Probably a victim of english ivy.


We traded greetings as I portaged back.


Almost ready below the portage, got the cone, looks I’m walking back because I’m missing something.




A speed bump for deep boats


I gave the wreath a nudge to send it on its way.



One of Seaside’s low maintenance plantings on their Broadway St. bridge.


Six, maybe seven sentries watching the river below the park


A heron doing neck stretches until it realized I was watching.


Then it dignified right up.


Geese making gloppy sounds in the mud.

The Seaside Chamber of Commerce filmed this same trip, with a red kayak, here. It’s under four minutes, taken at a high tide and with ambient music.


A short trip but part of completing a ‘U’ around Seaside.

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Today I did the bit marked in black. last October I did the route marked in red. Someday, when the tide is right, I should connect the two doing the green route.


Bonus for having a van, I was able to stuff inside a new pre-assembled dream wheelbarrow for Skyler under the boat.

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Wednesday, 30 December 2015

The weather was finally good enough to go boating, so I went back to Cullaby Lake to make up for my wimpy weather turnaround December 15. Mission: What is around the point at the south end of the lake?

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Cullaby Lake is just inland just south of Astoria


Last time, serious rain just before launching. I didn’t embrace the rain but packed it in instead.

This time I was so bundled that I had to extend the life vest’s straps all the way out. I couldn’t imagine being too warm today so I went for the michelin man look.


This time, sun, light wind and 40 degrees. (39 degrees-that would be too cold).


A check out the houses and shore birds route

Skyler gave me for Christmas a sheet illustrating ‘Mac’s Field Guide to Coastal Water Birds’ from NIVA Green. It’s waterproof and has pictures on both sides.


These birds have names which I’ll attempt.


American coot, singular.


American coot with friends


American coots at a party


A couple of western grebes



A female Common Merganser modeling her hooded cap


A parade of male Common Mergansers close by. 


An alert Great Blue Heron…


flying off to where I am not.


These people have a small flotilla to choose from

I found a tree house that looks warm enough to live in. Three trees for support and two stories tall.


Solar cells on the roof, a suspension bridge, and deck, wow.

There is a show on the Animal Planet network called ‘Treehouse Masters’ that we sometimes watch about building serious tree houses. It’s hosted by a company based in Falls City near Seattle. Every build is different but inspired.


A suspension bridge to a path leading off to the woods.

Not a long trip at all, but cured the urge for a while. A dry fifty degrees would be really great next time.


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Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Whenever we drive to Portland on Oregon’s Highway 30, we are intrigued by the cluster of houseboats that can be seen on the John Day River.

Google Earth view of houseboats

Google Earth view of houseboats

an idyllic looking enclave

an idyllic looking enclave

John Day County Park is 3.3 miles east of the Astoria Safeway.

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I saw dog walkers and travelers making quick restroom stops. The double boat ramp is a big draw and the reason why I was here.


Almost didn’t see these two hunters


There’s two concrete ramps and a grassy area off to the left. It’s a $5 parking fee for the day.

Just upstream I passed a set of sailboats.


Twin wind generators are mounted behind the twin masted ship


It’s got the scupper of the day. It’s the thin gap from left to right under the dark brown planks that drains the deck.


The heavy cable from the bow to the waterline helps support the masts.


Time to move onward, or maybe he wants a ride.


It looked like gardens were once planted on these logs. The maintenance; beach casual.





For easier maintenance, there are potted plants on the decks.

The houses are more numerous past the highway’s bridge.


This is the ‘Real Earth’ view of the ‘Google Earth’ picture earlier.


I caught a picture of this old building behind the line of modern houses. There is road access and more money sunk into these residences compared to the houses I saw on North River.



The water was very reflective today.


A built in boat garage with a rickety widow’s walk.


I saw up to three trawlers parked at some of these units which makes sense. The owners of these working boats could keep an eye on them and maintain them when not fishing.




I thought this might be an otter. It was just a sunken log and the river is flowing upstream behind it.




Now there are four cormorants.



About 125 geese honking away


I had my Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Permit today, but I wasn’t pulled over by this Fish and Wildlife officer.


A lawn extending underwater


A personal fleet

This mossy branch was acquiring an animal or totem look.


I see a mermaid at the bottom, an eagle looking down from the middle, maybe…




The end of a small bay.



Time to do lay back and do the limbo.


Just steel beams under this bridge, not graceful masonry

For a distraction, here’s a short video on weighing down the masts on a 85′ sailboat in order to motor under a 65′ bridge.

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screenshot from the video



a tree underwater


a tree that’s been chewed


a tree that’s food


The river had faded into a meadow so I turned back.


Today we had an unusually high tide of almost ten feet.

There was a small flock of birds on the edge of a dike.


 bobbing their heads:



The house that mows its yard by the tides again.



Here is a second tier house that required a logged hill for its view and a long driveway for their boat.

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The only ‘heron’ photo today.


With some skylights, this might be a very large greenhouse.


Dry gloves at the ready.


The ramp was damp to the lot from the receding tide.


Something I didn’t know: The bus stop in front of Astoria’s Safeway had several shoppers waiting, but the shoppers also use the Riverfront Trolley.


The Trolley isn’t just for tourists

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Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Allan goes boating on Smith Creek

The plan today was to paddle up North River as far as possible.

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Ilwaco to the North River & Smith Creek (shortest route).

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Last time I headed up North River, I turned left when I saw a second string of houseboats and continued on until it ended. Turns out, the main channel continued on the right for maybe eight more miles, and more houseboats to see too but, three things put a rethink to that.


The launch at the mouth of Smith Creek.

Rethink #1: It started raining. I saw four open boats of bundled up fishermen heading back. When I was growing up, my dad wouldn’t cancel a trip because of rain. He said we would have been canceling a lot of trips and just included rain in the plan.


A wet and cold day, with no wind to use a sail.

Rethink #2:  A flipper almost fell off. I had ‘improved’ the original attachment bolts to more quickly take apart the system. (I seem to hit sunken stuff a lot). The salt water had frozen my tools, so I could not install a spare replacement bolt I carried. Zip ties and wire held it together the rest of the day. The two flexing flippers swing back and forth to power the boat. I didn’t think it wise to keep going further away with my plastic repair.

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I flipped the 2nd picture left to right but the flipper on the top picture almost slid off its rod because the retaining bolt fell off.

Rethink #3: No drinking water for me, my water bottles were back at the car. A PB sandwich and crackers plus a four hour trip ahead, oops.


Here’s a look at some of the river houses.

In 2010 a 1,250 sq. ft. 3 bedroom house tied along here sold for $20,000. Here’s the listing.


Here’s a small tree that must wish it could reach a root down into the river

I went back down the North River to the launch.


“Aha! We found ourselves a kayak, heh heh.” (It’s not easy to lock up a boat). They had caught a sixteen inch jack – a young adult salmon that had returned early before having fully grown.

Smith Creek

I didn’t want to go home, the fun hadn’t really started yet. Smith Creek wasn’t too long, it took me two hours up and back.


Here’s Smith Creek with rain…


and later, the Smith Creek entrance without rain.


fall colors under a maple


fall colors under a maple under the water. (I discovered later that an underwater camera doesn’t shed water spots off its lens).


The river was wide and gravelly here but shallow, so I walked.

I believe its an empty cabin, I think.


A place that could only be reached by boat, like the floating cabins.

I tied up at a dock and cautiously checked it out


A rumex obtusifolius


At great peril, I looked in a window and snapped a pic, for the blog.


The owner’s birdhouse. The mossy tree indicates just how damp it is.


End of the road for me, a bridge for someone else


fungi, blackberry and moss

The weather improved, the sun was getting low, the water was quiet, like the top half of a calendar.




To me, the eyes set this gull apart from the flock



With some extra time before dark, I headed out into the bay.


Hawks Point, about two miles away, with Tokeland beyond

The bay at a +5.8′ tide is only about a foot deep outside the main channel.


Paddle touching the bottom. North River bridge is on the left, Smith Creek bridge is on the right.


Little kayaks just launching and headed up Smith Creek.


It’s a couple fishing from a pair of pedal Hobie boats they bought last spring.


Looking like an ad. I gave them a card with my email, and left them to their fishing. We saw several jumping.

 While loading the car, I saw a dog walker go by, then pick up his dog and toss it into the river. Turns out Otis had rolled in something smelly and needed a bath.


Happy Otis, the four month old puppy scampering back to the river.


Otis tagging along as his cage gets a cleaning too.


Now it’s time to leave, except for those two kayakers still out fishing.


Nine miles on two rivers and a bay, and lots of stuff to fix and dry out.



Smith Creek is the part that’s right of the dot, about a two-mile round trip.


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Monday, 12 October 2015

Allan goes paddling on two rivers…

Gray’s River

You may recall that on September 19 I paddled up Grays River  towards the covered bridge, hoping  to reach the bridge and maybe get a take out dinner at Duffy’s on the way home. After some mix-up where to launch, I paddled 11.5 miles up to Duffy’s, failed to reach the bridge, and got back just as the sun was setting.

This time, using the highway, I drove to the bridge, then I drove to Duffy’s, and successfully made it. Even got the take out dinner for Skyler.


A rare sign on the road to the covered bridge.


Gray’s River valley


This launch next to the bridge could be used with a trailer.


Yep, I heard something fall off the boat as I dragged it to the water and nope, I’m not going up the creek without it.

As there was a good current, I headed upstream as I didn’t wish to walk back.


This is about how far I got, still in sight of the bridge.


Looking upstream, this part of Grays River gave me a treadmill or hamster ball-like experience. I couldn’t paddle fast enough to keep the shore moving.


Under the bridge where someone worked hard to tie up that rope .

This current is with an +8.1 outgoing tide but the river is supposedly not tidal past Duffy’s, just swift.



440 yards up, a quarter mile back. Now it’s time for lunch.

I left the covered bridge launch and drove to Duffy’s for food.

Duffy’s used to have a launch here until it was washed out a few years back. Now, I’m not really sure about car parking unless you buy a lunch. Duffy’s told me it’s popular to kayak upstream from Rosburg with the tide and return with the receding tide. The employees have no trouble climbing down to the river but the boaters stop in less often to eat as there is no place to tie up.


The view upstream from the Duffy’s dining deck.

Duffy's Irish Pub

The dining deck


Duffy’s from the road.

More interesting than a picture of a bowl of butterbeans and cornbread (my lunch) is this panel from a book of old comics they had. The panel is from Gasoline Alley, the reflection is brilliant, and worth a closer look.



The owner owned a concert venue in Portland in the eighties and maintains a stage among their eclectic collection.

There remains a sign “Ramona Salazars Garden 2001” over their always interesting garden.


Deep River

On the way back I decided I had time to drive out  to the end of Oneida Road next to Deep River and drive past the launch I used last visit. It finally ends on a single lane dirt road up past an isolated single wide that just looked like NO TRESPASSING. It’s a different feeling than looking at backyards in Surfside from their canals.

Driving back by the ramp I stopped, checked out the tide and decided that I could just drag the boat into the water for a couple of hours before the drive home.


When I launched at 4:50, these two were just putting in and I could hear them fussing over starting their outboard.


A mixed garden on a piling


A heron fishing without a truck, tent, kitchen, dock, power boat, gear…

A sunken ship! It must be almost a hundred feet long!



its forward deck


its superstructure.


dark, drippy and silent inside


Mud boots; good idea. Exploring inside; maybe not.

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I saw planted columns at old buildings done in the Little & Lewis style

Planted columns created or inspired by Little and Lewis are all the rage at many gardens we have toured over the years:

another use of planted columns by the famous garden designers Little and Lewis

another use of Little and Lewis planted columns at Bella Madrona

the Little and Lewis-y water feature at Floramagoria

the Little and Lewis-y water feature at Floramagoria

The Little and Lewis pillars in the boggy garden at Heronswood

The Little and Lewis pillars in the boggy garden at Heronswood

You can see more at The Little & Lewis Garden: An Appreciation

This fishing boat has a low deck under the spool.


scupper of the week

As I paddled past this vessel a “How ya doin!” came out the window. Whoa! (and I put the camera away). I then discovered that he’s fishing for salmon, (there’s not many), he’s setting his net soon, and he’ll leave me room to get by on the far shore.



I had to take a picture of this backyard as it was watching me.

Among the many wood pilings, this one looked different.



It was a six foot oar partially full of water and now it was mine.


A tree recovering from a twenty foot horizontal set back.


Ahead, the nets are now coming out. Time to head back. This boat was located by the abandoned lumber mill on Highway 4 by the tight curve with the flashing arrow.


There is an old single wide in the mill’s back lot that can be seen from the highway. It must be the residence for these fishing boats.


Need to get back before dark but there was that sunken boat again…must see. It’s enormous and the tide had gone down almost two feet.


Aww, from the river’s bend I could hear an outboard start, putter a few seconds and stop. It restarted then died, again and again. It had been almost 2 hours since I had left. I told them that I wasn’t trying to be funny but did they want an oar I found? There were two crew members and the boat likely only had one oar. It might put it to good use. “Where did you find that?” they asked. Turns out they had borrowed that same oar a couple of weeks earlier and had lost it. There it is by the their steering wheel. The boat is called ‘The Fishing Machine’ and no, they didn’t need any jumper cables.


The fish were safe today.


Lots of stopped the time as I was more distracted than intent on making distance.


Here’s a little eryngium (perhaps) that I spotted as I slid the little boat into the back of the van. Back to garden blogging tomorrow as we look at what the wind storm did locally.

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Saturday, 19 September 2015

On the anniversary of buying his kayak in 2014, Allan went boating on Gray’s River:

Gray’s River feeds into the Columbia River 24 miles upstream from Ilwaco. It features the only covered highway bridge still used in our state. It also flows below the back deck of the quaint Duffy’s Irish Pub. The river also is featured in several of Robert Michael Pyle’s books, including Sky Time in Gray’s River.

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A picture (borrowed from google) of a full river under the covered bridge

I read, on the internet, that it was only a little over seven miles up to the bridge. Then, on a fishing site, I found a boat launch on the adjacent Deep River.  With a tail wind and incoming tide until five, I figured to get back by five or sixish. It turned out more like  sevenish.


a twisty route


This is an upriver launch to fish around the Astoria bridge


As I left a fisherman was setting up. The boat’s anchor line indicates the river is flowing upstream.


Two things were going on here. Turkey Vultures were cleaning up a deceased sea lion and the wind indicator indicates a tailwind for sailing upriver.


Partially sunken logs are to boaters what pot holes are to bicyclists and motorists. The faster the boat, the harder the hit. Sometimes people mark them with a rope and a float.


entrance to Grays River


A scenic tree. If this was a highway it would have been cut. There was a bald eagle in it on the way back.


I’m part of a dog’s day


a cormorant about to fly off


Headed aft, past the coat locker to the galley. There I fetched provisions from the fridge, and returned fore to the bridge.

Arriving at the Rosburg Grange, just south of Hwy. 4 on the road to Altoona, I spied another boat ramp. I was two hours and twenty minutes into the trip.


the Rosburg Grange

After rechecking the trip review, I later discovered a shorter trip to the covered bridge that starts here at the Grange. No motorized boats allowed here so I hadn’t found it on the fishing site.


The boat ramp adjacent to the grange


Leaving the grange, under the bridge going to Altoona, and upward.


Maybe something interesting floating in the river…


..or not

I passed by a friendly couple in Rosburg.  You can see them below waving from their porch.


It was now 3:30 and I wished I had asked them how much further to Duffy’s as it’s a place I always like to visit when I am in the area. Not going to make it to the covered bridge today.


only seven long minutes later and there it was; Duffy’s Irish Pub.


good food and a garden too.

While gawking, I got off the channel and stuck in a sandbar. The staff came out and offered to help pull me off which I politely declined. Meanwhile I had put the camera away as I thought filming these nice people while stuck would be silly. Getting  afloat quickly seemed the nautical thing to do.


Here are pictures and captions from this blog, August 4, 2007, when Skyler and I visited here.



“Punk rock memories at Duffy’s Pub”



“The paths at Duffy’s Pub.. Some garden designer’s articles say you must, to be tasteful, stick with the same material throughout a garden, but I find this much more fascinating.”

It was too late to grab a bite or get a takeout dinner for two, so back downriver I went.


The mast didn’t thump the bridge at Rosburg.


A garden taking back a house below Rosburg.


Back past the scenic tree. Now it’s been over two hours since Duffy’s, but still another hour to go until sunset.


the low sun brightens up the shore


a view across the Columbia at the mouth of Grays River



The buoy marking the entrance to Deep River. The bridge to Astoria is nine miles away.

My longest trip so far I think, and I still didn’t make it up to the covered bridge, but I now know how to do it next time.


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Monday, 7 September 2015

Allan attends the Poker Paddle in South Bend

Last year I attended this event to check out the kayak crowd. I had been sailing during the summer and was reaching some sort of decision point. I could sail my little skiffs downwind and back and forth very well at my skill level. Upwind travel often resulted in folding up the sail and rowing to finally get back to the launch where I’d drag the 145 lb. boat out into our disassembled garden trailer. I wanted to see how people loaded heavier kayaks (like a 63 lb. Hobie I had my eye on).

 Last year by the time I got there, I had only had time for a quick trot along the shore.  This year I had a boat with which to participate,and take pictures.



boats and signs marked the spot


lots of colorful boats


Here’s the check-in with rules, directions and a number. “PLEASE NOTE THAT IF YOUR CARDS ARE SOAKED YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO DRAW NEW CARDS!!!” I’m covered.


some people show up on time and don’t dawdle


Off they went. Suppose I should stop looking around but this wasn’t a hurry up event.


All the stations would be on the right.


picking up their first playing card


lots of chatting and fun




I once had one of these sturdy 80 lb. Coleman canoes and finally sold it to a rental group that loved them.


a stick, a clothespin, and a dry volunteer handing out another card


It’s the Laymans from Raymond who also help promote our local kayaking. Their daughter was just in the local paper regarding her new kayak rental shop.


back we go


Vern and Janet took their graceful craft up the river a ways after gathering their cards


cueing up to the small craft dock


extra hands were available for this 22 foot outriggered boat coming out now


just over two miles and a relaxed fun time.


two more cards to come but a pair of sixes was it for me. However a pair of jacks or higher won money ranging from $25 to a $100.

Baylee Laymann of Raymond’s Willapa Paddle Adventures   brought her rental kayaks.  Some were reserved but many were available to take out. With all the assistance available, a short paddle was possible for nearly anyone.



Karaoke with Doug was back again. One of the kids did an early set of Christmas carols. Doug has got a thick book full of songs and, if you want to try a song, what happens in Raymond-stays in Raymond.

The pole walk was the next dock event.


just walk out to the line and back (the further line is for adults)


shortest time determines winners…


…if you come back dry.

I meanwhile walked back to the car and trotted the sail kit past the tempting rides, and past the swimmers making good use of the low dock.

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I had help pushing off the taller dock. It was 1:45  as I tried to discreetly leave the South Bend party and head down river for a nine mile trip to the entrance of Willapa Bay.


Pelicans! This was at the entrance to a branch of the Willapa River that was too shallow to enter at the outgoing 3.0 foot tide.


The 16x zoom of the fragile land camera helped keep me from bothering the birds. Waterproof cameras don’t zoom in as close.


what a beak stretch on the left.


more birds coming and going


who’s the pretty bird?


Back at shore I heard; ‘Where there are pelicans, there are fish…but not for long’. We saw a few seal heads pop up during the poker paddle but they wouldn’t come back up for a proper picture.


Everything got wet and I had left my coat behind. Fortunately there still was enough summer around not to get cold.

The wind picked up. I covered the distance at an average speed of about 7 mph topping out at about 9. Here’s a 18 sec. video of my camera being splashed with salt water as we bump through the waves. Camera still works but I shouldn’t do it again.


blue lights flashing, must be getting back to South Bend


3:45, the dock is empty, and the party has moved elsewhere.

Last year I attended wondering how I could get a heavy kayak / light sailboat here in 2015. There are rear car top rollers that work for the very tall, and a clever hydraulic side loader that’s very pricy. Yakima Racks makes an extension pole to reduce the weight a person has to lift for a hundred bucks. I copied it with a two by four, a plate screwed on the end and a bungee cord.


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Sunday, 2 August 2015

Willapa Bay

The original plan: Travel WITH the incoming tide from Oysterville to partway down the bay.  I was going to paddle someone’s skinny sit inside kayak while she sailed my boat downwind and with the current. Then we would stop at the Port of Nahcotta and later pull out in at her house further down the bay. The Hobie with its ‘training wheels’ doesn’t tip over unless a bunch of stupid is going on so its a good loaner but I have capsized someone else’s sailboat.

What actually happened:  An almost as good day boating as I went upwind and against the tide on the east side of Long Island.

He was going to boat from Oysterville down to mid-Peninsula; instead he went from the Willapa Wildlife Refuge to nearby Long Island.

I launched from Willapa Wildlife Refuge.


mud made it a challenge to launch

a muddy launch site at a +1.1 tide

Mud made it a challenge to launch.  I rolled the boat off to the side of the concrete launch to make room for others but the wheels sank deep in the mud.  A couple of tourists asked me, “Can we swim over to the island?” I showed them the deep boat dolly tracks and my muddy boots to discourage them. They weren’t aware that the tide was coming in nor did they try stepping in the mud. She kept teasing her partner to make the short swim.  Then, I told them about the man who had attempted to walk and or swim to Baby Island just south of here. It happened nine years ago. He was never found. The only clue was his empty car at the side of the road, foot prints in the mud, and Baby Island only a short distance away.

“Thank you, thank you. Have a nice day” and off they went for other adventures.

Todd told us that locals refer to the bay mud as “the mud monster”.  It can be dangerous to sink into it.

Allan's boat

the boat all assembled: Hobie Mirage Adventure Island

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The oyster beds are sometimes right under the surface even with a plus 7 foot tide. The deep channels are near the shore, so all the fins got pulled in after getting stuck and bent criss-crossing the middle.

oyster bed marker

oyster bed marker showing the incoming current as the tide filled the bay .

There was 18 mph headwind too, all the better to quickly head home later

There was 18 mph headwind too, all the better to quickly head home later

I suppose it would sink the boat to try to bring these for our garden.

I suppose it would sink the boat to try to bring these back for our garden.


assorted wild gardens atop the pilings

assorted wild gardens atop the pilings

entrance to the Naselle River

entrance to the Naselle River

What a day. Last time I was here, I went east up the Naselle River and past the curved 101 bridge. I wasn’t going to get over the top of the island and go down the west side today either as it was getting late. Sawlog campground is on the island nearby but like Captain Vancouver failing to spot the Columbia River (well, a little like it), I sailed past Sawlog and headed into a marsh instead.

Long Island

Long Island marsh

a cute caravan heading to the beach for the weekend

a cute caravan heading to the beach


a couple returning from the south of Long Island. Maybe I’ll head south next time.


‘Walking’ on the water with ‘map my walk’ and the Garmin GPS. Got up to 7.4 mph. 



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It had been sunny and warm with a 15 to 20 mph wind from the north for the second weekend in a row. Last weekend a friend and I had planned using that wind and an incoming tide to blow down the Willapa Bay from Oysterville to their house about 9 miles south in a kayak and a sailboat. A writing deadline came up for her, we had to cancel.

Today the wind was still blowing, too cold for gardening, branches might fall, things like that but, it was just right to sail. Willapa River runs mostly east to west and a north wind should be ideal.  Last October when I went to South Bend to sail I left the sail at home so I paddled to Raymond instead.

South Bend

South Bend’s small boat dock. (Near the liquor store and / or the public rest room.)

This is how 16 foot sailboat gets small and light enough for one person to stuff onto a mini-van.

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The gardens on the dock were in bloom…


Beautiful gardens on the dock

…and there were blackberry bushes in bloom upriver.


Blackberries will be here soon.

There was a house in this logged off spot and a quarry to the left.

logged out

A clearing with a view…


…and an isolated view of the valley.

There were big houses…

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…and cozy houses.

I liked this one for its location.


An affordable (maybe) single wide on the shore…


…and a chair to watch the river.

I saw people running…



…and I saw people fishing.


metal art

One of Raymond’s many public art pieces.

There were birds.





shy babies

I paddled up to this inlet last visit. Now it is a moorage.


There were boats at the Port of Willapa…





…and I saw the Weyerhaeuser mill in Raymond.



More logs arriving

Going beyond Raymond I furled up and went slowly under the 101 bridge. I wouldn’t want to risk damaging  the concrete.


Keeping right I went up Ellis Slough past Raymond High School where someone was running up and down the bleachers. Thought how I don’t do that any more and continued up to a modest house at the end.


A boat from Australia or Africa could cruise right up to this back yard.

From the South Bend dock using a car I could have traveled 6 miles in just 11 minutes to get here. Instead it was eleven crooked miles in two and a half hours to reach the end of the slough.

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adding extra distance by zig zagging through pilings

The wind picked up to 15 or 20 mph, gusting to 26 and white caps developed. The lens, the sail, everything got wet on the trip back. I didn’t take out the camera . Fortunately the water was warm.


Tacking upwind back to South Bend

dripping sail

Water dripping off the sail above the water spot on the lens

Nearing South Bend, I remembered the camera can take short movies so, for a 78 second video of a tack through the pilings, click here.

My favorite video of this boat is seven minutes long. It shows someone leaving a dock, paddling through a marina and out onto a windy harbor while he narrates. It shows the boat as safe, stable, forgiving as he turns, not too technical and splashy quick.


Back to the South Bend dock with a +3.0 foot out going tide

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The squiggly route around South Bend and the overall route

I got a reading of 6.9 mph on the way up before the battery went dead so, my imagination can only speculate on the great speed later when the wind was stronger.

Finally a scene seen often by local drivers, the Willapa Bay from the Bruceport historical sign south of South Bend.


View of Willapa Bay from Bruceport with a +2.1 tide

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