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Posts Tagged ‘Port of Wahkiakum’

Sunday, 27 August 2017

On April 12, 2014, I took my first kayak ride. It was here in Skamokawa that I signed up for a beginning lesson from Columbia River Kayaks. We went up the inside passage of Price Island and back down on the riverside for a total of three miles (posted here). They have graceful sit-inside craft with snap on skirts and were a big help in deciding what kind of boat I wanted to own. They offer a wide range of trips with expert guidance.

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The road to Skamokawa

In March of this year, we had visited the museum at Redmen Hall, shown in the photo below.  From the windows, we had seen an enticing boat launch.

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Here is Redmen Hall from the boat launch.

The plan today was to head east, stay near the shore inside Price Island, and duck into Steamboat Slough to visit the Lewis & Clark National Wildlife Refuge. Today the wind was forecast to be from the north 10 to 16 mph. That would mean I could use sail power both directions and hopefully minimize heading into the wind.

I filled out the form. I noticed the launch was pretty quiet for a sunny summer Sunday. There were no cars parked nearby.

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I put in my dollar.

One of the locals came down to see if he could launch his ski boats yet but the tide was still too low. He then he told me that I needed to park my van in the parking lot across the road behind the trees. I only had $3 towards the $5 parking fee so it was off to the little store under Redmen Hall for a snack and more money.

As I pulled into the boat ramp’s parking lot I discovered a campground with close up views of the passing ships on the Columbia.

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Back to the launch all sorted out.

I copied this idea for carrying my boat on the van’s roof from a Yakima rack loader. It requires only lifting half the weight at a time. I’m trying to avoid using a trailer.

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Next step is to swing the tail off to the ground and then lift down the bow.

With the parking paid, I was finally off.

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Here is a closer look at the trimaran I had seen on our previous trip.

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Here is the outward channel and a marker ahead.

I chose to head outside the island as the inside passage still looked narrow and shallow.

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An Osprey nest.

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Outside Price Island I passed a kayaker carrying her dog on the back deck while playing a splashy game of fetch.

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A large barge was heading downstream across the river.

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Maybe the local I met at the ramp was finally out on the water.

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A sailboat passed me going upstream. I was paddling and had the sail out but it still passed me.

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The entrance to Steamboat Slough, about 2.5 miles from Skamokawa.

Another ship was heading up the river.

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It was the Enishi.

When I got home, according to marinetraffic.comI found out the Enishi was soon to arrive in Longview.

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There was a light breeze as I headed away from the Columbia River. I didn’t even feel the wake from the Enishi.

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Steamboat Slough and adventure ahead.

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Looking back at the Columbia.

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The shallow water is kayak friendly but not so good for motors.

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A gate that controls the water level of the interior wetlands.

I had to see what was on the other side.

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Here’s Steamboat Slough looking back towards the Columbia.

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The thick Ellison Slough continues behind the gate.

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And blackberries.

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Steamboat Slough Road is also a way to explore this area.

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Canadian geese keeping ahead.

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Steamboat Slough, the road, and I all continued east.

Soon there was no wind at all.

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Here is a junction. I went off to explore a wrong route.

My map and good camera were back at home, probably sharing the same table with Skooter. I could use the phone’s  ‘MapMyTracks’ map.  First, it helped me go inland, then back upstream, then back the way I came (but differently), and finally out to the river. The inland route stays a sizable stream and crosses under the highway.

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Missing this turn would have taken me inland or upstream to the next town.

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The incoming tide was filling the slough from ahead.

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The shortest route home was to the right while keeping straight would add another three miles.

By now it was about four hours until sunset. Although there was enough time that I didn’t need to go back the same route,  I wanted to finish the loop and avoid driving home in the dark.

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The hills of Oregon. I could hear boat engines beyond the trees.

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Back out into the river and the return of a wind.

The Columbia flows northwest here instead of due east. The trip back would be northeast and into the north wind.

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A sailboat crisscrossed the Columbia upstream but I was headed the other way.

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I was enough upstream I could see the bridge at Cathlamet, about seven miles from Skamokawa.

Here I was tacking against a near headwind. Meanwhile, two sailboats were motoring their way upstream. They had an incoming tide, and a fair wind to push them along, but, not me.

A can floating by to salvage.

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It was unopened and punctured from the side, a mystery.

Soon came a float I thought I could salvage.

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It snagged me hard and swung up the daggerboard. This may have been a marker for a pot.

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Another bird home design

Finally, after about three hours I was back at the entrance to Steamboat Slough.

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The birds were still there, though by now most of the the bar was underwater.

It was 6:45 and everybody was heading home.

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A long crooked trip back

A bald eagle was at the harbor entrance.

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Its head was bowed and I wasn’t patient enough to wait for its noble pose.

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I passed the home to Columbia River Kayaking.

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The harbour’s Ospreys were calling it a night.

I passed by one of the local trawlers, the nondescript F/V Alki II. The blueprints and its history are in the Library of Congress here.

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“…Alki II represents the transition from traditional wood hull gillnet boats to the more modern fiberglass hull and a change in boat building…”

I’ve discovered the internet has resources for ship spotting, such as the Enishi and the smaller boats too.

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This blackberry covered special may not be on the internet at all.

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Finally, an hour before sunset and about to head home.

The top speed of 24 mph on the phone looked awesome until I remembered that I had put the electronics in the car when I went into town for money. Oops.

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It’s more like Distance: 17.4 miles Top Speed 6.0 mph and knock an hour off the activity time.

 

 

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