Sailing away with Nikk and Jan

Where the River Meets the Sea

Balance at Enumclaw Marina/Cathlamet

Woke up this morning in Cathlamet to sunrise forecasting a clear, sparkling day, and left the marina at 8:30am with light winds and only little ripples on the river. Yesterday was a bit different. We left McCuddy’s Marina at sunrise, motoring downriver and the tender at the railroad bridge swung the tracks to let us through right away, which we took for a good omen. So much for superstition. Everything was going smoothly until 90 minutes into the trip; the fan belt broke, the engine alarm went off, the engine got so hot it pressurized the antifreeze, and antifreeze started spraying all over the engine compartment. Disaster! But Nikk quickly anchored, replaced the fan belt, fired up the engine, and an hour later we were smoothly motoring again. By the time we reached St Helens the north wind kicked up to 15 knots, the wind waves were coming at us three feet high, and we were on the “hobby horse” bouncing up and down for about two hours. It was a good test of how well we’d tied and stowed everything. With easier motoring, we reached the Enumclaw Marina at Cathlamet by 6:30pm and were very happy to be in the cozy little marina. Besides all the anchorages, there are little cabins and yurts, bathrooms and showers, and spaces for motorhomes and campers. Lewis and Clark were welcomed here by the Wahcanicum settlement, and traded fish hooks for otter pelts, dogs, and fish. One of the natives was wearing a seacoat and trousers which came from one of the ships that had made contact with the tribe. We heard a lot of log trucks go by on the highway above the marina, and saw a lot of huge tankers in Longview loading logs to take across the ocean. When I was in Australia in the early 70’s they called Douglas Fir “Oregon”. because of all the timber used for houses there that came from the Douglas Firs right here in Oregon.

The Enormous Astoria Bridge

Today we motored with the head sail up for about half an hour before we got to Tongue Point, near Astoria, and then got to sail part way across the bay from Astoria to Ilwaco here on the southwestern point of Washington. Nikk is always a happy guy when we get to put up the sails and turn off the motor. The wind came from the east today, very unusual, so we were surfing following waves from Skamokawa to Astoria. We’d hoped to get across the bar today and out onto the ocean, but instead decided to stay overnight at Ilwaco and go over the bar early tomorrow, leaving here at 7 am if we can get ourselves up and going that early. The temperature was in the high 70’s here, way too hot for the folks who live here and are used to a marine climate, but perfect for us. The marina is a great place to visit on a day trip from Portland or if you’re traveling to Long Beach. The area above the marina has art galleries and restaurants in wooden buildings, and there is a wonderful hiking trail called the Discovery Trail that starts from town and goes out to the Cape Disappointment lighthouse through cool forest. We hiked the trail a year ago.

We’ll be bundled up out on the ocean, and will try to sail all the way to Crescent City, taking turns being on watch, and having the monitor wind vane keep us on course, if all goes well. The next blog will probably be from Crescent City, unless the weather turns and we need to scuttle to the nearest port. I just baked a loaf of banana bread with a recipe very like my mom’s, hopefully it will be the kind of food that a stomach will like while getting used to the “motion of the ocean”. We’re very excited to get out on the “big water” (that’s what Deva called it when she saw the ocean for the first time at age one).

Comments on: "Where the River Meets the Sea" (4)

  1. Anne and I say, “Bon Voyage!!!!” :o)
    Nice prose and pictures
    Ahh, a weekend without big household project and pleasant weather here.
    Lots of love from us to you all,
    Phil and Anne
    PS Please post a picture of you and Nikk!

  2. Jan & Nikk,

    Just gots Nikk’s email from Newport. I read Jann’s blog, what a great story.

    Here is hoping the weather clears and you get further south.


  3. Steve Lilly and I are following your great adventure and your stories. You are such a great writer Janet. Have the best trip………..and our love and prayers are with you daily.
    Suzanne Feuz
    Sept. 17, 2012

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