Noon Report: Position: 46 11.4 N 123 43.75 W, COG: Anchored, SOG: Anchored, DMG: 135 nm, Distance Traveled: 2222 nm. Wind and swell: negligible.
We are anchored near Lois Island in Cathlamet Bay; just upriver from Astoria and around Tongue Point. The sky is crystal clear and probably 60 degrees. We are at a calm cool anchorage surrounded by pine scented forest. We have come a long way. We’re here now.
The day started with the wind dying a slow gasping death. We fired up the engine and struck sail @ 33 nm from the entrance buoy. The atmosphere was particularly uncooperative. Rain, drizzle, fog and even a waterspout that never quite made it to the surface, just fizzled out. We went to “All Hands” at lunch time and set the clocks forward to Pacific Standard Time. Michael and the crew worked on the Bar Crossing checklist. The bar is serious business so we did ensured that: the hatches and portholes were shut, everyone had their inflatable harnesses on, the small boat was ready, all mechanical and electronic systems were tested, etc, etc. We had every base covered in the event of some freak swell doing us some damage (not unheard of), we are prepared. I spoke with the USCG and they gave us about as favorable bar report as we could wish for; 2-6 ft swells all across the entrance and middle ground, 7.8 high tide (depth plus 7.8 ft), wind light and variable, no restrictions. They even sent out an escort on my request.
We crossed the bar @ 1530, at the end of flood tide, perfect. The USCG surf boat ran interference for us with all the small fisherman in the channel and broke off with good wishes all around @ half way to Astoria. The Petty Officer in charge of the boat said that it was a good call on our part to request an escort. He had inquired as to why we wanted one. Basically, I told him, but, not in so many words, that if the s&*t were to hit the fan then I will have done everything in my power to deal with it. He concurred. Nature will do as she pleases, despite your best efforts. Nature was with us, today.
We began to feel the ebb tide @ 1730 as we passed Astoria, and ducked out of it around Tongue Point before it gained real strength. We feel no effects of it here. We dropped anchor at 1841, and shut down the engine. Aaahh.
There is a fun part. Want to hear the fun part? I’ll tell you the fun part. Our friend and former Mate on Lynx (she sailed with out current passenger on the summer voyage in 2004) lives in town and I got a hold of her. That’s not the fun part. She ordered pizzas and beer for us and brought down to the boat ramp just up the John Day river! Isn’t that Grand? Never did you taste such heavenly and succulent pizza or nuzzle a fresh cold beer in your entire life. Fat sated and happy, we watched Dr. Strangelove. We were in a Peter Sellers kind of mood. When it came time for lights out, let me tell you, the decks cleared like I had called for volunteers to furl the Topsail in a gale. I took Julie back up the river and bid her adieu.
As I was cruising back, I took stock of my situation. Here I am, piloting a small boat down a misty river in northern Oregon. The waxing moon is out and the stars are brilliant sparks in the clear black sky. The wind and water are calm and still, and I heard a loon. I love loons, look at my crew. I had just led, like lemmings, a crew of friends and strangers across the North Pacific ocean on a cockle shell of a wooden sailing ship. A well found cockle shell, to be sure, but a fragile thing on wide ocean. What a strange dichotomy is life. Surfing in Waikiki with my sister one week, throwing up in 8-10 ft seas in 35 -40 knot winds to swim call in the North Pacific gyre to scurrying down a mist shrouded river after dropping my friend off at some obscure boat ramp. Sure don’t learn about this at job fair in college. Well, I went to Maine Maritime Academy so I maybe read something about this life in some pamphlet. Your average high school counselor doesn’t tell about these things. Why not? These ships need crews. Camps need counselors. Outward Bound needs hands. National Outdoor Leadership School needs leaders. None of these need or require college. College does not prepare you for the real world. This and other jobs like it sure prepare you for college. How do we change the current thinking?
Of course, the folks who sailed with us are those who don’t think like most, anyway. They recognize that there is more out there than just instant pre-packaged gratification. They worked hard and pitched in. They will never forget it. Neither will we. It is a bond that lasts a lifetime. We should be awed and damn proud of we did. It is essential. We were never meant to sit on our butts and fritter away our lives. Life is too important to waste. I would say we used it wisely.
Lynx is grateful to Tim (for returning), Leslie, Maurice, Cedar, and Carmen. They made ti entirely possible to accomplish the voyage. Thank you very much, sincerely. And, I want to the thank the family and friends of our guest crew for loan of your loved ones. We do appreciate it, and I think you will find some changes, for the better. Recognize and accept these subtle differences. They are here to stay. I want to give a huge Mahalo to my crew: Michael (Mate extraordinaire), Jeremiah (Engineer of my dreams), Kerry (a brother who came out specifically to help with this voyage), Sara (Goddess of the Galley), Sam (Lynx’s Chief Boatswain), Emily (rock steady and patient), and Jim (the perfect human). They pulled through a hot, grueling and heavy schedule this season and are still smiling. Although, Sam frowns sometimes, mostly because of me. I want to thank all of our friends, new and old in Hawaii that were like angels. Tommy Tinker and Michael Foley, John Gerth, Suzette, Brian Stewart, Amy Gustavus, Bob Hoffman, Lahaina Yacht club, Lucretia and Kaneohe Yacht Club, Dave Chandler, Dan Geltmacher, Ben Wilkie and Kaneohe Marine Corps Base Hawaii were our trade winds, steady and reliable. I want to thank Jeff (the best boss ever), Cindy (office goddess) and Angela (happiness personified) for supporting us and allowing us to enjoy the islands. Mahalo. Lastly, I want to give much Aloha to Woody and Ally Woods, they sure know how to show a sailor a good time. They, along with Jeff, made sure that the crew was taken care of in Hawaii. God bless us all.
Aloha, A Hui Hou, Christopher and Lynx