Columbia Notes: The Lowlands

kim mizzen tongue

Kim and I have just completed a three mile passage near Astoria where we sailed up river, against the tide. We got into waves. Big waves. We got scared. We made some mistakes.

When I pull into calmer water, I pause and wonder how bad it really was. For the first time ever, I regret not having a GoPro camera on my boat to see if what I experienced was really as dramatic as what I felt.

But looking back on it now, I’m glad the only record is the one written in my mind. It won’t get any better than that- unless Kim and I talk about it; then it becomes legendary.

Winter Housekeeping

bridge and riverComing up on Terrapin Tales over the next few weeks will be a mini series about the many moods of the Columbia River. The first in the series will start this week.

And despite all the distractions available to you on the web, real paper magazines still exist! I’ve had a few articles published recently in Small Craft Advisor including one about rounding Cape Horn and another about boating with kids. You can find this magazine at many chandleries and some of the big box marine stores too. I have yet to grace the pages of WoodenBoat, but I have a bunch of recent issues. If you want them (free), contact me about pick up options.

Last off, I’m starting a Portland area small boat messabout listserv. When I come up with a really clever name, I’ll put the word out here. If you think of something before I do, drop me a line.

Anybody Can Draw

building bridges small The perspective is wrong. All the people look the same. It’s too busy. There’s a smudge. There’s always something wrong with my sketches and I like them just fine that way. Drawing is fun and challenging. Every time I pick up a pen I have a chance to set something on paper better than I did the last time.

Continue reading


newberry I no longer crave plastic alligators in wooden cages, magnets emblazoned with a city’s skyline and slogan, nor coconuts carved to resemble monkeys. Continue reading

Always Learning

almost 2

“I always hate putting on my drysuit,” I told Keith as we rigged up, “but once it’s on, I hardly notice it.”

“I’m wearing all poly,” he replied, “but a drysuit is definitely on my wish list.”

It was about 42 degrees at noon when Keith, Bill and I put our boats in the river. The sun had a hint of warmth and the last leaves of fall fluttered lightly; clusters of dark clouds loomed in the distance, which supported the forecast that the winds would shift directions mid-way through the afternoon and we thought we were ready.   Continue reading

New Year’s Sailing: Columbia River Style

new years on Columbia

On the first sunny day in the new year the thermometer seemed reluctant to move above 36 degrees, so I assembled my arctic boating gear: booties to keep my feet warm, foulies just in case, an extra wool shirt and pair of fleece pants, should I get submerged and suddenly need something warm and dry.

Continued after the jump at Three Sheets NW.