Strange Find

tuna boat night

I’m not a fisherman and I don’t particularly like to eat fish, but a few months ago I brought home a ten pound tuna.   Continue reading

Columbia Notes: Ships

DSCN4509 If there’s one thing you’re guaranteed to see on the Lower Columbia- it’s ships. ROROs, grainers, tankers, tugs, barges… They steam steadily along day and night. Although you can get an app to track their comings and goings, I like the surprise of seeing them plowing down the channel unannounced.   Continue reading

How They Live

small house

I admit it, I’m a closet, home and garden periodical junkie. I don’t care if it is the ultra-spare spaces of Dwell magazine, the New York Times’ Thursday home section, or the west-coast lifestyle publication, Sunset. If it lets me in the front door or garden gate, I can’t resist.   Continue reading

Columbia Notes: The Islands


From the air they look like defined green islands. From the water you are forced to look at your chart again to see if you could possibly have misread it, because that thing ahead of you more closely resembles a flooded, overgrown lawn than an island.  Continue reading

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.