Journey to Phoca Rock

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They say it is named after the genus Phoca, for the seals the European explorers found there.

I’ve observed Phoca Rock shrouded in drifts of fog, from the cliffs above, so it looks like a pebble, and in a calm where it seems to dominate the edge of the river. Since I’ve never actually been there, the rock holds mysteries in my mind.

beacon rock - 1.jpgRooster Rock is far larger and seemingly noticeable, but it doesn’t rise from the water the way Phoca does. And it’s not surrounded by currents and miles of water. Just trees and a dinky channel.

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Bill and I tried to visit Phoca last weekend, but the weather gods sent us mixed messages. We started by getting pulled downstream, unable to row against the flow. Then we got a boost by a favorable upriver wind, followed by a headwind.

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Attempting to reach the rock by tacking back and forth put miles under the hull, but didn’t advance us towards the goal. We sliced through the shallows where we saw a strange ball of sturgeon a few years ago. Although we plowed a lot of sand bars with the centerboard and reveled at the sheer walls of nearby Cape Horn, we were kept from the rock by forces beyond our control.

Maybe its better to let the mystery be.

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