Konami officially left the Portland marina on Sunday July 12th, a fortuitous day according to the Buddhist calendar, Fire Fire day. A good day for wealth and prosperity, most importantly, material support. That is Konami, our support.
The last few days in Portland was spent with our sons, grandsons, and a newborn baby. Last hugs for a while, a few tears knowing we won’t be spending time with our families for a while, but also a lot of joy that our cruising journey has started.
John worked right up to the last few days before departure so there wasn’t much time to finalize the projects and stow everything in the lockers. We left with the main salon hatch open and disassembled, boxes of tools and gear spread through out the cabin, head and V-berth. It took 15 minutes each night to shuffle piles from the bed to the settees and back again in the morning to have breakfast.
We headed up river to the island that is a wilderness area with a free dock and spent three nights reorganizing the boat, stowed the gear and took time to unwind from the past few chaotic weeks. Most of the time we had the dock to ourselves, the beach was beautiful and calm. Fresh picked blackberry cobbler due to an early season was delicious. Only the train in the far distance could be heard. No more planes flying overhead, no cars, no sirens and no people. It was glorious.
Wednesday afternoon was a last drop in at a neighboring marina to pick up provisions (whiskey), last minute gear items, and we called it done. We departed from the marina (a free overnighter from the staff) early Thursday morning just before rush hour under the Interstate bridge. I wanted one last view of Mount Hood, Portland’s own, but she was hidden behind the marine layer. We silently motored out to the railroad bridge and radioed our swing request. A farewell from the railroad bridge with his five toots of the horn and we waved so long to Portland.
Our first anchorage was Wallace Island more than half way to Astoria, the last port before the ocean. Nearly 8 hours of fatiguing engine noise and the final outgoing current we decided to anchor. Steep four feet wind chop and 20 kts of headwind was too much. We took wind waves over Konami’s bow, drenching the canopy. The little Cape Horn of the lower Columbia River forced us back up river a quarter of a mile. We actually sailed the short distance practicing unfouling a sheet, a wrapped sail, heavy handed steering and heavy boat wallowing in steep chop. Fun, according to the job scale.
We are now securely anchored, albeit still windy with 20 kt gusts. Opposing wind and current makes a swinging anchorage, tide current from one side to the gusting wind broadsiding us from the other. One side of the anchorage is a large power plant that blows steam from seven stacks, not beautiful – a reminder that city life is still close, the other side is the beginning of Crim’s Island, uninhabited and remote. Turkey vultures by the dozen fly in gaggles, a bald eagle springs up from the roost to protect the nest. Desolation with a great view of the Columbia river, it’s warm and the wind sends wavelets to lap at Konami’s bow.
We’re settled in!