USA Day 6 – Down home in a Columbia River Slough


The full set is here…7622383846430/

Well more interesting things to report. Actually so interesting I have gone out to buy an MP3 voice recorder so I won’t miss these conversations.

This was the view out of the window on waking. I couldn’t get the colours right even with fiddling – much lighter and clearer than here.


On the way out I saw how they tie the ships up to the edge of the river

Met a number of interesting people today. Went to meet David’s friend Lon Wells. He is one of the sailing brotherhood that call themselves “the old coots”. They are the ones organising the Timothy Lake sailing on the weekend up in the mountains.

One of his tenants who lives in a little house on the land though that my accent would catch all the girls easily … I said I had not tried so far.

Another of the tenants lived in this

Anyway .. Lon is also a history buff. He owns a plot of historical backwater where he has a long wharf cluttered with historical boats or just interesting boats.

He worked on the FFG frigate project when it built some warships for Australia. He provided the trivia that the beer lockers on the Australian ships were 3 times bigger than on the same ships being built for America.

But Lon has a vision for this area – it used to be a backwater where salmon fishing boats were moored – mostly Gillnetters. In the early days gillnetters were VERY elegant

this is not my photo.

Lon is collecting a bunch of interesting boats to use as a livery (hire) fleet. Mostly canoes and small dinghies.

A big sailed sailing dinghy

This amazing old aluminium dinghy – rivetted construction, ply deck and seats and some sense of elegance

Including a canvas canoe (first one I have ever seen in the flesh). It was in Lon’s shed

I would estimate the weight as about 70 to 80lbs.

A dinghy with a heart shaped transom

Lon knows lots of interesting people. Also dropping in on this day were Irene Martin and her husband. They work fishing for salmon in this river (the Columbia River). Irene is also a writer (Lon got his copy signed)

We talked for some time. I have just bought a cheap mp3 recorder so I can catch these conversations a bit better.

She said there was a significant struggle between the Chinook Indians and the fishermen working together against the electric companies who don’t want to make any allowance for Salmon fishing. The river has a number of dams like the one I took pics of a couple of days ago – short drop dams for generating power. The salmon need access to the upper river to spawn and the electricity companies don’t really care.

Also Irene told us that the fisheries were mostly small two person boats. One boat can make enough for a family to survive. Bigger boats dont work because by the time the profit is split between 6 people it is not enough for anyone.

The fishery is doing a lot of experimentation to find out ways of making sure immature fish can escape the nets without damage and are doing a lot of research in this area.

Lon and Irene suggested that I have a look at the Maritime Museum in Astoria (named after the Astor family who made their money out of the fur trade). So we have organised to go on Tuesday next week. Lon said he had to do a trip specially anyhow and would do some phonecalls to see if we could get access to the storage warehouses where the bulk of the boats and other bits are stored.

So next Tuesday’s pics will be pretty exciting.

In the afternoon David and I grabbed some pizza and a drink ($3.50 deal) and then went to get bits ready for my talk. The talks on Wooden boatbuilding and design are available as podcasts or MP3 downloads here

Good thing is my hay fever is getting better – I might have a voice tomorrow night!!!

Here are the pics


Related Post

Leave a Reply