"First sailing!"

The Boys First Time Sailing - Saturday

What a fun and long day it was yesterday. I was up early and in town picking up 7 barrels of grain which I left on the trailer save the one barrel in the truck. It would have taken me too long to empty them all out so that is saved for today.

I got the boys up and fed and we were out of the house by 8:45am. We got to the Kettle Falls marina right about 10am and the boys went to play on the sandy beach by the Columbia River while we waited for Art to arrive with the boat.


Once he pulled in we got the boat ready to go in the water, the mast up, stays tight, bumpers on, tiller and motor on.


Within half an hour we were motoring our way up the river towards the 395 bridge.


We paused in the river to get the main sail lifted into place and the boys got to run the tiller while we got the sheets in place and the sail raised. There wasn't much wind though so much of the trip was under motor power.


Looking back down the river towards the marina.


We had a couple wild moments. As we were passing the bridge, just upstream of it we almost ran aground on rocks. We had the keel down and suddenly a mound of rock jutted up beneath the water. I had to make a hard turn to port to keep us from grinding the keel. The water depth went from 270 feet at the deepest to 4 feet within a few hundred feet. After the surprise we motored north into the large area to the west of Marcus and set the anchor.


We had lines in the water but never got a bite during the day. We were trolling as well as letting the lines sit.


Both boys got time on the tiller steering us around, while motoring. Sailing is a bit complex for them at this point but they were trying to understand a bit.


At one point J had to use the bathroom so we motored over to the Marcus launch which is high and dry right now.


You can see a white line in the water which is the old Marcus town sand bar. The town used to be built on the flats that are now under water.


We landed the boat and tromped through the mud and walked to the bathroom. It was super cool seeing the boat anchored to the shore like this.


On our way back to the boat we were walking in the channel and found these bear prints. It had wandered around the mud flats a bit before heading back into the woods.


The town of Marcus used to stand here.


Back on the boat we motored along over to the Kettle River where it meets the Columbia. It was a few miles across and with the sail down and keel up it made for a quick jaunt.


Entering the Kettle River we were initially apprehensive as to the depth of the water but the channel proved to be 50+ feet the whole way through. As we slowly made our way up river we checked out the massively long deep water climbing traverse. It is a good few hundred feet long and is over deep water.


The second slight whoops of the day was not long after this shot. I was at the tiller and we were heading upstream on the Kettle when the water depth suddenly dropped and we found ourselves stuck on a sand bar. It took a little bit but with the paddle I was able to push us backwards off the sand and back to the deeper water. We had the moment of "oh shit" before we figured it out.


After our little grounding we decided it best to move back to the deeper water of the Columbia so slowly made out way down stream.


Back in the Columbia we motored back towards Marcus before pulling the motor and raising the main and genoa sails to work the winds back south.


As luck would have it the winds died incredibly so that the water was like glass. This meant we weren't going to be sailing back to the marina. We managed about an hour of tacking back and forth slowly before we decided to motor back in.


We got the boat loaded on the trailer and everything stowed and it was about 8pm by the time we headed home.


Both boys were exhausted and R passed out in the truck pretty quickly. J stayed awake the whole ride home but both of them crashed fast once home.

I am sunburned, sore, but damned happy with the day. Both boys had a blast and did amazingly well on the boat. They didn't get queasy or scared at all and listened pretty well the whole day. They happily kept their life jackets on and as usual spent much of their time eating voraciously.

Today I have to unload the 6 barrels of grain and spread it out in the garden, I need to get irrigation running, plastic pulled out, more tilling done, fencing put up, and try to keep my sun burn from hurting so bad.

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