Leg 1 down

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Today and tonight we are at Illwaco,  Wa and it was a great feeling arriving here.  I called the harbor master this morning while underway and made a reservation however, was told that they were full.   When I told her we were a trawler she said we could stay with the commercial boats. 

This morning after spending a great evening at St Helens,  Oregon (dinner at Dockside and a free public dock berth) the night before we departed at 6 a.m.  We topped off tanks with 40 gallons from St Helens to Illwaco.    The boat gets less than 2 gph per engine.   We did a run up test before coming in making sure we could max out the engine rpms if we needed to, no hesitation or issues as both engines are running great thus far.  It is great having Mark on board who is a retired diesel mechanic who has taken a great interest in making sure everything mechanical is good to go.  Ken is now our offer chef and is enjoying the position by looking after the crew. As a retired grocery store manager I don’t believe anyone will be going hungry or losing any weight. 

A commercial tuna fishermen just docked next to us and said the bar crossing was extremely gentle for him.  I planned our crossing for around max flood tide so we can get up at 6 a.m. at we think we will run from here to Crescent city to partake in the large number of bars of the drinking kind, subject to Neptune’s acceptance and baptism of the Western Flyer.  The last time she was in salt water was over two years ago. 

June 04, 2012 5:30 pm  •  By Andre Stepankowsky / The Daily News(0) Comments

Shipwrecked fisherman plans to repair trawler

Bill Rhea, a veteran seaman who survived when his 47-foot trawler rolled over in heavy seas on the Columbia River bar June 4, says he plans to

A 71-year-old commercial fisherman from Vancouver suffered a broken ankle and an experience of “pure hell” when rough seas battered his 47-foot trawler and later sent the crippled vessel grinding into the south jetty at the mouth of the Columbia River on Friday, according to the Coast Guard and other sources.

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After bucking some wind blown seas most ofvthe way and dodging hundreds of boats fishing for salmon we arrived at a calm mooring “She found out that having something to do prevented you from feeling seasick, and that even a job like scrubbing a deck could be satisfying, if it was done in a seamanlike way. She was very taken with this notion, and later on she folded the blankets on her bunk in a seamanlike way, and put her possessions in the closet in a seamanlike way, and used ‘stow’ instead of ‘tidy’ for the process of doing so. After two days at sea, Lyra decided that this was the life for her.” ― Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass With more than one crew member assigned to a rack, it is possible that a crew member returning from a duty shift will lie down on a rack immediately after it is vacated by another crew member about to start a shift. The rack is therefore said to be “hot”, that is, still warm from the vacating crew member’s body heat. With more than one crew member assigned to a rack, it is possible that a crew member returning from a duty shift will lie down on a rack immediately after it is vacated by another crew member about to start a shift. The rack is therefore said to be “hot”, that is, still warm from the vacating crew member’s body heat.

With more than one crew member assigned to a rack, it is possible that a crew member returning from a duty shift will lie down on a rack immediately after it is vacated by another crew member about to start a shift. The rack is therefore said to be “hot”, that is, still warm from the vacating crew member’s body heat. “She found out that having something to do prevented you from feeling seasick, and that even a job like scrubbing a deck could be satisfying, if it was done in a seamanlike way. She was very taken with this notion, and later on she folded the blankets on her bunk in a seamanlike way, and put her possessions in the closet in a seamanlike way, and used ‘stow’ instead of ‘tidy’ for the process of doing so. After two days at sea, Lyra decided that this was the life for her.” 

― Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass

Bill Rhea survived despite being trapped briefly under water and losing most his means of escape.”I made up my mind that I was not going to die on the Columbia River Bar. I’ve crossed it too many times to die on it. If you think about living rather than dying, you’ll live,” he said in a phone interview with The Daily News Monday afternoon.

Rhea lost control of his boat, the Orion, at about noon. He fired off distress flares, prompting a Coast Guard helicopter from Astoria and two Coast Guard rescue boats from Cape Disappointment to respond at about 1:25 p.m., said Petty Officer Shawn Egger, spokesman for the service.

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Coast Guard personnel found Rhea’s vessel upright but bobbing and rolling against the rocks near the far west end of the jetty and taking on water through hatches and broken windows. One man, later identified as Rhea, was reported on board.It was not possible to lower a rescue basket because the fishing boat was rocking too violently.

So a Coast Guard rescue swimmer jumped into the water, got Rhea, who was by then perched on the side of the boat, to jump in and helped him swim to one of the lifeboats. Rhea was taken for medical care from Cape Disappointment, according to the Coast Guard.The vessel eventually was recovered by Astoria-based Coastal Towing, which first had to pump out four feet of water from the Orion before towing it to Ilwaco, said Bill Wechter, owner of the towing company.

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Despite heavy damage, the stoutly-built “skookum-style” boat is salvageable, thought it might cost $20,000 to repair, Wechter said. No official damage is yet available, however.Rhea was bringing the Orion back into the Columbia River at about midday after a disappointing fishing outing near Cape Falcon on the Oregon Coast.

When he reached the Columbia River Bar, he suddenly encountered rough seas.”Then it was just like pure hell,” he told the Astorian, estimating the wave heights at up to 14 feet. “I started surfing down the front of these things (waves). I remember thinking, ‘Man, I do not belong here.’ But then I was committed.

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“With the ship diving nose-down into the trough of a particularly large wave, the vessel “broached” (rolled) hard to the right, blowing out windows, taking away his life raft, flooding his engine room, and knocking out his electronics and radio equipment.

The Orion, Rhea said, was floating on its side, with waves crashing on top of it. Everything that could float was floating in the wheelhouse, “and I thought It was going to die,” Rhea recalled Monday.However, the deeply keeled ship righted itself, but with no power it began to bob and drift.”I didn’t know if anyone knew what was going on at the time,” Rhea said. “The radio was totally destroyed. It was foggy out there — such a fine mist (so) you couldn’t see.”After about 45 minutes, currents started pushing it against the giant rocks of the south jetty.

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Our hammock catching wind.  Thanks Trish!  This is the same hammock you gave us. 

That’s when Rhea said he remembered he could call for help on his cellphone. He also shot off a series of flares.The call and flares triggered the Coast Guard rescue effort.Rhea, who has been fishing in the area off the Columbia for decades, said he’s never encountered such conditions on the bar. And he’s still not sure what cause the turbulence, which he didn’t hear about on his radio and couldn’t see because of the fog.”I know better than to ever be in that kind of water,” he said.Rhea sustained a cut lip, several cuts and bruises and a broken ankle — a memory of a terrifying boat trip.

“If you’ve never broached a boat, you don’t know that feeling.”

I/we on board continue to push our envelope and challenge what was foreign or somewhat a little scary like getting told of how little water there was and how small the opening entrance into Illwaco harbor; how scary the weather is/was when a friend of a friend went across the bar or came down the the coast.  What an outstanding crew came together. 

A diesel mechanic,  merchant marine and coast guard auxiliary member plus yours truly who has a USCG license and has boated over 1000 miles in Alaskan waters plus made the trip from Portland to Juneau on a sailboat.   After this trip is over I can say I have sailed from Alaska to California.

About trawlercat

Retired and now moving on from the cruising life jeeps, adventure bike, gardening, and travel. Always in search of the next great adventure!
This entry was posted in Cruising Portland to Los Angeles, California, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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