Float and Feast
26 November, 2011
Winter can be a slow time at a Community Boathouse. Rather than
just hunker down until May, we decided to figure out some events
that could a) make use of the environment of the Yaquina drainage
and b) include the community.
The Yaquina River drains into the sea, and Toledo is very much
in it's tidal zone. In fact, the tides make the river navigable
for another dozen or so miles upriver from Toledo. In the fall,
the Yaquina experiences King
Tides, tides of a much higher amplitude than normal. This year,
the King Tides were occurring over the same weekend as Thanksgiving
AND the tide turned to outgoing started at 1pm - perfect for doing
a quick float.
It was decided to hold a Float and Feast on Saturday, November
26. We launched from Cannon Quarry ramp and those with canoes, kayaks,
or small rowboats could go directly to the Boathouse (~3.5 miles)
while those who needed a ramp for their trailer could continue on
to the Airport Ramp (another 1.5 miles.)
I got to the Boathouse a little early just to make sure everything
was in place. This is about 9:30am. Take special note of the drain
pipe in the lower left.
Oh, my, Bud and the guys from the Port had done a great job getting
the Boathouse cleaned and ready.
It was shaping up to be a beautiful day - it'd been raining for
a solid week, and now, even the Western
Grebes were out, showing off their youngsters.
I had enough time to get things in order, so when Curt showed up,
I encouraged him to get his kayak gear on and follow the tide up
to the launch. He'd just gotten a pair of kayaks and hadn't splashed
Remember I told you this was a King Tide and that I also said to
notice that drain pipe in the first photo, well this is what we
were waiting for: The high tide at 12:50. it topped out at 9.9ft
and was going to drop to a minus 1.7 - and this is 11 river miles
inland from the coast.
Michael fired up the motor on his sailboat, Mistral, and
towed the Boathouse's three rowboats up to the launch. Hal was in
the first boat, a Chamberlain
Dory Skiff (ours is stitch-n-glue while Thorn's -in the link
- is traditional.) The middle boat is a Ken
Swan designed Winterhawk, and the last boat, carrying Bud, is
a Sam Rabl designed Uncle
Gabe's Flattie Skiff
Up at Cannon Quarry, things were really starting to happen. This
was a much larger turnout than anyone had expected - we ended up
with 17 boats on the water.
In addition to the Coots, Toledo residents Eric and Kathy had heard
about the event and came up with their kayaks.
As we waited for the tide to turn, some boats hit the water. Jim
was out in his little 10' rower Martha and Dennis was testing
a rowing rig he had designed for his aluminum canoe.
Jim B was paddling about in his kayak while Howard and Craig were
tootling around in a pair of Portuguese-style
And finally, we launched. You've already seen Howard and Craig's
boats, and Rick was rowing Bud in the Winterhawk. Off in the distance,
the blue boat is an electric version of a Selway-Fisher
Know what? That pic was so neat, I took another.
Michael has an oarlock on Mistral, and he thought he'd test
it out. Darrell and Dick M. were riding with him.
That Chamberlain Dory Skiff is a sweet rowing boat - so sweet Bob
thought he'd challenge Hal to a kayak vs rowboat race. - notice
the water in the grasses in the background. This was a King Tide,
Dennis in the foreground, Jim on the left, Rick and Bud, and then
some more people from Toledo: Tom and Mac in the kayaks. Notice
everyone was rowing facing forward.
There's a better shot of Tom and Mac in their kayaks, Hal in the
Chamberlain, and Joe, John, Joe's son and his girlfriend in the
Jodi III, and someone off in the distance.
There is some neat stuff to see on this river. One was this dock
along the banks with a derelict fishing boat and a bent-masted sailboat.
The sailboat got a lot of attention - it had been sunk and raised
twice - once at Point Idaho and once here.
The historic Steamchaser house over across the road. 17 boats on
the river was such an unusual sight, the people in the house came
out on the porch to watch us pass.
The high tide made for some unique hazards. Where this piling usually
stuck a couple of feet out of the water, it was now a sneaky deadhead,
waiting to rip the bottom out of your boat.
Toledo is dominated by the Georgia Pacific pulp mill. It makes
for an impressive landmark. In the foreground is Roy and Bob in
Baccus, of Bob's design. Jim B and his kayak are in the middle
Another shot of the impressive Mistral with Michael at her
helm. Man, look at that day! You couldn't have planned on a nicer
day on the Oregon coast at the end of November.
Now HERE'S a working harbor. Just look at those commercial boats.
Another shot of Rick and Bid as they survey the port from the water.
Bud is the Port Manager for Toledo (and prime mover for the Toledo
We'd originally planned to have a potluck in the Boathouse, but
it is hard to keep the guys on task when Stu Miller's Pig
Feathers is right across the road. The 2011 Fodor's named Pig
BBQ in the Pacific Northwest." Stu and his wife, Becky,
graciously allowed us to bring in what little potluck food we had,
mostly because we used it as appetizers while we waited for the
food and beer we ordered.
Thanks, everyone! You all helped make the first ever Float and
Feast a big hit.