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 'em yet.

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 Dinghies.

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 Fantail Launch.

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, indeed.

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 distance.

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 Community Boathouse.)

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 Feathers "Best 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.