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  • Capt. Eric

Back on the Columbia River

Calm little Echoloman Marina

The Columbia River has long meant "safety" for us. It started back in the summer of 2019 when I was diagnosed with cancer and we rushed back from Canada to Portland to put the boat in a marina while we'd go to France for my treatments.

Passing the bar, and seeing Astoria in the distance back then, I couldn't help breathe a sigh of relief. Whatever weather we'd have in the next few days, nothing would stop us from making it to Portland.

Leaving Enfin in fresh water in a nice and secured marina meant we could put all our energies into my treatment.

Beautiful sunsets

Even later, after my first treatment, when my Doctor didn't yet want me to venture too far from civilization and modern hospitals, we cruised the river extensively, and all the way up to Idaho as a way to continue our cruising exploration of the world in a safe manner.

Now we are back again, seeking the refuge of the river before I leave Enfin, Di and Princess behind during my 2 year post-treatment check in France.

It'll be an important check for sure, as statistically most relapses occur within the first 24 months. Actually a small medical study of patients who have undergone my 2nd line treatment shows no-one dying after the 12 months mark, and no-one relapsing after 18 months. Of course this treatment is too recent to have a true long term view, but nevertheless we're all keeping our fingers crossed my next CT Scan will show that my remission is holding.

That's a good sized birthday pizza

In the meantime, we're using the extra weeks on a section of the river we've only transited through on the way in or out in the past, and decided to spend time in charming Cathlamet, at the Echoloman Marina.

It's a little corner of paradise in the spring sunshine. The marina is small, with Enfin being amongst the largest boats at the dock. The town is nearby, a few minutes walk by nice riverfront footpaths where Princess gets to sniff out all the otters.

Osprey nest on the entrance marker

Up the road is a small Pizza Restaurant where we got to celebrate my 29th birthday in style. Since I'm still not allowed to mingle indoors with people (I wear N95/FFP2 masks indoors), it's nice to be able to sit down at a terrace and enjoy a bite. Or in this case, a lot of bites: We got greedy and devoured a huge pizza between the 2 of us, with some minor help from ever pizza ready Princess.

There's even a well stocked grocery on main street, and to our surprise they invited Princess in. So we get fresh produce daily there. It's a nice destination for our morning walk, and on the way back we've even found a huge mint plant to grab a few leafs out of. Fresh taboule is back on Enfin's menu.

Winding footpaths to and from the marina

The whole place is nice, calm and somewhat quaint, and everyone we meet is kind and welcoming. We even met a couple who'd stopped boating not that long ago, bought a riverfront house and expressed interest in swapping house for boat for a change of scenery for all of us.

We could definitely see that work, especially since they also own a husky and would therefore not have any objection to Princess, nor would we with having their husky on Enfin.

To be continued...

Old downtown houses

At first we had planned on cruising more, but we simply got pulled in by the charm and calm of Cathlamet. The marina is very reasonably priced -like many in this area- so we're taking the opportunity to strengthen the kitty after our Anacortes and French adventures, and before my trip.

At the same time I'm recharging my personal batteries, resting and living the healthy life to put all chances on my side before my CT Scan.

Enfin was amongst the "big" boats

Time flies when you do nothing. The thing about doing nothing, is that you're never fully done and there is always more nothing to be done tomorrow.

Safely at dock

In the evening, like a few locals, we head down to the riverfront to watch the sunset, before starting it all over the next day.

Continuing the birthday feast

Eventually though, even though I hadn't ran out of nothing to do, I decided the good warm dry weather was too good to pass and set to work on cleaning and waterproofing our enclosure.

The cockpit enclosure was one of the first major upgrades we did on the boat. We absolutely love it as it provides a large extra "room". In the blustery, rainy weather of the PNW it's a life saver. It allows us to store our heavy wet jackets, shoes and to stage up before our walks. When returning, we can dry off little Princess before we let her in, so she doesn't shake inside, spraying the wood and TV.

The enclosure looking good

It is now almost 5 years old, and since we were in Alaska last summer, I missed the yearly maintenance, so it was way overdue.

It took me about 3 days of hard work, but it looks so much better now, all clean, waterproofed, with polished windows and siliconed zippers.

We'll be off to Astoria soon. We have a reservation from the 25th May and my flight is on the 27th.

On my return it'll be Di's turn to travel. She hasn't seen her family in over 3 years due to my cancer and the COVID pandemic , so I'll be alone with Princess on the boat. I'll have to decide whether I want to start heading South on my own, or wait for Di safely on the river.

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