- Capt. Eric
Updated: Sep 18, 2021
We left the Port of Kennewick late after planning a fairly short day of navigation. There aren't many marinas on the Snake River, so the day trips are influenced by how far apart the marinas are. The next one might be a little close, but the next one after that might be way too far, leaving us little choice.
Of note, we've been kind of lazy on this trip, choosing to aim for marinas or docks each night. Usually on a cruise we're happy to spend a lot of time at anchor. This time we're choosing to push ahead with navigation to get to the end of the river as soon as we can, so we don't feel like anchoring and then preparing the tender for Princess' walks, only to have to stow it again right afterwards.
Like 2 days ago we had the railway bridge outside the marina opened for us, and just after passing the bridge we turned towards the East on the Snake River, leaving the Columbia River we'd been on since Astoria and Portland. We heard a couple of small sailboats on VHF discussing with the bridge operator if he could leave the bridge open as they were not far behind us. We'd meet these boats later on today.
Once in the Snake River, we called Ice Harbor Lock operator with 45 minutes notice and he informed us it'd take him 45 minutes to get the lock ready for us. He was right and so was our ETA so as we arrived close to the lock we had only a couple minutes' wait before the operator switched the "green light" confirmation to enter the lock.
We are getting better in locks: Our lock lines and fenders are ready and Di only has to untie the lines and hand them to me once I've brought the boat level with the floating bollard. We leave the lines fairly slack and now have learned to use the main engine and bow thruster to keep our hull away from the nasty wall.
As usual after each lock we have little current so we get to "speed up" to a great grand speed of 6.3 knots! We had planned on going to Charbonneau Park Marina, but when we poked our nose in the small marina we found tiny docks with no guest mooring, no electricity or water, contrary to what our chart had said.
Clearly Enfin was the big boat in there and the marina isn't made for boats like us. There were a number of large houseboats with intricate mooring arrangements (their sterns way out of the docks on anchors) and we didn't want to bother with doing a similar setup.
So we turned around and headed for the next public dock we could find on the chart, luckily only a few miles away: Fish Hook Recreational Park.
This turned out to be a great decision and we arrived middle of the afternoon in glorious weather in a magnificent setting.
At first we had to wonder if there had been a zombie apocalypse while we were navigating and we'd missed it all! The beautiful park was well tendered, green grass, everything maintained, but not one soul to be seen anywhere. We solved the mystery when taking our walk ashore: The park was closed "for irrigation" so basically only boat arrivals could enjoy it.
We had this huge and beautiful park all to ourselves and we enjoyed every minute of it.
Princess was in paradise and we walked her all around the park, figuring she'd deserved a nice treat. To be fair it's also a great treat for us, and we enjoy the exercise these walks afford us. I'm still recovering and it'll be a while before I get my full strength and stamina back. Walking Princess is a big part of my recovery and one she does not let me forget.
We'll be leaving tomorrow to keep going, but we'll make sure to stop back on the way down to Portland.