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  • Capt. Eric

St Helens Marine Park

A skip and a hop away from Portland is the town of St Helens, and front of which is the island of St Helens Marine Park.

We had a beautiful trip down in very bright weather and excellent visibility.I got to use all the new navigation electronics and we made it there, proving that everything works. Or maybe, it's a simple downriver run, and I don't really need all that fancy electronic stuff? Nah, that wouldn't be right!

St Helen volcano in the foreground. Mount Rainier in the background

Being out of season, we had the free public docks to ourselves, and once the day tourists coming in by shuttle left for the day, we had the island all to ourselves too.

Enfin at the public dock

The island is just the right size so that we felt comfortable letting Princess off leash for beach walks. She did disappear in the forest for a good 15 minutes -an eternity when she's not responding to our calls!- but came back all panting, and happy with herself. We knew we'd eventually get her back as nowhere on the island is too far away to be out of voice range for Princess.

The park has a lot of wildlife, and we saw a deer the first evening, had an otter regularly come fish next to the boat, and a bald eagle's nest within a short distance of the dock. Rabbits and squirrels everywhere too kept Princess very alert.

Princess being let free. A rarity and a pleasure. She was good and stayed with us, save for a 15 minute excursion on her own

During our stay I played with the generator auto-start: To shorten the wait before the batteries reached a level needing recharging, we used electricity with complete abandon, leaving everything on at all times.

The generator started and stopped as needed, and it was really nice not to have to worry about our batteries, but simply get to enjoy the boat "off grid" just as if we were connected to shore power.

With more tinkering of start and stop conditions, the auto-start unit will prove a great addition to the boat and will contribute greatly to our enjoyment of remote places.

Sunday was Halloween, also known as Di's birthday. She got an old style marine hat that she'd been lusting over, as well as a pair of Nikon binoculars. I think she looks like she's ready to go lobster fishing in Maine, circa 1910!

Lobster fishing, circa 1910?

The 3 nights there went by in no time, and we both decided we'll be back. I'm sure Princess is OK with that decision.

Solid dock provides some shelter, though still open to river traffic wake

Good dock, nice park with beautiful views, well maintained restrooms. A good place.

Empty campgrounds. A very pleasant place

Back in Salpare Marina in Portland, Princess clearly knew she was back in our temporary "home" and expressed her joy by asking to go for a walk at "her" beach.

We gladly obliged, and soon she was running and zooming all over Salpare's Yacht Club's beach, one of our daily walks with her.

Back at "Princess' beach" if you listen to her. Mount Hood in the background

We'll make sure to make St Helens Marine Park a regular destination. It's an easy and short trip for us, and a very pleasant and peaceful place.

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