Thursday, April 30, 2020

Update—The Dork: We've Created a Monster—Time to Change Our Ways

Our only coronavirus marina guest. He's the dorkiest goose I've ever met.
Wayne was bored. The goose was persistent. First, there was a little piece of bread, Then another, and another, and another.

Before long, every time Wayne came out his newfound feathered friend beelined his way over to our boat—fast. 

More bread. Tortilla chips. Crackers.

"Next time we go to the store, we should get whole wheat bread, with seeds," Wayne suggested.

Beau, waiting, expectantly. Eventually, I will get a photo of him
in his new favorite pose—mouth open, his long, skinny red tongue out.
"Let me get this straight," I countered. "You, the guy who thrives on gummy bears is now worried we're not feeding the goose well enough?"

Wayne smiled and flushed.

"Please don't feed him bread," a GWT reader emailed. "It causes angel wing syndrome."

Image from, advising, "Don't feed the waterfowl."

We gotta give him a name, I insisted (and either more appropriate food, or, better yet, charming and insistent as the goose is, none at all).

"Dork," he said. "He's a dork, so call him The Dork."

I'm calling him Beauregard; that's a dorky enough name. Beau for short.

This afternoon the girl in the boat in the next slip tossed the goose goldfish crackers. Beau ignored the crackers—until Wayne tossed him one. Then the goose decided they were indeed quite edible.

Tonight he tossed Beau a tater tot. "Dork says tater tots are good grub," Wayne announced. (Fatty, salty food is especially bad for geese.)

"Tater tots don't float."

"Yeah, he dove for it."

"You were so worried about feeding him unhealthy food. Instead, you've turned him into a junk food junkie!"

Wayne smiled.

Come June, Beau will sort it out. We push off from the marina then. I'm gonna miss The Dork, err, I mean Beau.

Be healthy, Beau, even if it means your diet is not nearly as fun. We can relate.
Beau, our friendly fowl. Jantzen Bay Marina.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Almost Normal in the 'Hood

Mt. Hood view from my kayak around Hayden Island on a Portland Oregon spring afternoon.
On those rare and special days when the thermometer hits 77 degrees Fahrenheit in the Pacific Northwest in April, it would be almost criminal to waste it. If a sunny spring day wasn't enough of a lure, I'd finally indulged in the new-to-me kayak I'd lusted after for the past year, an Eddyline Skylark and could hardly wait to take her out on her maiden voyage.
Hayden Island's party sandbar, open for business (even if Paradise Cafe is still shuttered for now).
Even with Covid-19, it's easy to social distance and still be social when you're on a kayak. It was a treat to experience what felt like a normal sunny Saturday, cruising past happy boaters and friendly floating home residents soaking up the sunshine while enjoying an evening cocktail on their riverside decks.
Alfonso's Taco Truck, La Quebrada Taqueria,  our Hayden Island haute cuisine.
For a hot night out on the town for, us we go for comfort food, close at hand.
La Quebrada Taquera's taco plate dinner—delish!
Alfonso's meals fill our bellies without emptying our wallets. Mexican food anytime we want was what we missed most cruising, so we savor it all the more now.
Wayne, working away while I played, prepping Serendipity
for our summer escape. This is the last deck left to retore.
I felt a bit guilty about kayaking while Wayne worked, but I promised to work part-time at West Marine this summer to support our boat habit, so he'll play this summer while I work. With luck, when Wayne completes his desk refinishing, if it rains after we leave our covered moorage, it will only rain outside the boat, not inside the boat. 
Geese poop on one of our restored decks.
Another less-than-glamorous aspect of life aboard a boat.
Older teak deck trawlers like ours are nicknamed "leaky teakys" for this reason. Most boat owners rectify this by ripping out the teak and replacing it with fiberglass. We have a soft spot for classic teak decks, so we're bucking that trend with an alternative solution. It's a tedious process that requires removing the grout between each plank, taking up the plank, pulling all the decking screws, rebedding them with epoxy, replacing the planks, regrouting, then applying cetol varnish over the finished decks.
We nearly hit a goose crossing the highway in downtown Portland last week. With so few cars on the road, it seems the geese don't notice the difference between a sidewalk and a freeway these days.
Photo credit: JLS Photography Alaska
This time of year I'd normally be hitting the trails in the gorge to enjoy the spring wildflowers, but those trails are all closed, too narrow to allow sufficient social distancing.
Cool enough April for tulips to go out in a prolonged blaze of glory,
Lily of the Valley, still blooming in late April on Hayden Island, Portland Oregon.
These days, that means taking the time to appreciate what we have in our own backyards.
Azaleas on their way out as spring progresses. April, Portland Oregon.
Will my favorite Gorge trail, Tom Dick and Harry, be open before the wild rhododendrons are done blooming? All the more reason to enjoy the azaleas here and now.
White dogwood, a quintessential Pacific Northwest bloomer.
Will I see the bunchberries, those tiny dogwood family wildflowers that hug the ground? Meanwhile, their grander domestic cousins are putting on a lovely show.
Pink dogwoods, Hayden Island.
While I don't know how long it will be before I can hike a trail on Mount Hood, the view from afar is still breathtaking. This view is part of my daily walk (except when I kayak instead).
Mt. Hood at dusk from Hayden Island.
In a little over a month, we'll be able to enjoy even better vistas and more privacy, a worthwhile sacrifice in trading off ready access to unlimited fresh water and electricity. 

Location Location
Jantzen Bay Marina: home for another 6 weeks or so.
June 1st we'll leave the marina to anchor off Sauvies Island for most of the summer. After that, who knows? We are all learning how to celebrate our good fortune by living one day at a time.

We're also using this time to check in on our cruising friends, many of whom are not allowed to leave their boat, or if they are, only for groceries or medical emergencies. Will the welcome mat come back out to cruisers? We hope so, as our adventuring may be on hold, but we're rarin' to roam again.

We are all the more grateful for our February road trip to the California-Mexico border when traveling freely was taken for granted. I'll post the final highlights of that trip soon.

For now? Stay safe. Be well. Embrace kindness.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Kayaking with Eagles

April 8, 2020. 
A beautiful spring day, kayaking with Keith Morgan. Everywhere we looked, we saw an eagle! The highlights are on this one-minute video. Enjoy the ride!

Did you know that bald eagles don't develop their distinctive white head and tail feathers until they turn four years old? This Audubon link shows you what they look like before then.

Location Location
Serendipity is currently moored on Hayden Island, Portland Oregon. This kayaking trip was on Sauvies Island, Oregon.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Springtime in the Pacific Northwest (Finding an Open Park for Walking)

Wayne crossing Marshall Park's charming stone bridge
After a long stretch of gray skies, getting out on a sunny Sunday was irresistible. We really wanted to head to the beach, but read reports that with all the coronavirus concerns, Oregon coastal towns placed their unwelcome mat out. State parks and many reserves were also closed.
Marshall Park bridge, replaced in 2019.
City, metro and county parks were still cleared for amblers. We'd never heard of Marshall Park before, and its stone bridge photo charmed me enough to want to see it. The drive was less than 20 minutes from our marina into Portland's West hills area.
Verdant canyon, Marshall Park.
In the late 1940s, F. C. and his wife Adele Marshall donated "a charming little park which he would like to dedicate without too much fuss to the recreational use of the public." With trails, picnic tables, and playgrounds, today the park spans over 26 acres.
Marshall Park's supposedly closed playground.
While the trails were open, the playground was closed—in theory. Bicycles also weren't allowed, but a cyclist passed us on the trail. Then again, the prevailing philosophy is to avoid all unnecessary travel, and we were here.
Salmonberry blossom.
Alltrails warned Marshall Park would be muddy, but a great place for wildflowers. 
Yellow violets.
We'd had our share of showers, but I was rarin' for wildflowers, even if the trails were muddy (and they definitely were muddy).
Seeing the trillium in bloom is a spring rite of passage in the Pacific Northwest. Marshall Park delivered.
Trilliums fading.
Trillium blossoms start out a pristine white, fading to pink and even sometimes a muted red. If I could choose, give me a pretty pink pallor like the trilliums' for my final goodbye.
Fig buttercups, aka lesser celandine (thanks Keith Morgan for the i.d.). According to Wikipedia,
"regarded as many as a harbinger of spring."
Marshall Park is surrounded by residential areas. This upscale neighborhood treehouse brought back memories of a simpler time, of the treehouse my dad built when my brother and me were kids. Our treehouse was a much simpler affair than this one; a basic platform on stilts with a railing and a flat roof, accessed by a ladder.
Treehouse, adjacent to Marshall Park
Birdsong, the babble of Tryon Creek, the crack of a hammer and buzz of a saw made up Marshall Park's soundscape. Exactly what you'd expect for a pocket paradise park tucked in the canyon surrounded by neighborhoods.
Vibrant green moss coated these otherwise-naked tree branches.
This neighborhood magnolia tree between two park entrances was past its prime but smelled divine.
For an easy walk and a change of pace from my usual neighborhood loop or our almost as frequent trips to Vancouver Washington parks and riverwalks, Marshall Park offered a pleasant outdoor diversion on a sunny spring day.

Location Location
Sailboats and rainbows on Hayden Island, Portland, Oregon.
Until June, we're roosted on Hayden Island, Portland Oregon. We are incredibly grateful we slipped out in February for our two-week road trip, a sun break to the Southern tip of California. I still have some catch-up posts of those highlights.