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Vive la dérive!

May 1, 2009

I’ve had to alter my course this week.  I had many plans, much to atone for, and much to prepare for.  But, due to circumstances out of my control, The Wife came down with some version of the flu – H1N1, but some less exotic brand, I’m sure.  Of course, this never comes as planned.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday turned out to be some of the most memorable days I’ve had in some time.  There was laughter, exploration, joy, hunger, tears, and all manner of emotions that comes from raising kids.  But most of all, I was able to expose my kids to the awesome serendipity of drifting.  Vive la dérive!

At first I was caught a little flat footed.  Mommy was in bed, and I had the kids – tired and demoralized from a meeting the night before, I was thinking I’d just hang out and try to keep them alive.  Then the inspiration hit – we grabbed coats, shoes, and rain gear and hit the road.  Before I knew it, we were in Cathlamet, Washington – a small fishing port on the North shore of the Columbia River.

Enjoy the photos:

On the waterfront with my kiddos!

We didn’t plan on it, but we ended up at the marina in Cathlamet, there’s a small park and access to the, um, “beach.”  The tide was out, so we were able to wander a bit in the much and sand.  Before we knew it, we were throwing live freshwater clams back into the water.  We were “saving clams!”

The weather was a bit cold, with a bit of rain, and wind, but we were exploring and having fun.

Suddenly, a couple appeared on the beach and they pointed out an 18th century sailing ship replica that was coming into the Marina.  We gathered our stuff and headed over to the pier to see it.
It wasn’t much, but this was our first quick view of this unique vessel – of course we hurried over to see it closer.Cool sailboat came in from Hawaii.

It turns out this vessel sails up and down the Pacific Coast conducting educational tours and evens for school children and cruises for history-minded folks.  After waiting for them to fully moor, we were invited to come aboard and look around.  I had my Smiling Son in the backpack carrier, and Darling Daughter was quite curious of it all.

This photo, before we boarded, reminds me so much of the various experiences my maternal grandfather used to take me to.  When I was my daughter’s age, he was mine.  I credit much of my desire to explore to he and my Mom – they were very curious and creative.

As we boarded the boat, we discovered they were a non-profit organization and were accepting donations for our impromptu tour.  Of course, all I had was a twenty, so I took some change out of the little seachest – I hate doing that, it makes me feel so cheap.

I know just enough about sailing to sound like a goofball.  My attempts at connecting with the crew were futile, so I focused on my kids.

Onboard the Hawaiian Chieftain. #cathlametI almost brought my good camera, but didn’t really expect to do much more than go to some park, in the rain.  I know enough to know that I don’t like dragging my big DSLR around when I’m trying to be a participant – not a spectator.

But of course, as soon as I saw this ship on the water, I was wishing I’d thought harder.  Either way, my phone makes a pretty good point and shoot camera and video recorder.

When I took this photo, I knew it was something she may treasure when she’s older and the captain of her own domain.

By this time, I was just enjoying the ride and loving being with my kids.  I love sharing these experiences with my family.  I was sad that Mommy wasn’t there to enjoy this with us – but I knew she was getting some much needed rest.

Hawaiian Chieftain. #cathlametSometimes my attempts at self portraits are successful, sometimes not.  This was actually an attempt to get my Smiling (but sleepy) Son into the photo action – I missed.  But again, maybe someday he’ll appreciate this.

When I took the next picture, I told my daughter that it was going to be “nifty” – and I think it is!

Full-masted Hawaiian Chieftain. #cathlamet

Later that night, both kids got baths.  It had been a long day and they were ready for bed.


On Wednesday, we went for a long drive up towards Mt. St. Helens.  It was raining and Smiling Son slept, while DD and I listened to Anne of Green Gables on CD.

On Thursday, we ended up on the beach in Rainier.  Again, unplanned and unprepared – we just hopped into the car and ended up where we ended up.

"Take me to the river; walk me to the water." ~David Byrne

It was a good day in the sun. We saw eagles, osprey, ships, and the water. The wonderful, peaceful water. I found myself just sitting in the sand while my kids explored their world. It was a good day.

As we were getting ready to leave, I looked up, and there were our friends on the Hawaiian Chieftain, sailing into the Port of Rainier.

Sailboat we saw in #cathlamet on Monday in #Rainier.

You can see more photos and videos of these three days here and here.

One Comment
  1. Rubyjean permalink
    June 22, 2009 2:00 pm



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