Saturday, January 05, 2013


Spent a day wandering around the far northwestern corner of Oregon with camera in hand. The trip included a visit to the remote city of Astoria, which is best known as the setting for The Goonies.

The Columbia River approaching the Pacific Ocean.

Shipping traffic on the Columbia.

Ships coming in from the Pacific, having safely crossed over the treacherous bar at the mouth of the river. How treacherous? The Columbia Bar and surrounding area contain 2000 shipwrecks.

The Columbia River Bar Pilots association has been instrumental in making regular commerce across the bar feasible. The pilots are flown or boat out to approaching vessels, and then helm the ships through the sand bars and the collision point between the river's powerful outbound flow and the Pacific Oceans tides and wind-whipped waves. The association's members boast an impressive and unbroken twenty year safety record in the face of some world's worst sea conditions. A place that's so reliably bad that US Coast Guard and rescuers from around the planet use it as an extreme conditions training station.

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