The moment has arrived! The time has come! Finally, so much effort has
paid off in sweet victory!
The motor – stupid, tiny thing – got us through the locks at the Bonneville Dam!
Not literally, mind you. We put it on the stern and then rowed into
the lock, cursing the increased drag of its useless prop. But still.
If it works for the lock operator, then it works for us.
And that was our last dam on the Columbia River.
Immediately out of the lock, a sea lion popped its head out of the
water. Wait, what? I thought we were still over a hundred miles from
the coast? Why is there a sea lion?
Apparently that’s a regular thing that happens; I was the only one who
was confused here. As Rachael, the local knowledge holder, says, the
sea lions come upstream following the salmon as far as they can – to
the Bonneville Dam (they haven’t figured out how to lock through yet).
This annoys the fishermen, who want to be eating the salmon instead of
the sea lions, and also annoys the hatcheries, who put a lot of work
into creating the salmon and don’t want them to be gobbled up
immediately. But the Marine Mammal Protection Act sort of limits the
potential for solutions.
The tides are impacting us now – it’s exciting to see evidence of the
ocean now that we’re below the Bonneville, even if it does cause some
stressful nights as we worry about the boat’s safety. Don’t worry, it
hasn’t floated away from us, and we haven’t gotten any unwanted marine
mammal visitors flopping themselves onto it, either. Yet.