V26 N1 The Columbia River Bar Pilots

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The Columbia River Bar Pilots

Commercial sailing ships started calling on the Columbia shortly after its bar was crossed by Captain Robert Gray in 1792. The settlers who followed the Oregon Trail were soon benefiting from the many riches nature bestowed on the fertile soil of the Willamette Valley, the forests covering the hills, and the abundant salmon in the River. As trade grew, more and larger ships came to the Columbia. The local knowledge of pilots was essential to minimizing the hazards that led to the numerous accidents in the early years of commerce over the bar. The first pilots were local Indians and then

seamen from the Hudson's Bay Company. While the Captain sailed his ship, early pilots were guides giving advice on where he needed to go. By the 1850's Captain George Flavel became the dominant player by offering the most professional service. Today the Columbia River Bar Pilots consist of 19 men and one woman, all of whom have sailed as Master prior to becoming pilots, the highest sailing standard in the United States. The need for pilots is both commercial and political, to provide expertise which keeps the River open to commerce, and certainly to guard against environmental disasters.

the Winter 2000 Vol. 26, No. 1
A review and newsletterfrom the Columbia River Maritime Museum at 1792 Marine Drive in Astoria, Oregon
Continued page 3


Robley Mangold, President

Jim McClaskey, Vice Pres. W. Louis Larson, Secretary

Don Magnusen, Treasurer

Ted Natt in memoriam

Jerry L. Ostermiller, Executive Director

Board of Trustees:

Graham Barbey

Dennis Bjork

Peter Brix *

Richard T. Carruthers *

Ronald Collman

Ward V. Cook

Dan Dutton

Jack R. Dant in memoriam

Jon Englund

Fred F ields

Cheri Folk

J.W 'Bud' Forrester, Jr. *

Walter Gadsby, Jr.

Alan C. Goudy

E.H. (Ted) Halton, Jr.

Don M Haskell

Senator Mark Hatfield

S. Kenneth Kim

Captain Rod Leland

Chris Maletis

Thomas F. Martin

Duane McDougall

John McGowan *

Ken M. Novack

Larry Perkins

Jack Schiffer

Hugh Seppa

Charles Shea

Senator Sid Snyder

June Spence

Joseph Tennant

Willis Van Dusen

Bruce Ward

Samuel C. Wheeler Harold Wilde

Ted Zell

* Trustee Emeritus

From the Wheelhouse

On the Cover Climbing the Ladder

Who Are Those Guys?

"Who are those guys and what do they do?" "What is that little boat doing alongside that big ship?" "Talk about the pe,fect job, they actually get paid for working on the water!" "Is it true that they sometimes use a helicopter?" "Are all ships required to have a pilot on board?". . . These are just a few of the questions and comments we hear from visitors to the Museum when they see Columbia River Bar Pilots getting on and off ships passing in front of Astoria.

For most folks, the Bar Pilots and their world is a bit of a mystery. Even for those who know what Pilots are about, the details of their world are not common experiences. Although I have more opportunity than most to get to know some of these expert mariners, I must admit that I do not fully appreciate the realities of their work. Like many of our visitors, I too am amazed to watch these professionals leap from a pilot boat to a swinging rope ladder while both ship and pilot boat are under way. A ladder, I might add, dangling 50 feet or more down the side of a steel hull to the water Once the Pilot climbs all the way to the top of the deck, I know they must then make their way up a multi-story steel building to reach the bridge of the ship That in and of itself is a lot of exercise and often hazardous , being fully exposed to the weather and state of the sea.

I wonder about what questions go

through the mind of a Pilot when climbing up that rope ladder. For instance: "Who secured the ladder and how well is it maintained? What language does the crew speak and how good is their English? How healthy are they, and what is the mood of the on-board crew? Will the ship's vital equipment perform properly, and will anything break while underway?" Perhaps the Pilot is even anticipating what food will be served from the galley on his watch, since every ship is a unique floating culture composed of crews from throughout the world.

For the Museum, showcasing Bar Pilot stories has always been a challenge. That is because raising their visibility to the public has not been a priority of the Pilots Association, and getting them to write of their work just hasn't happened until now. What has been a priority however, is dealing with the complexities of moving thousands of tons of commerce safely across the Bar under every conceivable condition of weather and water.

We are therefore pleased that with this issue of the QUARTERDECK we are finally able to present insight into this fascinating and unusual maritime occupation. And, because Captain Robert Johnson volunteered to write this Bar Pilot story, you are going to get the real stuff. I know you will find their work, their history, and their challenges fascinating as well as educational . And I bet you will also find his story very interesting.

So, perhaps now the next time you find yourself at the Museum and you overhear a visitor standing next to you ask, "Who are those guys?" you can jump into the conversation and reply, "Oh, those are the Bar Pilots and what they do is "

Photo by Jill Johnson
The QuarterDeck, Vol. 26 No. 1

The Columbia River Bar

The Columbia River Bar is unique as a major commercial artery, and is ranked by Lloyds of London underwriters as one of the most dangerous bars in the world. It lies on a large river that empties directly into the open ocean on a coast frequented by strong storms during the long winter months. The result is simple physics Ocean waves build up as

to allow crew members out on deck where they could be injured or washed overboard. To bury the forecastle of the ship under a wave is common. As the full size of the westerly swell is felt, 30 to 40 degree rolls may be experienced. The drama of a rough weather crossing, with breakers rolling in close on either side, the ship working heavily, and the wind howling all around is enough to get the attention of even seasoned sailors. A bold reaction from an experienced pilot is important in allowing ships to move safely under these extreme conditions. It is no place for the timid or the faint of heart.

Continued page 4

What It Takes ...

The Columbia River Bar Pilots Association has the most rigorous sailing standards for pilotage in the United States.

storms cross the North Pacific. Normal winter wave heights range from 10 to 15 feet with occasional 40 foot waves. Winds from 30 to 60 knots routinely add another 10 feet on top of the swells. When these wave patterns collide with the outflow of the river current, which can reach seven knots, the result is a caldron of steep, close-together waves that build in height. Pushing a heavily-laden ship over the Bar's four-mile stretch can take hours in the winter as the wind and waves push it back, dropping the ship's speed to near zero even though the engine may be giving power for 12 knots. I regularly tell Captains that they didn't get full service on the Bar ifl don't wash the deck for them with incoming waves. Captains must be careful not

• The Association requires two years sailing as a Master of a ship of 5,000 gross tons or more, which requires 10 to 15 years of going to sea To reach Master a sailor has been under the tutelage of many watchful ship's officers. This standard proves economical as prospec tive pilots come trained by the maritime industry.

• Each must obtain from the U.S. Coast Guard a first class pilotage endorsement on their existing license, which requires at least 15 round trips over the bar For the written exam one must draw a chart, list all aids to navigation, and demonstrate local knowledge, all from memory.

• A Bar Pilot is licensed by and represents the State of Oregon when on board a foreign vessel. So, once he or she holds the federal license and is selected by the State Board of Maritime Pilots, a state license must be obtained. For the State of Oregon license, an additional 100 trips over the bar in the presence of a State licensed pilot must be made before taking the state license exam. This license covers the 17 mile stretch from the sea buoy to Tongue Point.

The QuarterDeck, Vol. 26 No I

Museum Staff: Russ Bean

Celerino Bebeloni

Chris Bennett Bonnie Bergstrom Nikki Bryan Frances Burham

Patricia Turner Custard Mary Davis Jackie Gilde

Charlotte Jackson Jim Nyberg

Jerry Ostermiller

David Pearson Sheila Radich Gail Rogers

Rob Rudd

Arline Schmidt

Hampton Scudder

Jeff Smith Rachel ½ynne Christina Young

A Columbia River Bar Pilot Today

As a shipmaster approaches a foreign port, especially one that is famous for its hazards, knowing a pilot will board soon is comforting. The captain may have only a cursory knowledge of the area from published sailing directions. The pilot supplies invaluable local knowledge needed to successfully cross the bar. He or she is intimately familiar with the currents, the channel, other vessels, and the weather, and will recognize precarious situations quickly. There is plenty of science to describe the forces on a ship, but in the field theory becomes a building block and "feel" is the art that a skilled and experienced pilot often relies on. A Bar Pilot must take over handling unfamiliar vessels during the most critical part of the voyage.

Both Bar and River Pilots make up a critical link in the commerce of Oregon, which is to a large part dependent on international trade. The Bar is a confluence that could restrict trade. Bar Pilots bring an understanding of the importance of both the safety and the commercial aspects of the voyage. The pilot is an independent, highlyknowledgeable person who makes decisions without a ship owner's commercial pressures compromising the safety of the crew or cargo. Trade on the River has evolved over the years. Wheat and lumber products have always been the backbone of this river commerce. Today containers and automobiles comprise a substantial portion of River traffic, and the bulk trades have expanded to include mineral bulks and fertilizers. Trade continues to grow, and the amount of cargo funneled through the River increases every year. The ships have also changed. After the second World War, venerable 440' Liberty ships were common with a capacity of 10,865 tons. Today the vastly larger 740' Panamax bulkers of70,000 tons and 940' container ships are prominent in our trade.

Pilot Boats

Keeping in step with the changes of international trade is a challenge. Because the Columbia River Bar routinely experiences more severe weather than other ports, we have to think out of the box in providing transportation to and from ships. Pilot boats are run by local operators, many from the fishing industry, who possess similar local knowledge as the pilots in order to reliably and safely transfer pilots across the Bar and onto ships 24 hours a day 7 days a week in almost any weather. The Peacock was introduced in 1967, allowing pilots to operate in very unfavorable conditions. Using a North

Sea Rescue boat of ultimate seaworthiness was a totally new idea and a major financial risk. The untried concept of regularly using a small daughter boat to transfer Pilots from the pilot boat to the ship presented challenges even the boat builders were not sure would work. The number and length of Bar closures has been dramatically reduced by her seaworthiness, allowing us to cross the Bar in far worse conditions.

The Columbia entered our fleet in 1977. She was intended to be a "fair weather boat," but has performed so well that now she works about 80% of the ships. She is a rugged 82' steel boat, which although a bit slow at 12 knots, can take the punishment of coming alongside ships moving at 8-10 knots and sliding up and down their side, sometimes 20 feet or more, skidding on 747 airplane tires used for fendering. Acknowledging her hard service running between the pilot dock in Hammond and the sea buoy, she is soon to be refitted with her third set of new engines .

The QuarterDeck, Vol. 26 No 1

In an effort to improve our service, the Bar Pilots started a two-year trial of transferring pilots by helicopter in August 1999. This is the first usage of a helicopter for pilot boarding in the country. The helicopter reduces the time it takes a pilot to reach the ship from approximately one-hour to about 12 minutes. The pilot is either lowered down to the deck of the ship on a wire or in some cases the helicopter actually lands on the ship's hatch cover to deliver the pilot. The test will study if the helicopter can improve safety and equal the weather parameters within which we now work, while balancing costs.

viable so it can continue to prosper in the years ahead.

The Job

Boarding a ship is a dangerous part of a Bar Pilot's job because of the conditions particular to the Columbia River entrance. For centuries pilots have boarded ships by climbing up a heavy rope pilot ladder with wooden steps, secured on deck and hung over the side down to the pilot boat. This usually means climbing 20-30 feet and on occasion as much as 50 feet vertically up the side of a ship. The vessel's rolling sometimes throws the ladder several feet away from the ship only to come crashing back against the steel hull when she rolls back the other way. The pilot attempts to grab the ladder while ... the boat is on the crest of a wave so that the boat falls away from the pilot on the ladder. If the boat comes up on a swell and at the same time the ship rolls, one can go from w-a-y below the deck to deck level in seconds. I have stepped, or rather jumped, onto a ship's main decks when she has 20 feet of free board. The wide-eyed expression on a seaman who a few seconds earlier was looking down at the small pilot boat far below and all of a sudden has me yelling to get out of the way as I come aboard is a sight to behold. Even in good weather it can be a long climb to go the equivalent of a three to five story building up a rope ladder. Once onboard the pilot goes to the bridge where the navigation and control equipment are located. One must size up the ship quickly. As one approaches the ship on the

The Bar Pilots are also in the process of building a new pilot boat, which will dramatically change the mode of boat operation. The Chinook is smaller than our present boats at 73', and rather than a heavy displacement hull, she is much lighter, highly powered, and will be able to do about 28 knots . This will also allow us to reach ships much faster, and because of her smaller size, more economically. She is being built for ultimate survivability, with rollover capability and robust construction to withstand the rigors of routine collisions with ships as she comes alongside. She is scheduled for delivery in August 2000. By forging ahead with new concepts we hope to help make the River commercially more

pilot boat you get an impression of her general state, how the pilot ladder is rigged and manned, a look at the cargo gear while going down the deck , and the cleanliness as you go up through the quarters. By the time one reaches the bridge an instinctual impression of the ship is normally accurate as to how well it is run. An important aspect of piloting is working with people. A bridge team runs the vessel and consists of the pilot, captain, deck officer and able-bodied

The Quarterdeck

Volume 26, No. 1

The Quarterdeck is published four times a year by the Columbia River Maritime Museum, 1792 Marine Drive, Astoria, Oregon 97103.

Telephone: (503)325 2323 Fax: (503)325 2331

E mail us at: columbia@seasurf com www.crmm.org

Editor: Mary Davis

Editorial Staff: Nikki Bryan, Patricia Turner Custard, Jerry Ostermiller, David Pearson, Gail Rogers, Robert Rudd

Printed at : Printing Arts Center, Longview, Washington

The QuarterDeck, Vol. 26 No.I
Continued page JO

Q & A: Charting a New Course

Meeting the Meyer Memorial Trust Challenge

Over the past three months many Museum members have asked about the Meyer Memorial Trust's challenge grant to our Museum. The answers to these questions are provided here:

Q: What is the Meyer Memorial Trust Challenge?

this issue of the Quarterdeck. You can also call the Museum to arrange your gift.

Q: How will my gift help meet the Meyer Memorial Trust Challenge?

Between now and July 31, 2000, all gifts to the Museum's campaign are eligible to be matched by the Meyer Memorial Trust. This means that a $500 gift to the Museum is really a $1,000 gift. You can make a gift in any amount and it will be matched fully, dollar-for-dollar.

Q: Can I make a pledge and have the full amount matched?


The Meyer Memorial Trust has challenged the Museum to raise $1.2 million to support the Charting a New Course campaign. Their gift is contingent on the Museum raising all of the $1.2 million needed to match their challenge. " .,, Q: What is the Meyer Memorial Trust? ,,. 4 The Meyer Memorial Trust is a charitable 11,, ,1,. ,li,1,1,,/} ."' trust created by the late Fred G. Meyer. V ,. _ Best known for the chain of retail stores ,. bearing his name, Mr. Meyer created the " 1 ,, , trust to benefit charitable organizations in >ndo ,·,,-<HI />/c: /.t.61111,1 -:I' .<J I th N h Th " ,, ,t e ort west. e trust supported the

Yes. You can make a pledge over up to three years and the Meyer Memorial Trust will match the full amount of your pledge. You can also make a gift of stock or appreciated assets and the full value of this kind of gift will be matched.

Q: How do I arrange to have my gift matched?

gifts must be from individuals.

Q: How much has the Museum raised to date to meet the challenge?

:, ,. Museum's original construction in 1982, and B the effort to add climate controls in 1992. %-:\ '% The trust requires that these matching I

The Museum has raised $451,000 toward the goal of $1.2 million. This means that the Museum must raise $749,000 before July 31 st in order to receive the Meyer Memorial Trust's gift.

Q: How can I make a gift to help with the Meyer Memorial Challenge? Making a gift or pledge to meet the challenge is easy. You can send your gift in the postage-paid envelope enclosed in

Making a gift to meet the Meyer Challenge is simple and easy. As a donor, you need only send in your check or pledge in the enclosed envelope. The Museum will record your gift and add it to the list of donors whose gifts will be matched.

Q: What about recognition of my gift? Can I name a part of an exhibit or display?

The Museum has created many opportunities to be recognized as a donor to the campaign. These range from a tile in the Museum entry to sponsorship of a major exhibit. You can also use your gift to recognize a friend or family member. Call the Museum at (503) 325-2323 to find out more about recognizing your support or honoring a family member or friend.

The QuarterDeck, Vol. 26 No. 1

Meeting the Challenge

From the Museum President

As president and chair of the Museum's Charting a New Course campaign, I am delighted to report that we have now reached the $3 million mark on our way to our final goal of $5 million. At the same time, we have now raised over $450,000 toward meeting the $1.2 million challenge grant we have received from the Meyer Memorial Trust.

As one of our members remarked the other day, there has never been a more important time to make a gift to the Museum. We are committed to reaching our goal by July 31st, and we are asking all of our members to make a special gift to help meet the Meyer Memorial Trust challenge.

Very soon, you will begin to see changes coming to your Museum. I am personally very excited about the addition of the new theater, the creation of exciting exhibits on fishing, shipping, and the Coast Guard in our Great Hall, and dramatic views that windows on the River will bring to our Museum.

As President, I would appreciate your support toward this great effort. Please take a moment and make your gift today in the envelope enclosed in this issue of the QUARTERDECK.


Making a Gift of Stock or Appreciated Assets

With this year's bull market a gift of stock may be your most effective way to support the Museum's Charting a New Course campaign. By donating stock you can avoid capital gains taxes, receive a charitable deduction for the full value of the stock donated, and have your gift matched dollar-for-dollar by the Meyer Memorial Trust. Donating stock is a simple way to make a gift. You can have your broker transfer the stock to the Museum, or you can sign over your shares if you have a stock certificate.

The best kind of stock to donate is one that has a low basis and appreciation. This way you can maximize your deduction and avoid significant capital gains taxes. Once you have made your gift, you will receive a gift receipt from the Museum to use for your income taxes. For more information on making a gift of stock or other appreciated assets, please call the Museum at (503) 3252323.

Donor Recognition Opportunities

Your gift can be recognized in many ways. You can also make a donation in memory of or in honor of a friend or family member.

Some Gift Recognition Opportunities

Volunteer Center Museum Bench Educational Display Bow Picker Exhibit Immigrant Community Exhibit Salmon Cannery Exhibit Entry Tile

$15,000 $3,500 $5,000 $25,000 $10,000 $2,500 $1,000

For a complete list of recognition opportunities, call the Museum at (503) 325-2323.

Meyer Memorial Trust matching funds raised by February 1, 2000

$1,200,000 $1,000,000 $800,000 $600,000 $400,000 ___

The QuarterDeck, Vol. 26 No.]

The Museum thanks Scott Holmstedt and the Footsteps Project team members for their hard work and effortsStudents: Irene Drage Britta Lundin Laura Martin Anna Henningsgaard Jennifer Mortensen James Benoit Brian Puhl Aaron Campbell

Museum Volunteers: Helen King Carol Ray Charlie Ray Jeanne McKinney Margie Cochrane


The Footsteps History Project

Take eight Astoria high school students, five Museum volunteers, and a town filled with history, and what do you get? The Footsteps History Project.

Begun in the fall of 1999, this project paired students with volunteers to collect the personal histories of Astoria area residents.

To prepare for this important job, project team members attended a one-day oral history workshop presented by Oregon Historical Society Historian Jim Strassmaier. Next the students brainstormed and then picked topics on which they believed they could find people who could speak of their experiences. The field was narrowed down to six topics: canneries, Astoria during World War II, "Rosies", horse seining, the building of the Astoria-Megler bridge, and the Pacific graveyard. Each student selected the topic that interested them the most, and then the real work began.

The students spent their study hall periods each week at the Museum working on the project under the guidance of the Museum Education Director, Curator, and the Astoria School District Technology Director, Scott Holmstedt. Paired with a Museum volunteer, the oral history teams researched their selected topics,

identified community members to interview, and developed a set of interview questions. After a lesson on how to operate the equipment that would be used to capture the oral histories and a few practice runs, the interviews began. In three quick weeks 20 people were interviewed and their stories caught on digital audio and videotape. The next step in the project was for the students to search the Museum's photo archives to find historic photos to illustrate the oral histories. The selected photos were scanned into the computer and copied onto disks so that the students could use the images in the final phase of the project.

After Thanksgiving the students moved back to the high school computer lab to develop web-pages combining the oral histories and the historic photos. Working diligently through the end of the semester in January, the students created pages filled with audio clips, images, and background text that provide a comprehensive look into aspects of lower Columbia River history. The Footsteps web-pages can be accessed through the Museum's site at www.crmm.org . The project doesn't end here however.

The Footsteps History Project was begun through a grant from Trust Management Services, LLC. It will continue thanks to a generous grant from The Quest for Truth Foundation. The next phase in the project is for students to create CD-ROMs of the oral history topics. The CD-ROMs will contain more extensive information on each topic, and will be made available to educational facilities and Museum visitors. Next school year another group of students will be recruited to continue the important job of collecting their community's stories .

The Museum thanks Scott Holmstedt and the Footsteps Project team members for their hard work and efforts .

The QuarterDeck, Vol. 26 No 1


The Museum on the Move

It has been over 17 years since the Columbia River Maritime Museum moved from across the street to its new home on the waterfront. In that time the Museum has slowly outgrown this facility, and is now preparing to expand the building to add new exhibits, meeting rooms, a theater, and a new store and cafe.

objects, will be moved offsite to a large, safe, storage building for the duration of the project.

Nothing is more important to the Museum than the security and care of its collections. Every item is being photographed, recorded, and carefully boxed up by a dedicated crew of staff and volunteers to assure it's safety during construction.

When all the dust has settled, the Museum will have a new state of the art storage facility for artifacts, and a new library that will be triple the size of the existing research library. All of this will help allow the Museum to continue to grow and advance into the next millennium.

CRPA Digital Archiving Project

Everyone knows how challenging moving your household can be. Now imagine what it would be like to move an institution that specializes in collecting things. That is exactly what the Museum will be doing in the next year. One of the first projects that will happen this year is to move the Museum's extensive archive of maritime artifacts out of harm's way before any construction begins. This encompasses everything from a 30-foot Alaskan Bristol Bay Gillnetter to the smallest ship-in-a-bottle, over 25,000 objects in all.

Museum standards for these objects dictate that high security, low light, and even the amount of humidity in the air must be controlled (wood will dry out and crack below 30% relative humidity, and mold will become a problem above about 70% relative humidity). Objects that need the highest amount of care and those that are fragile will remain in the Museum in a new storage space created by converting an existing exhibit space for the next year. Artifacts that can withstand much less stringent storage conditions, such as any large wood or metal The QuarterDeck, Vol. 26 No .I

The CRPA Digital Archiving Project continues to make great success. Christa Svensson, our computer operator, scanned in the last of 3,189 images this past month. This daunting task could not have been accomplished without her dedication to the project.

In the next few months we will begin to produce CD-ROMs to allow everyone an opportunity to see these beautiful images, which document both the fishing industry and the community of Astoria during the 1940's. Donors include Joe Bakkensen, Mike Killion, John McGowan, Andy Woodard, and the Higgins Trust.

Everyone knows how challenging moving your household can be. Now imagine what it would be like to move an institution that specializes in collecting things.

Being a Bar Pilot is multi-/aceted. It is demanding, stressful, dangerous, and involves long hours in the middle of the night.

Continued from page 5

seaman to steer. The pilot takes the "con" of the ship and issues instructions on what he wants done, but the Captain is always in "command" of the vessel. The pilot navigates by giving orders to direct the ship for the helmsman to steer. Pilot requests also include posting lookouts, changes in night lighting, instructions for anchoring ormoonng the ship, and any other aspects of operation that will enhance one's ability to maneuver the vessel safely and efficiently. The Pilot is treading on foreign soil to practice this trade, and the crews are from around the world, speak many languages, and have their own cultures. One must be sensitive to these factors while still doing what is necessary to safely conduct the voyage. Normally it is fun. We are all sailors and the camaraderie of the sea is very strong. Many a sea story has been swapped while ships are under pilotage. The crews corning in from a long passage welcome an "earthling" with whom to talk.

A modern merchant ship utilizes considerable technology to enable safe navigation, including a gyrocompass, radar radio, and GPS (Global Positioning System). These are important aids and inputs, but piloting centers on a map flowing through a pilot's head. Superimposed on this map are the currents, the wind, aids to navigation, the motion and types of other vessels, and a myriad of other information about the area. Another track in your mind is planning what

you need to do as you progress down the channel. Pilots must be thinking 2-3 miles ahead of maneuvers, and even further for other aspects of the passage. Turns are planned so that you are proactive not reactive, and can anticipate maneuvers before the ship is affected. The planning can start hours or days ahead, anticipating the scenarios that may possibly face a particular vessel. I often spend hours before a particularly demanding job, visualizing each step and all that could go wrong and what responses I might employ in minimizing hazards. One of the weather hazards is fog. Handling a large ship in a narrow channel with radar only, can be tense. Ships sometimes pass within 200-300 feet and never see each other, only hear each others' whistles. This requires good radar, and faith that both you and the pilot on the other vessel are where they belong.

Being a Bar Pilot is multi-faceted. It is demanding, stressful, dangerous, and involves long hours in the middle of the night. Parts of the work are exhilarating, satisfying, and carry respect. It can also be a routine, ordinary daily job with an element of boredom. It gives the former shipmaster the opportunity to practice the art of shiphandling, one of the most gratifying parts of going to sea, on a daily basis. Piloting allows the seafarer to feel like he is still going to sea without being away from home for months at a time. We, the fortunate few who do practice this trade, for the most part would not exchange the chance for anything else.

About the Author

The QuarterDeck, Vol. 26 No 1
Captain Robert Johnson is a Columbia River Bar Pilot and an active member of the Museum. We are proud to share his story with you.

From the Museum Store

The Captain's a Woman

This memoir is a fascinating account of Captain Dempsey's unique experiences in her maritime career. She was the first female to graduate from a U.S. Maritime academy, and the first American woman to be licensed as a master mariner and to command a cargo ship on international voyages. Presently, she is the first woman to be a Columbia River Bar Pilot.

The book is a creative mix of Dempsey's achievements interlaced with co-author Joanne Foster's land-lubber logs of daily routines, for a sea story that appeals to a wide audience. Although the book focuses on Dempsey's life as a merchant mariner, the epilogue includes some succinct descriptions of her life as a Bar Pilot. The following is an excerpt from the epilogue.

"At all costs you hang onto the ladder even when, sometimes, it drags in the water and you with it, a scary feeling as the water tries to pull it away from the ship.

"Disembarking is another story. It's too dangerous to try to climb all the way down the ladder and into the boat-whether it's the daughter boat or the other pilot boat, Columbia, a heavy 87-footer that can come alongside in fair weather-when both the ship and the boat are rolling and rising, six feet, nine feet. You have to use manropes----one or two. A manrope is a manila line three inches in circumference, rigged so it hangs lower than the pilot ladder. Some prefer to use one, some two. You climb down the ladder until you're about six feet above the deck of the pilot boat when she's on top of a swell, then you hang onto the manrope, kick away from the ladder, and slide down the rope onto the deck of the boat."

Visit the Museum Store to receive your 10% Membership discount on The Captain's a Woman, Tales of a Merchant Mariner.


Membership 2000 Series of Events

Join us for our new monthly events designed especially for our members. For more information call Jackie at (503) 325-2323.


February 26, 2:00 PM

Twilo Schofield will lecture on Sealore: Seafarers, Sirens & Serpents.


March 4, drop in from 9:30 AM Noon. Scuttlebutt Saturday. This month's lesson and craft for children is Totem Poles of the Pacific Coast Indians. It combines art with social studies and history.

March 11, 1:00 PM

Pat Quesnel lectures on his experiences crossing the Pacific in his boat the Hawaiiki


April 1, drop in from 9:30 AM-Noon. Scuttlebutt Saturday. This month's lesson and craft for children is Tall Ships . It combines art with social studies and history.

April 8, 1:00 PM

Dianne Dugaw presents "I'll Tie Back My Hair, Men's Clothing I'll Put On" : Warrior Women in Folksongs and History.

April 29, 1:00 PM- 3:00 PM

Astoria Harbor Cruise

Two-hour cruise and lecture about the historical Astoria Harbor. $16 for Members; $25 for Non-Members.

May ·

May 6, drop in from 9:30- Noon

Scuttlebutt Saturday. This month's lesson and craft on rope sailor bracelets combines art with social studies and history.

May 13, 1 :00 PM

Terrance O'Donnell presents The Indian Wars of Oregon : A Tragedy in Five Acts.


new year and a new series of events. As a Museum member you are invited to attend all of the Membership 2000 events, many are available free to our members.

The QuarterDeck, Vol, 26 No I

News and Notes

• Winterfest 1999 was a festive and fun way to celebrate the season. Over 800 people came to the Museum to enjoy entertainment by local performers, which included Quest Ballet, the North Coast Chorale, Seaside Madrigals, and Jeff Reynolds. Children of all ages filled the Kem Room throughout the day to meet Theodore Tugboat and watch a Theodore film-fest. Winterfest is the Museum's thank you to our community for its support throughout the year. We want to thank the Bank of Astoria and the Union Bank of California for sponsoring this event.

• The Winter/Spring Enrichment Series of programs features a unique mix of topics. The nine-lecture series include presentations about Northwest weather, maritime literature, aids to navigation, and the cultures of the lower Columbia. Enrichment programs are presented throughout the year as a way to introduce people to the Museum and provide ongoing learning opportunities for docents/volunteers. Join us for the final lectures listed to the left.

As a Museum member you are invited to attend all of the Membership 2000 events, many are available free to our members. Please see the schedule on page 11.

• CDR Buddy Custard , Commanding Officer Steadfast, presented a talk January 15 th on the record drug seizures made by his cutter on recent patrols. The Kem Room was filled to capacity with an attentive audience who heard about Steadfast's adventures and saw video footage of the exploits. The presentation marked the launch of the Membership 2000 series. 2000 marks a new year and a new series of events.

• On display in the Kem Room through March is Alex Orth's Creative Images collection of photography. The exhibit features 40 photographs that capture the grace and beauty of the Oregon Coast.

• Join us February 26 th at 2:00 PM in the Kem Room for Membership 2000 speaker Twilo Scofield. Her presentation Sealore: Seafarers, Sirens, and Serpents will be an eclectic collection of sea lore from ancient legends to tall tales to the beliefs of modem day sailors and fishermen. The program is sponsored by a grant from the Oregon Council of the Humanities.

• More than 20 years after Pat Quesnel rowed his simple wooden dory 2,500 miles from LaPush, WA to Honolulu, HI, he rowed it down the Columbia to donate it to the Museum. It is now on display in the Great Hall. Come and hear Quesnel's tales about his famous expeditions in Hawaiiki when he speaks Sat., March 11 at 1PM.

Join us for the last of the Winter/Spring Enrichment programs: February29 Maritime Literature March7 The Knappton Quarantine Station March21 Changing Missions of the Coast Guard
The QuarterDeck. Vol. 26 No. 1


New Members Printing Arts Center, Inc. Mr & Mrs. Michael P. Patrick Willis & Julie CleveJune 6, 1999-Jan.31, 2000 Mr. Theodore Weller Lemeshko land Statesman Mr. & Mrs. William Miner,III Mr. & Mrs. Tom Benson Boatswain

Dr. Brad Popovich & Nicola Boatswain Mr. Gary Foster Mr. & Mrs. Les Buell O'Connor

Mr. & Mrs. Marvin Autio Mrs. Florence Jacobson Mr. Dale Cambell

Ms. Debbie Twobly & Mr Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Captain Paul Reierson Mr. Philip Hayes Larry Moore Bakkensen Barbara Simpson Mr. & Mrs. George G. Skou Mr. Chris Benke Mr. & Mrs. John Smith Mr. Robert Weiss Helmsman

Mr. & Mrs. Cebert Bryan Mr. Dwight Young William Barnett & Josie Mr. Bill Dahlberg

Captain Peper-Barnett

Mr. & Mrs. James W. Davis Ensign/Individual

Mr. Robert Smelick Judge & Mrs. John C. Beatty Mrs. Donna Mary Dukich Ms. Frances Burham Mr. & Mrs. Jerry Whalen Jr.

Dr. & Mrs. Erik P. Eselius Mr. Gary Henley Mrs. Roma Bigby Mr. Waring Jones Mr. John Laughman Welcome Back Memberships Mr. & Mrs. James E. Bisio Mr. & Mrs. James Kirker Jan Martin June 8, 1999-Jan. 31, 2000 Mr. & Mrs. John McKenna Mr. & Mrs. Chuck Kanavle Mr. Donald Merwin Statesman Bosch Mr. & Mrs. Jon Levy Mr. & Mrs Arnold Olsen Mr. Don Bartlett Mr. Robert Brandel Mr. Bill Lind Mr. Greorge Plant Ms. Dodie Gann Scott Collins & Susan Edison Mr. & Mrs. Donald L. Ms. M. Diane Piippo Mr. & Mrs. Clarence R. Mr. & Mrs. Ray Daniels McDaniel Dr. Douglas Rich Parker

Captain & Mrs. Taylor K. Mrs. Hester H. Nau Mr. Dean Safley Ms. Betty Jane Phillips DeMun Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth L. Parks Ms. Yvonne Starr Mr. Robert Elliott Mr. Larry Peterson Ms. Christa Svensson Crew/Family Ms. Barhara A. Enghretson Mr. & Mrs. Guy A. Randles Mr. David Ulmer Ms. Virginia Alzner-Lang Mr. & Mrs. Robert C. Dr. & Mrs. Agnar Mrs. Kathryn Woodworth Mr. & Mrs. Richard Hurley Forness Straumfjord Mr. & Mrs. Kelly Larson Mr. & Mrs. Robert Ginn Ms. Jill K. Storey Crew/Family Mr. & Mrs. Donald L. Goudy Mrs. Carol Welch Mr. and Mrs. Dan Arnsdorf Helmsman Mrs. Patricia P. Hemingway Mr. & Mrs. Bill Bennett Mr. Stephen J. Blass Mr. & Mrs. Richard Pilot Mr. Scott Butler Mr. Robert Hauke Hirschler

Mr. & Mrs. Walker Gardiner Mr. & Mrs. Lee Cain Mr. David Maki Mrs & Mr. D. Huddleston Richard & Delight Leonard Brown Bagger's Deli Mrs. Margo Grant Walsh Ms.Kris Jacobson Mr. & Mrs. Bill Moir Mr. & Mrs. Richard Gross & Mr. & Mrs. Dale Johnson Ms. Libby Myers Family Boatswain Mr. & Mrs. Norman F. Mr. & Mrs. Daniel J. Richard Mr. & Mrs. Don Gustafson Mr. & Mrs. Michael Josephson Kelley Ron & Mary Sherriffs Ms. Evelyn Helmhout

Mr. & Mrs. Tony Kischner Ms. Arlene Jones Pilot Ms. Charlotte Langsev Navigator Mr. & Mrs. Michael Leamy Mr. Hal Ayotte Mr. Kent Mathiot

Mr. & Mrs. William C. Mr. & Mrs. Garry Matson Captain & Mrs. Mitchell Mr. & Mrs. Leys H. Farrens Mr. & Mrs. Chuck Pattisha Boyce McCarter

Mr. H. Kirke Lathrop Ms. Marjorie Peters Miss Gainor 0. Minnott Mr. Duane McDougall Mr. & Mrs. Colby Schmitt

Increased Memberships

Mr. Gregory Newenhof

Mr. & Mrs. Russell Rottiers

June 7, 1999-Jan.31, 2000 Mr. & Mrs. Wayne Mr. George Swindells Mr. & Mrs. Donald Tillon Crew/Family Olmscheid Mr. & Mrs. Jorrit Vander Mr. & Mrs. Steven G. Burke

The Bent Needle

Mr. David G. Perry Captain Meulen

Mr. Scott Carpenter

Mr. Raymond Scheetz Mr. Dennis Bjork Mr. & Mrs. John E. Walker Mr. William Clearman Ms. H. Elaine Schmitt

Mr. & Mrs. Roy E. Boyle Mr. & Mrs. Robert Wilson Ms. Linda Dodgen

Mr. & Mrs. Robert Sealy Capt. Donald E. Hughes Mr. Dinesh R. Hajari Mr. James W. Spencer Mrs. Elizabeth Johnso-$ Helmsman Mr. Mike Killion Mr. Terry Williams Mrs. June Spence ·

Mr. & Mrs. Al Belais Th

e Q uarte rD eck, Vol. 2 6 No.I


Mr. & Mrs. Tom Georges Robert Hassler June 7, 1999-Jan.31, 2000 Ms. Betty Baudion

Memorial Donations Nicholas Calcagno

Mr. & Mrs. Dan Graham Mr. Robert Yates Mr. George Abrahamsen Louise Ratto Calcagno Mr. & Mrs. Alan Green Jr. Mrs. Beatrice W. Bergey Mr. & Mrs. Harold Gilley Mrs. Donna M. Gustafson Mr. Walter Helmersen Captain & Mrs. Joseph Patricia Goodwin & Hanna

Mr. & Mrs. Dick Keller

Mr. & Mrs. Harold C. Bruneau Long Mr. & Mrs. Donald A. Hendriksen Captain James Clune Mr. & Mrs. Raymond Kessler

Mr. & Mrs. Roy Justen Mr. & Mrs. Ed G. Fearey Jr. Hamilton

Mr. & Mrs. Eldon E. Korpela Mr. & Mrs. Alexander Mr. & Mrs. Howard Hedrick Mr. & Mrs. Robert Hensey Mr. & Mrs. Frank Little Rainey Mr. & Mrs. Arthur E. Mr. George Johnson & Mr. James MacGregor

Mr. & Mrs. Ron Westerlund Johanson Family Mr. & Mrs. John S. Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Knutsen Mr. Dave Jerome McGowan

Alan Honer.man Dr. & Mrs. Jeffrey M. Mrs. Naomi Mcllwain Mr. & Mrs. Charles Mestrich Mrs. Alan Honeyman Leinassar S. Frank & Jacqueline Mr. Earl Rogness

Mr. & Mrs. Charles Mestrich Viteznik Mr. & Mrs. J. Dennis

Margaret I. Hughes Mr. & Mrs. Bud Ossey Ms. Candy Woods Saulsbury

Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Knutsen Mr. C. Richard Schneider

Mr & Mrs. George E. Mr. George Schwieger, Jr. Edwina Cary Siverson

Buddy_ .lacabson Mr. & Mrs. Frank Thorsness Mr. & Mrs. Richard C. Tevis Ms. Elizabeth Wessinger

Mr. & Mrs. Richard E. Mr. Gorgon Wolfgram Dr. & Mrs. David I. Williams Cameron

George Earle Chamberlain Mrs. Donna M. Gustafson EdnaAsula Mr. & Mrs. Richard C. Tevis Ray_mond Ellis Mrs. Betty Jacobson Mr. & Mrs. Robert M. Oja Mr. George Blinco

Mr. & Mrs. Jeffery H. William Chester Johnson

Margaret Backlin

Mr. & Mrs. Don E. Link Josephine Fox

Mr. & Mrs. Frank Royston Mr. & Mrs. Gilbert V. Mr. & Mrs. Donald Mr. & Mrs. Paul Seaberg Kamara Barbara Christensen Magnusen Mr. & Mrs. Bennie Smith Mr. Berger Rorvik & Mrs. Mr. & Mrs. Ben Turman Max Bigby_ Kathleen Kulland Mr. John Gaw CDR. & Mrs. William M. Mr. & Mrs. Robert Mrs . Nora Johnson Barney Dawn Clune Chamberlin Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Knutsen Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Fay Mr. & Mrs. Ted Bellingham Mr. & Mrs. Lester Gaw Mrs. Nancy L. Grimberg Mr. & Mrs. Donald M. Cox Roland Poyns

Mr. Carl Johnson Mrs. Donna M. Gustafson Judge & Mrs Thomas E. Mr. & Mrs. Robert M. Oja Mr. & Mrs. Larry E. Johnson Edison Jo n Glego r Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Knutsen Mr. & Mrs. Keith Hartner Mr. & Mrs. Robert Brackey Dorothy_ Ku ratli Dr. & Mrs. R. P. Moore Mr. & Mrs. Larry Perkins

Mr. & Mrs. George Mrs. Helmi Netzel Mr. & Mrs. John W. Schiffer Mike Gossitt

Schmeltzer Mr. & Mrs. Larry Petersen Ms. Kathleen Titzler Mr. Harry Phillips Mr. & Mrs. Ronald Sloan Mr. & Mrs. Nicholas D. Walter E. Larson Mr. & Mrs. Tom Svensen Zafiratos

Sherrill Gregory

Mr. & Mrs. Paul Phillips Dr. & Mrs. David I. Williams Mrs. Joyce Gregory Mr. & Mrs. Fleming Wilson Archie Davis


Mr. George Blinco

Mr. Rod Grider

Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth Bue Maryann Boman

Captain & Mrs. Joseph Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Knutsen Mr. & Mrs. Robert M. Oja



Mr. Hjalmer Leino

Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Knutsen Mr. Curtis Olson

Peter Butler

Mr. & Mrs. Wendell Wyatt Sulona Gusta(§on

Mr. & Mrs. Nicholas D. Mrs. Dorothy Butler Mrs. Donna M. Gustafson Zafiratos

Thomas E. Edison Mr & Mrs. Grant Orr 14

Mr. & Mrs. Ernest J. Barrows Dr. & Mrs. David I. Williams Mr. & Mrs. Ed G. Fearey Jr.

The QuarterDeck, Vol. 26 No. 1


Mr. & Mrs. Grant Orr


Mr. & Mrs. Gordon Story

William F. O'Connor Mary SuJJll_le

Mr. & Mrs. James O'Connor

Mr. & Mrs. Graham J. Barbey

Margaret Lee

Ted Natt

Carl Fredric Ohrberg

Mr. & Mrs. Ernest J. BarMrs. Donna Gustafson Mr. & Mrs. A.L. Alford, Jr. Mr. & Mrs. David Hallin rows

Mr. & Mrs. Nicholas D. Shea Shizuko Aoki

Mr. & Mrs. Robert E. Frame Zafiratos

Mr. Bill Baird

Mr. & Mrs. Donald A. Hildreth Lindstrom Mr. Michael Berwind Mr. & Mrs. Grant Orr Kessler Mr. & Mrs. Fred Leslie Mr. & Mrs. Charles Buck Mr. Sven Lund Mr. & Mrs. Jim Clary

Clifford Olson Mrs. Donna M. Gustafson Ms. Mazie Berwind Mrs. Florence Kelly

Elman Petersen Mrs. June Spence Bryan Linn Weyerhaeuser Company, Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Knutsen Mr. George Blinco Longview Anne Tangfeldt Evans Family Tillie Pinkley Mrs. Roma Bigby ,lean MacDonald Carolyn Foos Mrs. Irene Ochal Mr. & Mrs. Graham J. Mr. & Mrs. J. W. Forrester Jr.

Roger Tetlow Barbey

Mr. & Mrs. Richard Ruth Postlewaite

Mr. & Mrs. Ernest J. BarMr. & Mrs. Robert E. Frame Frederickson Dr. & Mrs. David I. Williams rows Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Knutsen Mr. & Mrs. Walter Gadsby, Mr. & Mrs. John S. Jr. Mr. Elmer Raitanen Ted Ullakka McGowan Ms. Roberta Greeley Mr. & Mrs. Don Brunner

Captain & Mrs. Dan Lake Mrs. Valerie Tarabochia Mr. & Mrs. David Hallin Mr. & Mrs. Richard E. Mr. & Mrs. Hans Hofmeister Carlson ,lames Welch Gerlrude C. Marvin Mr. & Mrs. Jon Hopson & Mr. & Mrs. Walter Fransen Mr. & Mrs. Dennis O'Connor Mr. & Mrs. Ronald Larsen Family K.A. T. T. Contract Timber Mrs. Elsie Osterlund Mr. & Mrs. Paul Houska Falling, Inc. Oscar Wheatley Mrs. John Wiseman Sara & Charles Koethke Mrs. Mildred Larson Mr. Donald V. Riswick Ms. Cindy Lopez & Mr. Mr. Donald V. Riswick Mr. Gorgon Wolfgram A/Mathre Roger Werth Mr. & Mrs. John R. Warila Mr. & Mrs. Earl A. Malinen Mr. & Mrs. Wayne Lucke Mr. & Mrs. Ron Westerlund Thelma Whitten Mr. & Mrs. Robert Lund

Mr. & Mrs. Richard E. Diana McAlp_in Mr. & Mrs. Donald Richard Reiter, Sr. Cameron Mr. & Mrs. Joseph E. Magnusen Mr. Allan Maki Bakkensen Mr. & Mrs. Gordon A.

In Honor of... Mr. & Mrs. Robert Chopping Matlock Iris Rissman Mr. Larry_ Johanns Mrs. Donna M. Gustafson Mr. & Mrs. James A. Mrs. Margorie Larson Mr. & Mrs. James Porter Mr. Jim Lanzarotta Mcclaskey Holtz Ms. Edith Miller

Mr. & Mrs. John M. Bonnie Rolison Mrs. Lucy Walmsley McClelland Jr. Mr. Jim Lanzarotta

Andy & Doris Callahan Ms. Jeane Moksness Mrs. Lucille Perkins Ca]l.tain W. G. McCallum

Dr. & Mrs. Stanley Norquist

RADM David L Roscoe, Jr. Mrs. Dorothy Butler Mr. & Mrs. Larry Perkins Mr. & Mrs. Graham J. Ms. Shirley Randles Barbey Pauline McCallum

Mr. & Mrs. A.T. Renaud Mr & Mrs. Dick Keller Mrs. Dorothy Butler Senator & Mrs. Sid Snyder Ms . Carolyn Saddler Mr & Mrs. Grant Terry Ms. Mary Whitman

Arthur Miller Chris Warren Mr Donald V. Riswick

Agatha Selt7,er

Edith Nelson Mr. & Mrs. Harry Dichter

La Vonne Moore Mrs. Lucille Perkins & Mrs. Marcella L. Hatch Frances Larson

The Quarte rD eck, Vo l 2 6 No.I

Education Director Trish Custard shares her award with Mrs. Sproul's Fourth grade class from Warrenton Grade School.

On January 11 1\ Captain Thomas Yearout, U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area Chief of Operations, presented a Public Service Commendation to Education Director Patricia Turner Custard. The commendation was given to recognize Trish "for her strong support of the Coast Guard and her contributions to public education programs that emphasize the invaluable missions of the Coast Guard." These interactive programs collec-

Prestigious U.S. Coast Guard Award Given to Trish Custard, Education Director

Join us on Saturday, April 29th from 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM for an Astoria Harbor Cruise See the Membership 2000 Series of Events on page 11 for details!!

tively titled Semper Paratus : The Coast Guard in the Northwest include the Adopt-A-Ship, the CG Bear web pages, and Molly Watkins and the Secret of the South Jetty This series of programs has proven to be so successful that the Coast Guard is now integrating them into its national public outreach program . The Museum is very proud of Trish's outstanding awards and congratulates her on this latest achievement.

Non-profit Organization U.S.POSTAGE PAID Astoria, Oregon Permit No. 328

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