This trip is limited to members with a wet exit certification. To successfully register you will need to sign into your OOPS member account, and your account will need to be a member of the "Wet Exit Certified" group. Your acceptance is conditional on approval by the Organizer, who may contact you with questions about your skills and equipment. If the measured water temperature is different enough from that listed below to warrant a change in required immersion protection, the Organizer will contact all participants and the Trips Board member with the update at least a day before the trip.
Narrative: The combined Willamette and Columbia River fleets of Christmas Ships will parade along the St. Helens and Columbia City waterfronts Saturday, Dec. 14th, leaving the docks at St. Helens at 6 p.m. To make it easier to keep track of our large group, we will break up into several pods and head out in our non-motorized craft well ahead of them and catch their parade from the safety of St. Helens after we've completed our trip and loaded our boats.
We’ll be on the water after sunset! Please bring a REQUIRED headlamp, flashlight, or other boat-lighting illumination (see below). Additionally, if you have battery-operated holiday lights that can handle at least splashing water, here is an opportunity to indulge in some holiday spirit and light up your boat with those (in addition to the required illumination noted above). We kayakers are fun for the spectators to see, too.
Safety will be our #1 concern, making it easy for us to achieve goal #2, FUN! There were very few power boats in the water while we were there in 2017 and 2018. I expect that to be the case this year as well. Bring along your air horn if you have one.
We’ll have our safety chat and launch from Grey Cliffs Waterfront Park at the end of River St. at 2:00 p.m., then head upriver. The parade boats, un-lit, will be already be docked. Our goal is the Warrior Rock Lighthouse on the end of Sauvie Island. With the helpful incoming/flooding tidal current, we will likely start our trip by heading upstream on the north side of Sand Island. We will probably paddle upstream of the lighthouse (we may take a break at the lighthouse) and explore a bit of Multnomah Channel as well. Then we’ll head back to Sand Island where we’ll take a second break. This will be a great vantage point to watch the sunset and the ships beginning to get ready for their parade. We’ll then paddle through the marina where they’re docked and lighting their boats for the highlight of our trip--a real up-close-and-personal preview of the ships.
Because we’ll be on the Columbia River after dark, and there may be power boats in the water with us, we’ll paddle in a very tight formation of three or four pods when leaving the marina and heading back to Grey Cliffs Waterfront Park, spreading out a little more on open water to ease keeping track of everyone. We’ll arrive back at Grey Cliffs Waterfront Park around 5:15 p.m. After loading our boats, we will be able to watch the Christmas Ships begin their parade at 6 p.m. Headlamps or camp-style lanterns will be helpful for loading your boat. Some of us may want to go to a local restaurant after the parade.
This trip is suitable for advanced SUPers, canoes with flotation devices, and kayaks 12 ft. and longer. No inflatables, please. This is a Level 2 trip. You must be wet-exit certified, and you must wear a Sprayskirt. Drysuits absolutely required!
You can read more about the Christmas Ships here:
You can read more about the launch site here:
Meeting Time: 1:15:00 PM
Launch Time: 2:00:00 PM
Type of activity: Paddle Trip
Put in: Grey Cliffs Waterfront Park
Take out: Grey Cliffs Waterfront Park
Route Alternative for bad weather: Date and location will change if bad weather
Minimum Immersion protection: Drysuit
Primary Organizer: Chris Mayou
Assistant Organizer(s): Julia Bergren, Patti Brown, Marty Martinez, Stacy Ozer, Kent Slawson, Dave Smith
Has organizer paddled here before? Yes
Has organizer led an OOPS paddle here before? Yes
Organizer's first aid and CPR current? Yes
First Aid /CPR Person:
Maximum number of paddlers: 22 (I'm saving spots for Robin Smith and Kent's wife, which will bring total to 24) If they can be pre-registered, then put total at 24.
I certify that I understand and will conduct this activity in accordance with the OOPS Activity Policy: Yes
Estimated Air Temperature: 50
Estimated Water Temperature: 40
Estimated Water Time (including breaks/lunch): 4 hours
Tide times & heights: St. Helens Tides:
2019/12/14 Sat 06:24 AM 2.06 H
2019/12/14 Sat 12:58 PM 0.60 L
2019/12/14 Sat 5:42 PM 3.35 H
Current information: projecting between 0.5 and 1.5 knots
Hazards: Night paddling, Shipping traffic
Wind strength: Level 1: 0-7 knots (8 mph)
Swell/Surf size: Level 1: Under 1' waves, no breaking waves
Sea state: Level 1: Waves up to the deck seam; water glassy to rippled, no whitecaps
Landing types: Level 1: Frequent easy landing opportunities including gently sloping, sand, gravel or grass
Currents: Level 2: Mild currents (up to 2 knots): current increases / decreases group speed by half
Total distance: Level 1: Up to 6 miles
Open crossing: Level 2: Less than 1 mile
Overall rating: Level 2
Rating Comments: Rated Level 2 for night paddling
Location (Optional): Grey Cliffs Waterfront Park , River Street St Helens, OR 97051
Photos (optional): yes