Saturday, October 23, 2010

Up to Hanford

Coulda, shoulda?  For all the weather talk of RAIN and WIND, it has been quite nice last night and today.  Last night the predicted winds were upgraded to 40 mph for Saturday night, Sunday and Monday, so we felt good about our decision to wait out the weather here in Richland.

However, we had been on the public dock for 4 nights already, and the sign said '5 day limit', and we really don't like to break rules.  Fortunately we were invited to the Richland Yacht Club for their weekly Friday night potluck BBQ.  A man and woman I had noticed previously tossing a tennis ball for a nice dog told us about it and said 'Tell them the Viking invited you!'  His 40-ft sailboat Viking Spirit has done a world cruise 1998-2002, according to his T-shirt.  As fellow Vikings, we planned to attend.

And we were welcomed heartily to the small gathering of perhaps 10-12 people.  And by the end of the evening, we were invited to bring the boat around, were issued a key to the gate and clubhouse, and escorted down to the dock to scout out the space they had chosen for us.

So this morning we had coffee and bagels at the boat, and we set off for our little tour upriver to Hanford.  It is just over 5 nautical miles in distance to the end of our charts--as far as we can go up the Columbia in Viking Star.

From Wikipedia:
The Hanford Site is a mostly decommissioned nuclear production complex on the Columbia River in the U.S. state of Washington, operated by the United States federal government. The site has been known by many names, including Hanford WorksHanford Engineer WorksHanford Nuclear Reservation or HNR, and the Hanford Project. Established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project in the town of Hanford in south-central Washington, the site was home to the B Reactor, the first full-scale plutonium productionreactor in the world.[1] Plutonium manufactured at the site was used in the first nuclear bomb, tested at the Trinity site, and in Fat Man, the bomb detonated over Nagasaki, Japan.

The fall colors have really popped out in the past week.

HUGE tractors we believe are used to move materials from what Al calls 'Spook Barges', pushed by TWO tugs and accompanied by a Navy ship. 

Hanford Site
Hum...  Chart continues, Land/water continues - -  but where are the river depths?
Think the Gov guys are trying to tell us something?

As we returned to Richland, we turned into the same bay as the Columbia Pointe Park and the public dock we have stayed, and turned to the yacht club docks.  There were 5 or 6 members on the dock, involved in various projects, and they helped us get settled.

And as we walked to Starbucks for an afternoon treat, the sun was shining, the wind calm, causing us to shed our jackets and wonder 'Perhaps we SHOULD have done our tour yesterday afternoon, and gone on to Umatilla today....'

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