John Day Dam

Fairy Boat Tied to Tugboat in the Lock at John Day Dam

Over three decades ago we took the Fairy Boat, our 26-foot Bayliner, on a trip down the Columbia River from Kennewick, Washington, to Hood River, Oregon, which involved locking through three dams including the John Day Dam shown above. We had entered the upstream side of the lock 110 feet higher than we were when this photo was taken as we were preparing to exit the lock.

We were instructed to tie to the tugboat rather than the floating moorings since the turbulence from the tug would have dashed the Fairy Boat against the walls of the lock when it powered up. We did as instructed and rode out with the tug pushing its four barges under the huge sliding door of the lock seen in the photo above.The tug crew cheerfully assisted us along the way and we made a safe exit, then untied from the tug.

Days later, on the return trip upstream, I called the lock tender on the radio stating that we were the Fairy Boat and would like an upstream lock. We were instructed to enter the lock, tie to one of the floating moorings, and they would lock us through when they saw that we were secure.

We did as instructed, but nothing happened, and after several minutes I radioed the lock master and asked when the lock through would proceed. They had expected a passenger ferry rather than our small boat named the Fairy Boat. After a good laugh, they lowered the downstream door, opened the valves to flood the lock, and we were lifted up 110 feet to continue our trip back upstream.

For the story of the Columbia cruise see:

#johndaydam, #fairyboat #columbiariver #tugboat

Published by eskildoodle1

Retired physician with interests in writing, photography, music, and astronomy. I have written multiple stories of life experiences, travel, and astronomy, and have been playing the ukulele for 10 years. My wife Fairy and I travel frequently to the Pacific Islands of Hawaii, and French Polynesia, and I have learned several of their native-language songs. This blog will be a forum to share experiences with family and friends.

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