“Getting My Sea Legs”


This view of our moorage from the dike side shows you the channel of water between us and Sauvie Island in the background. The main arm of the Columbia River ran on the other side of Sauvie Island, and that was where the majority of boat traveled. Our little back water was ideal for canoeing and little outboard motor boats, one of which we borrowed from my brother in law.

The first time I stepped on our newly finished houseboat and felt the movement under me, I panicked. What if I got seasick? I had never been troubled by being on boats before, but I was still anxious. It turns out that I actually had the opposite problem. After our years on the water, I would have trouble adjusting to living on the land.

A few things took getting used to. When the house rode a little low in the water after we filled it with our furnishings, we had to have additional floats installed. A special machine came along side our house and shot huge Styrofoam barrels under the house. As they floated up, they lifted the house to a seaworthy height. We didn’t need to have our deck sloshed by every passing boat.

The other adjustment was to the rising and falling river level depending on the season and the rainfall. Our house was connected to the large posts you can see in the photo. When the water rose, our house lifted up; when it fell, we dropped. Only once did it look as if the water was rising so high that we might get unmoored. The owner fixed large cables from the moorage to the shore in case they were needed. They weren’t. However, years later in a massive flood year I watched a houseboat moorage float down the river and crash into a bridge in Portland.





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