Columbia River Maritime Museum

Wednesday September 11th 2019

Today’s weather was a repeat of yesterday. It was sunny with a high near seventy. The only real difference was inland. It wasn’t as rainy to the east of here.

This afternoon I went into Astoria Oregon to visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum. It is located on the shore of the Columbia River just east of the center of town beside the Coast Guard docks. The museum and the historic lightship Columbia are informative experience. I really enjoyed my visit.

The museum has areas dedicated to the history of the river and all of the different uses the river gets. There are major displays on the Coast Guard activities protecting ships crossing the bar where the river meets the sea, the pilots that assist the ocean going ships across the bar and up river to the major ports, fishing in the river and at sea, and the barge traffic in the river inland from the major ports. The history of the river from its first discovery through World War II and the science of weather forecasting and navigation also get major exhibits.

Retired Lightship Columbia.

After touring the inside exhibits I boarded the lightship Columbia for a tour. The boat, now on the national historic registry, hosted an eighteen man crew. It’s duties were to guide ships across the Columbia River bar. She was replaced by an automated navigational buoy in 1979. It’s not a large ship, so it got well tossed around by the sea. The quarters were tight, but they had a pretty good galley. They worked two to four week rotations depending on sea conditions.

Back at my RV home this evening, I started to pack for tomorrow’s travel day. I’ve left a lot to be explored in this corner of the Oregon coast, so I will have to return another year.

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