Close to the Water: Secret Society of the Lower Columbia

With miles of backwater sloughs, scads of wildlife, and no competition for anchorages, I’ve often wondered why the Lower Columbia River is so empty of small cruising boats like mine. Row Bird is frequently the only one…

Close to the Water: Missing Kelp in South Puget Sound

Kelp loss South Puget Sound is real and, despite the odds stacked up against it, boaters and scientists aren't giving up hope. If you hiked to see those towering giants, the coast redwoods-and all you found were a few ferns…

Close to the Water: Small Boat Businesses Weather the COVID Storm

This article originally appeared in the May 2021 issue of 48° North. I confess to being a typical American in my shopping habits: I go to the store or browse the web, find what I want and buy it. The pandemic changed that…

Close to the Water: Ruminating on Boat Paint with Peter Marshall

I’ve long been proud of the paint job on my boat. At the same time, I’ve also been a little insecure about it. Everything I know about painting I learned from books, chat boards full of opinionated armchair sailors, or my…

Live Long & Sail On

Is it Time For a Drysuit? From the March 2021 issue of 48° North. On my first real camp-cruising expedition, I had grand ambitions. With three weeks off from work, and having escaped parental responsibilities, my destination…

Standing Firm

The natural ambiance of Hope Island provides a mariner’s sanctuary From the January 2021 issue of 48° North. Standing with my little rowboat on the mainland shore, I stare out across the still black water toward Hope…

Close to the Water: Fun Stinks

As a kid, I loved our family’s banana-yellow speedboat. It was the most typical fiberglass outboard boat you could buy in those days, but it was my ticket to fishing, knee-boarding, camping, and just zooming around. I…

Sneaking Out: A Quick Overnight Cruise on the Columbia

Come late August, it dawned on my wife that we’d never managed to go on vacation this year. I’d been on a solo weeklong cruise, but Kate hadn’t spent a night away from home since 2019. Our college-age son had moved back…

The Right Boat

You probably know this type of boater; the person who has a hard time with commitment. This year they’re training in an Alden rowing shell, next year outfitting an Ericson 38 keeps them busy—until the following season, when…

Loving LoCo: 5 Hidden Gems of Cruising the Lower Columbia

I mean Lower Columbia, not loco like crazy. Though if you own a small boat and don’t visit LoCo, you may be crazy. There’s always something to see, to like, to love. Here are my top five of a recent trip. #5 Working, or…