“Ocian in view! Oh the joy!” As Merriweather Lewis once proclaimed, so we too took in the view of the mighty and roaring Pacific today. On our first day of activities, we split into two groups — the Big Horned Sheep and the Eagle — representing symbolic creatures on either end of our journey. Some of us first visited the nationally renowned Columbia River Maritime Museum. Epic images of man’s fight against the unwavering power of Mother Nature will stick in our minds; here we learned about the bravery of the Columbia River Bar Pilots, and the tragic conclusions of all the ill-fated ships attempting to cross the bar. The Columbia River Bar has claimed over 330 ships, making it the most hazardous bar on the west coast of North America, and giving it the nickname “Graveyard of the Pacific.” Inspired for our own adventure, we then headed to the Astoria Column. This monument to the town’s history is built atop a hill and provides a most excellent viewpoint. A few strong-feeling guests decided to take the spiral staircase to the top; some even launched small wooden planes in a joyous moment. Filled with tales of daring and rescue, we headed back to the ship to enjoy another fabulous meal.
In the afternoon we took a peek at another prominent historical point for the area, with a trip over to Washington State and Cape Disappointment State Park. The gorgeous drive was lined with Sitka spruce, Douglas fir, and western hemlock, breaking in parts to give us views of the notorious ocean behind. A short hike took us up to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, where a volunteer ranger gave us an overview of the area. We explored the center, immersing ourselves into the rich history of Chinook culture, and how the world changed forever once the Corps of Discovery arrived. Lost in history, we eventually had to collect ourselves and return to our own mighty ship. We sailed upriver, tracing the path of Lewis and Clark to our next destination.