Before dawn, National Geographic Quest passed through the Ice Harbor Dam. This was the last lock on the Snake River before the confluence with the mighty Columbia. As the sun began to rise, both sides of the basalt feature known as Wallula Gap were glowing. Grace Winer gave a presentation to further explain the observable geologic features we will see as we sail westward toward the Pacific. We reached McNarry Lock and Dam before brunch and most people were on deck to observe our descent. The entire day was spent onboard and offered informative talks, gorgeous scenery, or the perfect opportunity for a nap. The John Day Dam came into view in the late afternoon. This lock has the highest lift-to-drop in the United States at 110 feet, and is the most recent to be completed on the Columbia River in 1971.
National Geographic Sea Bird
O! the Joy! Hmm, we needed to rethink that one this morning, as we woke to a rainy and blustery Astoria. What this weather did give us was a taste of historic authenticity in relation to the Corps of Discovery and their experiences here in the winter of 1805-06. Our first activity this morning was amongst the magnificent exhibits of the Columbia River Maritime Museum. This world-class facility tells the story of the mighty Columbia and the treacherous results to mariners when the river shoves against the incoming tides of the Pacific Ocean. As our day progressed, we crossed the Astoria-Megler bridge to the state of Washington. At the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center the winds continued but the rain subsided, and we enjoyed a sun-drenched afternoon with an option to walk a forest trail down to Waikiki Beach. The sun and sand were a siren to us and we made an additional stop at the North Jetty to get a water-level view of the waves crashing against the rocks of the Cape Disappointment lighthouse. The day turned out anything but disappointing.