We started the morning on the Columbia River with our first objective in sight: the Bonneville Dam. Built in 1933, it is a major factor for all who sail up the Columbia. We entered the lock and the gates closed; we watched in awe as the water (and our ship!) rose steadily up the roughly seventy feet to the height of the pool behind the dam. We left the lock sailing east toward Hood River and disembarked the ship for side trips to the Bonneville fish hatchery and Multnomah Falls. Afterwards we enjoyed a catered lunch off-ship at a pear orchard along the famous “fruit loop” near Mount Hood.
The hatchery was built in part to replace the fish that were lost due to the deleterious effect of the dam. Currently it hatches both Chinook and Sockeye salmon that will grow within the confines of the hatchery. After about a year within the hatchery pools, they are released to Columbia below the dam. Sadly, only a very small number of these fish survive the transit to the sea to grow to adult size and return to Columbia River. A few miles from the hatchery, Multnomah Falls is a beautiful sight with a vertical drop of 620 feet — in North America, its height is second only to Yosemite Falls. It is Oregon’s most visited tourist attraction, receiving more than two million visitors a year.
After lunch, we made a brief visit to a local u-pick farm for cider and fruit tasting and to the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum (or WAAAM, for short). An immense and extraordinary collection of cars, airplanes, and many other collectables are displayed throughout a vast hangar. Most if not all of these machines are still in working order and are paraded throughout the area each month. We closed down the museum and headed back to the ship, tired but fulfilled.