The first full day was an exciting one as we boarded jet boats from the dock in Clarkston, Washington. We would be transiting south on the Snake River aboard two specially designed boats that are perfectly suited for the difficult navigation of the river. The Snake River has hundreds of rapids and shallow areas that require a special kind of vessel. Considered the “jet boat capital of the world,” Lewiston and Clarkston is home to a huge fleet of these specialty aquatic vehicles. Our jet boat operators deftly navigated the river and brought us deep into the Snake River to view all the sights it has to offer. Bighorn sheep, mule deer, and a wide range of birdlife greeted us along the way. Golden eagles soared high above. Bald eagles perched on trees, and we saw a variety of other birds of prey along the way. Columnar basalt and other incredible geological features greeted us at every twist and turn, highlighting the incredible formation of the river and her breathtaking banks. After returning, National Geographic Quest left the dock to begin our journey along the Snake River en route to the Columbia and on our way to the coast.
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.