Trip Report Gentle Rock Gardening at the Three Graces, Tillamook Bay, Oregon. July 22, 2012

Trip Report – Gentle Rock Gardening at the Three Graces, July 22, 2012
Trip route Proposed Garibaldi Marina – Three Graces- Garibaldi Marina Trip Route Actual Garibaldi Marina – Three Graces- Bay Ocean-Garibaldi Marina
Trip Leader(s) & Co-Leaders Leader-Paul Steinberg
Co-Leaders– Charles Congdon, Sean Dillon, Jay Hutchins, Bob Hyslop, Dennis Pennell
Trip Size anticipated
  • Leaders: 6
  • Participants:10
Trip Size actual
  • Leaders:6
  • Particiapants:8
Scheduled Time 8:30 AM Actual Time 8:30 AM
lProposed Distance ~4 Nautical Miles Actual Distance ~8 Nautical Miles
Conditions Forecast Air Temp: Fair, Partially Cloudy
Water Temp:54f
Wind: Light Breeze
Precipitation: 10%
Conditions Encountered Air Temp: Fair, Partially Cloudy
Water Temp:58
Wind: Light Breeze
Precipitation: Rain mid-day
Tides & Currents tides
09:51 PDT -0.54 feet Low Tide
16:19 PDT 7.19 feet High Tide
Current (Bay Mouth)
10:46 PDT 0.01 knots Slack, Flood Begins
13:50 PDT 3.47 knots Max Flood
16:31 PDT -0.01 knots Slack, Ebb Begins
OOPS Level Anticpated 2+/3- Level Encountered 2+/3-
Hazards anticipated
  • Strong Currents
  • Boat traffic
Hazards Encountered
  • Medium current
  • boat traffic
  • Heavy Eel Grass
Incidents One participant forgot to close zipper on drysuit. Noticed during wet-exit practice. Changed to dry clothes from emergency kit of leaders (Sean Dillon). We did not encourage participants to self-check and/or buddy check their gear.
Reccomned this trip to other leaders? Yes
  • New kayak launch in Garibaldi on Jerry Creasy Drive. Other launch spots in harbor now off-limits. This launch spot has nice bathrooms and a shower!
  • Heavy Eel Grass could provide hazard to rolling.


Overall the trip went very well. There were no major incidents, participants came away with enhanced skills and seemed to have had a good time. I would recommend this trip to other trip organizers.

Pre-trip Safety concerns:
• Large Group size
• Strong Tides & Currents
• Line of Sight/Communication among Rock topography and features
• Ability of participants to wet exit quickly without leaders present.
Large Group size
This trip was quite popular and at one time we had two dozen folks signed up or on waiting list. Because of this, I upped the number of trip leaders and broke the trip into two, more manageable pods. We had quite a few drop-outs, but still needed the two pod structure. Trip leaders agreed on trip sequences-launch together, do rescue practice together, and then split to explore different rock gardening locales. We agreed to meet for lunch in order to make adjustments. Because of the skill/maturity of the pod leaders, each was more or less autonomous.

Strong Tides and Currents
Big tide and strong currents were a worry to me before the trip. My primary concern was that some participants might enter the strong flows in the main part of the channel and be swept away from the group. This would have entailed one or more pod leaders breaking away from their teams and compromising our CLAP stance.
Less likely, but more serious, I was concerned that a participant might be swept into current flip and be unable to self-rescue.

In order to help mitigate this, I did a quick drive out Friday evening after work The conditions were different –ebb rather than flood and 2.6 knots rather than 3, but I thought it would give me some idea. I found the currents strong –quite so in mid-channel and in places near the rocks. Happily, I found that the shore and rock structures did give quite a bit of protection form current. I consulted with other leaders and we decided to go ahead with the trip.
On the trip, we found current to be manageable, even at max flood. Shore and rock structures allowed for maneuvering room even by those with weaker skills. I do not think that a spill would have resulted in an unmanageable condition at any point.

Line of Sight/Communication among Rock topography and features
Trip leaders agreed ahead of time to station themselves around rock structure to maximize line of sight despite complex topography. Each pod had a number of radios to enhance communication

Ability of participants to wet exit quickly without leaders present.
Participants were informed in pre-trip notices that all would be expected to demonstrate wet-exit skills . We did this early in the trip. N.B. This also allowed us to find improperly sealed dry suit 😉

Course of day.
As planned with a few exceptions.
• Dry suit accident meant that one pod stayed behind at wet exit rescue area near Coast Guard pier. I made the decision that the participant who had compromised dry suit did a complete change of clothes rather than paddling wet. I also made the decision that the whole pod would stand-by rather than splitting up. I made both decision based on what I thought would keep the pod and individuals as safe as possible.
• After lunch, Jay Hutchins suggested we do multiple rescue practices focusing on developing quick and efficient “real-world” rescue skills. This helped the participant’s skill-level and was popular as well.
• At the scheduled end of day, many participants wanted to keep paddling, some wanted to end. Bob and Charles agreed to escort tired paddlers to put-in. Others paddled to Bayocean peninsula. This was a pleasant paddle with a very nice sandy beach at the destination.

Trip Map- Cick for Larger View

1 Response

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Paul, I just found your article after reading the post Kyle put on the OOPS listserv and just wanted to compliment you on your trip report and this beautiful graphic!

    Rob Hertert

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