So, I promised to tell you about the scary stump.
I first need to explain to you about the Yaquina ‘river’ and Yaquina ‘bay’.
If you take the time to drive to the head waters, the place where there is no longer tidal surge and the water is not salty, Yaquina River is really only about 10-15 feet across at it’s best.
In reality the bay stretches 10-15 miles inland, all the water between Newport and Toledo is sea water. This is what creates such strong tidal flows, all that water moving in and out twice a day. This is what caused my tree problem.
I think it was the fourth night on anchor and the highest tide was around midnight. I didn’t think much of it but this was the highest tide we had had all month. Clouds had moved in at sunset leaving a very dark and quiet night. You could call it spooky if there had been fog. About 1:30 AM I was woken up by the boat being jared hard, as if she ran into something. Now Ava is four tons so to move her enough to wake me is disconcerting. I rushed to get on deck, grabbing a flashlight, just pjs and barefoot. I scanned the port side, a dark night, absolutely silent, and a large ebb tide made it look like the water was rushing by. As I scanned starboard with my light I nearly wet my pants. A stump, upended as if the roots were reaching for the moonless night sky, pushed past the hull in silence. In the setting it first looked bigger then the boat, but as my heart settled I could estimate it to be 6-8 feet across, several roots reaching 3-4 feet into the air. I think this hight above the water scared me more then anything else. First, it was above the sides of the boat. Nothing..nothing floating in the water should be that tall. Second, I realized that to be that tall there was much more to this snag underwater then I could see. It had missed the anchor rode by several feet. What were the chances in a section of the bay hundreds of feet wide?
Ava wasn’t in danger. At worst the twisted wet limbs would have gotten hopelessly twisted in the anchor line and I would have had to cut it loose, forcing us to motor several hours in the dark back to our moorage. The thing is, such an event touches fears a little bit deeper in you then a wayward spider or scary movie. The quiet darkness, swift and silent flow of tide, cold opaque water, moonless sky. These set the stage. Fears can build with each breath. We see nothing so imagine everything. It took me an hour to leave the deck and head below, several more to get to a sound sleep.
It still makes me smile to think about.