Columbia River is moving

Moving through the Columbia River Gorge

There are many interesting things to see around the Columbia River Gorge. In addition to the river there are mountains, waterfalls, power dams and fish ladders.

Columbia River Gorge

Mount Saint Helens is at the top, and Mount Hood is at the bottom right corner. The red marker is at Multnomah Falls location. If you trace a line from one mountain to the other the line will cross the Columbia River near Stevenson and Cascade Locks. Conveniently this is where the Bridge of the Gods is located and also the power generating stations, dams and lock systems.

Cascade Locks and Bonneville Dam

Boat traffic moves along the lower edge of the river on the Oregon side. The locks allowing them to rise from the 6 meter elevation on the left to the 24 meter elevation on the right are on the side of Robins Island. The salmon use the fish ladder on the top right of the picture.

fish ladder on the right

Here is a little closer look at the channel for fish traffic. We stopped at the viewing station and took a few pictures. It is in Washington State. Multnomah Falls is on the Oregon side of the River. Fortunately the Bridge of the Gods is near by and gives a nice view of the river. Here is the link to a YouTube video and a couple of still shots from the bridge.

The fish ladders are interesting. There are rest spots. We didn’t see many fish when we were there.

I’ll leave you with a short video of the falls.

– Where do you want to go today? –

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Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

In the Columbia River Gorge at 620 feet, it is one of the tallest waterfalls in the state of Oregon and is only a 30 to 45 drive from Portland.

Multnomah Falls in Oregon

It is a two tiered falls with a pond 542 feet from the top. The pond slopes 9 feet from the back to the front, then the water falls another 69 feet to the creek below. That  is a total of 620 feet. The average width is only 10 feet.

As well as highway access, the Union Pacific Railroad goes by the front door.

Union Pacific Railway, only 35 miles from Portland

Multnomah Falls in Oregon
Benson Bridge

Benson Bridge is a footbridge 105 feet above the lower falls and offers a good view of the pond on one side and the Colorado Gorge on the other side. The bridge is 45 feet long and leads to a trail which takes hikers up to the top of the falls where they can see the Little Multnomah Cascade farther upstream. You can see a group in the top left of the picture below.

cross the bridge and hike to the top

stop and enjoy the view

Take care of the environment.

People need a continual reminder that the environment is vulnerable to our careless actions. The life in the creek can be harmed by the junk left on the land when it is washed into the water.

a beautiful creek.

The creek is home and a source of food and water for all kinds of life, like the heron below.

find the heron


Speaking of food, at the base of the falls, the restaurant in the Multnomah Falls Lodge serves delicious meals and I recommend the following from the desert menu:

– Maple-Bourbon Creme Brûlée –

– Delicately flavored with Eastside Distilling Burnside bourbon and pure maple.  – (GF) gluten free

(Sorry I have no picture, it was gone before my hands were free to take a picture.)

Beware of falling boulders. The water erodes the rock and sometimes large pieces fall loose. In 1995 a 400 ton piece  splashed into the pool and the wave of water and gravel injured more than a dozen people who were having wedding pictures taken on the footbridge. More recently, in 2014, a large boulder fell onto the footbridge and the bridge had to be closed until the repairs were completed.

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Links to more info.

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Columbia River

Glimpses of the Columbia River

The mighty Columbia River begins in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada then flows south through Washington State and then west along the border with Oregon State.

The Columbia River washing Vancouver, Washington.

The river is a great place to relax and enjoy all kinds of recreational activity.

nothing like an evening sail

Mount Hood keeps a watch on the river.

There are many bridges over the river. Here is a glimpse from the Bridge of the Gods.

Columbia River from the Bridge of the Gods.

The Columbia River has about 150 hydro electric dams which generate about one third of the power used in the United States.

eight generators in the Bonneville Dam

This particular station has eight generators. These are different from the generators I showed on the Ottawa River ( These use vertical shafts whereas the others use horizontal shafts.

Looking upriver from the Bonneville Dam

looking down the Columbia from Bonneville Dam

In the foreground is a fish ladder designed to allow the salmon to swim/climb/jump upriver.

Turbine blades to drive generators

The turbine design is different than the horizontal version. They are larger.

turbine for vertical shaft generator

output from the Bonneville Dam

keep back a safe distance

The fish have their fish ladder to help them move along the river past the dam. The boats have the Cascade Lock to step them up and down past the falls and around the dam.

Cascade Lock at Bonneville Dam  is your link to learn more about the river. is your link to learn more about the dam.

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Ottawa River

Power of the Ottawa River


The Ottawa River has powered industry long before the electric motor and generator were invented. Currently the water passes through 12 generating stations (dams) before reaching the atlantic Ocean.

The Ottawa River

This year the water levels have been the highest on record. For the first time, the dams have been fully open allowing maximum flow of water down the river.

If there is a river, dam it.

The map above shows where the following pictures were taken. On the left is Hull Quebec. The ring dam is in Quebec but is operated by Ottawa Hydro. The island in the center is Chaudière Island. Up and to the left is Victoria Island. In the top right corner is the City of Ottawa. (la rivière Outaouais en francais) The label on the far right was once a grinding mill before it was converted into a hydro electric generating station. Most of the pictures were taken in and around the second from the right label, Generating Station #2.

Chaudière bridge and generating station

Looking up the river, the ring dam is just beyond the bridge. The dam is wide open and the water is free to rush on to the Atlantic without going through the turbines.

High water levels have damaged the shore road.

The city of Hull Quebec is in the background. only a few weeks before this picture was taken, the water levels were up to the road and washed away part of the road.

The surface is calm but the current is strong.

The mill on the left has been converted to a brewery and restaurant. It is aptly named Mill Street Brewery. On the right is Victoria Island and #2 generating station building.

Ottawa Hydro #2 Generating Station

The people standing by the rail on the left are at the level of the upstream river where it enters the turbines. (pen stock). Our tour enters the building through the door in the center end of the building below the No. 2 sign. notice how much lower the water level is when it leaves the generating station.

collecting the flotsam before it damages the turbine blades.

Before the water flows through the turbine it must pass through a grate below the water surface. On the other side of the railing you can see the tree trunks and branches that have been scraped away from the protective grate. All kinds of items are found, anything that can float or be washed down the river by the fast moving water. Every week the collected junk has to be hauled away. The crane structure above is used to regularly rake the grid clean.

four generators in No. 2 building

The building is three floors high. On the right is the control room. Outside the left wall is the water of the upstream Ottawa river and the turbines which are connected to the generators through long shafts that extend through the wall.

A spinning generator

diagram of the turbine and generator.

On the left, notice the “trash rack” then the “penstock” where the water enters through the turbine blades and exits through the massive “turbine cover”. On the right is the generator and control room. both of which would be flooded out if there was a break in the wall separating the turbine from the generator.

Turbine blades in a variety of sizes.

In a display outside the building are three different sized turbine blades. They are huge. Compare them to the bicycles in the rack just outside the fence and to the nearby buildings.

using a crane to lift the turbine blades off of the truck

The old historic control room.

Above, in the bottom left is a flat screen monitor. That and a keyboard and mouse are all that is required to monitor the system now. In fact I suspect it is all monitored and controlled remotely.

the modern control display

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Canada celebrates 150 year birthday

On the first of July, 2017 Canada celebrated its 150 year anniversary of becoming a commonwealth of Provinces.

People from small towns and large cities gathered together in their communities to celebrate.

Some came in old cars, or trucks,

Some came in not so old cars and trucks.

Some brought their model vehicles.

Some came on horseback,

Some marched in bands playing drums, or horns, or bagpipes.

They celebrated the diversity of cultures in the country,

And our little town was prepared for the celebration. They dusted off the old fire truck,

They had the snow plow painted and ready, just in case. . . they might need it for crowd control, to clear the way for the fire truck.

And the parade ended when the police arrived. They brought their newest SUV to show they were happy to celebrate too.

Happy Birthday Canada


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Kaohsiung Stadium

Kaohsiung Stadium and Fokuangshan Monastery

The Stadium was built for the 2009  World games. The roof is made of 8800 solar power panels making it the largest solar-powered stadium in the world. The panels also provide the shade and collect water.

Solar panels for roof, also provide shade and collect water.

Kaohsiung World Games Stadium

For peace and quite, the village of Fokuangshan, has Taiwan’s largest Buddhist monastery. In Mandarin, Fokuangshan means “Buddha’s light mountain”. It was established in 1967  by Buddhist master Shingyun for the pursuit of Humanistic Buddhism and contains 14,800 Buddha images.

Fokuangshan Monastery

It’s impressive Buddha statue stands watch over the village.

Fokuangshan Monastery Standing Buddha

After a wonderful relaxing and informative day in Taiwan, it was time to sail away as the sun sank into the sea.

Kaohsiung, Taiwan

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Fo Guang Shan Museum

Fo Guang Shan Museum

In Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Buddhist Temples are common. A museum has been created to showcase the Buddhist Culture.

Entrance to Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Museum

Elephants and Lions are a prominent theme.

The courtyard between the entrance and the sitting Buddha

On the other side of the entrance is a courtyard with many pagodas depicting the various time frames of the Buddhist history.

Inner court near Meditation hall

At the far end of the courtyard is a sacred worship space containing a tooth of the Buddha.

At the top is a statue of a sitting Buddha.

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Kaohsiung Lotus Pond

Kaohsiung Lotus Pond
Continue reading

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Rabaul is a small town in Papua New Guinea. It once was a thriving city on the edge of a volcanic caldera in the northern part of the country in an area called
New Britain. It is at the junction of three major tectonic plates, the Pacific Plate, Australia Plate, Caroline Plate and four smaller plates; Solomon Sea Plate, Woodlark Plate, and the north and south Bismarck Plates.
A volcanic eruption in 1994 buried the city, and airport under many meters of ash, and created a causeway to a neighboring island.

Princess Photographers ford boiling streams and climb volcanic ash mounds to get the perfect picture

In the first picture, the mountain on the right is still hot. Plants have re-established themselves on the surrounding mountains. In the foreground is a hot spring of boiling water that the local people use to boil eggs they hunt from the warm ash. Birds dig a meter or more into the ash to lay their eggs where the earth will incubate them.

Pacific Princess visits Rabaul PNG

On the top of an adjacent mountain the government is collecting seismic readings from sensors in the ground surrounding the cauldera. The picture of the Pacific Princess was taken from the side of the recording office.

Since the small island has been joined to the main island, it has become a popular spot for swimming and picnics. This is were the young boy sitting in the tree greets the tourists to his new home. Since this area is still active the town has been built on the other side of the main island and only a small part has been built around the original bay where the ship is docked.

I selected four of my best pictures to enter into a photo contest on the ship. However, I could only enter one of them into the contest, so of the four here, I entered the last one of a sunset reflected off one of the ship windows, and managed to capture a man running on the track.

Rabaul is an interesting port in PNG.

 – Where do you want to go today? –

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Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Cairns is a beautiful little city that is making the best of the waterfront harbor.  When we arrived at dawn, they had reserved a space at the dock for us next to the Crystal Symphony, a ship about the same size as The Pacific Princess.


It is a favorite place to begin a diving cruise over the Great Barrier Reef. It is also a wonderful place to take an eco tour in the rain forest or a picturesque train ride through the mountains.

Marlin Marina, Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Cairns Lagoon, Queensland, Australia.

Having visited the reef on an earlier visit, this time we just enjoyed the beautiful day and hung out with the flying foxes.

Flying Foxes

Flying Foxes in downtown Cairns..

They live in the trees in the center of the city and have not been domesticated. They are very noisy and messy. They are bats after all.

just a little nip on the neck

These tortoises are a bronze sculpture on the wharf. That nip on the neck is going to be felt for a long time.

Although the beach is so inviting, alligators and stinging jellyfish make them an unfriendly place for people. The solution is to create lagoons and swimming pools to cool off.

Cairns, Lagoon, Queensland, Australia

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