Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Christmas Ships"
Includes ... Portland Christmas Ships ...
Image, 2004, Christmas Ships, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
"Modern" interpretation of a Christmas Ship. On the Columbia River at Washougal, Washington. Image taken December 19, 2004.

Christmas Ships ...
The year 2004 marked the 50th anniversary of Portland's Christmas Ships. What began in 1954 with one sailboat decorated in bows of green with ribbon tied on the rails, now consists of 55-60 boats sailing nightly for two weeks up and down both the Columbia River and the Willamette River. Each night they sail a different section of rivers, from Washougal, Washington to Scappoose, Oregon. Each boat owner designs and builds their lighted Christmas display and pay their operating costs which includes fuel. Highlights of the season are the Ships sailing around the Interstate 5 Bridge, nights which pack the riverside restaurants and motels full. This is in much contrast to Lewis and Clark's Christmas day of 1805, a day the men spent moving into Fort Clatsop and eating spoiled elk meat.

Photographing the Christmas Ships ...
Know your equipment BEFORE you go out !!! ... which I did not ... I had no clue how to get the camera (my new Nikon Coolpix 8700) off of auto aperature ... I had no idea how to get a faster shutter speed ... I had no idea how to set settings ... I had no idea how to get the flash to pop up to maybe speed up the shutter speed ... and, after looking at the results, I have no idea why the digital camera did what it did !!! ... I just shot in the landscape mode which I normally use for my Columbia River shots ... Standing in the dark with 300 other people (half of which were screaming kids) in 41 degree weather and trying to use a street lamp to read the camera menu was NOT the place to learn how to re-set up your camera !!! ... and, while I set the camera on a nearby post, a tripod would have been easier ... I should have read the manual and practiced at home !!! ... However, in spite of all this watching the ships made for a beautiful evening.

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, ...

Vancouver PlainsReturn to

*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

  • "ChristmasShips.org" website, 2004;

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
September 2008