We had our boat at Salpare Bay marina for over two years, lived aboard for one year. We spent a month at the West Basin in Astoria just this past summer.
Once you own a boat, we can highly recommend joining Sauvie Island Yacht Club. A great bunch of people who are very active in the sailing and cruising community. We are members, currently cruising. The Vice-commodore, Gabriel, is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Salpare Bay is their designated marina for reciprocal privileges.
Island Sailing Club is also great. They hold weekly races on the Columbia
River and have a very involved group. Some with some pretty strong personalities. Most are really nice folks.
A few things to note about Salpare Bay Marina.
Instant access to the Columbia River. (Same with Tomahawk, which is next door.)
The docks are in great condition. Deck cleats
are tight and secure. We spent many a'blow there with no issues. Enjoyed a foot of snow two winters ago with no problem. They use de-icer on the steep ramp
to the marina.
Really great access to Home Depot, West Marine
, Target, Safeway, the liquor store, and a great hidden gem Hidden Bay Cafe at Tomahawk Marina next door. Mindy pours a kick-*ss drink!
Pricing was competitive with Tomahawk. Liveaboard fee was $125 for the two of us.
Traffic. Sucks. Getting to the Hayden Island from Portland ANYTIME between 2:00pm and 6:00pm will take you at least an hour. Unless, you are a bicycle commuter. They have a great bike path all the way to downtown. Parking for the Island Cafe blocks Tomahawk drive down to one lane during the summer. It is a game
of chicken to get through the parked cars on both sides of the narrow street.
Parking. Sucks. The owners of the marina are in the process of building a third 170+ unit apartment building. (There are two buildings already.) The marina and the apartment buildings share the same parking. There is never enough parking, especially on the weekend when marina people want to use their boats.
. Sucks. No gate. People from the apartment and neighborhood cruise the docks "just looking at boats". They seem to forget when they are standing on the dock
finger looking into boats that some people actually live there. It's like having perpetual Peeping Toms.
. There is a very, very liberal dog policy. Each apartment is allowed two dogs
(any size). Boaters can have dogs as well. Any size. There are dogs everywhere. Problem is, there wasn't a designated pet walking area. The whole place smells like dog piss in the summertime. Dog poop everywhere - yes, even on the docks.
Facilities. New, good condition, and clean. (Unless you have to use it after someone has given their dog a bath in the shower
or the owner let the dog poop in the shower
. Seen it.) There is one shower in the men's room. One in the woman's room. There is often a wait for showers, especially on the weekend, and often no hot water
If we were going back to Portland, we would choose Tomahawk Marina over Salpare easily. More parking, locked gates, larger restrooms/more showers.
Astoria West Basin Marina
Bathroom facilities are a hike from the dock
. Plan your morning visit to the head
accordingly. Three showers in each restroom. Reasonably clean.
The dock pilings are almost rusted through. At a minus low tide, you can see huge gaping holes in the pilings. The dock boards are old and some are coming loose. The cleats
are loose. It appears they gave up maintenance
a long time ago.
There is a huge tidal exchange there. So, at low tide, the ramp
is beyond steep.
The whole area is in the Tsumani Zone. When the big earthquake happens, there won't be anything left.
It blows like hell in the winter. Not a place I'd want to liveaboard, especially given the condition of the docks.
One of the nice things about living on a boat, if you don't like the neighborhood, you can move! Good luck in your search!