Astoria Bar 

                                    ©1997 Mary Garvey


            Mary grew up on the Columbia River between Washington and Oregon and knew the (primarily salmon) fisheries along its lower reaches.  A huge body of water comes down a broad estuary near Astoria, creating one of the most dangerous river-mouth bars in the world.  She says "This is just a fisherman put-putting down the river in a small boat on a day when the weather is very beautiful and the river is very blue.  I remember as a child in Astoria seeing these massive quantities of fish going up conveyor belts from the ships and almost being spat out.  The bit about rowing all night from Willapa Bay is straight out of a comment in a newspaper story… some woman said her grandfather had done that.  Sturdy people in these parts… still are; but the Finns were legendary."


January Men and Then Some

Gordon – Spanish guitar

Forrest Sherman – tin whistle


          It's not very far to Astoria's Bar

          But a very long journey it can be

          It can start at the mouth of the mighty blue river

          And end at the bottom of the sea


                    But the River still shines and shimmers in the light

                    As it did in our grandfathers' day

                    When they rowed all night and fished in the morning

                    And lived in Willapa Bay


          When the tide is rough so very, very rough

          So rough that you cannot stand

          It drives the little fish right into the nets

          And boats right into the sand


          In the wind and the rain, the labor and the pain

          We know what the fishing here is worth

          It's worth more than gold when they suck 'em from the hold

          It's worth all the treasures of the earth




Astoria Bar is recorded on the album Herrings in the Bay