The Columbia River region has been the setting of remarkable events in American history. From Robert Gray’s explorations, to Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery, to John Jacob Astor’s ill-fated fur empire, history is on full display in the communities on the Washington and Oregon sides of the Lower Columbia. However there are some navigators whose stories get forgotten among the iconic explorations of Pacific Northwest’s history. On consecutive Saturdays, Hawaiian Chieftain will play host to two such stories, relaying lesser known figures whose impact upon the Columbia River region are forgotten or only now becoming fully recognized.

On Saturday, September 29th Rangers Steven Wood and Aaron Webster of Cape Disappointment State Park will come aboard Hawaiian Chieftain in Ilwaco, WA for “Beyond Lewis and Clark”. This program will feature two distinct presentations. The first will focus on the Columbia River as it has always been known to the Chinook peoples: its seasons, its weather, and its abundance of salmon –and especially– fur that first inspired American navigators to explore these lands. The second presentation will focus on George Ramsay, a half Chinook interpreter who was the sole survivor of the Tonquin disaster told in Peter Stark’s best selling book Astoria.


The following Saturday, October 6th, Hawaiian Chieftain will welcome historian and archaeologist Melissa Darby in Astoria, OR. Darby, a member of the State of Oregon’s speaker’s bureau, has uncovered linguistic and documentary evidence which supports a theory that the first Euro-American sailors to reach the West Coast of North America did not come from James Cook’s 1776 landing at Cape Foulweather, but a landing on the North Coast by Sir Francis Drake in 1576! Her program, “Oregon’s Pirate” will go into detail about the foundations of this hypothesis and the amazing new narrative in the life of the legendary explorer and privateer.


Grays Harbor Historical Seaport is proud to learn and share new stories of American maritime history with the public. The work we do would not be possible without the amazing scholarship and interpretation of our local partners across Washington, Oregon, and California. If you can’t make it to these history sails, keep a close eye out for others on the horizon at a port near you!



Beyond Lewis and Clark
Sat. Sep. 29th
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Ilwaco, WA
Click HERE for tickets


Oregon’s Pirate
Sat. Oct. 6th
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Astoria, OR
Click HERE for tickets